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3 Posts authored by: Kona Jones Champion

How do I go paperless in Canvas for my hybrid Statistics course? Here are nine ways I've cut down or cut out using paper for my class and instead use Canvas!


  • Textbook - My textbook is OER and I provide the PDF in my Canvas Course!
  • Syllabus - No printing of my 15+ page syllabus! It's in Canvas for my students to read!
  • Handouts - I have a lot of handouts ranging from the course calendar to content specific handouts and they all get uploaded into Canvas and added to the appropriate Module!
  • Assignment Directions/Instructions - All assignment directions/instructions are in Canvas and always available! No more" I lost the directions" or "I couldn't find them"!
  • Statistics Tables - No more printed statistics tables! I provide the link to an awesome online Probability Distribution Calculator.
  • Quizzes - No paper/pencil quizzes in my class! All quizzing is done in Canvas! My favorite part is that the questions are formula based (or there is a large question pool to draw from) so I can let students have multiple attempts. This helps students who aren't getting it to try and figure out what they aren't understanding and do better (or ask questions!!).
  • Assignments - The majority of the Assignments for my class are turned in on Canvas (we do some hands-on stuff in the classroom) and graded in Canvas (I LOVE Speedgrader!). This works well because I'm not collecting papers from the students and it's easier/quicker to grade!
  • Google Collaborations - I use Google Collaborations to create and share information/data with my students and my students use them all the time for their group projects!
  • Attendance - Instead of keeping paper attendance I keep track of attendance in Canvas!

The easiest way to set up percent based (or weighted) grading for your Canvas course is to use groups on the Assignments page. Assignment groups are used to show how the different assignments in your course are weighted differently. Yet, there are some important considerations and things you should understand when you go to set up your Assignment Groups and Assignments.


  • Individual assignments within an Assignment Group do NOT count equally, it depends on the number of points an assignment is worth. In other programs (like WebAssign) there is an option you can check to weight all assignments equally. Canvas does not have this option. Within an Assignment Group an assignment worth 100 points will be weighted and worth more than a 25 point assignment.
  • If you want assignment grades to be weighted equally within an Assignment group here are the options:
    • Separate each assignment (quiz, etc) into their own Assignment Group and assign each group the same weight. This might work well if you don't have too many assignments, but if you have a lot of assignments this could definitely get crazy!
    • Make each assignment in the Assignment Group worth the same number of points. Example: All assignments in the HW group are worth 20 points.
    • Instructor adjusts grade before entering it into Canvas. If students aren't submitting assignments in Canvas (they are turning it in on paper) then the instructor can adjust the grades before entering them. Example: the instructor grades the HW and the student gets 17/20 points or 85%. In Canvas the instructor enters 85 for the HW grade (out of 100) instead of the 17/20. Next homework the student gets 15/25 or 60% so the instructor enters 60 for the HW grade instead of 15 (for the 15/25). Note this definitely isn't the best work around and wouldn't work at all for quizzes or other assignments submitted in Canvas.
  • Why is the grade calculated this way? Mathematically this is the way weighted averages work. See example below for how this works.
    • (total points a student has earned from assignments in a group)/(total points possible in the group) = percent that shows up for that group in the Canvas gradebook
    • If a student earned 10/25 points for HW1 and 90/100 points for HW2 this is how their grade would be calculated within the Homework Assignment Group --> (Student earned HW 1 points + Student earned HW2 points)/(HW1 + HW2 total points possible) = (10+90)/(25+100) = .80 or 80% = student's grade for the Homework Assignment Group.


Here are a few useful guides that might help as well:

How do I add an assignment group in a course?

How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?


I know this can definitely be confusing, but I hope it helps!

As a Canvas Administrator here are some things I do to ensure a healthy start to our Fall semester!


  1. Three months (or more) before the start of the semester we run a weekly report of which instructors are scheduled to teach online and hybrid courses for the current and next semester. We monitor this list and cross-reference it with our list of instructors who have already completed the appropriate level of training to teach hybrid and/or online courses. Any instructor who hasn’t completed the appropriate level of training is contacted and provided information about what they will need to do to complete training and the timeline for when training needs to be done. We then track and work with the faculty to make sure they (and their courses) are ready for the start of the semester.
  2. One month before the start of classes I double check the global announcements scheduled for that semester. We have a few that always show up at certain times of the semester and I make sure the wording and timing is accurate. These announcements relate to start of the semester information and end of the semester course feedback/evaluations.
  3. Ten days before classes even start I start monitoring our online students. I have a report that I run to get real time information about which online students have/haven’t completed the mandatory Canvas Student Orientation, this report also includes information about how many classes the students are taking, what type of classes (traditional, hybrid, and/or online), and the student’s adviser. I use this information to organize the students by those who haven’t completed the orientation and those who have. For those who haven’t complete the orientation I then organize them by adviser and send each adviser their list of online students who need to be contacted and reminded about completing the orientation before the start of class. I update this list daily until every online student has completed the orientation.
  4. One week before classes start I send a message to faculty who use Canvas reminding them of normal things they need to check in their courses (every semester) and reminders about new features (this is especially important for fall).
  5. One week before classes start we send a message to all students (traditional, hybrid, and/or online) who haven't completed the mandatory Canvas Student Orientation reminding them to get it done before classes start! It is a board policy that any student who uses our LMS has to complete this training before they get access to the course.
  6. Five days before the start of the semester I send an email to all faculty with information about our office and the services we provide. This is information for the Instructor and for the Instructor to share with their students and includes how to get help, how to activate new accounts, how to log into our different systems, and a reminder that we work on personal computers for free!
  7. The evening before classes start I run the unpublished courses report and contact any instructor teaching an online or hybrid course and remind them to make sure and publish their courses by the next day.
  8. The first week of class I send out an email to instructors about attendance. It really does cause a lot of confusion with the roll call showing up automatically in their gradebook and this cuts down on the confusion.
  9. The first week of class we send an email to students reminding them about our office and how to get technology help.
  10. End of the first week of class I send an email to faculty teaching online to reminding them about Dropout Detective, how amazing it is, how easy it is to use, and that they need to be checking it and monitoring their students.


During the semester we continue to send emails out to faculty reminding them of new and useful features (like Crocodoc/speedgrader, "message students who," etc). We also do this with students, the biggest reminder being about "what-if" grades.  And last, throughout the semester we monitor our online students and provide support as needed.

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