Getting the Most out of the Gradebook and SpeedGrader in Canvas

What’s Different about the Canvas Gradebook? 

The Gradebook in Canvas and the Grade Center in Blackboard are similar in many respects. The Grades link is how you and your students access the course gradebook – just like the Grade Center in Blackboard.  The gradebook is where you will view and grade student submissions and assign weights to assignment groups for Total grade calculation.  Unlike Blackboard, you can’t weight a column without putting it an assignment group. Also, you can’t manually create a column in the gradebook like you could in Blackboard, so you must create an assignment for a column to be created in the gradebook, even if that is activity is not submitted through Canvas.   

Enhancements to Gradebook include the options to automatically assign a zero score to missing assignments or deduct points for late submissions.   

Activities can be graded by simply entering a grade, using a rubric, or using SpeedGrader in Canvas, which is similar to Blackboard’s in-line grading function.   

With SpeedGrader you can:

  • View student submissions (text entries, website URLs, media recordings, and/or file uploads); preview supported file types in Canvas 
  • Make annotations on supported files 
  • Assign a grade based on your preferred assessment method (points or percentage) 
  • View Rubric to assist with grading (if one is added to the assignment) 
  • View comments created by you or the student about the assignment 
  • Create text, video, and/or audio commentary for the student 

How does this align to Canvas training materials?

Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 1: Getting Started “Assignment, Grading and Quizzes”

 


Additional Resources:

Our next article will highlight Mobile Apps – Student & Instructorvisit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles. 

New Canvas Features for October 2021

New Canvas Features for October 2021

Canvas at WCUCanvas New Features
October 2021

Canvas provides updates to the platform every month without disruption to service. Some of them are minor fixes and others provide additional features and functionality to users.  As we reach the middle of the first full semester with Canvas we thought we’d highlight for you some of the most recent updates that may make your work in the online learning environment more efficient and effective.

New Feature Details

Navigation Menus will be “Sticky”

In the past, the left-hand navigation items would scroll with the page so that users would have to scroll back up to navigate.  With this change, the navigation menu will “stick”, making the menu visible at all times without having to scroll.

SpeedGrader: Ability to Edit Submission Status

The SpeedGrader sidebar now includes an Edit icon that can be used to change submission status for assignments. Status can be edited the same way as was previously only available in the Gradebook. Adjusting a status in SpeedGrader, will, of course, also update the Gradebook.

Some details about Status

  • Setting the status to missing will add a “missing” label. This additional signal could be used to help nudge students toward the completion of assignments.
  • If a late policy is enabled, setting the status to late displays the “late” label. Additionally, a text field allows the grader to enter a value for the days/hours late.
  • Setting the status to “excused” displays the Excused status, and the grade field displays as “EX” and is grayed-out, and will not be counted in the total for that assignment category. (The excused function will not work well if you are using total points and not using the assignment category weighting).
  • Setting the status to “None” removes any labels that were previously displayed for the assignment.

Figure A: SpeedGrader Status Edit Menu Examples

The Edit Status icon is not displayed in the following assignment scenarios:

  • Previously submitted submissions (only the most recent submission is supported)
  • Concluded user enrollments
  • Inactive student enrollments
  • Assignments that require moderated grading
  • Assignments in a closed grading period

Gradebook: Assignment Search

Another updated feature is the addition of a search field in the Gradebook that can search for assignment names.  This gives instructors another way to sort and control their workflow.  This allows for a search of student names as well in a separate search box.

Improved Navigation for Course Notification Customization

Canvas allows users to customize their notification preferences for their entire account and to create special notifications for specific courses.  For example, an instructor might choose to create a more frequent notification schedule for a fully online course than for a course that is only offered face-to-face.  In the past, making granular course level changes took going deeper into the course settings.  Now course notification preferences can be customized on the main notifications page using a drop-down menu.

Please note: Students are also able to set their own notifications per course. If you are using notifications to students as a strategy for engaging them, make sure to specify how they should set their notifications for your course so they are not missing out on communication from you.

Figure B: Notifications Page screenshot

User Settings: Microsoft Immersive Reader Additional Feature Areas

To help engage students at all levels of learning and with all learning differences, we have long advised the use of the accessibility checker in the Canvas page editor.  Our Microsoft 365 account and the Canvas integration now enable a new tool that allows any user to use the Microsoft Immersive Reader to use the Microsoft AI to give students more options for accessible use of content. Students will have this option visible on their screens so they can use it when they need to.

Figure C: New Immersive Reader Button

If you really want to stay up-to-date with Canvas’ new features, become an insider by subscribing to Canvas Releases in the Canvas Community.

