I have been lurking long enough in the Community. I feel like it is about time that I contribute.
I am building a virtual Canvas Boot Camp for our district teachers. Each day focuses in a particular skills level: Basic Training, Officer Training, and Field Training.
I have started creating infographics for participants to identify some really cool features about Canvas--to provide multiple means & variety of presenting content. There are some many Data tools available in Canvas, so I wanted to create a visual that would clearly delineate each tool (along with Guides supporting that tool). This visual would serve as an overview, and then the rest of the Boot Camp Lesson on Data & Analytics would spend time unpacking each and explore best practices for leveraging the tool for student learning.
Here is my latest infographic. I have more and will share soon.
In Part 1 we explored best practices, practical tips, and considerations for creating online assessments. In this Part 2, we’re focusing on the assessment itself and the provisions that can be put in place to ensure that online assessments run smoothly.
Consideration 1: Will Canvas be able to handle this?
In short - yes! Canvas can automatically scale to address increased needs imposed by COVID-19 and then again heightened by assessment periods, or indeed by any other situation that might require an increased use of the platform. From more users, to more assessments, to more simultaneous access, Canvas will scale. And we have. In March 2020 alone, millions of users used Canvas around the world, we saw an 85% YOY increase in learners accessing the platform simultaneously, and through it all we maintained 99.9% uptime.
For more information, and solid reassurance on how Canvas will scale, take a look at the following blogs that have been written throughout COVID-19.
While Canvas has proved it is up to the task, technology is only as good as its users. There are important steps we can all take to ensure that students, teachers, and everyone involved in the process are suitably prepared for a successful online assessment context.
Empower everyone involved in assessments by clearly communicating both the expectations and support options available to them. Students need to know where to find their assessments, how to complete them, and what to do if they need support at any point of the assessment period. Teachers need to know how to create assessments (if they are required to do so), as well as how they can access support with the transition to and management of online assessments.
Once you have decided on the workflows and resources you would like to provide for students and teachers on how they can gain support, communicate this clearly so that everyone is empowered with access to the correct, relevant information. This could be achieved with a Global Announcement, differentiated by user so that Teachers and Students see the information that is pertinent to them on their Canvas Dashboard. Additionally, customise the Help Menu to prioritise relevant assessment support available.
When considering support resources, make the most of existing resources to both provide and communicate these support options. Use the existing Canvas Guides to provide students and teachers with ‘how-tos’ for completing assessment activities within Canvas. These guides include screenshots alongside comprehensive, step-by-step instructions and best of all, we keep them up to date so that you can have complete confidence that they will always provide accurate information.
You may also have additional internal support resources such as student experience, learning support, or ICT department telephone or email addresses. For Teachers who will be creating their own assessments, training provisions need to be considered so that Teachers are able to make informed decisions about how to use the available tools.
Taking proactive support measures empowers students and teachers with the information they need to achieve a successful assessment experience, and can minimise the need for reactive support at the time of assessment itself.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Provide students with the opportunity for a trial run. If they will be taking a Quiz, create a practice Quiz and include different Question Types that will be used during the real assessment. Questions could even be related to the process of how to complete the assessment, reinforcing understanding of the workflow. If students will be submitting an Assignment, create a test Assignment and ask students to practice accessing and submitting the Assignment. Make these practice assessments available ahead of the real assessment, so that students have plenty of opportunity to ensure they know how to complete their assessment when the time comes.
Consideration 2: Providing Time Parameters
All assessments require students to complete a given task within a certain time frame. There are various ways to replicate this on Canvas depending on the type of time parameter required.
Deadline for Submission
If you have a specific date and time that an assessment must be completed by, add this as the Due Date in any Assignment or Quiz. Canvas will still accept submissions (for Assignments) and allow attempts (for Quizzes) after the due date, though they will be identified as late to both the student and the teacher. Adding an Until Date can be a helpful way to replicate any existing policies you may have around late submissions (i.e. late submissions will be accepted for up to 1 week after the deadline with a penalty applied during the grading process). The Until Date prevents Canvas from accepting any submissions or attempts after this date.
For assessments that have specified start and end times (such as exams), there are two methods for facilitation in Canvas. For exams using the Quiz tool, a time limit can be applied to each attempt. For all Assignments, we can add an Available from date, which when used in combination with a due or until date creates a start and end time parameter around the assessment. Keep in mind that setting an ‘Available From’ date will prevent students from accessing any information added to the RCE or settings applied to the Assignment.
There may be information about the assessment that you would like students to have access to ahead of the Availability Dates, such as what resources they might require or how long they will have to complete the assessment. A great way to do this is using an Announcement. Not only will this be easily accessible to students from within the Course, but it will also trigger a notification via their chosen notification preferences. The release of the Announcement can also be coupled with a delayed posting, effectively providing a timed release of this assessment information.
Scheduled Release of Assessment(s) and/or Resources
Where there are multiple pieces of assessment content that you would like to be released at a specific time, use the Lock Until feature within Modules to schedule the release. This will allow students to see only the title for each piece of content before this time, providing them with the reassurance that they know where to find their assessment content as well as the exact time they will be made available to them.
This feature is useful particularly when there are multiple assessment points opening at the same time. Do keep in mind that if you have added any Files within the Module or RCE that these could still be accessible from the Files tab if this is available to students within the Course. Make sure to add availability dates to the files that match your assessment if this is the case.
As with in-person exams, occasionally situations may arise during the assessment where responsive action is required. The Moderate the Quiz panel allows us to monitor student progress during the quiz, as well as give extra time or attempts to individual students should this be required in response to any given situation (perhaps the student had a connectivity issue for example). We can even manually submit any outstanding attempts should students forget to do this, allowing the grading process to continue without delay. Though if a time limit has been applied, Canvas will do this automatically once the set time has passed.
Keep In Mind
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”
As educators, we are all too aware that even the most well planned in-person assessment can be impacted by unforeseen circumstances. Adverse weather can lead to rescheduling, an on campus event can lead to a distracted cohort, or a forgotten resource can impact a students’ ability to access material. Technology will never entirely remove the risk of unforeseen circumstances, but we can certainly make ourselves aware of the potential risk factors and mitigate them as best we can.
Will students have a device and sufficient internet access to enable them to access the assessment? Providing trial runs and practice assessments can help to spot these potential issues.
What if something happens to a students’ device or internet connection during an assessment? In an in-person environment, a student would raise their hand to inform an invigilator - provide students with a suitable alternative workflow when they are working in a remote setting (refer to the Proactive Support section for ideas on how to communicate this with students)
How will IT staff be able to support multiple teachers and assessments remotely if incidents occur? Consider staggering start times and deadlines to allow internal support to be available and responsive at these key crunch times if required.
Just as you might have policies in place for how to respond to unforeseen circumstances in an in-person context, have policies ready for how you will respond with unforeseen circumstances in an online context. Share these clearly with students, and as always apply them with parity as best as possible.
One of the best ways we can respond to change is to embrace it. The current context is forcing us to adapt in many different ways, from how we shop for groceries to how we effectively provide opportunities for assessment. Understanding the tools available to us can enable us to make informed decisions about how to best facilitate assessment within the new context that we find ourselves. The method we use may have to change, but hopefully these blogs have given you ideas for how you can continue to achieve the intended end goal.
The end of the school year is in sight, we can almost see it, just beyond that final assessment period! Amidst the current context of COVID-19, where we are utilising online tools to enable teaching and learning more than ever, we may need to take a different route to get there to the one we had planned.
The purpose of this blog is to support you with running online assessments in Canvas. In this Part 1 we’ll look at Creating the Assessment, and in the following Part 2 we’ll look at Facilitating the Assessment. Wherever your starting point, from making a few adjustments to previous assessment periods, through to upscaling your entire assessment process to online for the first time, we hope this blog will provide you with helpful best practices, practical tips, and considerations to ensure your assessments run smoothly in Canvas.
Consideration 1: Ease of Access
The workflow for students to access their assessments should be clear and easy. We want students to be focusing on the assessment itself, and a logical navigation, simple presentation, and well chosen functionality is going to support this.
Alternatively, you could create a new Course purely for assessments. This could include only the assessments for a particular course, or if students are taking multiple Courses across the institution (for example as part of a larger programme of study), they could be coordinated into a singular assessment Course. This could provide a secure assessment space for access to and storage of assessment artefacts (should that be required as per any existing policies). Students would then navigate to the assessment Course from their Dashboard, and a Global Announcement could be used to signpost this workflow to all Students.
There are other important considerations beyond a streamlined workflow that should be taken into account when deciding on where to place your assessments:
Consistency - if Students and Teachers are participating in multiple Courses, navigation to assessments should be consistent across these.
Communication - decide how will you let your Students (and Teachers / Graders) know where to find their assessments.
Grading - ensuring those involved are able to access the assessments and complete their workflows.
Existing Integrations - if you have any automations for creating assessments, enrolling users, or data extraction, these will of course need to be considered.
As with all assessments, there will be information that you need to share with your students to ensure they are able to complete the assessment effectively. If your students are going to need access to a resource during an assessment (for example a case study, an article, or a video demonstration), consider embedding this directly into the Rich Content Editor. This allows the students to access all assessment content in one page, minimising navigation and allowing them to spend more of their time on the assessment itself over navigating between different items.
Rubrics provide an effective way to present your expectations for the assessment to students. As well as supporting the grading process, Rubrics are visible to students as part of the Assignment or Quiz information both before and during the assessment. This allows Rubrics to be used as an opportunity to present your expectations, guiding your students to meet the assessment criteria as best as they can before they submit the assessment.
Assignments and Quizzes are two tools with functionality that support assessments. Choosing the appropriate tool and enabling the required functionality that best meets your needs is a key component of successful assessment preparation. Canvas has the functionality, your responsibility as a teacher or decision maker is to choose the right tool and settings that provide the required opportunity, along with as clear and simple workflow for students as possible. This leads us on to Consideration 2...
Consideration 2: Which Assessment Tool to Use?
The primary assessment tools in Canvas are Assignments and Quizzes. Assignments allow students to submit artefacts that teachers can then grade and give feedback on. Quizzes allow students to answer questions, with the additional functionality of being able to automate the grading and feedback workflow. With this baseline functionality, there are many ways that each tool can be utilised to provide agency for a variety of assessment formats.
Assessments with specific File Types to Submit
Perhaps you want your students to submit a particular file type - a PDF, a Word document (doc, docx), or an Excel spreadsheet (xls, xlxs) for example. If so, have Canvas carry through this requirement for you. By restricting the file upload type, students will only be able to upload the file types that you allow. Reinforcing your expectations while preventing your students from making accidental uploads of incorrect file types.
Assessments with Multiple Artefacts to Submit
We may need to ask students to provide multiple artefacts as part of the same assessment. For example, a Music student may need to submit an audio file along with a pdf of the score, a Business student may need to submit a portfolio of case studies, or an Apprentice may need to provide a combination of video and written evidence from a work placement. There are different options to consider here to facilitate an assessment with multiple submissions required:
When a variety of ‘Submission Types’ is required, the preferred workflow may be to Duplicate the Assignment. Enabling the relevant Submission Type in each Assignment and using a clear naming convention will support your students to understand what is required for each Assignment. This option may be preferred for assessments that require video as part of their submission, as the video can be embedded and therefore previewed in the SpeedGrader for ease of grading workflows. It can also allow for a different Rubric and/or grading schemes per submission, should that be of use in the grading process.
Quizzes also can also be used to allow for submission of multiple artefacts. Using a combination of Essay and File Upload question types, a question can be added for each artefact required. This can provide a clear framework for students, and Quiz functionality such as adding a time limit to the attempt may be beneficial. However, do consider the implication on the grading process, as the SpeedGrader has less functionality when Files are uploaded via a quiz.
Assessments usually taken on Paper or presented to a Panel
There are, and always will be, aspects of assessment that do not easily translate to an online format. In Mathematics, the ‘workings out’ are often more important than the final answer itself. For language, we need to assess the spoken as well as the written technique. Or in Performing Arts, demonstrating a specific skill visually is often required. For these cases, remember that Canvas can just as easily accept media submissions. Using the ‘Text Entry’ submission method, photographs, voice recordings, and videos can easily be submitted from the browser on a laptop or even the app on a mobile phone.
For assessments usually taken as a formal exam, there are many settings within Quizzes that can be used to manage the student experience. In particular, you may wish to consider adding a time limit, multiple attempts, showing one question at a time, locking after answering, and when the students will be able to see the correct answers.
Consideration 3: Accommodations for Students
When conducting assessments there is often a need to differentiate the experience to make sure that all students have fair access. For all assessments we can use the Assign To box to assign students with different availability dates, due dates, or different assignments entirely. In Quizzes, we can also give additional time or attempts to individual students. These accommodations should be set up before the assessments are accessible to students, to ensure that students are aware of the correct parameters pertaining to their own assessment experience.
Practice Makes Perfect!
One of my favourite tools in Canvas is the Student View as it allows us to view and experience our course as our students do. In the case of assessments, this means that we can check the workflow for our students is logical, functional, and matches the intentions we had when we created the assessment. Use the student view to test run your assessment, and remember there’s always the option to trial this in the test environment first if you’d prefer to keep content unpublished at this point.
These are just a few considerations and suggestions for Creating Assessments in Canvas. Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll take a look at Facilitating the Assessment.
For now, we’d love to hear from you - what are your thoughts about these suggestions? What are your tips for managing assessments in Canvas?
Many teachers have now moved to teaching entirely online with the current COVID-19 situation. We've already discussed the idea of "Maintaining a Connection of the Classroom". What about our teachers who are on a rapid learning curve in the use of technology for distance learning. This article aims to cover ideas on maintaining and promoting a collaborative connection between teachers when working remotely.
The Staff Room
Many organisations are already using Web Conferencing tools for social events as well as formal meetings. If you don't already have a shared online area, one of the features that can be useful for sharing information and ideas is the Account-level Groups feature within Canvas. These can be created for specific faculties or departments within an organisation and can be used for staff briefings and notices.
Account-level groups include functionality for announcements, discussions, file sharing and conferences. Account-level groups can be set up by your Canvas Admin.
The Etiquette of Sharing
If we consider the amount of content that will have been created over the past few weeks, I can't help but wonder how many times the wheel has been reinvented?
Canvas includes some great features to help you share content with your colleagues or even across the whole community of Canvas teachers.
Let's consider sharing within your organisation, to begin with. Direct share enables you to send a resource directly to another course or teacher in your organisation.
The resources sent between teachers can be accessed easily from your account in the global navigation.
You can directly share item banks with other teachers in your organisation as well. One method of doing this is by creating a new item bank and sharing this with other teachers so you can collaborate together and build a pool of questions.
Canvas Commons is a way of sharing content within your organisation as well as outside. It's a place where you can search for resources to add to your own course from other teachers.
We should consider some form of etiquette or best practice here. When sharing publically on Commons, we should be aware that it is accessed by teachers from many levels and also may different systems across the world. Although it may take a little more time, it is good practice to fill in all details to make searching easier. We all know it's easy to cook in your own kitchen when you know where everything is. Try cooking in someone else's kitchen.
