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My brief post here is going to mirror Nancy Biddinger's original blog post about the FastTrack videos.

Quality product and service by its nature shouldn't call attention to itself for being so good, or the amount of preparation and work it took to achieve quality. (This is always my goal designing digital content in our K-12 learning space.)


These 2½ minute videos are clear and concise, and always helpful. Leslie Stark did a great job producing and delivering these pieces. Why is the series so great? It virtually disintegrates the learning curve by embedding just the knowledge tidbits designers need on the fly. For me, this approach prevents the frustration of being stopped a brick wall of ignorance, especially when I foresee a problem area at the start of a project milestone.


So, thank you leslie_stark, for your exemplary work on the series. I think you've set the bar that much higher for the delivery of bite-sized chunks of information, delivered right on time for us very busy designers. Is there, by the way, an index page of all the videos in the series?

I am new to the Canvas Community and  I am discovering what many of you already know: there is so very much that will support meaningful instruction in our classrooms!  There is a lot to learn in a short time before we roll Canvas out to our large district.  I'm on the prowl for the guides and other resources that will help me be prepared to support our teachers.


One of my favorite finds this week has been the Fast Track Video Series by Leslie Stark.  Follow this link to the Canvas Engagement Strategies group for the Fast Track Admin Series and the original Fast Track SeriesThe videos are  2 1/2 - 3 minutes of wonderfulness that highlight Canvas tools. I like that the format presents specific topics precisely and crisply. I can get in, get informed and get on my way in under 3 minutes.  This is perfect for folks like me who are learning a lot on the fly.  I anticipate using these videos to support professional development and for reminders for myself.  The tutorials are already made and that frees me up to support teachers in other ways.


If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I’d like to invite you to take, oh, about 2 ½ - 3 minutes to discover some of these treasures.  You might join me in thanking Leslie Stark for working so hard so that we don’t have to. 


Want a topic that you don't see?  Share an idea for future questions HERE.

Anthony Bunag

Theory vs Practice

Posted by Anthony Bunag Expert Mar 15, 2017

As a smaller University, we are in a similar situation as Robbie Grant Admin - we like the idea of Mobile, but we just don't have the resources to lead the charge with our users.  So, we support the faculty as they adopt the "traditional" LMS approach, using the browser interface to build their courses and interact with their students in our predominately traditional classroom, with the occasional faculty going to a hybrid class.  Leadership was also loathe to push the current apps when there is likely to be a transition to the new set of Apps.


However, we never hide that there are the Apps available for use, which has caused some interesting effects.  Several faculty have reported up to half their classes using the App to interact with their online course space, including during class times.  Other faculty have embraced the ability to review activity and grade work while on a mobile device.  I'm sure none of this is revolutionary, but it's nice to know that the theory we had concerning usage is slowly but surely showing in practice.  Some of our schools had mandated that students have a laptop in the classroom, and we're hoping with the App and the features in Canvas, we may be able to provide an alternative in the use of a mobile device.


Hopefully once we've had a better adoption rate, and can start looking at moving our core group of faculty past the initial learning stages, we will be able to have the bandwidth to support and encourage more adoption of the mobile Apps in the faculty, and work with our student support teams to do the same in places such as our freshman orientations.


This may not be the most useful Blog, but maybe it will help encourage those of you that see the benefit of the apps but just can't get the funding and bandwidth needed to reach the promised land.

We are a new school (last 6 months) to Canvas. Loving the mobile app. Agree with @RyanSeilhamer that our students are viewing "people" as the least important (for want of a better word) on the app. They are really looking at it as a time management and organisational tool at this early stage. Several students are now working through their mobile devices (from the age of 12 and upwards) rather than bringing a laptop to school for ease of storage / carrying etc. Looking forward to getting the parents on the parent app. They are our partners in learning. Exciting times ahead for us David SUMMERVILLE

Our recent adoption of Canvas gave us the opportunity to promote a truly flexible online learning environment to our students. The next step, was proving our ability to respond to our students feedback. Feedback which ultimately told us we lacked the ability to meet our learners needs. Our students stated that we were unable to:

  • Provide easily accessible and up to date data on their current course progress without the assistance of the administration and training team
  • Provide the capability for them to complete part of their assessment 'on-the-go', view due dates and notifications all without access to a desktop
  • Give them the opportunity to easily interact with their instructor.

This feedback was crying out for us to update our current practices, and engage with our students on a different level.

The introduction of the Canvas Mobile App gave us the ability to interact with our students on their level. Our ability to provide real-time data, notifications and assessments to our students saw a huge increase in engagement not just within their course, but with their instructor also.

I have experienced both Moodle and Canvas whilst studying with you. I personally prefer Canvas which I have found to be easy super user-friendly. It allows work to be completed on the move and it is easy to keep up to date with the messages, grades, and progress via the mobile application. - Student of the RTO.

The interactive and clean user-interface made for easy adoption and accessibility with very little support required from our admin/ training team. The students weren't the only ones who benefited from the application. Our instructors love the ability to communicate with students through 'Inbox', as well as view their 'To-Do' Lists for marking. Talk about an increase in productivity!