Or Feel Free to Watch the Highlight Videos for Each of These Updates

Release Screencast: 2021-10-16 Navigation (Sticky Navigation Menu)

Release Screencast: 2021-10-16 SpeedGrader (Submission Status Label Edits)

Release Screencast: 2021-10-16 Gradebook (Assignment Search)

Release Screencast: 2021-10-16 Notifications (Course Customization)

Release Screencast: 2021-10-16 User Settings (Microsoft Immersive Reader Additional Feature Areas)

 

 

 

 

Fall 2021 Update on Course Storage

Four different tech devices with arrows to a blue cloud

Digital Storage for Teaching and Learning at WCU

What you need to know:

  • As an instructor, your ‘teaching’ Canvas courses have 1 GB of cloud storage.
  • Canvas storage should be considered temporary and not for long-term curation or archiving.
  • Live Canvas courses (the teaching shells with students) will be maintained for two whole academic years before deletion.
  • Do not upload video and audio files directly into Canvas.  The Panopto video authoring, storage, and streaming system are integrated into Canvas.  You have unlimited video and audio storage in Panopto.
  • Canvas development shells are not meant for student interaction but are designed to be the “sandbox” for faculty.  Your Canvas development shells will remain active as long as you are an employee of Western Carolina.
  • Departments and Programs can request access to a non-credit course area in Canvas where specialized master courses, template courses, and student-centers/non-credit courses will be kept.
We created the following chart to help you navigate all of your storage options.

5 Colored Rings - Alternative Text Link is Below Photo - Photo Links to Help Article

 

Alternative Version for Screen Readers

Digital Storage for Faculty 2021

Image from https://www.recordnations.com/2015/08/what-to-post-in-cloud-storage/

Canvas Quiz Generation Policy

WCU does not have a tool that will translate Word documents into Canvas Quizzes, and we do not have the resources to create or manually transcribe any assessments for instructors.

We recommend and fully support instructors authoring their tests/quizzes/exams inside of Canvas. Canvas questions are edited through the rich content editor, which allows for cut and paste actions from Word documents and other word processing files on a question-by-question basis. Below are links to several resources for creating questions in Canvas.

If an instructor would like assistance in creating an assessment, from a pedagogical perspective, they can make an appointment with one of the faculty partners at the CFC for a consultation. (https://affiliate.wcu.edu/cfc/consultations/)

Quiz Question Creation Guides

  • Create a Multiple-Choice Question – Link
  • Create a True/False Question – Link
  • Create a Fill-in-the-Blank Question – Link
  • Create a Fill-in-Multiple-Blanks Question – Link
  • Create a Multiple Answers Question – Link
  • Create a Multiple Drop-down Question – Link
  • Create a Matching Question – Link
  • Create a Numerical Answer Question – Link
  • Create a Formula (Simple Formula) Question – Link
  • Create a Formula (Single Variable) Question – Link
  • Create an Essay Question – Link
  • Create a File Upload Question – Link

Deeper Dives

Collected Resources

Canvas Course Analytics and Quiz Statistics

Canvas offers instructors some incredibly powerful tools to view course analytics, individual student analytics and quiz statistics.

The wealth of information provides instructors with a comprehensive view of student engagement as well as insight into areas for improvement and redesign.

Course Analytics using New Analytics

Learning how to use Course Analytics in Canvas is essential to those Instructors primarily using Canvas to teach online. The information provided in New Analytics will guide instructors to better understand overall participation and engagement from their students. With New Anayltics, Canvas also offers the ability to recognize positive and negative trends to make improvements and adjustments to course quality; easily identifying those students who are struggling, problematic items or areas in your course that may need adjustment.

New Analytics provides:

  • Student Analytics using New Analytics

In Canvas the analytics shown for each student can give instructors valuable insight about engagement, activity, and performance. Canvas’ ability to view individual student analytics allows instructors to disemminate

For more detailed information review the Canvas guides for New Analytics and “How to view Course Analytics?”
Where to access New Analytics
New Analytics main screen

     

    Quiz Statistics

    Another feature provided to instrucors using quizzing in Canvas are quiz statistics. The feature is available to instructors when a quiz has been published and at least one submission has been recieved for the quiz. The quiz summary will show all score percentages as well as the quiz average score, high score, low score, standard deviation (how far the values are spread across the entire score range), and average time of quiz completion. Instructors can view and download a CSV file to view a Student Analysis or Item Analysis for each question in the quiz. 

    Available info from Quiz Statistics:

    1. Student/Item Analysis – Instructors caDownload CSV files to view Student Analysis or Item Analysis for each quiz question to count all student attempts in the statistics.
    2. Quiz Item Analysis – Item analysis may not generate results within specific quizzes. For more detailed information about item analysis limitations and calculations please refer to the Quiz Item Analysis PDF for detailed information about Reliability, Difficulty, and Item Discrimination Index.
    3. Question Summary – Instructors can view an entire quiz summary that shows all score percentages. The quiz summary also shows the quiz average score, high score, low score, standard deviation (how far the values are spread across the entire score range), and average time of quiz completion.
    4. Question Summary Chart – The quiz summary chart is interactive; users can focus on a specific segment of the chart by selecting a range with their cursor, such as viewing the number of students who scored between 0 and 50 percent. Scroll down the page to see data for each question in the quiz.
    5. Question Breakdown  – Quiz question shows the total percentage of students who answered the quiz question correctly. Each question includes a breakdown with each question answer choice.
    For more detailed information review the Canvas guide for “Once I publish a quiz, what kinds of quiz statistics are available?”

