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I embed a lot of media in Content pages from YouTube to PowerPoint to an assortment of Web 2 tools (Web 2.0 Tools)

A quick an easy tip to make them flow with other text is to add in a border with a slight gap.  I use the following HTML

style="padding: 1px; border: 1px solid black;" 

I add this feature just after the first iframe tag eg

<p><iframe style="padding: 1px; border: 1px solid black;" src="

What this does is add in a border around the iframe which makes it look a little more presentatable eg





The border comes into play when there is little colour to define the edges 

Someone recently asked me what I think the most important concept is when I'm training faculty. I didn't even hesitate with my answer; instantly, it was Modules. 


I know not every faculty member uses them, and I have seen some really amazing courses - especially at the higher ed level - that use a different structure. Regardless, I remain in the camp of a well-designed Canvas course will almost always use Modules. 


Admittedly - Modules aren't always the easiest concept to impart to new Canvas users. My favorite simile is that it's like a big folder, and you can put all of the great pieces of content inside for your students to see. I always emphasize that once a student is in the Module, the huge bonus is those previous and next buttons, so they can move through the content like turning the pages of a book. We can slow them down or cause them to reflect with Requirements, and we can even use MasteryPaths to further individualize their Module progression. All of this I usually accompany with a visual tour of a Module in one of my Canvas courses, highlighting the very best use cases of the tool. 


That usually begins to clear up the Modules mystery. I also wanted to share something else I created in the last few weeks that I'm hoping further helps Modules make sense to new Canvas folks.  Feel free to use it if you think it's helpful!



Canvas Trainer/Training Team Lead - Contractors


Canvas Course Elements Infographic

I recently reconfigured what was initially a PLC reflection rubric that I utilized with history teachers (in a previous life) into a Canvas Usage Reflection rubric.


The idea was to blend the core attributes of blended learning (student control and choice) with the 4 Cs (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication) in one rubric that could serve as a reference for Canvas users, regardless of their 'level' of usage.


Once the basics were laid out, I attempted to add hyperlinks where there were beneficial, at least in my opinion.


Please feel free to download and adapt for your purposes and please share what strategies and/or resources you've utilized to empower Canvas users to own and drive their own 'next steps'. Thank you!

"We think many teachers live in their LMSes. Move a couch in, some mood lighting and flowers in that corner over there and it's practically home." 



I stumbled on this quote today and had to share. Any other pearls of wisdom out there?

I recently started using the Peer Review feature with assignments and found it to be a great way for students to edit or asses each other's work and offer feedback and suggestions. I have used it primarily in math class when I do daily review at the start of the lesson.


I post an image or a PDF of a daily review sheet from the teacher resources and set the Submission Type for Online. I tend to have them do the work in their notebook and usually set the Online type to Text. This way they just type their answers into the assignment. This cuts down on slow typing and trying to type out their work for the problem. 


After clicking the "Require Peer Review" option, you will have to decide if you want to manually or automatically assign the peer review. I have been doing this manually and assigning peers based on students that I know work well together and would feel comfortable having that person review their work. The idea of peer review with any subject is new for some students, so I want them to feel comfortable with the process and who is working with them.

When the rest of the settings for the assignment are done, you will be able to click on the Peer Review section of the menu. You can assign several peer reviews to each student, but I have only been doing one per student.



When the students are finished with their assignment, they will be able to click on the name of the peer they are assigned to and see what they have submitted. They must leave at least one comment in order to save their review and have it posted. I work with elementary students and we are still practicing netiquette and good digital citizenship. I stress to them the importance of being positive with their reviews and keeping it on-topic. For example, if all the problems are correct they simply write "All correct" in the comment section. If one answer is wrong, they write "Check #7 and submit again". 


The Peer Review feature gives students the opportunity to collaborate, review work, and explain math concepts to others in ways that might be different from mine. I hope that this feature will make students feel safe and confident with sharing their work with others. I feel that this feature is a great way to not only review and assess math concepts, but to also establish a sense of security and respect online and in the classroom.

I’ve been getting my head around how to use Canvas lately and thoroughly enjoying how intuitive it is and how crisp it looks. So, there I was feeling jolly pleased with mastering Pages and Modules, experimenting with Assignments, using Discussions and Announcements.


Somehow through all of this new learning I had managed to overlook the magic of Collaborations. Silly me! The joy I felt with creating my first shared Word doc through Canvas was huge. Thank you Alannah for showing me! The potential of Collaborations is huge for all learners involved. I can’t wait to use it more, and I can’t wait to show more of my colleagues.


As a Canvas newbie I could be missing a lot of the potential uses of Collaborations. How are others using Collaborations within their Canvas courses? I’m interested to hear how Collaborations are used in different areas of school organisations eg. Administration, Staff Professional Development, K-6 classes etc.


Ryan Corris

Autoplay a Song

Posted by Ryan Corris Nov 2, 2017
I had a Jr. High teacher ask me a great question today!  She wanted to know if it was possible to have Canvas play a celebratory song after students completed a module.  This teacher wanted to have a few seconds of "We Are the Champions" by Queen play upon successful completion of a module.  Initially I wasn't sure if it would be possible.  After thinking for a few minutes, I had an idea that ended up working.  This is what I did to make it work.  Hopefully it will work for you as well.  
I created a module and I made the music file the last item in my module.  (I would more than likely have more than two items in a module for this, but this is what I was experimenting with at the time.) 
Two item module with a music file as last item
I added the mp3 file as a file upload.  When I move to it from the previous item (in this case FlipGrid 2) the music automatically plays.
This is how I added the sound file as a file upload...
When you add a module item, select File from the drop down menu and click New File (assuming the file has not already been uploaded to your course). 
Add module item window with "File" selected.
Click Choose File, and browse for the music clip on your computer, select it, and click Open.
Then click Add Item.
If you want to make sure students do not open the music file before everything is completed, you can set requirements within the module and select the option to make sure that module items are completed in sequential order.  To do this, click on the gear to the right of the title of the module and select Edit.
  • Add requirements at the bottom of the window making sure that the music file is the last requirement.  
  • Check radio button for Students must complete all of these requirements.
  • Check the box for Students must complete all of these requirements in sequential order.
  • Then click Update Module.
Edit Module Settings window with some requirements set.
(This should make students complete every item before being able to access the music file.  When they access the music file, it should open a page and play automatically.)
My items in this module only have the option to set the requirement to View the item. There are other completion options for various items such as...
  • submitting for an assignment
  • replying to a discussion
  • scoring at or above a minimum score (set by teacher) on quizzes or other graded items
  • etc.


For more information on setting requirements in modules see How do I add requirements to a module?

It is always fun to find new ways to do things and make things work in Canvas.  If you use this idea, I would love to hear about it.  If you find an easier way to do this, I would love to hear that as well.

So, I got my module page set up and looking the way I wanted it to look


Integumentary System Module screenshot


and I thought I would show just how easy it is to do something similar. For starters, I am leaning very heavily on the awesome blog post "Using JQuery without Custom Javascript" by Jeremy Perkins and the "Ed Tech Showcase Series" by Sean Nufer


Getting Started

First thing you need to know about programming is that by and large, programmers hate to reinvent the wheel. That means that snippets of code are shared freely and serve as building blocks to creating bigger and better things. As teachers, the sharing culture is (hopefully) an integral part of your teaching experience. 


So to get started, I really liked the tabbed page example that Jeremy Perkins shows in his blog post, so I grabbed the snippet of code and got started. 


Now I have the tabs framework added to the page, Huzzah! But it is a small victory because it isn't really mine yet. So now to get in under the hood and start modifying. First things first, I need 5 tabs, not just 3. And I want to change their labels to Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Conclusion. 



In the next post, I'll go into how to change text colors, tab colors, and content area background colors. 

Steven Copeland

Doc header viewer

Posted by Steven Copeland Sep 21, 2017

Inspired by this topic.


Hey all,


I recently had some trouble with sending in an assignment with canvas. At the top right hand corner I was supposed to put the date, my name, class, and assignment. The problem was that I was creating a text box on the header:



You see those right angles? Those show where the header is. When I put the content above that, it was hidden from view. The trick is to put all that <i>below</i> the header.

Shawn Moore

Playing with HTML - Part 1

Posted by Shawn Moore Sep 20, 2017

I discovered this excellent post by Jeremy Perkins, titled Using J Query without custom Javascript. I immediately set to work making my next set of Assignments (and my first Module) something more attention getting than just a long scrolling page. I'm familiar with HTML and comfortable enough to modify snippets of code, so I started copying, pasting, and tinkering. 

Integumentary System Module screenshot

I'm very excited to make an assignment page into something more engaging and I'm even more excited to play with code and get in under the hood to see how I can soup this thing up! To go to the second installment click here!

Disclaimer: everything published below is not in any way guidelines or advice. We are not lobbyists or representative of any organization or movement. We are simply a group of concerned citizens who were lucky enough to be able to reach out to the communities and give voice to the real threats.


For more than a decade now, we have all been hearing one shameful statement:

Do not print this, save the trees!

That statement, intentionally or not, implies the following:

  1. Trees will die if you print anything out;
  2. Daring to print equals guilt, shame and realization that nature is so much worse because of you;
  3. Paper is a serious environmental threat.

And while it is easy to get swept off your feet by these depressing accusations and to go along with anything they say, we must stop and do our homework first.

Do we really know what the exact ramifications of printing something out are?


The argument of the trendy

These are the facts:

Fact 1. Companies and institutions lose around $40k yearly each, dealing with toners, printers, and paper, including the cost of errors, and lost time and information.

Fact 2. During paper and pulp manufacturing, a greenhouse gas called methane is emitted.

Fact 3. 80% of used paper end up in landfills, which also emit methane.

So does being paperless really help the trees in particular, as the trendy slogans claim, and the environment as a whole? Now let’s get our facts straight.

Fact-check 1: What is more harmful: cloud-based storages or paper?

Fact-check 2: What are the biggest methane producers?

Fact-check 3: What are landfills and can we please not put there any paper?


Fact checking fun

Fact-check 1:

The mildest way to put it: we simply do not have enough of the relevant data. Throwing papers out is very damaging for the environment, but datacenters are not unblemished, either.

Those cloud storage facilities need uninterrupted power supply, and that power comes from a multitude of sources, like hydroelectric stations, nuclear power plants, or coal. In USA along, the mountaintop coal mining is directly responsible for deforestation of millions of acres in the Appalachian Mountains. They poison rivers and soil, and even if the trees in the area were left standing, they don’t stay standing for long.

Fact-check 2:

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere and melting ice. Methane is emitted in a natural way, but 60% of all methane emitted happens because of human activity.

Many paperless movement supporters bring up methane as a point against paper and pulp manufacturing, but the biggest emitters of methane are:

Cattle farming and agriculture: 35%

Fossil fuels production and use: 31%

Landfills: 18%

Coal mining: 9%

In numbers, we can make the following comparison:

In 2011, landfill sites in US emitted a total of 103 million metric tons of methane. In the same year, paper and pulp industry in US emitted a total of 1.1 million metric tons of methane.

That’s 0.18% of all methane emissions.

By the way, trees, especially those growing in the rain forests, are cut down mostly for two purposes: to make room for cattle farming and to make room for soy farming as it is the cheapest food that the cattle would eat.

Paper manufactures, on the other hand, have to replenish the trees that they fell, as they need to have their raw materials renewable.

Fact-check 3:

Landfill is a way of disposing of waste by burying it in the ground. It is practiced all over US without the use of special containers or making sure the garbage is sorted out into biodegradable.

Landfills, besides methane emissions are responsible for species extinction, water pollution, and deforestation.


How we cope

So does going paperless make any sense at all?

Yes, it does. It is one of the better ways for any enterprise to reduce expenses and improve time-management. And while we are enjoying the bliss of modern technologies, we must remember the price we are paying for it.

For those interested how we are living with ourselves after printing things out: we recycle. Paper can be reused up to 7 times, and recycling it actually reduces number of felled trees, cuts energy used in production in half, and lowers methane emissions by an unknown number.



*the pic is used under CC0 1.0, via





Victoria Vypovska

Academic Integrity Advisor

Message me: 


We worked hard to provide relevant and tiered professional learning offerings for our users this past summer. While these sessions were delivered in F2F environments (that allowed for participation by enrolled learners in discussions, quizzes, etc.), I've created stand-alone, public-facing versions of each so that any user who was unable to attend can at least access the sessions' resources.


Please feel free to make use of these courses, as desired! 


