Community Novice

Creating a Canvas Training Course with a Populated Gradebook?

I'm working on a Canvas Gradebook hands-on, online training session for instructors. I'd like to provide each participant access to an individual,  populated Canvas Gradebook so they can experiment during the session.

Is this possible? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

12 Replies
Coach Emeritus

 @bxb11 ​, I've never tried to do anything like this, but the first thing that came to mind is that this might be possible via the API. Otherwise, the only other thing I could think of is creating the courses, adding some example students, and then manually uploading a CSV file with assignments and grades. The only issue with this is that it would be just grades (#'s) and wouldn't include example submissions which is pretty important when it comes to faculty being able to try using Speedgrader and Crocodoc. Depending on how many individual courses/gradebooks you would need per session it might be best if you just manually went in to each course and took a quiz, uploaded an assignment (file), and posted to a discussion.

Community Participant

An alternative would be to use a single gradebook and let all of your trainees share access, giving each a list of students they are responsible for, as this is often the case with multiple TAs assigning grades to share the load of assessing a course.

This would both save you the effort of creating multiple copies of gradebooks for everyone to work with, and also allow them to see the benefit of working in parallel on a single course, which does work very well in Canvas.

A possible training benefit is that they would see how easy it is to overwrite grades others have input, in a situation where it does not matter, and how you can track this using the gradebook history.  (If your training gradebook has too many entries - and this is a fairly low threshold - you may be interested to look at which is trying to address the case where you lose all history of grading.)

  Good luck!


Community Contributor

 @bxb11  I've also struggled with training online faculty with the gradebook and wanting to give them some first-hand experience practicing before they teach.  My solution as of now is to create a course we call "SpeedGrader Demo Course" and enroll faculty as teachers.  We create a module for each faculty member and in each module I've added an assignment and a discussion that I have two dummy students submit to.  The faculty are then told to go to their Module (labeled with their name) and grade the assignments that have been submitted.  It works for what we need to do and does help faculty practice the gradebook, but is certainly tedious. I've tried to get some help from the community on this here but haven't had any luck!  Let me know if you come up with anything else!

Community Participant

I'm a little late to this conversation, but it sounds like your situation benefit from Demo Arigato:

atomicjolt/demo_arigato · GitHub

It would take a little time and programming expertise to set up, but it would be a powerful way to set up demo courses. (Disclaimer: I know the Demo Arigato programmers.)

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @bxb11 , I conducted a SpeedGrader/Turnitin and Rubrics/Outcomes training session in a computer lab for approximately 30 faculty members. My solution involves a considerable amount of manual work on the front end, but I've been able to use the setup numerous times since then.

I used Mailinator to create fake email addresses for 35 students. I then created Canvas accounts for each of the students, using Mailinator to accept the course invitation for each one, and I edited each account so that the user names were generic (e.g. Student01, Student 02,...) and gave every student the same password. I prepared 35 slips of paper, each of which had credentials for a single fake student.

Before the training session, I created some sample assignments (with simple rubrics attached) and quizzes in the course. On the day of the training session, I had every attendee write on a sign-in sheet the email address they were using to access their own Canvas account. I then passed out the slips with the fake students' credentials and told them to log in as those students and complete some assignments and quizzes. Clearly, procedure trumped content in this step of the process. Smiley Happy While they were doing that, I navigated to each of their accounts and added them as teachers to the course.

When they were done with that step, I had them log out and re-log in using their own credentials. They now had before them a course with approximately 90 assignments to grade as well as a somewhat populated Gradebook. I told the teachers to pick and grade any assignment submission except the one they had submitted (although they were free to navigate through the SpeedGrader to view all of the submissions). This allowed me to demonstrate using the SpeedGrader to grade with a rubric, accessing Turnitin originality reports and using GradeMark, and viewing the Gradebook.

It's important to note that if your school is populating its courses through SIS and has SSO enabled, participants must access the student portion of the exercise through the "back door" login; this allows you to bypass the SSO login. You can find your school's "back door" URL on the Admin | Authentication page.

As I said, this involves a considerable amount of preparation, none of which is automated...but I've been able to use those fake students, and that demo course, over and over again, especially when I have to simulate activities--such as groups--that require numerous students to be enrolled in a course.

Wow - that sounds great. Unfortunately, I would never be permitted to give non-authorized access (via any back doors) to anyone. Still, I'll look into this and see if any parts of it might be possible.

Yes,  @bxb11 ​, creating fake students and allowing "back door" access are sticking points for many institutions--and understandably so. I hope that you can mine something useful from my post.

This sounds awesome stefaniesanders​. I'm always looking for a way to flesh out a demo course.

Thanks stefaniesanders​! We have been thinking about creating a demo course now over the last week and the best way to accomplish this. We wanted to be able to reset the course when the training was done so the next group going through the training would see the same assignments with feedback, grades, turnitin, etc.. but it sounds like this may not be possible.

Thanks Stefanie!

dreesd​, I'm glad you found it helpful.

One word of caution, though: When I did the Turnitin training using the fake students, it was on the Turnitin API. I have not done any experimentation using the fake students with the Turnitin LTI; while it might work, it might also require extra steps (perhaps someone will have to log in as the fake students using the mailinator.com credentials, or maybe someone with admin permissions masquerading as those students will be enough). For Canvas features, though, the fake students should work just fine.

Thanks stefaniesanders​ and  @bxb11 ​!

 @gotapen ​ found this in the community too as another possible solution that Justin Ball did a presentation on two years ago at InstructureCon

Community Novice

I wanted to share my solution. Unfortunately, it is a Penn State specific one. We have "Friends of Penn State" accounts that anyone can obtain by completing a form. They are used mostly by perspective students, guests, etc. At the time I made this initial post FPS was not integrated into our instance of Canvas. It now is. So we can create a number of "dummy" accounts, add them into a course as students, then log in as a particular student, take the test, submit the assignment, etc.

Bingo - populated Gradebook. I wish it were a universal solution available to all.