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The level of knowledge shared and the quality of information curated never ceases to amaze me. Check out the latest contributions from these brilliant people!




Every once in a while a member will go above-and-beyond with her contribution and author something that is worth bookmarking, sharing (and possibly downloading as a .pdf to reference for future use). These documents share more than "tips and tricks", but rather deep-dive into ways that ultimately can change your workflow. When we come across these documents, we can't help but award them the DISSERTATION badge (+200 points!).


Check out the latest community dissertation authored by Sarah Stevenson in the Instructional Designers group: Organizing Media Files with Tabs and Tables. Sarah writes:

I am creating this resource for those who, like me, use a lot of media files in their courses and would like to be able to organize them in a way that is less visually overwhelming.

Take a look at her solutions with the HTML codes included (sweet!!!) and see if these solutions might be a good fit for your course(s). Be sure to chime in with your suggestions and modifications, too!


For more great content: check out other documents that have been recognized as community dissertations.


Congrats to the Newest Community Scholar: Sean Nufer!


For anyone in the community who authors 10+ blog posts (and accumulates over 1000+ views) earns the badge and title of community SCHOLAR (+500 points!). Sean Nufer only recently started blogging in the Canvas community (July 2016) and has been posting excellent commentary (which average about 100+ views with each post)! Check out all of Sean's blog posts here!


Speaking of our community blogging scholars, here's the latest post from one of our first community scholars: James Jones' Unassigning the Front Page.


Collegiate Mobile Discussion


Nothing beats a great conversation sparked by intelligent commentary. Check out Steven Cain's blog post entitled "How much mobile are students expecting?" It continues to have on-going discussions and thoughtful contributions from some of our top mobile gurus like Kristin Lundstrum and Ryan Seilhamer (the founder of our Canvas Mobile Users Group group). Very timely topic around an evolving technology. We hope to hear more of your insights, Steve (future community scholar?).


Enjoy the rest of your week!




As you're tweaking your lesson plans and finalizing your syllabus, you may find (and offer) great tips related to these student-specific topics.


Create a Seamless Student Login Experience


Trust relationships between two schools make it so students can only log into Canvas at one institution to also see their courses for both schools. It makes the experience hassle-free from the student POV. At the end of spring semester, Stephanie Pope, eLearning Systems Operations Manager at Oaks Christian Online School asked the Canvas Admins group members for suggestions for establishing Trust Relationships. After a few months with no responses, we figured this topic was worth a revisit. "The community has very little documentation about this and would love to use this discussion thread to compile information for future use," she says. And she's right! Pitch in and share your insights on this topic so there can be resources to reference for the next community member!


Share Friendly (Student) and Faculty Advice


When it comes to Canvas, Ken Black is full of tips and Friendly advice, such as, disabloing "Use remote version of Rich Content Editor AND sidebar". From his blog post What the Setup Checklist Does Not Tell You to his most-viewed document Non-Graded Assignments: How They are Seen by Students and Faculty, his advice is worth bookmarking (and profile worth friending - aka following). Want to hear more from Ken? He's going to be presenting in the upcoming webinar in CanvasLIVE called What’s New in Canvas (Fall 2016) - be sure to RSVP! Or, connect with him directly in CanvasLIVE Chatrooms.


Engage with Students


Susan Nugent shared her take-aways from a panel discussion she attended at her school (Lake Land College) where students shared their experiences taking classes. "During the panel discussion, [the topic of] online learning came up, which was interesting to me," she says. "In their discussions [the students] all felt online courses were very impersonal." She goes on to share her tips on Engaging Students in Online Courses. Susan can sometimes be seen lurking about in the CanvasLIVE Chatrooms.


LOOKING FOR EXTRA POINTS AND BADGES? Use the Canvas Guides? We'll reward you for your feedback! The Docs Team is looking for your input on a few changes they are considering.


Have a productive week!




Okay, we'll never really ground you from Canvas. And, we'll never really ground your parents from it, either! 


The discussion around parents and Canvas isn't new. In fact, we've referenced parents in a previous blog post, but now there's even more to talk about!


Parent App (Beta) is Here!