Is the title a clear indication of the content? Let's consider "Chemistry Quiz" vs "Quiz - Balancing Chemical Equations".
Does the description describe the content clearly? What does the resource include and how is it designed?
Have suitable tags been applied? Different countries use different terminology, it's good to use this to help people find resources for specific qualifications. Content will overlap countries though so we should aim to include standard transferable tags. Age range is a simple example but we can't rely solely on that label. Let's include;
Year Group / Grade
Does the image represent the content appropriately? When multiple resources appear in a search let's make sure we don't lose a valuable resource by adding an image that doesn't truly represent what you are offering.
Another way to organised content in Commons is to use groups. Admins can create these and assign staff as the group manager.
I've seen over the past few weeks, under very difficult circumstances, amazing collaborations between educators all over the world. It reminded me of being asked to present at Instructurecon with a topic of "How to get the most out of Instructurecon?"
My response was simple, "Be Like Robin Hood, share the wealth"
So the classroom is a space where students can interact socially in a comfortable and predictable way. Situations such as with the Covid-19 virus arise and our learning platforms go some way to enable us to maintain teaching and learning outside of the traditional brick buildings we are used to. The aim of this blog is to cover some key questions that appear when a situation has arisen that requires students to interact in the platform in ways they may be unaccustomed to. Although this blog has been brought about by the current issues, the topics ring true to everyday teaching aiming to connect the learning within the classroom to that outside.
How do I maintain the social connectedness of the classroom and maintain visible teacher presence?
How do I ensure students understanding of learning tasks given?
How do I assess and clarify the understanding of students in terms of knowledge?
We'll cover this by looking at some of the tools available to us and consider simple methods of using them. I'm hoping to cover the questions raised above from a high level.
The obvious way to maintain visibility and engage with the class is to host your scheduled class in a conference. Various web conferencing tools can integrate with Canvas through LTI. As standard, you can use Big Blue Button to create a conference within your course. Consider that the conferences include the following tools to promote engagement in the virtual classroom.
Webcams to give the personal touch.
Chat allowing you to field questions at the whole group or for an individual student. It could also be used as a Q+A whilst students are working on other Canvas activities.
Break Out Rooms can be used for smaller group activities and discussions.
Polls can be created on the fly to assess understanding of particular concepts or you can use them for students to respond to questions you have embedded in your uploaded presentation.
Multi-User White Board includes annotation tools for illustrating ideas and explaining processes.
Simple navigation to the online classroom is also important. Make sure the 'Conferences' link is visible in your course navigation. You can also create calendar events for your sessions. Naming your conference is important and it is a good idea to add the date and time into the title if running as a one-off lesson.
It's also good to note that conferences will open up in a new tab allowing your students to complete other activities in your Canvas course whilst taking part in your virtual classroom.
A fantastic way to get students working with each other and sharing ideas but they can be used for more than simply asking for an opinion. Discussions can be used for group work solving real-world or multi-stage problems. They can be used for students to present videos of themselves and receive feedback.
If you're using this asynchronously consider the clarity of your instructions and expectations. Additional clarification of the task can be given by recording audio or video instructions through the rich content editor. This feature can also be used by students to verbally participate in the discussion.
You can also use standard text to reinforce participation across all your course discussions.
"Once you've crafted and posted your response, read the responses of your classmates. For at least two other posts, give constructive feedback and ask relevant questions."
It's worth putting the resources into the discussion using the Rich Content Editor so the students can review them whilst formulating and crafting their responses. As a teacher also consider your engagement in these discussions. What clarifying questions can you ask? Which other posts can you guide students to?
You've probably used Canvas already for the submission of written tasks. When we're lacking the opportunity to sit down with the student and talk we can use assignment tools to assess understanding with students presenting to us in a variety of ways. These can also be assigned to individual students or groups of students to allow the personalised learning opportunities you would normally deliver in the classroom.
