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woman at a coffee shop using her smartphone to check Canvas and her son's academic progress


In May of 2017, a small group of families from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota was invited to provide feedback and to talk about the Canvas Parent App. During these meetings, Canvas administrators were able to gather great user-stories and adjust the way in which Canvas Parent was supported. Additionally, a list of "best practices" was compiled and shared with teaching faculty.




At the time of this interview, Dawne White's son Will completed his junior year at DeLaSalle High School. He is a methodical thinker and likes to have concrete expectations. While he is a good student, his mom set up a great system at home which provides him with the independence he will need to be successful after high school while still supporting him through challenging courses such as English.


Dawne enjoys that “with the app, the information, more or less, is in real-time." She continued to explain how she realizes that Canvas is only as current as a teacher can get the grades updated, but she likes to know in real-time what’s missing and that she can check that information against what Will tells her.


"Canvas [Parent] gives me a barometer of how truthful he is, how honest he is, and I can use that to shape conversations.”


Dawne doesn’t talk with Will as frequently as she could, as she’s trying to give him some space to be independent in his studies. She does, however, check Canvas Parent routinely. She tries to moderate her involvement and trying to have more “real” consequences in hopes of preparing him for the experiences of post-secondary education.


Dawne decided to shut the mobile notifications off, but she goes in at least once a week (usually Tuesdays) to see how the week will unfold. She typically checks Canvas Parent more frequently than that, but she feels that by opting out of notifications, she has more control on the schedule and urgency of her involvement.


She appreciates having the assignment details available, and she likes it when teachers include more information about objectives. Simply writing the page and problem numbers, for example, doesn’t provide much context for a parent. The more information that is provided in the assignment information, the better. She can then increase her “coaching” role as a parent and help at home, without having to communicate frequently with teachers.


She’d like to be able to see Will’s submissions for certain classes, but it would be more helpful to have easy access to the rubrics and teacher comments/feedback.


"Having Canvas on my phone definitely helps me keep track of Will’s academics.”


She continued to explain how convenient the Canvas Parent app is. “I can be anywhere. I can even be in the car in the garage, and before I go in, I can think, ‘I’m going to just check Canvas for a second.’ and then I go into the house. I then kind of have my game plan and talking points ready.” This way, Dawne can easily create prompts which open her son up to talking about his day.

Family Checking Canvas Parent


In May of 2017, a small group of families from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota was invited to provide feedback and to talk about the Canvas Parent App. During these meetings, Canvas administrators were able to gather great user-stories and adjust the way in which Canvas Parent was supported. Additionally, a list of "best practices" was compiled and shared with teaching faculty.




At the time of this interview, Billy just completed his freshman year at DeLaSalle High School. He’s a goal-oriented student who is intrinsically motivated to make authentic connections between different content areas. Notably, his outgoing personality landed him a lead role in two recent theater productions.


His mom, Patty, shared that, “being involved with Billy’s academics really helps me gauge 'how’s he doing in school?’ and ‘how is he doing overall?’ If I can see a slip, I know that there’s something going on. Either it’s that he’s disengaged or he’s overwhelmed.” Patty thinks that parent involvement is important, not just because of the value she places on education, but because she wants to make sure that Billy maximizes his potential.


“The mobile app allows me to, anytime I want, check in on Billy’s progress. It’s easy to access information.”


Canvas has encouraged her to start conversations with teachers, outside of scheduled conferences and semester checkpoints. “I’ve used Canvas to reach out to teachers. The app makes it easy to start the conversation since I have so much more detail about the coursework.” Patty likes being able to have up-to-date information on her phone. The information about late and missing work helps provide context to her inquiries with Billy’s teachers.


The transparency of Canvas is so valuable. Patty likes how grades, assignment details, etc are all available to her. It helps her piece together what Billy experiences on a day-to-day basis and provides her with key talking points when checking in with her son at the end of the day. She also pointed out the convenience of the app as, “most of us have a phone with us all the time. I can see when he’s going to have a test or he’s going to get a grade."


"I can check...not that I don’t trust him...there have been great conversations about how he did on an assignment.”