    To access Quiz Statistics, Click the “Quizzes” link in your Course Navigation menu, then click the title of the quiz you would like to open. On the right sidebar click “Quiz Statistics”. 

    Quiz Statistics Sample

    Listen to how Dr. Viji Sathy and Dr. Kelly Hogan, instructors at UNC – Chapel Hill are using the insight provided by their LMS to redesign courses for inclusion, encouraging student success while reducing achievement gaps. We hope this inspires you to explore the possibilities with our LMS by using New Analytics in Canvas when redesigning your course while applying Universal Design for Learning and inclusion best practices for all student success.

    How does this align to Canvas training materials?

    Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: 7.0 Module Overview: Universal Design for Learning

     


    Additional Resources:

    Visit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles. 

    First Day Ready in Canvas

    Instructors at WCU will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond. 

    WCU faculty will be teaching in Canvas beginning in summer 2021 and beyond. One of the major differences between Blackboard and Canvas, as far as courses go, is a feature in Canvas called Publishing.

    publish course button in Canvas

    Faculty will need to publish their course in order for students to access the content, and it’s a simple as clicking a button in their course. This is equivalent to making the course Available in Blackboard. When you look at your Canvas Dashboard, if the course tile has a button in the upper left corner that says Publish, then is not available to your students. Click on that button and you’ll be prompted to set a Home Page – the place your students will see first when they enter the course (equivalent to Blackboard Entry Point). Click on Choose and Publish and your students will be able to see your course. How do I publish a course?


    unpublish and publish button in Canvas

    Each item within your course will need to be Published as well. If there is circle with slash through it in the upper right corner of an item, it isn’t visible to your students. A green circle with a check means the item is available (visible to students). You can click on the button to toggle between Published and Unpublished (useful if you find discover you need to make an edit). How do I publish a module?


    Canvas course navigation menu

    The course menu (all items, top to bottom, in the left navigation menu) should only show a few links/options. This improves student navigation and what is often called ”findability.” Course resources can be Disabled (the Blackboard equivalent of made unavailable to students) in the Navigation tab under Settings. You can drag them to the bottom window on the Navigation tab or click on the three-dot menu and select Disable. Disabled items will be designated by the eye with a slash through it.


    It is a best practice to be as consistent as possible in the layout of your modules. That way, as your students move through your course they know where to expect to find resources, assignments, and other activities. In fact, according to one study about online students, “findability is paramount – if they cannot find important course components, they cannot ‘use’ them; having to search for assignment instructions or a course introduction may likely result in frustration, lowered motivation, and decreased self-efficacy — all of which could impact both student learning and course attrition” (Simunich, Robins, & Kelly 2015). Take a look at the SUNY OSCQR rubric where it addresses usability in Standard 13.


     

    Accessibility

    Canvas Accessibility Standards

    When you are in a Canvas course you will see the spectacles button in the upper right corner. Clicking on it will take you to a student’s view of your course. It is highly recommended that you check your course in the student view to make sure that the course is being presented in the way you intended. How do I view a course as a student?

    Review the article “The Impact of Findability on Student Motivation, Self-Efficacy, and Perceptions of Online Course Quality” for more information about course readiness on day one.

    First Day Ready-Canvas Training Services Portal-Learning PathwayThe Training Services Portal Learning Pathway: “Higher Education: First Day Ready”

    This course will walk you through the process of creating a Canvas LMS course so that you can be first day ready. This course will cover how to create a Home Page, utilize Modules, and access Student View to ensure your course is “first day ready” (To access, Login to Canvas: Select “Help” from the Global menu in Canvas click “Training Services Portal”)

    How does this align to Canvas training materials?

    Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 5: Content: How can I make, find, and use online resources?, Module 6: Structuring the Course: How do I put it all together and explain it to my students?, Module 7: Universal Design for Learning and Module 8: Accessibility: How can I help my students who use assistive technology?

     


    Additional Resources:

    • Visit canvas.wcu.edu 
    • Contact the 24/7 Canvas Help if you need help with issues as you are working in Canvas. (NOTE: 24/7 Canvas Help goes away on June 30 and Help will be taken over by the WCU Helpdesk which is not manned 24/7). 
    • Canvas Migration FAQ
    • Register for one of the Zoom sessions which will be held on Thursdays and Fridays at 11:00 A.M. after reviewing the Priming the Canvas Course. This week’s sessions will cover Discussions in Canvas as well as How to release content conditionally in Canvas.

    Our next article will highlight Course Analytics and Statistics in Canvasvisit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles.