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Canvas Admin Blog

mvanmatre
Community Participant

From Covid-19 to Canvas Admin: Building Courses, No Problem! Maintaining the Instance via API-Pushes and Backend Development, Problems Galore!

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jessjones
Instructure
Instructure

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.

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4 0 1,241
britain_woodman
Community Participant

I figured this out myself when I was an account admin at a Canvas institution, and I have since seen it described in comments here on the community too, but I thought it might be good to formally commit this to words and pixels.

Sometimes an instructor chooses "Reset Course Content," not realizing the scope of its changes. They might think they need to reset their site to reuse it for a new term. Then they contact you, tearfully, with an empty shell where once stood their pride and joy.

If they are savvy, they might have tried the /undelete option before contacting you, but found nothing listed there to undelete. This is because, during a reset, Canvas doesn't really delete the course's content. It actually:

  1. deletes the course
  2. creates a new course shell and gives it the old course's name 
  3. cross-lists the rosters from the deleted course to this new course shell

As a Canvas admin, I had two mantras. One was "Canvas really never throws anything away." (The other was "did you check the course start and end dates?" That's probably a topic for another, entirely different blog post, though.) So it's relatively easy to reverse this charge and make your instructor's day.

First you have to figure out the old course's Canvas course ID. You can get this a couple of ways:

  • Examine the instructor's Canvas page views.
    This will be really easy if they just performed the reset. If they did this a few days ago or otherwise engaged in Canvas after performing the reset, you might have a lot to scroll through. Searching for /settings/ can help you filter, since resets are performed from the course's Settings page.
    EDITED TO ADD: Audra notes below that you can also pull this information from the Recently Deleted Courses report.
  • Search for the course name in your test or beta environment.
    If there are too many page views to quickly identify the course, head to your test or beta environment. If the reset was triggered since Saturday, then the weekly or every-three-week sync will not have happened yet. You should be able to find the course either by searching for the course's title on your account's Courses page, or by searching for your instructor on the Users page and looking through the courses they are enrolled in.


Either way, you want the Canvas course ID, i.e. yoursite.instructure.com/courses/{this}, not the SIS ID for the course.

Head to your Canvas environment's Admin Tools page and undelete the course site.

Now the site is back, with its content. You can add the instructor back in their Teacher role and they're good to go after that. And, remember my mantra, "Canvas really never throws anything away?" You can cross-list the student rosters from the new site back to this undeleted site, and the students' submissions and gradebook will reappear too.

I hope this helps another admin down the road! Let me know in the comments if I forgot anything.

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amansier
Instructure
Instructure

In my role as a Project Consultant, I frequently assist clients with configuring their authentication for Canvas. Because I have had several requests recently for assistance with Okta, I decided to put this resource together.

Prerequisites

  • Any user that needs to authenticate via Okta must already have a user account provisioned in Canvas.
  • The login ID field in Canvas must match the username field returned from Okta.
  • Access to the Okta Admin Console.
  • Admin access in your Canvas instance.

Configuring Okta with Canvas

To set up Okta as the identify provider for Canvas, use the following steps:

  1. From the Okta Dashboard, click Add Applications.

    Okta Dashboard

  2. Click the Create New App button.

    Create New App button

  3. Select SAML 2.0 and then click the Create button.

    Select SAML 2.0 and Create button

  4. Under General Settings, name the App and then click the Next button.

    336356_Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 12.53.34 PM.png

  5. Under SAML Settings, input https://YOURDOMAIN.instructure.com/login/saml as the Single sign on URL (ACS URL).

    Then check the option to Allow this app to request other SSO URLs. Copy and paste the Single sign on URL and then add 0 as the Index number.

    Click the + Add Another button and input https://YOURDOMAIN.beta.instructure.com/login/saml as the next Requestable SSO URL and add 2 as the Index number.

    Repeat the process to add https://YOURDOMAIN.test.instructure.com/login/saml and add 3 as the index number.

    Next, input http://YOURDOMAIN.instructure.com/saml2 as the Audience URI (SP Entity ID).