She is appreciative of the easy interface and the consistency of the app. However, there are a few improvements that she’d like to see made. “If I can see that something has been resubmitted or changed, I have to log-in to the desktop to really see the comments. It would be so nice to be able to see it on my phone. I still get the email notifications, but I’d like to have it one place.” She’d also like to be able to set granular notifications.


Currently, with customized alerts in Canvas Parent, Patty thinks that it’s great to be able to receive the information she finds the most valuable, like when her son receives a zero on an assignment. However, Billy shared, “In certain situations, I think it’s helpful because [my mom] is able to check in. But there are some situations when I completely forget about an assignment.” Patty responded, “With the notifications, I usually send a message of some sort back, asking ‘what happened?’ ...and, at times, I admit, that it can cause unneeded concern due to the immediacy of the initial notifications.”


The best part of Canvas Parent “is really the convenience. I did not use Canvas [as an Observer] before the app as much as I do now.” It was so easy to lose track of time and forget to check-in from the browser. Being able to check on Billy’s grades whenever encourages Patty to actually do so. Looking over at her son, she took the opportunity to point out, “now, sorry Billy, I get to check your grades a couple times a day...if I want!”


Billy shared, “For as much as I say I don’t like [that my mom is connected], the Parent app helps. I think it makes things better. It encourages me to stay on top of things. With this, I can’t get away with anything.”


He openly admitted that being held accountable by multiple adults is actually a good thing.

Parent and Student checking Canvas

In May of 2017, a small group of families from DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota was invited to provide feedback and to talk about the Canvas Parent App. During these meetings, Canvas administrators were able to gather great user-stories and adjust the way in which Canvas Parent was supported. Additionally, a list of "best practices" was compiled and shared with teaching faculty.




During this interview, Greg Mattson, parent of a freshman at DelaSalle, explained how the app is a window into the academic balancing act his freshman student has to maintain. Calvin is a great student who is also invested in many school-sponsored activities. Canvas Parent has made it possible for Greg stay connected and to receive communications with Calvin's teachers more efficiently.


“Canvas Parent provides perspective, even when teachers don’t directly communicate about classroom progress.”


Before Canvas, Greg could ask Calvin about his day, but he would get short answers. Greg shared, “now that I have ‘the answers’ at my fingertips, I really do look for them. I’m able to look for changes in course grades, in one quick glance, and then I can initiate a bigger conversation with my son.”


Most students won’t necessarily bring up their grades to parents, but parents deserve to know what’s happening at school. One feature, in particular, simplifies this task for Greg. “The week at a glance allows me to encourage and remind Calvin to set aside the appropriate time for studying and to set goals with him rather than waiting until there is an issue.” Greg feels involved without feeling he’s overbearing.


“The term ‘mobile’ is about getting information quickly. The app does just that. It’s convenient, and it allows me to be proactive with Calvin’s schoolwork.”


Greg likes how conversations about school work can be more casual There's not a specific time that these conversations take place because he and Calvin always have their smartphones on them. Greg likes that these conversations can happen anywhere and that they don’t have to huddle around a desktop or a pile of textbooks. They can talk about a specific assignment, and share varying perspectives based on their apps. He does, however, hope that submission details and teacher feedback will make it to Canvas Parent soon so he can gain more context to Calvin’s assignment scores.


Greg also shared how he appreciated it when coaches for sports and activities utilized Canvas for communication and organizational purposes. Students and parents are already in Canvas, so it makes a lot of sense to meet them where they already are. The consistency allows families to plan ahead and maximize time at home for activities, studying, and other commitments.

In the spirit of the current Mobile Quest (Mobilize Your Assignments), I want to share some of the results of my mobile Photography I final I assign to my high school students.


Throughout the entire semester, I emphasize the Elements of Art (line, shape, form, color, value, texture, space) and Principles of Design (rhythm/pattern, contrast, balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, unity). The other key topic, besides the camera settings themselves, is composition.


Initially, I created this final in a last-ditch effort to have students showcase their understanding of key course vocabulary. Until last semester, I generally had students create a cumulative portfolio, but when our student server crashed, I had to come up with something practical and enjoyable. That's when I came up with the Mobile Final!


