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Canvas Instructional Designer Blog


Ready, Set, Launch!

Are you wondering what’s coming to the RMT suite?


The Instructional Design team has been working hard to launch our ten newest Ready-Made Templates! We think you’ll love them! Check out this post to learn more about what each template has to offer, and get a glimpse of how we collaborate here at Instructure.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Community Coach
Community Coach


The internet is full of web typography, and our Canvas pages are no exception. Albeit fairly limited, we do have options to customize and optimize our fonts and typography through the Rich Content Editor and with simply HTML in the HTML editor. Let's explore some of the options available to us.


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Turn the Page on Your Canvas Course

Wondering how to close out your Canvas course?


The ID team shares tips and best practices for wrapping up a semester or academic year in Canvas. Read more to find out what you can do to make the transition from school to summer as easy as turning a new page in a book.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Teacher Appreciation ID Giveaway

Ready for some Canvas FREEBIES??

Instructure’s Instructional Design Team has created some punny stickers for your course. We hope you’ll stick with us (get it?!) and check out this blog post!

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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The Dos and Don’ts of Icon Maker

Interested in learning more about how to best integrate icons from the new Icon Maker in your Canvas Course?


The Instructional Design Team at Canvas has compiled best practices in using Canvas’s new Icon Maker. Read more to find out the Dos and Don’ts of Icon Maker!

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Four Tips to Spring Clean your Canvas Courses

At a loss for how to make changes to your course this late in the academic year/semester?

Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing! The ID team is here to help you Spring Clean your Canvas course with four easy tips you can implement today!

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Welcome to our first post in 2022. This issue contains resources to support you as we strive to ensure you receive the solutions to maintain student engagement and learning.


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New Year, New Course Goals

Are you struggling to set achievable goals for your courses?


Have you ever made a promise to yourself you didn't keep? I've spent so many years making new year's resolutions, only to break them within two weeks of setting them. Each time, I set my expectations too high without the proper systems set in place to achieve my goal. For me, this year has been different. Using the SMART goal-setting framework, I have finally felt successful in my progress, giving me the confidence to pursue more challenging and deeply-rooted goals. What do you wish you could achieve for your classroom; whether it's online, in person, or hybrid? Take some time to explore this blog post for resources and strategies for setting achievable goals this year.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Design Tips for Pages in Canvas

Are you looking for some design tips for your Canvas Pages?


Ever see a super inviting and well-thought-out page in Canvas and think, “OoooOoOo! I want to be able to do that!” but then wonder how? Or maybe you have even begun experimenting with visual design in your Canvas courses and just need some tips and tricks to up your game? A well-designed page will not only complement and enhance the content you’re delivering but also create an engaging learning space for your students. Take a moment to read through this blog post for some simple things you can start incorporating into your courses today.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Why Serve? Humanitarian Expedition Reflections

Want to know more about the culture of our design team?


Deonne Johnson, the manager of the Instructional Design Team, shares her reflections on the relationship between service and self care, and in doing so, pulls back the curtain on the culture inside the instructional design team.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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It’s a wonderful thing to be able to pursue your passions in both your career and your personal life. It’s been almost a decade since I’ve joined the CHOICE Humanitarian family (as both a participant and Trip Leader) and, coincidentally, I’ve been at Instructure since almost the same time, 9 years. I’m so grateful to work for Instructure and am thankful for the “Instructure Cares” program that offers employees flexible time off to participate in charitable activities big or small. I’m reminded of a favorite quote by Albert Einstein, “There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” My connection with both organizations is nothing short of miraculous and I’m incredibly honored to be a leader for both. I’d love to share how I use my Instructure flex-time to give back with CHOICE.

I love sustainable CHOICE’s approach to reducing world poverty. All initiatives are driven by locals themselves and receive support from the locally-based country director and CHOICE headquarters. Support may come in the form of training, funds from corporate partners/monthly donors/individual supporters, or service-oriented expeditions. As a group, participants travel to a rural community to experience rewarding work, lots of play, adventure, and connection. The work spans a variety of projects from constructing classrooms, stoves, or medical facilities to helping plot gardens or trenching water systems. One of the things I love about CHOICE is that the project is an opportunity for intercultural exchange. After every trip, I come home with new perspectives and deep connections to people on the other side of the globe. Here are a few of my a-ha moments. 