    Click the Show Advanced Settings link.

    SAML Settings

    NOTE: For vanity URLs, be sure to add https://YOURVANITYURL/login/saml as a Requestable SSO URL with an Index number of 4.

  6. For the Authentication context class, select X.509 Certificate.

    Advanced Settings

  7. Under Preview the SAML assertion generated from the information above, click the Next Button.

    Next button

  8. Under Help Okta Support understand how you configured this application, select I'm an Okta customer adding an internal app and check the option for This is an internal app that we have created.

    Then click the Finish button.

    Internal app setings

  9. Copy the Link Address for the Identity Provider metadata.

    Identity provider metadata

  10. In your Canvas instance, go to the account settings and click on Authentication. Then select SAML on the authentication service dropdown menu.

    336358_Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 1.28.12 PM.png

  11. Paste the Identity Provider metadata link address in the IdP Metadata URI box.

    337005_Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 1.45.26 PM copy.png

  12. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button. This will populate all the required fields for the configuration. Click the Save button again to finalize the process.

    336361_Screen Shot 2020-01-26 at 1.49.24 PM.png

Additional Resources

For more information about configuring authentication for Canvas, please check out the following guides:

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0 1 1,050
janieruddy
Instructure
Instructure

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  @jbailey6 , 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
    • Feature Options
    • Apps
    • Customizations
    • Account Settings
    • Course Settings
    • Term Organization
    • 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.  

Access

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 


Preview

324977_Screenshot 2019-09-24 16.11.22.png

Please share your recommendations, they might make the checklist!

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9 1 2,803
gnordberg
Community Contributor

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.

Use 'Act as User' in Canvas Mobile App

Feel free to share with others if it's useful!

Act as user on Canvas mobile app

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janieruddy
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks to  @erin_keefe_1   and Deactivated user as well as the rest of the Canvas Training  team for developing wonderful, free resource such as the Be The Hero - New Training Course for Canvas Admins!  for Canvas Admins and Growing with Canvas - New Training Course.  If you have not seen these resources yet, get  your copy in the Canvas Commons.  Check out the helpful guides for the commons here:  Guides: Commons.  

 

Once you import this resource into a shell, you will receive notifications when this course has been updated.  You can ask questions and get more information about these updates here and choose if you wish to import those updates to your course. 

 

TIP:  If you customized the Be The Hero course and you import the update, the entire course will be rewritten with that update.  It is best to pull the updated course into a new shell and copy the update to change specifically into your customized course.

 

Here is a list of updates that have been made in the Be The Hero Course to date:

 

Course Item More Detail Reason Action Needed
4.2 | Account Settings Video The Vimeo video created the Docs Team has been updated and will expire on May 31, 2019.   Include Account Settings updates Replace the video with this updated 415 - Account Settings on Vimeo 
       

 

Update Notes for July 17, 2019Updates 7/18/2019

Course Item 

More Detail

Reason 

Action Needed

5.3

Added line that was not displaying

Not showing - originally was a file that was dead

Replace html code

<p> </p>

<hr/> after saving the day in the HTML editor

2.6

Added line that was not displaying

Not showing - originally was a file that was dead

Replace html code

<p> </p>

<hr/> after saving the day in the HTML editor

2.4

Added line that was not displaying

Not showing - originally was a file that was dead

Replace html code

<p> </p>

<hr/> after saving the day in the HTML editor

Replaced 2.7 and 2.8 links in the 2.8 Self Paced Quiz with links to 2.6 adn 2.7

These pages did not exist.  Changed the quiz question JIT feedback to refer to 2.6 and 2.7

Pages non existent

Open the 2.8 Self Check Quiz.  View all of the Quiz Details. Replace the 2.8 Sections and Cross Listing with the Link to 2.7 Sections and Cross listing in the Just In Time Feedback.  Do the same for the 2.7 Moving Courses to reference the link to 2.6 Moving Courses

7.1

Replace broken link referencing Community Blog

Link leads to a blank page

Replace the link to the text “to this blog int eh community” to refer to this url:  https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/admins/blog/2018/10/03/how-are-you-being-the-hero

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tyler_clair
Community Champion

This guide will help you setup searching shortcuts in Chrome and Firefox for finding Canvas users and courses or going directly to them using the canvas ID. Both browsers allow you to use a keyword entered into the address bar followed by what you want to search by or an ID to go directly to the resource. String placeholders (%s) represent what you type in the address bar.