Each student was required to have the Canvas by Instructure app installed on their personal smartphone. This part was easy since most of my students already had it on their devices! Then, students could choose from a variety of editing apps, but I suggested Snapseed (iOS + Android) and Pixlr (iOS + Android). This way, they'd be prepared to take the photographs, edit, and submit their work...all from their personal devices. I thought this was amazing since the entire activity could be done outside and within the hour-long time restraint of our scheduled final.


In their "Photo I Final" module, I added the following prompts, each as their own assignment:

  • Leading Lines - "Capture an image that utilizes leading lines. How can lines help guide a viewer through your image?"
  • Framing - "Capture an image that contains an excellent example of Framing. Framing is a technique that photographers use to help emphasize their subject. How can you surround a subject with other objects to exaggerate the importance of the subject?"
  • Exaggerated Perspective - "Capture an image that exaggerates perspective. Consider a subject, but then think about how foreshortening changes the way a viewer would interpret the images. (A good place to start would be worm's-eye-view...but don't be afraid to look at extreme angles of all types.)"
  • Rule of Thirds - "Capture an image that utilizes Rule of Thirds." Composition is everything! Demonstrate your knowledge of this key compositional tool."
  • Macro - "Capture a beautiful macro image. Get up close and personal with an object and emphasize texture!"


Each had their own directions and rubric. Students liked how they knew exactly what they needed to accomplish, and yet, they had some freedom on how to interpret the prompts.  It was amazing how many compliments I received about this mobile experience. Needless to say, this activity was repeated this semester...with warmer weather. Again, these students enjoyed the active learning and being able to demonstrate their learning, rather than only being evaluated what they could communicate on a written final.


This will be something that I continue to do. The unique combination of assigning a written final with a later (mobile) skills final really does provide me with some great ways to assess student learning.


Here are some highlights from each term:

Photo I 2016-2017, Semester 1

Photo I 2016-2017, Semester 2


Mobile On!



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!!

On February 23rd, some of the Canvas Parent Focus Group participants met for an hour to chat! Here are some notes.

-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 

When did you (or will you) launch Canvas Parent at your institution?

  • There were a range of launch dates. Some supported Canvas Parent from the beginning, some along the way, and some are going to introduce Canvas Parent to their institutions.


Is anyone here new since observer authentication was added to Canvas Parent?

  • None of the participants were new since observer authentication was implemented.
    • Authentication means that users, when signing into Canvas Parent, are able to use the same login information as an established observer account.


Overall, what is your institution's response to the new app?

  • Usage is down because of the functionality requests (being able to see submission comments, for example).


How are things going? What’s working? What’s not working?

  • Observing more than one student with Canvas App is annoying, but toggling between students with Canvas Parent is great! The swipe makes it easy to know who is being observed.
  • Prior to Canvas Parent, some observers some established an account for each student they followed. Canvas Parent allows you to add multiple students rather than signing in and signing out to different observer accounts.
    • Note: if you only authenticate as yourself, the app isn’t very helpful. Once you add your student or student(s), the app becomes fully functional. Students are sorted, and it’s much clearer than the web-version of the observer role.
  • Canvas Parent makes it easy to switch between parts/functions of the app.


Is there anything that Canvas can do to help your institution get Canvas Parent to observers?

  • Overall, institutions who support Canvas Parent would like to see more adoptions
  • Clarify what works on Canvas App vs what works on Canvas Parent.
    • For most Observers, it seems like the navigation is much simpler with the Canvas Parent vs the Canvas app. The clarification between the apps will come when the red app is rebranded as Canvas Student.
      • A short video would be very helpful. Explain the pros and cons to the end-user.
        • Videos for Canvas Parent could cover generic information. More features will come and will be easily adopted.
    • In one participant’s district, the elementary parents may prefer the red app as they can see more information, but don’t rely on grades as much while secondary parents prefer the blue app.
  • How can we prevent Canvas Parent users from defaulting back to the web?
  • Overall, Documentation Team: thank you for having such great guides. The guides are updated constantly, even though the link stays the same. That's really helpful when communicating with teachers, students, and families.