On my first full day in the Kenyan village, Dzisuhuni, I sat down next to Umaji and we began making dolls together. The children and Umaji laughed with me at my inadequacy in making a doll from fabric scraps, but my grandmother would be proud to see how I reached into the recesses of my mind to use some thread to sew on some eyes and a mouth. Providing these dolls at school encourages young children to attend and enjoy school with the hopes of increasing retention. 

Our most recent project in Kenya was to build a school. Although the project was important, the intercultural exchange was equally as important. Participants connected with locals as they dug ditches together and drove miles to the quarry to bring back supplies. This intercultural exchange helps visitors to expand their global perspectives.

Access to quality educational opportunities is a human right. Young women drop out of school after reaching maturation for a variety of reasons, including lack of access to feminine hygiene products. Special shoutout to Days for Girls and volunteers who create hygiene kits so girls have supplies needed during menstruation.

Lessons Learned

  • Change is hard. Change fatigue is real. Thanks to colleagues at Instructure, I could relay Change Management strategies and understandings to the headteacher and teachers in the African village.
  • I’m in absolute awe of CHOICE’s locally-based staff. Their boots on the ground ensure that resources and impacts are maximized. Their dedication and commitment to alleviating poverty inspire me to be a better human. 
  • People are more alike than different. We have our struggles and our challenges, but we’re all doing the best we can. And when we look at others and assume positive intent, the world becomes a much kinder place. 
  • Life and projects can be overwhelming. However, when we show up to support one another and when we open our hearts to receive support, life is so much easier. Sometimes we just need to show up, for ourselves and others.

I’m so fortunate to do work that matters (both for Instructure and CHOICE). Both organizations are driven by the desire to make the world a better place. I’m incredibly grateful to work for a company that supports employees' wellness and wholeness. A company that has a mission in education but also believes in giving back. If you’re interested in joining a company that provides the opportunity to live its core values of openness, relationships, equality, ownership, and simplicity, check out our current open positions.



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Canvas Course Design with Accessibility in Mind: Making All Learners Feel At Home

Want to learn about web accessibility in Canvas courses?


Our design team is working to promote the features of web accessibility in Canvas course design! Take a tour of our newest passion project: a course dedicated entirely to the topic of web accessibility inside of YOUR Canvas courses.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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New Member

Hi, I developed a button generator for Canvas LMS.


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What's New from the ID Crew + Canvas for Elementary FREEBIES

Want to know what we’ve been up to? Looking for Canvas for Elementary Resources?


The ID Team is back in this blog to touch on the services we can deliver for our clients, and provide some freebies for building courses in Canvas for Elementary! Check out this blog for a touchpoint on our services and pick up some design assets for your elementary courses.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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It is a monthly update from the Turnitin Team. Below you can find the most up-to-date information about training sessions, teachers' and students' resources for remote and distant learning/teaching, and a quiz to test your awareness of academic integrity.


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Community Coach
Community Coach

I use a Google Form for assignments where I want students to have a choice on how to complete it and if I want more control over what students submit than is allowed with Canvas assessment options. The challenge I have with entering data into the Canvas gradebook is that the list of students in Canvas does not match the list of entries on the Google Sheet where form results are collected. This has been bugging me until I figured out how to use the SIS ID as a sort key in both locations.

This works for me because my college is a Google Suite for Education client, we use single sign-on, and our students' Gmail addresses begin with their student ID number.

In the embedded video I show how to make the SIS ID appear in the Canvas gradebook and sort by that field. I also show how to sort the Google Sheet by email address:

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Community Champion

Thoughts on embedding digital worksheets like this one?

One of the more clever Canvas / Google combinations, imho, is embedding documents. Besides saving paper, 


  • Expandable! Paper documents have a finite amount of space. Even with margins set at 1/4" (not great on paper, but fine for Canvas with its built-in whitespace), you're limited in what you can share by your printing budget. Digital sheets can go on for far too long if you're not careful.
  • Links work! Click as hard as you want, the links on a paper document won't get you to any further information on a topic. Digital documents can lead students to many more places, and the students just click — no need to try to type in
  • Input! You want students to work together to brainstorm? Seeing each other's ideas helps them generate more. A common digital document does that.
  • Ease! Embedded Google docs are easier to change than Canvas content. Once embedded, there's no opening Canvas to Edit, no deleting of old files or uploading of new ones, no saving, no waiting, no worrying that students might have the wrong version. The one they see is the one I want them to see.
  • Last-minute changes! Maybe this is a sub-point of "Ease" but because it's so easy to change, it's easy to correct errors that you caught minutes before (or during) your class.
  • Color! With our budget, color paper copies are a special treat, but with digital sheets I can get as crazy as I'd like.

Here's an example of one our documents. You can comment on it if you'd like, but I've set the sharing so only I can edit it:


  • No Printer Smell! Some people really like the concrete tangibility of a paper copy. At our Active Teaching Labs (the embedded Activity Sheet here is from that program) we do print off 1 sheet for them. Notice that at the top of that sheet are easy-to-follow directions to the digital copy. We direct them to the digital copy so they can more actively participate in the session by clicking on the links that interest them, by sharing resources that they have, and by chatting (Google Docs chat) with other participants about the topic.
  • Control! Because embedded Google Docs can allow participants to actually participate, there's a chance that they will. That means they might want to take the discussion and focus to aspects of the topic that are more relevant to them than what want to blather on about. Giving students agency in their learning is not for the faint of heart.

Technical Tips

*ugly because it's more responsive (something to consider).

Your Thoughts?

I'll eat my hat if there aren't naysayers in this group. Tell me what I'm missing, how I'm wrong, why I should do something else or something differently. I'm here to learn from you! Thanks!

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2020 Course Design Essentials: Accessibility Clips, Tips, & Tricks... Oh My!

Are you looking for more information on accessibility?


The Canvas Instructional Design Team continues our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event, including blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. This month, we are so excited to jump into accessibility with you. Check out these clips, tips, and tricks for accessibility... Oh My!

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Community Contributor

Surveys are possible in New Quizzes, although you may need some tweaking. There is an article here (FAQ: New Quizzes) mentioning that surveys do not exist in New Quizzes. However, this is not logically correct, since it's possible to create assessments without point values.

Let's first look at the current Quizzes tool on surveys.

Old Quizzes

Instructions 1

As you can see, we have the RCE above as well as the options below.

Notice that, in a graded survey, since we have 11 questions in the survey, we made it out of 11 points. Students will automatically receive full credit once they take a graded survey. Also, notice the Keep Submissions Anonymous option below. We'll discuss it later on.

Instructions 2

In Old Quizzes, students will receive full credit whether or not they answered all the questions.

Survey Results

New Quizzes

Let's test how this survey is going to be affected by migrating it into New Quizzes.

New Quizzes Assignments

Hold on! Something's not right here. Some features like Anonymous Grading are missing. You should check with your local educational institution for details on how to enable it so that those survey submissions will remain anonymous.

The New Survey Builder

We can look at the newly migrated survey here. All 11 questions were imported successfully.

(You cannot use Load this tool in a new tab when migrating a quiz. This feature hides the Global Navigation bar on the left.)


Settings are not migrated; you must reconfigure them manually. If you will be reusing this survey, allow multiple attempts. A great example of this is a weekly topic submission form. Since we set all questions to zero points, it is safe to keep the latest submission, in which the latest survey responses will overwrite previous responses.

For Restrict student result view, this needs to be turned on. The only options that can be used in a survey are Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback.

Attempt History will be disabled if Show items and questions is turned off.


A graded survey requires that all questions to be multiple-choice and that Vary points by answer is turned on. Using other question types may not return desirable results, as students may not necessarily receive full credit once they submit the survey. To be on the safe side, make all questions zero points each and set Display Grade As to Complete/Incomplete.

Survey Preview & Debugging

After running the test, here's the result when Show items and questions, Show student response, and Show item feedback are turned on.

As you can see below, one question requires grading. Even though it shows that the student finished the survey in 1:13 minutes, it still shows the Points Possible field blanked out. To be honest, if the Show points awarded/possible options are not checked, it should only show the time taken to complete the survey (only if Show items/questions is checked). If no items are checked, the time taken is not shown.