Most of you who follow The specified item was not found. or are following the development of The specified item was not found. are aware that the beta app has been released to the iOS and Android app stores! (Or you may have heard from Kristin Lundstrum from the Canvas Mobile Users Group group when she posted about it here.) Just another opportunity to let people know that there is a Canvas Parent Focus Group that you can join and offer additional feedback and direct comments to the product teams.


Parent-Teacher Conferences


Canvas teachers and admins (especially in K-12) are very interested in knowing the Parent Use of Canvas. And one topic that has come up a few times is Sign-up for Parent Conferences in Canvas (a question posted by Laura Lopez). If you have any insights on ways to leverage Canvas to facilitate these processes, we'd love to hear them! Also, if you may also want to watch the video STUDY HALL: Successful Parent-Teacher Conferences that Jana Capps presented earlier this year for additional ideas.


Parents and Portals


A technical question came up in the Canvas Admins groups last month from Melissa Buonato regarding PowerSchool Parents/Observer Accounts that bears re-surfacing since it didn't get much response.

It would be so nice if we could put a passthrough for parents accessing Canvas via the Parent Portal. Anyone have a process for bringing parents into Canvas. We can create the  user and observer CSV files to do a SIS import but this seems very manual.

If you are familiar with The specified item was not found. and can provide feedback to Melissa, that would be fantastic!


Stay productive!




We hope the Olympics aren't keeping everyone too far from the Canvas Community (although we wouldn't blame you if it were ). Anyway, between gymnastics and swimming, we thought we'd update you on a few changes we're seeing in various groups.


Upgrades to the "Join Group" Button


Two weeks ago, JIVE (the platform we use to host the Canvas community) pushed out a few updates. This update changed the way members are able to join groups. It used to be that members could join a group by clicking the "Join this group" button on the group banner.



Now, you must go to the ACTIONS menu and select "Join this group" in order to participate. It's not as intuitive, but at least the functionality still exists.



Learn more about groups by checking out: How do I participate in a group in the Canvas Community?


Feedback Needed for Data and Commons


Post-InstructureCon 2016, lots of people want to build on the momentum of Canvas Data Services and Data for Your District, Department, or School session. Data Product Manager Chris Ward asks this question in the Data and Analytics group: Canvas Data for Consortia and Districts. "The hope is that we can start a community of practice around Canvas Data for Consortia and Districts," he says. "Learn from and help each other as we stumble our way through this new territory, and help improve Canvas Data the product in this area."


Also, Commons Product Manager Kate McGee is working on gathering more information around master courses in Commons. Her team is "looking for insight into Master Course needs and usage and would appreciate your participate where applicable." Click to complete the Master Course Survey (which should only take about 5 minutes to complete). (NOTE: This survey will close on Friday 8/13 @ 5pm MST.)


A Clear Direction for CMUG


Canvas mobile expert Ryan Seilhamer (group leader for Canvas Mobile Users Group) has teamed up with Kristin Lundstrum to provide an exciting new direction for CMUG! "We are rebooting CMUG to add more content, and opportunities to give input to the Canvas mobile team. We'd like your help!" says Ryan. Chime in with your insights and join the group (if you haven't already)!


Enjoy the rest of the week and we'll touch base again next week!




Here are a few posts that will inspire you to discuss these insights with your colleagues. Figured, (at the very least) it'll be great reading, as you head into the weekend.




Timothy McKean started a great discussion in the Instructional Designers group called Module-at-a-glance graphic where he "created this graphic to place at the top of each page to show the student's location within the big picture of the module itself." Share your thoughts and insights on how you visual when designing your modules, especially since Canvas Studio: MasteryPaths is happening!


Project-Based Learning


It's always exciting to follow the journey of a teacher who is adapting and embracing different ways of teaching. In the discussion Project-based learning in the Higher Education group, Sue Elvins is exploring ways project-based learning might be applied to her curriculum. If you have implemented this method in your teachings, I'm sure Sue would love to hear your feedback!


Canvas Theory of Change


Woah. Have you seen this: Canvas Theory of Change model in the Canvas User Engagement group?! Who else, besides me, wants to sit down with Ryan Richards to chat more about his thought-process!? There is a lot of information to digest in this model, but the reasons that led to these visual outcomes are very well-articulated. Definitely worth downloading and staring at it a bit longer to let it fully sink in.