Sneak Peeks - Future Features!

  • Submission Comments
    • Right now, Parents can’t see information with submission, not like they can with Canvas web.
    • It is important that users can get to submissions and teacher feedback.
    • This is a huge priority. The hope is that this project will start immediately after the launch of Canvas Teacher.
  • Messaging
  • There have been some requests for a Canvas Parent user to have the ability to message an instructor directly from the app.
  • There are some definite pros and cons to implementing this functionality.
  • Right now, the work-around is to include an email link in the course or syllabus.
  • This project doesn’t have a timeline because it’s much more complex due to coding.
  • Admin Console
    • The new Canvas Parent Admin Tools is an LTI tool available to Canvas Account Admin. The new feature will be available in the next few weeks and can be set up through CSMs. Watch for the Release Notes!
    • The Admin Tools will contain super-basic reporting, and more importantly, information about who's actually using Canvas Parent
      • Who they are...
      • Who they are connected to...
      • When they connected to a particular user...
      • Latest activity...
    • Admin will be able to sort columns or export to .csv for easier data manipulation and also control who has access through Canvas Parent (password reset, block user, etc.).

Canvas Teacher has it’s own space in The Community! CMUG, this is awesome!!


Take a look at Priority: Canvas Teacher App! You can see a preview of the app's interface, and if you’re interested in receiving Beta Access, sign up! Look for a link to a Google Form, and take a few minutes to complete it. If you sign up for Beta Access, please be willing to provide timely and constructive feedback to the Canvas Mobile Team.


Also take the opportunity to answer a few questions or to provide some ideas. It's exciting that this opportunity is open for The Canvas Community!

Watch for an announcement in the next couple weeks about the official launch of The Canvas Teacher Focus Group.


If you have questions, let me or Ryan know.

Is the Google LTI compatible with Canvas Mobile?


With all of the hype surrounding the new Google LTI, I thought I’d dive in. More than anything, I needed to know how this new and super-amazing Google LTI behaved with mobile.


Google Apps LTI is a great addition to the Canvas toolbox. Schools who have Canvas and Google Apps for Education are able to provide their students and faculty with so many resources. However, schools that are very reliant on a mobile platform need to evaluate the way the new LTI behaves natively in the app.


I set up a demo module in a course, and I tested four specific scenarios for iOS and Android

  • iOS - iPad Air 2, iOS 10.2, Canvas 3.17
  • Android - Nexus 5x, Android 7.1.1. Canvas 5.7.0


First, the good news:

  • When instructors or designers use the Google LTI to add an item to a module as a link, it appears and functions for students just link other external URLs do. It’s easy, but not much different than taking the shared URL from Google Drive and copy/pasting it into Canvas.
  • In Pages and Assignments, instructors and designers can embed content into pages. .jpgs, .pdfs, Google Sheets, and Google Docs all work well. They are automatically formatted to fit the width of the screen.


Then, the not-so-good news:

  • Sometimes waiting/loading times in the Canvas Mobile App are significantly longer than what users experience on a desktop. While loading times on a desktop are not instantaneous, most items -- embedded or linked -- load within 5 or 6 seconds. The difference with Canvas Mobile App is that, in some cases, the time it took to load and item was near double. (When comparing iOS and Android, iOS had much quicker load times.)
    • For mobile, it’s much more user-friendly to save the document to Canvas Files and link to it.
    • Another option would be to embed the document using HTML into a Page, an Assignment, etc.
    • Waiting/loading times were only a little longer on mobile devices if Canvas was accessed from the browser rather than the app.
  • Google Slides don’t seem to connect with mobile but do on a desktop.
  • When students need to use the Google LTI to submit an assignment with a mobile device, the tool launch is under the “submit assignment” tab in iOS. (There are no other directions or cues on how to submit the assignment.) After clicking “Launch External Tool”, the screen waits and never loads. With Android, students receive an error saying “External Tool is expired or is configured incorrectly” or “Cannot locate launch request, please try again.”
  • If students access an assignment that uses the Google LTI through a mobile browser, the information loads on the Submissions, but the ability to edit is not present like it is on the desktop browsers. With a Google Slide submission, the Submit button is displayed, but there is no content to modify.