Results 1

Results 2


  • When migrating to New Quizzes, we recommend that you make all questions zero points each, since graded surveys do not appear to be viable. From the Assignments page, display the grade as Complete/Incomplete.
  • The only options that can be used in Restrict Student Result View for a survey are:
    • Show items and questions
    • Show student response
    • Show item feedback
  • Preview the survey a few times so that you can check for any errors. We always want quality work when building surveys.
    (When we preview a quiz, it resembles as if we are in the director's seat.)
    • "Lock it up": The teacher clicks the Preview button.
    • "Rolling": Loading screen
    • "Action": The quiz screen comes up
    • "Cut": The teacher clicks the Exit Preview button; can be done before or after submitting the survey
      • Before submitting: When you need to fix errors (i.e., spelling) in questions or the instructions
      • After submitting: When you think the answer is right even though the auto-grader is wrong. Make a note of the affected questions on a piece of paper before exiting the preview.

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Community Contributor

When I studied the comparison table between Old vs New Quizzes, I thought to myself: If quizzes can be exported, why not individual assignments? They should. Here is a viable solution to export/import a New Quiz.

For this blog post, call the old course Course A and the new course Course B.


  1. In Course A, create a new quiz in Canvas using the +Assignment or +Quiz/Test buttons.
  2. Once you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page, write a custom message in the instructions to let yourself know that the import operation worked.
  3. Unlike Old Quizzes, if you are going to export even a single assignment or page, you must export the entire course. To do so, follow the instructions in this article (How do I export a Canvas course?).
  4. Once the export is complete, download the file (it expires 30 days after the export has completed) and save it to somewhere you remember.
  5. Go to Course B, and follow the instructions there to import your course content (How do I import a Canvas course export package?).
  6. Before you get too far, in the Content section, select the option Select specific content, because you're NOT going to import all of the data. Then click Import.
    Selected content only
  7. After a few minutes, the status will show Waiting for Selection. Now click Select Content to choose the data you want to import.
    Waiting for content.
  8. For this example, since our title is Migrating New Quizzes, we check this option only. Leave all other items unchecked. Click Select Content to continue.
    (Keep in mind, assignment groups will have a folder icon next to it.)
    Select Content
  9. Wait for the import to finish and return a green Completed status. If it is red or orange, read the issues and try again.
  10. Verify that the imported New Quiz appears in the Assignments page in Course B. The process is not over yet! We still need to check if the quiz data has been imported or not.
    Assignments page
  11. After you arrive at the New Quizzes Build page in Course B, you should see the message you created when you made the New Quiz in Course A. That's it!


You can only export and import New Quizzes assignments within the same institution. If you have Canvas accounts from different institutions, you cannot use this method to export from one institution and import to another institution, even though it is possible to edit the external tool URL to match that of the other institution, as instructions and questions will not import correctly. I've tested with New Quizzes imported from Canvas Commons that were created by other institutions. Even though the import succeeds, the operation failed, since it couldn't find the valid settings for the New Quizzes LTI link.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

The Google Chrome browser has a built in set of developer tools. Included is an emulator that shows what the current web page looks like on various mobile phone browsers. It even includes a button to show what happens when the device is rotated. This is great help for when we are working on Canvas pages and want to see what they look like in the browser (not the app). I made a video showing how to access this neat tool:

Thank you stefaniesanders‌ for sharing with me this tip!

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Community Member


I am finding my way to Canvas and I would like to share this community this canvas template that I have built upon another template that some one shared to the Commons (I can't remember the author now, but thank you who ever you were).

Canvas doesn't have allow the creation of  navigation panel unit by unit, like Moodle or Blackboard Learn so I create a table in the frontpage and also use the menu 'Modules' on the left hand side. I don't think that the 'Module' links can be hidden?

Any feedback/comments for my template are very welcome.

Mari Cruz

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As we move into the month of love, I'd like to share my love and appreciation for the CanvasCasters podcast ( . It's amazing to hear such great Canvas stories from fellow Canvas users. Perhaps you've read my previous blog listing the special guests from some of the 2019 episodes 1-8: CanvasCasters Podcast: Have Ears, Will Listen... & Subscribe .