In other Canvas User Engagement news, a big congrats goes out to Kristin Lundstrum Spring Cleaning Blog Challenge! But additional recognition also goes to the other top 4 (who also get prizes): Jennifer Kolodner, Tracey Gould, Linda Macaulay, and Kona Jones.


Enjoy the weekend!




There has been a lot of activity in our community groups lately. Whether you just got back (and recovering) from InstructureCon 2016 or have taken some downtime to reflect on your teaching over the summer, we have a few inspired posts this week! With so many resources about Canvas (in the community or from the conference), it's always great when community members come back to share (and curate) newly discovered resources!


Cutting Your Teeth on LTIs


Garth Egbert wrote a stellar blog post in the Canvas Developers group called LTI 1.x - Useful Links. "I thought it might be useful to post some helpful resources that I found while cutting my teeth on LTI," he says. The blog includes must-bookmark links to online learning tools and testing platforms. "I think I've hit the key tools that I used to get started with LTI," he concludes. "Hopefully this will be useful to someone out there." Oh, yes, Garth. It will.


Denise Dejonghe re-caps the LTI your Canvas for Great Good from InstructureCon 2016 in her blog post: LTI your Canvas for Great Good. And Royce Robertson asks for community feedback Virtual Classroom LTI.


If you want more LTI goodness, be sure join the SIS & Integrations [ARCHIVE] group!


Getting Deep with Badges


If you're not following Dr Rimmer, you should. Over the last month, she's embraced the community and has been authoring some great blog posts. In her latest post called Do these children have time to learn deeply? she curates resources related to badging in Canvas - from past InstructureCon 2015 sessions to documents posted by Jared Ward (a Canvas badging pro). Not only does she share her thought-process behind WHY badging might help students dive deeper into learning, but she summarizes (in a bulleted list - yay!) the top resources one might need to get started with badging.


Want more on gamification? Join the Gamification group for more discussions on points, badges, and leaderboards!


Re-Caps of InstructureCon 2016


To date, we've had 58 blog posts from InstructureCon 2016 attendees (and some non-attendees, too)! If you want a curated conference experience, then be sure to read the highlights. If you attended (but are still processing your thoughts), be sure to post your re-cap before AUGUST 7, 2016 (where your post will still be eligible for points and badges).


As always, we enjoy catching up with you on a weekly basis!


Stay cool and productive this week!



While Canvas as a product functions similarly across all markets, it's also evident that its application is significantly different across markets. In some regards, K12 educators leverage Canvas differently than their counterparts in higher education. But that's to be expected. This week, let's focus on the interesting community discussions within K12!


How do YOU use Canvas?


Perhaps a good starting point is understanding how K12 teachers use Canvas. Courtney Cohron, the district Elementary Instructional Technology Coach at Noblesville Schools in Noblesville, Indiana, posted the following poll in the K-12 group: In What Kinds of Learning Environments Does Canvas Live? She is trying to get a sense of how other districts are using Canvas: 1-to-1, non 1-to-1, or both. Chime in with your feedback!


In addition to her poll, Courtney is also seeking input in Canvas in the Non 1:1 Elementary Classroom. Her biggest question is "how do I help my non 1:1 teachers see the positives of using a Learning Management System with only a small group of iPads?" If you are willing to share some effective examples of how non 1:1 teachers are using Canvas, your insights would prove helpful!


Organizing Canvas


Last week Laurie Boykin also started a discussion called Elementary and Canvas, where she wanted more feedback about ways to Canvas can help organize her classroom. If you have additional thoughts on leveraging modules, perhaps this would be a great opportunity to share you feedback with Laurie.


Discussions in the K12 Classroom


Depending on the grade-level you teach, online discussions via Canvas demands a level of technology literacy from your students. A few weeks ago, Donna Bergonzi asked for feedback from the Teaching Math in Canvas related to the discussion tool potentially being a distraction in her 6th grade classroom: Canvas in the Middle School Math classroom. Do you have best practices on how you enable discussions in your Canvas courses?


Keep being productive this week!