If schools with a lot of mobile technology want to leverage the Google Drive LTI, please encourage instructors and designers to limit links and embedded items to PDFs, Docs, Sheets, and JPGs. Also, it would be really helpful to include a memo at the bottom of Cloud-Based assignments. (ie: For best results, do not complete this assignment on your mobile device. This assignment fully functions while on a browser on a desktop.) That way, confusion is minimized, and the potential and power of combining Canvas with Google Apps can be recognized.


The Canvas Mobile Team shared that loading times are of particular interest right now because of the various LTI tools. Their ultimate goal is to make the loading experience as amazing as possible. LTIs are powerful and use a lot of information to run. That ultimately influences the way they are presented within web and app environments.


I hope that the Canvas Mobile Apps will fully, and speedily, support the Google Drive LTI someday. For now, design wisely, knowing the loopholes.

Mobile on!



What do you think of the new sign-in process?

  • Canvas Observers need to initiate the Observer role from the browser. Observers can then use their existing credentials as they log-in to Canvas Parent.
  • Canvas Parent users can create an account from the app without being an established observer, but it doesn’t link back to the browser version.
  • Canvas Observers can access Canvas Parent whether or not the Feature Flag is enabled.


Could the differences between Canvas Observers and Canvas Parents be clarified?

  • Canvas Parent app and Canvas Observer accounts are separate to help Canvas keep define the different accounts. Observers can be a family member, a coach, and advisor, etc.
  • Canvas Parent clarifies the relationship in the overall system. Instructure was able to customize the experience based on their needs. They hope that the UX helps families get to the information they need easily…without a large learning curve.


Are Canvas Parent users included in any data exports or user lists?

  • Not at this time.
  • Canvas Parents are technically not Canvas users; therefore, they will not show up on user lists or enrollment lists.


Overall, what does your institution like about the app?

  • Lane shared that parents with multiple students like how easy it is to navigate between each student’s information.
  • Joe shared that his institution found it easy to implement Canvas Parent. His school doesn’t use the observer role for families.
  • Traci shared her institutions likes the ease of signing up and the customizable notifications.
  • Kristin shared how parents like being able to see assignment details and being able to set personal reminders for items.


Overall, what doesn’t your institution like about the app?

  • It would be nice if parents could see any comments left by instructors on individual assignments. Additionally, rubric information would be helpful to share with parents.


The group discussed the pros and cons of including messaging within the app.

  • It’s a complex question, and we enjoyed analyzing the argument for both cases (yes, include the app and no, leave out of the app).
  • It would be nice if the feature could be turned on and off.
  • Messaging may encourage frequent communication from parents. …this could be great, and this could also be overwhelming. Would this imply instantaneous communication?
  • Is there an issue with formality? If it looks like a chat, will people respect it as much as an email?
  • Email through district servers is documentable, chat form an app may not be. (Something to investigate!)
  • Incorporating messages into analytics could be an awesome point of reference.


Does Canvas Parent support multiple grading periods?

  • Right now, the app shows the current grading period only. There is not a way to switch between grading periods.
  • If a grading period changes in the middle of the week, this does not affect the weekly agenda.


Mobile Team shared possible dashboard layouts for account admin.

  • Participants agreed that information included (parent name, student name, connection date, and last activity) would all be incredibly helpful.
  • It would be awesome to be able to document who is involved and at what frequency.
  • The simplicity of the interface allows Canvas Admin to get to the information they need quickly.





Kristin Lundstrum

Hey CMUG! Meet Jeff.

Posted by Kristin Lundstrum Champion Oct 25, 2016


Jeff Brady is an Instructional Designer

in the Center for Innovative Teaching and Technology at

Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida


TL;DR (Jeff, describe yourself!)

Cautiously optimistic consumer of technology.  Student centered.  Technology standardization champion.  Supporter of OER, Open Source, and Open Access.  When I do take a break from my day job, I teach SCUBA diving, and I am attempting to visit, at least once, all of the 160+ state parks and forests in my home state of Florida.