Using the text entry online submission will give students the option to present ideas and work in a variety of ways. They can include text, files and media all within the same submission. This gives opportunities to assess verbal skills along with written skills.
Group and Peer Review assignments can also be used to create the social interactions between your students whilst they are not physically together.
Collaborations and Group Work
Group spaces allow students to create their own discussions, collaborations and share files. Collaborations can be created using your institution's tools such as Google and O365. A simple idea would be to collaborate on a presentation that can be delivered in a virtual classroom using Big Blue Button.
Within the classroom, we have the opportunity to create a dialogue of feedback with the student. We can see each other's facial expressions such as the smile of recognition or the raised eyebrow when we don't truly understand. Using the Canvas Speedgrader you could consider the format you provide your feedback in.
The assignment comments field allows you to provide audio and video feedback to your students helping to improve the comprehension of the feedback being delivered. Students also have the opportunity to respond to this feedback.
When you can't walk around the classroom or lecture theatre, and monitor what's students are doing, how do we monitor engagement? New Analytics allows you to view the activity report of your students. You are also able to send messages directly from the analytics view based on engagement criteria. For example, messages can be sent to students who have not viewed a specific learning resource.
If you are looking for more ideas I've included this video from Kona Jones.
Energize Your Class With Student-Centered Course Design
We'd love to hear any specific examples you have around maintaining social connectedness whilst teaching online and also any feedback or questions you have around the ideas above.
Root Account Admins hold the keys to creating and maintaining a successful Canvas Instance.
No pressure there! Many decisions and considerations need to be made when choosing settings, customizing roles, adding integrations and more. The Canvas Training team with in the Learning Services Department provide advice and guidance to help you with those decisions. A comprehensive list of recommendations from CSM's and Trainers based on the practices of scores of successful instances would be helpful. And so the Canvas Training team and firstname.lastname@example.org, a CSM, have done just that in this Canvas Admin Checklist
This checklist is a reference source that provides the following details for root admins:
Guidance on Essential, Best Practice, and Above & Beyond settings and practices related to the following:
Sub Account Structure
Account/Course Roles & Permissions
Free Training resources
General resources every admin should have
The checklist is organized by function but a sister checklist is linked to view by rating: Essential, Best Practice, and Above & Beyond
Links to guides related to the setting, feature or tool discussed
In most cases, details the reason for the recommendation is included
We will keep this checklist up to date with each monthly release.
This checklist is available via a public Google Docs link. "Make a Copy" so you can customize for your institution. Please select the following link for access:Canvas Admin Checklist
Please share your recommendations, they might make the checklist!
Before I begin this blog, I do want to send huge kudos to erinhallmark who kept me sane through a more-than-trying Canvas release week. Erin, you are a hero who stuck with us and helped throughout the week.
However, I must articulate my frustration and concern over the latest Canvas release – which I can only consider a debacle.
I spent almost every waking hour of last week with my finger in the dike, so to speak, trying to help users from all of the four institutions I support. It appeared that every time we identified an issue and created a workaround, another issue sprang up. Although engineers worked on resolutions diligently, the issues were just too far-ranging and too impactful – on both old and new gradebook users -- as well as students. Not one communication about the new release had any indication whatsoever that students (or old gradebook users) would be impacted in any way – and yet they were. We are still waiting for the resolution to the broken Plagiarism Framework, which is not working as I write today.
I realize that sometimes things do not work out as planned, and I have a very strong heart for the challenges of software engineering. However, I need to articulate some issues that I truly believe Canvas must address if they wish to maintain their customer loyalty.
Listen to your Beta Testers. Reading back through the comments from beta testers (https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16958-canvas-release-notes-2019-07-13), the issues with this release were identified well in advance. Tester email@example.com even said, “Why did you make muting grades so complicated? It was simple: they are on or off. Now we have so many layers we can't figure it out. Please remove this feature.” Why did no one really listen to feedback received throughout the beta testing process? What purpose does Beta Testing serve if it the comments you receive are not taken seriously. Folks even knew there were problems with the Plagiarism Framework. Why did this release get pushed to production when issues were not fully addressed? Is there anything that can stop a Canvas release?