Well, the time has come! The New UI has officially launched for every instance of Canvas! Schools had about a year to adjust to this transition - some enabling it earlier than others. But now, the 'new' UI is officially the normal Canvas UI. There's no going back! In addition to reading the New UI FAQ, here are other tips to help keep things moving forward.


The Big Transition


Many informative resources exist throughout the community that discuss different ways institutions have handled the roll-out of the new (now normal) UI. Check out the comments threads in the following discussions for additional considerations and insights:


Leveraging the New-Not-New-Anymore UI


Over the past few months, we've had a lot of feedback from those who have enabled the new UI early and shared their 'best practices' in the community. You may want to check out the following discussion threads for ideas on ways others have adapted to the UI changes:


The New UI is Out, and so is the New UI Group


The ARCHIVED: User Group: New UI has been active since the initial beta, and will remain as a resource until September 23, 2016. At that point, the resources will be redistributed through the community and the group archived. So, if you are currently a member of this group, please note that after this date, you will not be able to access the group.


Although the new UI isn't so 'new' anymore, remember to always strive towards keeping things fresh!




Finding ways that foster student engagement is at the heart of our course designs. While gamification isn't the only method to keeping students enthusiastic, Canvas users are exploring different ways to enhance their courses with gaming elements.


Minecraft Assignments


Minecraft is a game of building constructions out of textured cubes, exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and combat in a 3D procedurally generated world. Given it's world-wide popularity, it's no wonder educators are considering ways to leverage or align this game with their course or assignment outcomes. David Ross, a Technology for Learning Specialist at Culver City Unified School District, asks Minecraft in the Elementary Classroom in the Gamification group. He's wondering if there are any best practices in using Minecraft in a K12 setting, specifically 4th graders.


Also, if you have further interest in Minecraft, specifically, you may want to vote up Minecraft in Education - a group suggestion that was submitted last year.


Interactive Content

Gideon Williams, Head of eLearning at The British School in the Netherlands, discovered Versal - Interactive Content. He blogged about his experiences in the K-12 group earlier this week, discussing the trials and tribulations of embedding Versal into Canvas. Be sure to read his post and consider experimenting with Versal yourself. Share your own experiences by commenting to his post or writing your own blog post!


Gamified Gradebook?


John Johnston, a Product Manager at University of Michigan, has been working with faculty to incorporate gameful learning practices into their Canvas courses. "I thought it might be useful if I started sharing some of the techniques (hacks) I've come up with," he states. Check out his tips for creating a Gamified Gradebook in Canvas in the Gamification group.


Have any tips, thoughts or questions on Gamification? Here are some people you ought to 'follow' who might be helpful: Gerol Petruzella, Janell Amely, Travis N Thurston, PhD, Randy Orwin, and Bradley Moser.


Enjoy the rest of your week!



Despite the 'slower' time of year for Canvas users, there doesn't seem to be a lack of conversations out there in our community groups. When users request feedback and the community produces some powerful, actionable thread of comments, I'm often amazed at the level of insights and creativity we see from our Canvas users. I'm not only referring to question posts, but rather those "Does anyone have ideas for..."-type, open-ended discussion posts. Some of those prompts can truly inspire the out-of-the-box thinking!


Here are a few excellent discussions which could use community TLC:


Rubrics Resolutions


Two discussions came up in the last week regarding rubrics. One from Sarah Houts in the Canvas Admins group regarding Pass / Fail Rubric Scenario - Ideas Wanted. Sarah wants some advice on ways rubrics can be designed so teachers can successfully complete criteria on a checklist. And similarly, Michael Bohl Jenner posted in the Higher Education group on Distributing Rubrics to subtasks, which also asks for ways to leverage rubrics to mark an assignment's sub-task complete. Share your thoughts. Aaand... go!


Mathematics Magic


What do you do when you want to grade math and science course work in Canvas, but cannot use mathematical notations or superscripts when commenting on these assignments? Martha Zumack, the Canvas Coordinator for a distance-learning K12 college in Oxford, UK, asks this exact question! Working around the lack of Rich Content Editor in Speedgrader , posted in the Teaching Math in Canvas group, desperately needs your insights. Do you have a magic solution (or something close)?