Are you an Android or iPhone?



What is your favorite personal app?

Google Keep.  I like that I can access it from any platform that I am on and create a note with a reminder that syncs with my phone when it happens to not be within reach.


What is your favorite educational app?

Canvas. As someone who is passionate about mobile course design, I find myself in Canvas several times throughout the day checking my own course offerings for usability.


Why is mobile learning so important in education?

Anytime, anywhere access to courses (with some limitations).  As someone who has used the mobile apps of the Canvas Network and other MOOC providers, I cannot express enough how great it is to be able to stay engaged while waiting at the bank, doctor appointments, etc.


What excites you the most about the future of mobile devices and apps in education?

I hope that the continued push toward greater standardization on the web, the dying off of outdated technologies, and the advancements in mobile devices eventually make it possible for anyone to consume all course content through a mobile device even with the most robust, interactive multimedia embedded in the course.


What do you think is the greatest barrier for mobile adoption in education?

Despite being an advocate for mobile learning, what concerns me about increased offerings for mobile platforms is the continued persistence of a digital divide on many levels.  This is concerning as I see mobile, and ostensibly eLearning through the mobile platform, as being a means to reach beyond the walls of the institution I work for, the state and the country in which I live and be able to market educational resources to the world.  This can only truly take place if the infrastructure is in place, locally and globally, for the content to reach the world.


What advice would you have for an instructor unsure of using mobile technologies in the classroom?

It may sound overly simplistic, but the best advice I can offer is to just try it.  Explore and see what is out there.  Ask others what they are doing.  I know that it is sometimes hard for those who have not had much exposure to something to see the need, or even a use, for it, but this is how I have “stumbled” onto some of the technology that I regularly use today.  Also, be patient; do not approach a new piece of technology expecting to be able to find a use and roll it out in your next teaching of a course.  Give yourself time to learn what you can and cannot do with it and how it will or will not integrate into what you are doing now or with the tech you are using now.

On September 20th, Ryan Seilhamer led Canvas Mobile Users Group through a great Open Discussion. We talked about many things MOBILE, and it was wonderful to see so many people in the meet-up! The notes below act as a digest of the conversation. Feel free to add comments to keep the dialog going.


Mobile Roadmap

  • With the roadmap, the Canvas Mobile Team shared that they will create differentiated apps. These will make sure that people can get tools that are the most relevant for their role.
  • Challenges
    • If you have a phone with limited storage, needing to download multiple apps may be a challenge.
  • Positives
    • The student app has matured, but there are a lot of things for 1:1 schools that need to be addressed. The mobile roadmap will allow these additions to be made.
    • Thes teacher app looks at publication, moderation, organization, etc. What are the pain points? Why do teachers need to keep running back to a computer?
    • QA process should be faster because the roles are differentiated. That means fixes and updates make it to the Canvas Mobile user more quickly.
    • These apps can still “talk” to each other through the API, but different roles allows them to be simplified and personalized.

Teacher App

  • Participants shared that it would be nice to have better awareness of communications within an app. This may include: responses to a comment, announcement, discussion, submission, etc.
  • It would be helpful to be able to publish/unpublish items and modules from all mobile devices without having to sign into a mobile browser.
  • It would be ideal if the app would also have some basic quiz moderation capabilities.
  • Mobile access to the gradebook would be a good tool. Even view-only initially would be significant.
    • How would this filter into Gradebook 2.0?

Parent App

  • Most of the participants were from Higher Ed.
  • K-12’ers reading this recap, join Canvas Parent Focus Group!

Offline Content

  • Offline content is necessary!
  • People may not have connections at home. Others may like to save data during a commute.
    • If there's an assignment the student wants access to that evening, they can download it into a backpack format for later reference. (Like Google Drive.)
  • Start with “read only” pieces. That would allow users to sync info, but not necessarily submit or work on quizzes, discussions, etc.

