Community Novice

cool stuff in Canvas

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So an academic asked me for my top ten *cool things for teaching in Canvas* ... I've got my favourites but seeking inspiration for Canvas hacks that have worked really well for early adopters Smiley Happy

Thanks in advance

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Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi,  @carmen_vallis ‌! Here are a few ongoing discussions that are well worth your time:

Your ideas of Canvas' best kept secrets

Best Kept Secrets - for Students!

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12 Replies
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi,  @carmen_vallis ‌! Here are a few ongoing discussions that are well worth your time:

Your ideas of Canvas' best kept secrets

Best Kept Secrets - for Students!

Thanks so much stefaniesanders  @kmeeusen  laurakgibbs for pointing me to the right places. I love it that I can post a question and get such rich responses and ideas from the community. Smiley Happy

Panda giphy as a token of my appreciation:

Animated group of cute pandas from showing a sense of community and fun

Oh, I have not seen this one before: what a great gif! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!! Thank you!

The link for this seems to be broken 😞  I know it's an old post, but I'd love to see these!

Coach Emeritus

Hi  @carmen_vallis 

I don't seem to be able to attach a document, but when we were first migrating 6 years ago, we shared out our "24 Reasons to Love Canvas."

Below is the text of that document............

24 Reasons to Love Canvas

  1. Speed Grader - cuts grading time by up to 50%.
  2. CanvasDocs - can annotate and grade written assignments without leaving Canvas.
  3. Ease of navigation for students - move forward and backward using the navigation links or next and previous buttons. Control left-side course navigation menu, and content links to documents, discussions, assignments and even quizzes
  4. Communication tools - send a message, send an audio note, or send a video to students from multiple places within your class – including all grading activities!
  5. Rubrics - Add Rubrics to assignments, discussions and quizzes to help student know what is required to achieve a certain grade and make grading the assignment easier. Align rubrics to course and/or institutional outcomes.
  6. Course Analytics - Canvas contains a section for course analytics so you know what the class is doing and when.
  7. Schedule and Course Calendar are linked to assignments so when a date change is made in one it happens in all.
  8. Course Copy – copying content between quarters has never been easier, and Canvas will even automatically adjust the due dates for you.
  9. Course Outcomes - These can be added to a course so you can be sure your assignments align with them.
  10. Notifications - Students can set up how your communication comes to them and how often, and be notified regularly of course activities.
  11. Upgrades - No downtime as the LMS is cloud based.
  12. 3rd Party Application Integrations - Khan Academy and Ted Ed (to name a few) integrate easily into classes from either course level or at an admin level. You can even use the redirect integration to create custom navigation menu items for useful web pages
  13. Help - truly useful help and support features, including all users being able to request or vote on new features for Canvas.
  14. Synchronous Delivery – Big Blue Button web conferencing tool is integrated in Canvas for easy live office hours, live lectures, instructional continuity, live demonstrations and more.
  15. Draft State: publish (make available and visible to students) and un-publish (make unavailable hidden, and not used in gradebook) content in Canvas to provide better access and design control.
  16. Unlimited course sizes – no limit to the use of engaging media.
  17. Notification of Due Dates – Canvas has six different location that remind students of due dates, helping online students to better track their classroom responsibilities.
  18. Modules: Canvas is designed to incorporate content into a native module structure. Modules make it easy to organize content for your students, and make it more accessible to your students
    • The drag-n-drop capability for reordering modules and module content simplifies the course creation process, and supports standardized course structure.
    • Modules greatly simplify course navigation, and is much more screen-reader “friendly” improving accessibility.
    • Module structure permits the hiding of content areas (quizzes, Assignments, Discussions, Pages and Files) further simplifying navigation.
    • Modules can support sequential and laddered instruction by controlling access and forcing sequential movement through module content.
  1. Content Creation tool for modules: this tool not only permits the creation of content, but also the re-use of existing content. Including:

Assignments: create assignment from within modules, and have them populate to the Calendar, Assignments area, and syllabus automatically.