Google Chrome


Manage search engines

  1. Click the More button and then click Settings.
  2. In the Search engine section, click Manage search engines.
  3. In the Other search engines section, click Add.
  4. Follow the directions for each search engine you want to create.


Canvas course search

  1. In the Add search engine dialog box, in the Search engine box enter Canvas Course Search.
  2. In the Keyword box enter ccs.
  3. in the URL... box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/accounts/?search_term=%s.
  4. Click Add.


Canvas people search

  1. In the Add search engine dialog box, in the Search engine box enter Canvas People Search.
  2. In the Keyword box enter cps.
  3. in the URL... box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/accounts/users?search_term=%s.
  4. Click Add.


Go directly to a Canvas course

  1. In the Add search engine dialog box, in the Search engine box enter Direct Canvas Course.
  2. In the Keyword box enter dcc.
  3. in the URL... box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/courses/%s.
  4. Click Add.


Go directly to a Canvas user

  1. In the Add search engine dialog box, in the Search engine box enter Direct Canvas User.
  2. In the Keyword box enter dcu.
  3. in the URL... box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/users/%s.
  4. Click Add.


Activation

To activate the search engine enter the search engine keyword in the address bar, and then press the Tab key, and then type your search string or ID, then press Enter.


Firefox


Create bookmarks folder

  1. Click Library, then click Bookmarks, or press Ctrl+Shift+B
  2. In the Bookmarks list, right-click on Bookmarks Menu then click New Folder....
  3. In the New Folder dialog box, enter Canvas Search in the Name box, then click Add.
  4. In the Canvas Search folder right-click and select New Bookmark....


Canvas course search

  1. In the New Bookmark dialog box, in the Name box enter Canvas Course Search.
  2. In the Location box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/accounts/?search_term=%s.
  3. In the Keyword box enter ccs.
  4. Click Add.


Canvas people search

  1. In the New Bookmark dialog box, in the Name box enter Canvas People Search.
  2. In the Location box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/accounts//users?search_term=%s.
  3. In the Keyword box enter cps.
  4. Click Add.


Go directly to a Canvas course

  1. In the New Bookmark dialog box, in the Name box enter Direct Canvas Course.
  2. In the Location box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/courses/%s.
  3. In the Keyword box enter dcc.
  4. Click Add.


Go directly to a Canvas user

  1. In the New Bookmark dialog box, in the Name box enter Direct Canvas User.
  2. In the Location box enter https://<instance>.instructure.com/users/%s.
  3. In the Keyword box enter dcu.
  4. Click Add.


Activation

To activate the search engine enter the search engine keyword in the address bar, and press the Spacebar, and then type your search string or ID, then press Enter.


Examples

  • Canvas course search: ccs Sp19 BIOL-1010

  • Canvas people search: cps Abe Froman

    • You can also search by login_id, email, or sis_id.

  • Go directly to a Canvas course: dcc 123456

  • Go directly to a Canvas user: dcu 123456

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jasond
Community Contributor

Canvas Community y comunidad española,

There are many one-sheet guides out there, but just in case if you were looking for a single-sheet (dual sided) instructional PDF on Canvas...

Attached are the same guides in English and in Spanish. 

Example in English

Example of One-Sheet Guides for Canvas

Ejemplo en español

Ejemplo Canvas Guía del Maestro

Profesores de español, agradecería su ayuda si mi traducción y la de Google están desactivadas. 🙂

The PDFs are editable. The branding and specified Canvas URL are the only edits you will need to make in Adobe Acrobat DC Pro or another PDF editing tool.

Hope they help!

-Jason

Community team ( @scottdennis ‌ et al.) - I wasn't sure where else to tag or post this Doc page. 

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