Whilst the application has achieved so much, we look forward to seeing how Canvas continues to respond to the 'Feature Ideas' provided by the greater Canvas Community.

We are excited to be able to continually take steps to meet our students needs, and give them the tools they need to succeed! After all, that is our ultimate goal as a quality training provider.



Last week, Biray explained that there are many new and awesome ways to earn Community Points during Quest for Community Domination! Along with the Mission Badges and manually-awarded Badges, there are some great learning opportunities available to everyone through Quests.


Right now, there are five quests based on the Canvas FastTrack Series. There is also one that Ryan and I put together that focuses on, well, you guessed it, MOBILE.


If you haven't found the Quests yet, click your avatar to get to your profile page. Then, click on your progress bar (hopefully, it's slightly green to represent your activity). There, scroll down until you see Completed Quests and Available Quests.  For some of you, the playlist will be a review, and for others, we hope that the playlist will be a great overview of all things mobile.


Mobile Quest Description


Since you're a member of CMUG already, you already completed one of the quest's items! (Hooray!)


The It's a Mobile World playlist includes:

It’s a Mobile World, Join Us!

Mobile Series: Tips to Designing Mobile-Friendly Assignments

Mobile Series: Just-in-Time Design Checklist (2015)


Keep watching your Available Quests, and don't be surprised if you see more mobile quests appear in the future.


Ryan and I can't wait to read your blog posts and to see your takeaways. The potential in these conversations is amazing.


Mobile on!!

Matt Hanes

Office 365 + Canvas Mobile

Posted by Matt Hanes Champion Mar 10, 2017

For consistency, I'm blatantly copying Kristin Lundstrum's blog post (Google LTI + Canvas Mobile) in case someone has similar questions about the new Office 365 integration its compatibility with the Canvas Mobile Apps. There are so many things to test! Let me know if you have a different experience. Sometimes things work with one device and not another device. I'll fill in the gaps as I do more experimentation.


Test devices:

  • Android - Nexus 6P, Android 7.1.2, Canvas 5.7.3


Embedding Link to OneDrive Items From The Rich Content Button

After installing the LTI app, the Rich Content Editor will have a new Office 365 button. The first time it is clicked, you will be asked to sign-in to your Office 365 account.



Clicking this button after authenticating will open a list of items from your OneDrive. Clicking on one of these items and choosing to "Attach file" will add a link to that item into the text area of an assignment or page. Now, what happens when we click that link on a mobile device?

  • Android Canvas Mobile App - Not working - Clicking on the link takes me to a sign-in screen for Office 365 (even if I have already signed into O365 from the app before) and after signing-in displays a 401 error. 
  • Android Chrome Web Browser - Working - Clicking on the link takes me to a sign-in screen for Office 365 (even if I have already signed into O365 from the app before) and after signing-in takes me to a browser version of the document.


Office 365 Cloud Assignment

Creating an assignment and choosing the External Tool submission type will allow you to create an "Office 365 Cloud Assignment". This should create a copy of an item from the teacher's OneDrive inside of each of your students' OneDrive accounts.

  • Android Canvas Mobile App - Not working - Clicking on the assignment and selecting the "Submissions" tab will allow you to click a button labeled "Go To External Tool" but clicking on that button generates an error.
  • Android Chrome Web Browser - Working (Sort Of) - Clicking on the assignment will present the student with an "Open" or "Submit" button. The Open button will launch the word document in the browser and clicking the pencil edit icon will allow the user to download the Word app and edit the document on the Word app. The resulting editing process is limited to what is possible on a mobile device. This will be highly dependent on the formatting of the document.


Module Items

Choosing "External Tool" when adding a Module item will allow instructors to choose "Office 365" which will then allow for selecting an item from the instructor's OneDrive. 

  • Android Canvas Mobile App - Not working - Clicking on the link takes me to a sign-in screen for Office 365 (even if I have already signed into O365 from the app before) and after signing-in displays a 401 error. 
  • Android Chrome Web Browser - Working for Microsoft Documents - Clicking on the link will take the user to a page with the document embedded on the page. If the item is not something that can be embedded (like a zip file) nothing will show up. It appears to only render Word, Powerpoint, or Excel documents.

Our campus has been live with Canvas since the Summer of 2012.  One of the big draws was Canvas Mobile and the ability for Canvas to play nice with mobile devices.  Our shop was small (4 full time employees) and has gotten even smaller (now down to just 2) as we support 24,000 students and 1500 faculty.  Due to this fact, mobile support for our users has eluded us.  We are actually starting to turn to our faculty and our Student Technology Advisory Committee to help answer some of the questions our students experience.  We are also escalating all of our mobile issue to Instructure Support and utilizing the Canvas Mobile Users Group group as well.  As an admin, I want to be able to answer everyone's questions all the time, but that is just not possible sometimes.  Thank goodness for all of the support of the Canvas community.



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