Un-Deniable Brilliance for Un-Registered Students


Last month, Don Bryn wrote an awesome blog post in the Free-For-Teachers group about leveraging FFT account for testing incoming students via Canvas. "In the past, all [music theory program] students had to take a paper test when they auditioned for the school, but the audition day was long and tedious...," he wrote. Since taking over the testing process, Don created a convenient way to 'audition' students (who are not yet part of the Canvas system) online in Canvas. Read the full blog post here: Free-For-Teachers for un-registered students . And if you have creative ways you leverage Free-for-teachers, just blog about it! (Remember, you can earn 25 points and a cool badge for doing so!)


Have another great week, everyone!



For most of you, school is out and vacations have started (or are about to start). But summertime is also a chance to tackle some projects. Turns out, the Canvas Community may have exactly what you need to stay jump-start your creativity and stay productive over these (not so) lazy days.


Best. Field Trip. Ever


The Open Education group has launched another contest to inspire its members to think more openly! (If you missed out on the last blogging challenge, then here's another shot at $200!) This summer, members are encouraged to create field trips (captured in a Canvas module) and share it publicly to Canvas Commons. To read about the challenge details, check out Summer Contest: Best. Field Trip. Ever. We'll be mapping all the field trip submissions as they are submitted on our Field Trip Google Map... so you can see all the places students can go!


Mobile-Friendly Assignments


Summer is your chance to practice enhancing or designing new assignments. And if you've been wanting to make parts of your activities more mobile-friendly, then this is the summer for you. Check out . Another opportunity to leverage Canvas Commons for sharing, but also taking advantage of reviews within Commons, as well. Mobile experts like Ryan Seilhamer will be around to provide tips and feedback on your mobile assignments.


Spring Isn't Over Yet

For those of you in the Canvas User Engagement group and wanted to participate in the Spring Cleaning Blog Challenge, you're in luck. THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO JUNE 21, 2016 <--- the official last day of spring/first day of summer. If you need some inspiration, check out these submissions:


Enjoy the rest of your week!


Ah, Excel. That spreadsheet tool that does a lot, but many may not always do a lot with it! From gradebook calculations to designing pivot tables to analyzing extensive data sets, there's always something new to be learned from using Excel (either as a newbie or a pro)! When it comes to Canvas, the following community members have a lot to share about Excel.


Canvas Data with Excel


When it comes to data, most teachers and admins have access to a Google Spreadsheets or Excel. And sometimes that's all you need! Educational Technologist, Jaap Stelpstra, understands the time constraints of Canvas teachers and has created incredible Excel spreadsheet templates with step-by-step processes to make the downloading of Canvas data to Excel easier and automating of progress reports of students in modules much more intuitive! If you're a teacher looking to do more with the data in your courses, use these resources to get you started!


Roll Call Attendance without Excel


Not an Excel person? No problem! Associated CTL Director at Dominican University, Ken Black, shares this quick-and-dirty tips to Using the Roll Call Report: A Guide for People Who Do Not Use Excel. "This document is intended to assist those who want to know exactly how many classes all of your students have missed at the end of a term…something Roll Call will not do for you on its own." WOAH!


Assignments with Interactive Excel


Eileen Durbin uses various interactive Excel spreadsheets where students can input data, run the calculations and send the answers back to her. She wants to know ways to integrate interactive Excel spreadsheet into Canvas assignments. Check out Kona's answer to her question or offer up a few tips of your own.


Whether or not you use Excel, let's all continue to _____ this week!



A few weeks ago I blogged about Year-End Workflows, which highlighted discussions around archiving, next-year prep and 'spring cleaning'. I think this continues to be a timely topic as schools, admins and teachers continue to wrap up their school years and evaluate processes in an effort to improve efficiency in the years ahead.


Pack It Up!


End of the year is more than just archiving content and closing-out your courses. Customer Success Managers Ericka Aguilar and Hailee Anderson share effective K12-centric tips in their webinar K12 Study Hall: Packing up your classroom. They discuss everything from setting terms and course conclude dates to content saving tips and summer sandboxes. If you're a K12 admin or instructor, this is a definite must-see video.


Pack It In!