Do NOT go dark when being transparent is truly important. How very frustrating it is when avenues for communications are closed or hidden. You can see from the Release Notes site that commenting was turned off. The ostensible reason was that people needed to submit tickets. What that did was close off a single avenue of communication and force comments out to myriad different threads – so the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing. This was exactly the wrong thing to do. There needed to be a single place where issues were uncovered, workarounds posted, and communications recorded. Your greatest ally in service is this community, and you sent us all out on crazy wild goose chases to figure out what others were finding and try to get answers to questions. Again, I can only shake my head and wonder what you were thinking. This is not the transparency one would hope for.
Be open to the WHY question. I am feeling very strongly that Instructure is operating on some hidden logic – rather than using the community to determine direction. This latest release does not seem to have added any value to the student or instructor experience – and turned a simple and elegant functionality into something convoluted and ungainly. It is very hard for us to understand WHY this change was more important than the myriad of requests voted up by the community that never seem to get done. Just explain yourself. I don’t even care what the reason is – I just want to know that someone at Instructure is actually thinking about why what they are doing actually makes a positive experience on the user experience – in any way.
End-user test your customer communications. I do not know who writes the notes called “Canvas Status Updates” that I receive in my inbox. What I do know is that these communications rarely articulate the issue in a way that our end-users could possibly understand. For example, “Allow instructors to grade in the submission details page with manual post policy.” There is no way any of the users I actually work with will understand what this means. I have to go through each item and explain exactly how this impacts them. To my users, something like, “ The grade entry box you used to see on the submission details page is now restored. You may once again enter grades by clicking on a student’s assignment” (probably with a screenshot). I think this is related to the post I saw indicating that Instructure would be well-served by having its customers provide user stories. These kinds of updates seem to have no connection to the user stories that surround this issues, and therefore I have to spend large amounts of time translating and explaining.
I still believe that our organization made a good decision in moving to Canvas. I just want Instructure to realize how disturbing things are looking to some of us out here working with real students and real professors and trying to hold our fingers in a dike that is growing increasingly scary.
Please, others, reassure me by commenting on this blog.
I had a situation this morning when I needed to "act as" a student in a course via the Canvas Student app. I knew the "Act as User" functionality was there but I never had an opportunity to try it out.
I decided to make a Canvas admin guide on how to use it and share it in the community.
In our instance of Canvas we include all of the course modules as buttons on the course homepage. We wanted to make this buttons a little bit more accessible so I wrote some JS which scrolls to the module when they click the button and collapses all of the other modules. This makes navigating to the specific module just that little bit easier for the user. See the gif below for an example:
To use this, include the JS file in your current JS (you may need to remove the first and last lines of code).
Important: For this to work, you need to set up the button in a specific way:
In edit mode on the homepage click the button (we use images for ease of use)
On the right click links then open the modules drop down
Click the respective module
And you're all done! Feel free to drop any bugs or edits below in the comments
When I first started using Canvas I surprised about the lack of accessibility features available to users, so i decided to create my own and to share them with the wonderful community.
Below I have attached some JS and some CSS too which I highly recommend that you implement into your version of the LMS. (I will happily write up a guide on how to implement it as well as how it works if anyone would like).
The accessibility tools below allow learners to change the text size of each custom page that you create. (Nothing native to Canvas, simply any pages, quizzes, assignments, etc that you have created).
It also allows the user to change the background colour of pages too (I may be implementing a text colour option soon too).
Clicking 'Accessibility' on the global navigation toggles the menu that you can see in the bottom left:
I hope this helps your instance of Canvas become more accessible and that you all find it useful