  • Deep Discussions - a course designed to ensure your online and blended discussions are well-designed and productive. Access Deep Discussions via Canvas Course Groups.
  • Formative Feedback Tools - this course goes beyond merely introducing Canvas' awesome communication tools, as it emphasizes the reasons why quality feedback is essential to student growth and learning. Access Formative Feedback via Canvas.
  • Differentiation via Mastery Paths - a tutorial course designed to coach teachers' use of Mastery Paths settings to deliver differentiated learning experiences to students. Access the Differentiation via Mastery Paths course.
  • Back to School Canvas sessions - The resources provided in multiple Canvas and blended learning focused, back-to-school sessions for AISD teachers in August '17. Access the Back to School course.
  • Canvas 101 for Teachers - a completely redesigned introductory course for teachers who are new to Canvas. Access Canvas 101 for Teachers.
  • Canvas, Blended Learning, and T-TESS - explore the connections between these topics and gain access to an incredibly valuable tool for any teacher using Canvas to provide blended learning opportunities in their classrooms. Access the T-TESS course.
  • Canvas 101 for Admins - a brand new course designed to ensure campus instructional leaders know about blended learning, how to monitor Canvas usage, and to reward innovative teachers via Texas' T-TESS appraisal framework. Access Canvas 101 for Admins.


Check out Twitter for some action shots of our awesome professional learners in action!

When talking about a new topic of skill that you want students to master or at least grow in, it can be difficult to get everyone. Of course differentiation is nothing new, but with the use of canvas and specifically the mastery paths feature we have a new option.


Students may enter a new topic having zero prior knowledge or a lot of it. Canvas can be set up to give a pre assessment and then set students automatically down different paths as a result. Different videos and instructional actives can be added to various levels in places where students will need them most in order to get them to where they need to be. Students who understand the content will be able to prove this and advance to more challenging and rigorous activities at a pace suitable with them.

If the time and effort is put into developing mastery paths, it can go well beyond a simple pre assessment and continue to branch off in very specific directions in order to address all student needs down to the smallest details.

Jim Elliott

Google Forms In Canvas

Posted by Jim Elliott Aug 13, 2017

   So I would expect that many readers already know quite a bit of this, but nonetheless, I hope some of you will find it useful. I am relatively new to Canvas, but was able to use it effectively in my chemistry classroom last year.  Some of the top features I used were Quizzes, Announcements and the ability to integrate with G-Suite apps.  This post will focus on one specific aspect of Google integration.

   As a chemistry teacher my students are often collecting data.  Often it is beneficial to share data from each individual or group. one of the best ways is to create a google form and integrate it directly into Canvas.  This way the students never need to leave Canvas to complete the form, and you can collect all students' data as they are ready - even simultaneously.  The simplest way to do this is to go to the "Send" button on the top right of your Google Form.

Send button!

Next choose the "embed" symbol (green arrow)


This will give you html code for embedding your form in Canvas (yellow arrow).  Next you need to copy this code.  The easiest way to to this is to simply click on the copy link in the lower right of the dialog box (orange arrow).


Now we bring it to Canvas.  You can make this a content page, an assignment, or even include it in a discussion.  In your RichText editor you can give instructions and details, but if you are new, it is easiest to start with a blank page.  Click on the HTML Editor link (be aware if you already have content in the RichText box it may look vastly different in HTML and it can be confusing to decide exactly where to paste your embed code.

HTML Editor link

Here is what the HTML code looks like for my form

html code

Finally we see how it looks to the students - here is the student view of part of that form

Student View

Students will have to scroll within the frame to complete the form if it is more than one or two questions.

I would recommend that within Google you restrict access to within your organization, if possible.  Although not necessary, it helps with keeping track of which student submitted which data.  Use the gear icon (blue arrow) and choose the appropriate settings (sorry its blurry - resizing to make it more visible caused that).  The green arrow shows where you would restrict your settings if your organization has that option.


When I first started teaching, my classes consisted of 20 to 23 students in Florida. Here in North Carolina, I have 28 to 35 students in each class. Also, not only having more students I have an additional class to teach. Having 180 to 200 students now, I need to grade constantly. My first year in North Carolina was very stressful and my Sunday's were consisted of grading...until now! 


Canvas has offered a way to give students automatic feedback without running to the scan-tron grader and trying to look at the data when Canvas offers that in one click. Having 200 students is now easy with the help of canvas. The students love the automatic feedback and it is now possible to differentiate within the classroom by using Mastery Paths. If you are not using canvas, I can't stress enough how you need to try it! I am a firm believer that canvas has made my life easier. 

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