If you've enjoyed the podcast, you will familiar with one of their closing questions asking their guests their big 3 things they love about Canvas or what's in their Canvas backpack? So without further ado.

Episode & GuestTop 3 Loves (Canvas Backpack)

1:  @tolinm ‌

  • Speedgrader- Using rubrics
  • Speedgrader > Options- Sort by submission status, so that when grading you can grade all that submitted back-to-back versus skipping over students who haven't submitted yet 
  • Speedgrader- Audio/video feedback to students
2:  @paul_towers 
  • Tapping into "New" Analytics
  • Present live from your Canvas course
  • Modules/pages
3 & 4:  @kona 
  • Gradebook > Message Student Who
    • "New" Analytics - message students who haven't view a Page
  • Gradebook > Notes Column
  • Canvas Community
5:  @christopher_gil ‌
  • Community & Twitter: Connect with people/video chats
  • Teach faculty how to use Canvas Calendar
  • Canvas Tier 1 Support
  • Admit what you don't know; it's okay

6:  @Eddie_Small ‌  @edtechmarcus ‌

  • (Admin) Global Announcements
  • Using Canvas for Professional Development hosting
  • Studio/Arc
    • Easy to learn and use; integrated into Canvas
    • Student engagement and content creation; integrated quizzes
7: kbeimfohr
  • Canvas Media Recorder, student content creation and instructor feedback
  • Up-to-date Canvas Guides & step-by-step documentation
  • Potential of New Quizzes, variety of type of questions
8:  @scottdennis  &  @Renee_Carney Renee shared about the Canvas Advocate (changed name from Canvassador) program. Share your Canvas passion with other users. Both Scott and Renee spoke about the Canvas Community and invite users to join.
9:  @kjself ‌
  • Blueprint 
  • Groups
  • New Gradebook

10: Amanda Kitchell & Amanda_Wilkerson

  • Canvas Conversations/Inbox messages, accessible after-hours
  • Modules
    • Embed everything students need within Canvas
    • If students miss class/poor weather days, they don't miss content
  • Studio, integrated quiz feature with video (hidden markers)
11: Mixtape Volume 1
You can also read more about the CanvasCasters podcast in their recent post on the Instructure blog.
12: Announcement
Guess who is coming to instcon‌; that's right your favorite unofficial Canvas podcast! Meet Marcus & Eddie in Nashville; who knows Smiley Wink ... there might be a live show? instructurecon2020‌
13: Monica Burns

Monica provides an overview of the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in lovely Miami, FL. She shared how to approach your next conference and a few accounts/organizations to follow.

14: Stevie Frank
  • Rubrics/Speedgrader
  • Student View, great to show "HOW TOs."
  • Modules
15:  @khaled_al-ankar 
  • Canvas Studio, media content is easiest way to create & consume, especially for visual learners.
  • Canvas Guides, great to provide to others especially for those who want to print out for step-by-step guide.
  • Quizzes.Next, can migrate from old quizzes to new quizzes is a good feature. Extremely powerful especially with hot spots.
16: van.bardell &  @ryne_jungling ‌
  • "Sandbox" class, not tied to any course or students; great for testing stuff out - saves time.
  • Modules, great for organized instructions & student navigation.
17: CanvasCastersDiscusses how education is being impacted by COVID-19.
18:  @travis_thurston 
  • Discussion Forums, so flexible. Digital Powerups: talk about a concept; choose 2-3 (of 5-7) prompts to enter into discussion/commentary.

Give them a listen and if you think it's panda-tastic; subscribe! You can find CanvasCasters in a variety of ways:

Keep Learning,

Sky V.
Senior Instructional Designer, FIU Online
Adjunct in Marketing & Logistics, FIU

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Community Champion

A colleague and I researched Project Management Strategies for Instructional Design Projects and applied the research to our Course Design and Development processes. She's in Florida, I'm in Michigan, and both of our institutions use Canvas and subscribe to Quality Matters. I thought that our research may be helpful to others in the Canvas Community. By the way: for designers who work at QM institutions and use Canvas, it's exciting that a New Partnership Brings Canvas to Quality Matters.