  • Quizzes: create quizzes from within modules, and have them populate to the Calendar, Assignments area, Quiz area and syllabus automatically.
  • Files: Add files to your Module and simultaneously upload them to your files area.
  • Content Pages: create fully customizable content pages in your modules, and simultaneously have them added to the page area.
  • Discussions: create graded discussions from within modules, and have them populate to the Calendar, Assignments area, Discussion area and syllabus automatically.
  • Text headers: create text headers in modules to better control the display of related content materials or activities.
  • External URLs – permitting a web page to be easily displayed within a iframe within the Canvas classroom, thus avoiding external website navigation
  • External tools: that permits the integration of external tools within the modules (such as scored SoftChalk lessons) further simplifying navigation while improving and expanding functionality.
  1. Page Tools: Permit the re-use of course components, and easy construction of in-course navigation links (content links), and also includes a full Rich Content Editor and an HTML Editor.
  2. Virtually unlimited course sizes: We know that media-rich classrooms improve student engagement, but we also know that media files are large. Because Canvas offers unlimited course size, we can use as much media as we need to create an engaging learning environment aligned with course objectives.
  3. Rich-Text Page Editor: Besides the expected features of the page text-editor in Canvas, this editor permits the easy creation and/or upload of media content, and embedding of media from a variety of sources including YouTube, Flickr, Khan Academy, TED, and more than 100 library collections with an HTML Editor.
  4. Group Collaboration Tools: Canvas provides a group structure that creates a virtual sub-classroom within an existing course where students can collaborate in discussions and document creations.


I hope this is helpful,


Community Contributor

I know this can't be the exact list you used when migrating: there was no draft state in 2012! Smiley Happy

(also, check 16 and 22: courses sizes so unlimited, we have to list them twice!)

Community Champion

One word: EMBEDDING.

See snufer‌'s InstructureCon presentation: 

And I am a big fan of embedding Twitter in Canvas:


Yes to Twitter embedding! I actually saw laurakgibbs Canvas Live event on Twitter widgets (like two? years ago), whereupon I tweeted about it (possibly with a screenshot of my success and a caption of "suck it, Luddites!"...but possibly not...)

I've since used the same strategy to get other kinds of widgets to embed into Canvas--Box has a file submission widget that's kind of cool to embed.

Also, Google Cloud and O365 Cloud assignments are kind of great.

Yay for Twitter  @tom_gibbons ‌!!! ... and I don't know if you were using hashtag-based widgets: Twitter discontinued those, but now with Hawksey's TAGS, there is a do-able replacement for a more-or-less live Twitter hashtag widget in Canvas; I set one up for #FolkloreThursday:

Folklore Thursday: Twitter4Canvas 

And I'm not a 365 user, but my school IS a Microsoft school, so now you have made me curious if anybody is doing O365 stuff with Canvas at my school. I am bookmarking that CanvasDoc to share: THANK YOU! 🙂

Community Novice

Some of them are so simple, but here's a little one that I like.  Canvas rich editor recognizes links.  So, instead of typing out the text you want to use for the link, clicking on the 'link' button, clicking on the right box, and then copying/pasting the link into it, just select that text and hit paste.  Canvas will automatically make the text the link for you.  If you want more control over your link (such as forcing it to open in a new window), using CTRL-K, rather than hitting the link button in the editor, will give you advanced features.

Community Novice

Use the commons!  You can share modules with yourself, and changes made to one can be propagated out to other courses using them!  I have some general purpose modules that I keep up to date in this way.  If I find a problem, I just fix, upload, then push the change out to all my other courses.  I love this feature.

Community Novice

Hi  @carmen_vallis 

  1. The Community, searching for similar questions and using all the helpful posts to make courses amazing
  2. Vimeo | The high-quality home for video hosting and watching  (Good to keep videos private and easy to embed and update as you go)
  3. Using HTML5 for interactive activities, I prefer H5P – Create and Share Rich HTML5 Content and Applications  
  4. Tabs in courses, to break up the pages
  5. This awesome post for changing that horrible audio icon to something cleaner! Canvas audio link size  
  6. Search posts by James Jones he has some great ideas and content information
  7. I embed podcasts, twitter and other feeds in to pages
  8. Using Badgr within courses
  9. I made an image mapped image to make a cool clickable homepage, you could try something like this one Image Map Tool - On-line Image Map Creator - HTML & CSS |  
  10. We use Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom links embed within modules to run online training sessions
  11. Putting banners, pictures and other "good-looking" material in to freshen up the pages
  12. The use of creative and customised buttons to direct page use rather than clicking next
  13. Using the inline view of pdf's within pages rather than directing them outside of Canvas
  14. Using flipbooks to embed policy manuals within the pages so they can read them directly within the pages
  15. Using (self teaching to figure it out) some html basic code for other changes within pages

Feel free to reach out to see some in action or chat further.

Cheers, Jacob