10 Ways Canvas Makes Your Life Easier

Earlier today I led some faculty training on how Canvas makes your life easier as a teacher or teaching assistant. Personally, I love Canvas and could come up with a whole host of tips but here are 10 things that stand out to me:

  1. Announcements
    • Announcements are the best way to help your students stay up-to-date with the course. By default, not only will students receive an email alert of the announcement but if they have the Canvas Student app installed on their mobile device they will receive a notification.
    • You can also schedule announcements for key dates during the course. For example, if an exam is due on Sunday you could schedule an announcement for the Tuesday or Wednesday of that week reminding the students to study, some key information regarding the exam, and a word of an encouragement.
    • Remember, you can send announcements either from the web browser or the Canvas Teacher app.
  2. Granting individual extensions for any assignment or allowing for a retake of a quiz/exam
    • Inevitably, every semester, a student will need an extension on an assignment or accidentally click “take a quiz” when they shouldn’t have, or some other problem.
      • Grand extension to individual student (link)
      • Allow for retake of a quiz/exam (link)
  3. Contact individual students about missing assignments or low grades.
    • Using the Message Students Who… feature you can easily contact student’s who are missing assignments or score below a certain score. This will allow you to better help your students stay on track in the course.
      • Message Students Who… (link)
  4. Notification settings
    • Canvas provides a plethora of notification settings that you can fine tune to only be notified of what you want to see and when you would like to see them. You can choose to be notified immediately or sent a daily or weekly summary of your notifications.
      • Learn more about notifications (link)
        • PDF Handout (download)
  5. Prevent or detect plagiarism
    • Unfortunately, plagiarism is a reality that teachers must address. The Turnitin software that is integrated in Canvas provides an opportunity for student’s to detect their own plagiarism before submitting to better learn how to properly cite and/or allow for teachers to detect potential plagiarism and have the necessary tools to address the students.
      • More information on using Turnitin (link)
  6. Restore deleted files and assignments
    • Have you ever deleted an assignment, quiz, or file in your course and wanted to recover it? Thankfully Canvas has an easy solution to help you recover those deletions.
      • How to “undelete” items in a Canvas course (link)
  7. SpeedGrader options
    • SpeedGrader is the best way to grade assignments in Canvas both in a web browser and in the Canvas Teacher app. You can also customize it to provide some more control of the grading process:
      • Sort the student list in SpeedGrader (link)
      • Anonymous Grading (link)
      • Using a rubric to grade submissions (link)
  8. Nickname your courses
    • You can update the names of your course to whatever you would like it to be and it only shows this name for you. Personally, I write an abbreviated version of the course name and put the term in parentheses for my courses.
      • Change the nickname of your course (link)
  9. Canvas Teacher App (iOS and Android)
    • The Canvas Teacher app allows you to do all the functions you need to do as a teacher in Canvas such as message students, send announcements, update due dates, add files to the course, record video or audio messages, and much more.
      • Canvas Teacher app introduction (link)
  10. Support
    • Clicking on the help button in Canvas provides the following options (this will differ based on your own school’s implementation but these links are customizable by your school’s administrator)
      1. Report a problem or need help? This submits a support ticket to the Online Learning office and Campus Technology. Upon review our support teams can either provide an answer or solution or escalate it to Canvas support who responds within 24-48 hours.
      2. My course information – find information such as meeting times, location, professor and more
      3. Register for classes – students can click here to register for classes
      4. Student account information – student’s can learn more about their tuition fees and payment dates
      5. Search the Canvas Guide – any question you have regarding Canvas can probably be found in these guides.

Contact me on Twitter @renshaw330 or comment below with your own tips.

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