We placed our research resources into an open Canvas course as we read and discussed the articles, ebook, presentation, processes, and flowcharts and then made the resource course available to the public at If anyone has an instructional design process or flowchart that we can add to the research resources, please share!

We presented our application of the research last month to the ID2ID program sponsored by Penn State and EDUCAUSE. The recorded webinar is included within the research resources. Also, in case it's helpful to anyone, here's our presentation from a pre-conference workshop we facilitated at Quality Matters “QM Connect" last October.

This image shows a sample of the articles and other content available at


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Community Contributor

Yet another benefit of online courses.

335317_Online equality.jpg

Author Thomas Royce Wilson, PhD. @Captain Big Idea – Free "cognitive cartoons" about learning and living with technology 

*Shared with permission. 

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2020 Course Design Essentials: Event Launch & Giveaway

Are you interested in some freebies?


The Canvas Instructional Design Team is launching our 2020 Course Design Essentials monthly event. These events will include blog posts, live events, free design assets, how-to screencasts, and tips and tricks that focus on Canvas course design fundamentals to help you elevate your course design. Check out this blog post for more information about our event and an exciting giveaway for seasonal home page buttons!

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


36 6 4,779
Community Contributor

In New Quizzes, one of the things that you may have not noticed is setting the seconds in the time limit. Here's how you can work it out.

From the Settings tab, turn on the time limit feature. In the Minutes box, delete any other values. Now, enter a decimal point, followed by the amount you want to put in. When we tested this feature, we noticed that when attempting to enter 3 seconds (0.05 minutes), the decimal point disappears after entering the 0. In order to successfully enter it, we first must enter .5, then move the cursor left and type a 0 to get .05 in the Minutes box.

You can only enter the Minutes in 0.05 increments. A 422 error is generated if it is not a multiple of 0.05.

In this example, because we called this blog post "Who's Got the Fastest Finger?", we set the time limit to 30 seconds (0.5 minutes).

Time Limit Decimal Minutes

30 seconds on the clock

Why call it "Fastest Finger First"?

You might remember the world's most popular game show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, where contestants play one question before the real game begins. The contestants have only 20 seconds to enter the correct order on the keypad, and answers cannot be changed after pressing Submit.

(In New Quizzes, we set the time limit to 30 seconds, due to the fact that time limits can be only set in multiples of 3 seconds, and there are loading times of around 3-7 seconds after pressing Begin.)

Fastest Finger First

The options are randomized every time the Fastest Finger round begins. Answers 1-4 shown above correspond to A-D below. The order of A-D depends on the order the answers appear once the round begins.


Fastest Finger Question
Put the following artists in the order they're going to perform at the 2018 KSCS Country Fest in Grand Prairie, TX.
A: Cole SwindellB: Dustin Lynch
C: Travis Denning😧 Harper Grace

After submitting, or once time is called, the below screen appears, showing the number of seconds taken to complete. Students will NOT immediately see if they got it right or not. We'll show you why in the next picture.


The host reveals the correct order, one answer at a time. He/she will give out a brief description of why that item fits in that order.

(This was taken from October 2018.)

Show Answer

Once the order is revealed, the results are shown.

In this example, from the WWTBAM game show, 4 out of 6 players got the question right (in green boxes). Heather got the answer correct in 1.95 seconds. Only correct responses will have the completion times shown.

If NO one gets the question correct, another question is played. If there is a tie for the fastest time, the fastest students will play again while all the other students sit out. The process repeats until a student gets it right in the FASTEST time possible.

Whoa there! There seems to be a problem here in New Quizzes.

(Ignore the times and scores below, all Fastest Finger rounds are limited to 30 seconds, and scores can only be 100% or 0%.)

The teacher will take a few minutes to review the times and correct statuses.


The time is shown whether or not he/she gets the question right. The main problem is: what if there are two students who got the question right AND finish in 11 seconds, or even ALL students got the question right in the SAME number of seconds?! We don't want to go to a sudden death round or play a game of rock paper scissors! The only thing that I want to see in New Quizzes is showing the hundredths of a second in the Time column (if the Time Limit is set to one minute or less) so that instructors can accurately tell who is correct in the FASTEST time. For example, if Student A finishes in 11.45 seconds, and Student B finishes in 11.50 seconds, Student A wins by only 0.05 seconds.