Student Annotations

  • Beta testing is now available for Student Annotations (Option to Use Stylus with Speedgrader on Ipad). Participants were generally very excited about this long-awaited feature.
  • After Ryan gave a brief demo, we discussed the updates. Overall, people felt that  the interface is intuitive, and the tools have many options.
  • Questions...
    • Is there a magnifying glass, or will there be the ability to zoom in? Other apps (ie: Notability) has this functionality.
    • Will annotation eventually be available for quizzes?
    • How accessible are annotations?
  • It has been shared that Student Annotations works much better on the iPad than on the iPhone.
  • If anyone is interested in working with the Beta, join the conversation in  Allow Annotation of PDF Documents Directly In The Canvas App. Ryan and Kristin can also connect you with the testing group, if you'd prefer.


iOS and Android Default Landing Pages

  • iPad is brought to class homepage
  • iPhone sees a long list of menu items.
  • Android is brought to class homepage. When closing out, brought to list of pages.

Broken Pages in Mobile

  • This error is seen with PDF links. “This page is broken.” or “Something went wrong.”
  • One workaround is to unlink, reupload, and then create a new link. This is a lot of extra work for teachers.
  • This is occurring at multiple institutions.
    • Tickets haven’t been submitted yet.

Feature Ideas

  • Web notification settings and push notification settings need to be more granular. It would be amazing to be able to customize notifications on a per-course basis.
  • Students need to be able to add items to the to do list/calendar through the app. Then we found Adding Event in Calendar and Changing Color to Specific Course which opens for voting on October 5th.
Kristin Lundstrum

Hey CMUG! Meet Dave.

Posted by Kristin Lundstrum Champion Aug 30, 2016


David Numme is the Lead Educational Technologist

for the Master of Health Care Delivery Science Program at

Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.



TL;DR (Dave, describe yourself!)

Curious. Always learning. Calm. Student and faculty-centric. A family man who loves history and loves to visit the National Parks. Passionate about helping others be successful. And yes, a tech geek. Always looking for ways to improve the educational experience, especially through the use of technology.



Are you an Android or iPhone?




What is your favorite personal app?

Google Voice. I just started using it. I enjoy the text messages my oldest daughter and I exchange throughout the day.



What is your favorite educational app?

Canvas (...and I know that may seem like I’m PANDA-ering to my audience, but it’s true!)



Why is mobile learning so important in education?

It enables us to learn any place, any time. Frequently at dinner, my family and I will be having a discussion. Even though I try to ignore my iPhone, often we come across something we don’t know. My 11-year-old daughter often will ask me to take out my iPhone and look it up. In a microcosm, that illustrates the power of mobile learning - always learning at any place.


Mobile devices are also powerful connectors - they keep classmates, faculty and others better connected in ways that might be hard to do so. Our online students constantly communicate with each other via their mobile devices. That communication helps online education not to feel like distance education. It strengthens bonds. It helps to build a robust community of change agents so they can collectively improve healthcare and more importantly, improve patients lives.



What excites you the most about the future of mobile devices and apps in education?

The next generations of students who will use mobile devices. I learn a lot about the future of mobile devices in education by watching my children. As I look around at the next generation, I am in awe of their potential. They will use these devices and the apps to solve the world’s problems. It’s my job to try to help create a solid foundation, including with mobile education for them to build upon. Wearables are something also relatively new and have great potential to enhance the educational experience.



What do you think is the greatest barrier for mobile adoption in education?

Established mindsets - especially with a strong bias towards very QWERTY (keyboard)-based education. The fear of failure if they try new approaches and they don’t succeed. I just finished my MBA. I did more writing than I thought possible (and for the most part enjoyed it!). However, if we are going to better utilize the potential of mobile education, we need to think about playing to the strengths of the devices including more video and more audio-based assignments. Instead of writing a paper, why not record it? Instead of creating a PowerPoint and submitting the file, narrate the recording as a video and submit that.



What advice would you have for an instructor unsure of using mobile technologies in the classroom?

Talk to your students, your children. Ask them for advice. They are the digital natives. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try small experiments, like changing one assignment to better play to the strength of the mobile device and see how it goes. Look for other colleagues who are doing the same and learn from them.

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