The year end often brings more clarity, especially schools who are new to Canvas. Whether you should've changed user permissions settings or designed courses with modules instead of assignment groups (or vice versa), there's always room for reflection and improvement for subsequent years. For instance, Kevin Yaiko, the Canvas Admin for the International Christian School of Budapest, wants to get better at delivering and designing School Communication practices. After their first year using Canvas, "One of the big areas of self-identified needed improvement is school communication at all levels," states Yaiko. Camela Giraud shares her feedback. If you have any insights for Kevin, be sure to post it, too!


Let Me Begin


While new schools to Canvas are discovering their best practices, schools who've been on Canvas for years are ready to 'begin again' and do some maintenance and additional house-keeping. KRISTIE BAYLESS wants to hear from other schools regarding User Maintenance Best Practices. "For the first time I'm hoping to initiate some user maintenance for staff and students who've left the district," she states. "While some of our schools have revolving door enrollment, a large number of these users are gone for good." How does your school deal with user maintenance? Inquiring minds want to know!


Keep hanging in there. For most of you, vacation (and a break) is just around the corner!




Every once in a while there will be a need to disable, undo, or remove something in Canvas. But it's not whether or not these modification are possible. Rather, it's more fascinating to learn of the reasons for the changes and the possible solutions that arise from the resulting community feedback.


Disable or Enable?


Sometimes it's not about removing a feature or hiding it. Sometimes a feature is awesome, but we simply want to have a bit more granularity over its functionality. Right? Ada Chung asks about Disabling Feature Options Tab in the Canvas Admins group. Joshua Swink wondered if we can/should disable test instance reset. Do you have any features you would like to disable or enable at the course or account level?


Undo or Redo?


We all make mistakes in Canvas (unintentionally, of course) and need to undo it. Here are some of the recent 'oopsies' posted in the Q & A space. Share your feedback or read the solutions presented:


Remove It!


It's not uncommon for Canvas Admins to request to hide or remove some portion of the Canvas UI -- a button, text, etc. Most of the time these requests can be done by modifying the CSS or JS. Recently in the Canvas Admins group, Shane O'Hara asked about A way to remove "View Privacy Policy" link from self-enrollment option? Over in the Canvas Developers group, Josh Shepard wanted to know how to Remove forgot password option from the login page of the new UI. But it's not just admins, check out instructional designer Zachary Lonsinger's question: Remove Imported Outcomes in a Canvas Course.


Stay productive!



As most of you begin to close out your school year and semesters, let's re-visit discussions that may help address the concerns that typically come up when concluding your courses.


What to archive or not to archive?


That is the question. Outside the functionality 'archiving' course content via Canvas export tool, there are various year-end practices worth considering, depending on the design of your classes. For instance, do you want to export just content? Or, content and student activity? Just data? Or, everything? A few weeks ago, Joe Allen posted the question Has anyone archived Canvas after a school year? in the K-12 group. The discussion generated thoughtful insights by Chris Long. But there must be other considerations and ideas out there, right?! Help Joe out and post your feedback! And maybe even start a discussion thread on this topic, yourself!


Prepping for Next Year


It's not uncommon to want to save the work from one course in hopes to leverage it again in a future year or section. Canvas Commons and course copying tools are certainly helpful in building a repository and/or recycling content.  Denise Dejonghe asked about Best methods for copying course content?, specifically when it came to copying assignments containing rubrics. The specified item was not found. also wanted a bit more clarity around this topic, as well: The specified item was not found.  Questions about content recycling have also surfaced in Q & A area of the community: Recycling Announcements by Peter Facciola and quiz / recycling from one section to another  by Robert Biggert. Both worth a revisit if these are concerns you're coming across, as well. And Canvas Admins might get a lot of questions this time of year related to Grading Periods - Year 2 - What happens? (posted by Joe Allen, who apparently is thinking ahead - Nice!)


Spring Cleaning Blogging Challenge


Archiving for reference and planning ahead for efficiency are two different ends of the school year spectrum. But both processes are incredibly important. As Mary Russell Sanders prompts in her discussion How do you get courses ready for Year 2? To help encourage our Canvas users to provide more feedback about these workflows, a new challenge has launched in Canvas User Engagement group. Click here to learn more! Even if you don't participate in the challenge, it might be worth following the hashtag spring cleaning to read these shared practices.


Have a happy week!