Another problem to know here is: how to enter ordering questions quickly? A more viable approach is to press the numbers 1-4 that correspond to the items in the right order and tap Submit, but this has not been implemented in New Quizzes yet.


If you use Chrome with touch screen enabled devices (Chromebook, iOS, Android, Windows), make sure you enable Touch Initiated Drag & Drop in the Chrome Flags menu (chrome://flags). However, this will require you to press and hold the item for at least one second in order to move it, which wastes precious time. You should tap the dots to the left of the item and move it up or down.

Chrome Flags

Best Practices

In the education world, Fastest Finger First is used to give students something like a daily warm-up when class begins. The question types are not limited to Ordering questions, but other types are possible without issues (excluding File Upload and Essay questions).

In the example below, students will need to click on the note that answers the question of what that singer's peak vocal range is.

Peak Vocal Range

Tips & Tricks

You can combine minutes and seconds together; however, there is a catch. To do so, first enter the decimal, followed by the main minutes. For example, to set 28 minutes and 15 seconds, first enter .25 (15/60) (this shows up as 0.25), highlight the 0, and enter the desired minutes.

Sorry about that, the hundredths got cut off here.

Time Trick

After entering 28.25 minutes, we get:

28 min 15 sec = 28.25 min

And that's how you fine-tune the quiz timer! One more thing to note. In the past, the sky was the limit; you can set a time limit as long as you want, like days, weeks, months, or even years, but that is no longer the case with New Quizzes. Now, the maximum time limit you can set is 168 hours (or 7 days). The only way to increase this further is from the Moderate tab.

7 day maximum

168 hours


We do not recommend setting below 30 seconds, as the "Time is up" message appears if it takes too long to load. The longer it takes to load, the shorter the time limit will be.

If you submit before the question is loaded, a foul will occur. Even though the time shows 0.00, the score will not count.


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Community Contributor

You may have noticed today there is a new look in Free-For-Teachers. The new responsive layout is here! This layout ensures that the Canvas website looks great on ALL devices, even on smartphones and tablets! See this link Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) for more info.

According to the release notes, Canvas provides a more responsive experience for content scrolling according to web accessibility initiative guidelines. This ensures Canvas continues to meet accessibility guidelines for all Canvas users regarding the vertical and horizontal display of course content.

Local institutions implementing custom JavaScript or CSS through the Theme Editor should review the WAI reflow standards and their current code to ensure no conflicts exist with Canvas pages.

This responsive layout change is enabled by default in the beta environment, but it can also be optionally tested in the production environment until February 2020 with the Responsive Layout feature option in Account Settings.

This feature option is now enabled for Free-For-Teacher accounts at this moment and will be enabled for all other accounts in the production environment by default starting this February.

Here's a sneak peek of what's to come with the Responsive Layout.


The dashboard will look similar to the one in the Canvas mobile apps. Options to start a new course and view your grades are shown at the bottom.

Dashboard RV

Navigating the Menus

The Global Navigation bar (How do I use the Global Navigation Menu as an instructor?) can be accessed from the hamburger menu at the top left. Some items include dropdowns that you can click to expand their menus.

Global Nav RV

The Course Navigation Menu is shown as a down arrow next to the course name.

Course RV

Clicking it will reveal the Course Navigation Menu. Items are clearly marked with their corresponding icons. LTI tools will be denoted by a plug icon.

(We do seem to have issues with the Free-For-Teachers version, where it only shows the first 18 items.)

Course Navigation Menu

Remember, Responsive Layout is available now in the beta environment and will be released to production this February (for all other accounts).

I did not expect the Responsive Layout feature to be released to production that early for Free-For-Teachers, but it makes Canvas more intuitive to use!

What to Work On

Tables still need to adapt to the responsive layout, but we'll get into that later.

We hope you continue to enjoy Canvas as the Winter/Spring 2020 semester begins!

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Canvas Course Evaluation Checklist v2.0

Are you struggling to level up your course design?


Have you ever wondered what you’re doing right in your Canvas course? How about what you should improve upon? We have something just for you! We developed a Canvas Course Evaluation Checklist to level up your course design based on essential, foundational, and exemplary best practices. We would love to help you elevate the quality of your Canvas courses.

Enjoy and please leave a comment with your thoughts!


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Calling all school-level administrators and leadership teams!

Have you ever had a bajillion resources you needed to hand out to your faculty but hate the idea of making all those copies?? Not to mention killing a bunch of trees?! Well, here it is folks… a little something called a Principal Corner course.


What is a Principal Corner?

Principal Corner Course Card


Some K12 districts have a course where the administration team is enrolled as “teachers” in the course (to add and edit the content in the course) and faculty and staff members are enrolled as “students” (so they can access and interact with all the published information). At my school district, we’ve coined the term “Principal Corner” for these type of courses.


If you don’t have one of these courses at your school yet, don’t worry! All you have to do it create a new course and enroll or add all of your faculty in as “students.” 



What is the point of the Principal Corner?

Why have all your faculty and staff enrolled in a Principal Corner course? Administrators are leading by example and jumping right into the deep end of the 21st-century digital learning pool. Think of all of those copies you have to make of resources and that humongous binder you have to prepare and organize at the beginning of the school year. You spend all that manual labor working on such a grueling task and you hand them out to all your teachers during pre-planning. Sure, it’s useful information that everyone needs to know and important resources they will need as teachers, but let’s be serious, who knows if they will ever even reference that binder ever again. 


Why not make it digital?

It will be easy to access, visually appealing, and something that your teachers want to reference the entire year. Utilizing the Principal Corner course as a “One-Stop-Shop” school resource hub could be a lifesaver! As a Canvas Adoption Consultant, I have the pleasure of working with numerous K12 schools and have realized there are so many different ways you can organize your Principal Corner course. 

  • Use modules to organize important school resources such as bell schedules, faculty phonebook and locator, school maps, safety information, faculty handbook, important links… you name it!
  • Upload professional development slide decks and even create a quiz with one question as documentation of their acknowledgment or attendance purposes.
  • Post announcements to communicate out daily school news, important announcements, reminders, and updates to faculty and staff.
  • Add school events, field trips, deadlines for submitting grades, and faculty meetings to the course calendar.
  • Create assignments in order for teachers to digitally submit their lesson plans. They’ll all be in one convenient location and you can easily view who has (or has not) submitted their lesson plans (with a timestamp). You can even create a template with Google Docs and have them submit a Google Docs Cloud Assignment, automating the process for everyone to have an individualized copy!
  • Have faculty participate in a discussion as a place to ask colleagues for any questions they may have, or to share out helpful information. Discussions could also be a great place for teachers to collaborate with their PLC groups.
  • The possibilities are endless!


Take a look at this for some inspiration:

Screenshot of Principal Corner Buttons


Who doesn’t love benefits?

Creating something like this can also help with buy-in. Introducing Canvas this way allows teachers to dive right in and start using Canvas, as well as model all of the different ways Canvas can be used. I personally have witnessed increased usage of Canvas by teachers enrolled in Principal Corner courses. It also gives teachers the opportunity to view Canvas on the student side of things. This way, when students need clarification on how to do something in Canvas, teachers will already have some background information to assist them! Who knows, maybe they’ll even gain some troubleshooting knowledge in the process. 


I imagine you’re thinking, “How would I even tackle something like this?!”

Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy - Start with a plan!

  • What exactly would you like to include in your PC course?
  • How can you organize those resources into sections or categories?
  • Start with a homepage
    • A homepage should provide a visual representation of your course
    • Create a banner or use Header 2, 3, or 4 for a title at the top
    • Include a brief description, introduction, or even a Principal welcome message
    • Create buttons for your different categories (Don’t forget to link those buttons to the appropriate module, page, or resource!)
  • Create your modules and pages
  • Begin placing all of your resources within those modules or pages


Don’t have time to do all the fancy schmancy “design” work?? Not a problem. In the spirit of generosity, I’ve added a Principal Corner Template for K12 Schools to Commons for you to use! For free. You’re welcome.


Principal Corner Template Screenshot


Got some feedback? 

What other information would you consider incorporating into a Principal Corner course??

Does your institution or school have something similar? If so, how is it currently being used? What improvements do you think could be made after reading this post?

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