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julie_magadan
Community Member

Your ideas of Canvas' best kept secrets

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Hi,

I am curious if you would please share your ideas for Canvas' best kept secrets. If you have a workshop coming up for faculty and you want them to say, "Wow, I didn't know you could do that," what would you share with them?  We are past the basics (e.g. embedding audio/video with the media comment tool).

Thanks in advance.

Julie

1 Solution
c_swartz
New Member

I found a few things I really like.

First, the course names the system uses are long.  I can Nickname my courses and see only the short, recognizable version. 

Second, online chat with tech support is a killer.  Those folks know their stuff.

Finally, the flexibility of Pages is great.

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140 Replies
snugent
Community Champion

This post about undelete things is  always helpful

Undeleting things in Canvas

 @tdelillo ​ presented at InstructureCon2014 about this very subject. Her talk had some great tips.

kedgecomb
Community Champion

The undelete function is a must and a life-saver!  Smiley Happy

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

 @julie_magadan ​, the question I'm probably asked most often is how to create Matching quizzes with images​.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Message students who - from the gradebook! So many faculty forget that exists and it's such an awesome and easy way to quickly message students who did awesome on an exam, did not so awesome, haven't submitted something, etc. I use it a lot and am always surprised by the faculty who don't realize it exists! Smiley Happy

kedgecomb
Community Champion

I watched a CanvasLIVE session the other day, and they highlighted this.  I agree that many do not know this exists or forget! 

aliciacr
Community Member

But you can't message individual students, just preset groups. I liked Blackboard's gradebook better.

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gouldt
Community Contributor

I actually offered refresher courses before this fall semester began. When I reminded instructors about the "message students who" feature I had many comment that they had missed that in the initial training and were glad to be reminded of it. It seems like such a simple thing, but it can be used in so many powerful ways by the instructor!

aliciacr
Community Member

But you can not send an email to an individual student, or a group of students of your choosing. The choices available are too limited.

Sent from my iPhone

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The "Message Students Who..." feature is centered around messaging students who meet specific grade related criteria. You can remove students from the list of recipients who will receive a message, even if they meet the criteria (please see more here: How do I send a message to my students from the Gradebook?)

If you prefer to send a message to an individual, multiple students, groups, by role, or even an entire course, you can use the Inbox instead of the Gradebook. Please see more here: How do I compose and send a message?​ and here: How do I send a message to an entire class as an instructor?

Hope that helps!

aliciacr
Community Member

No it doesn't , having to leave the grade book to go to the inbox to send a message is time consuming and inefficient. There needs to be an option to send a message to one or two students from the grade book. Blackboard does it quite well.

Sent from my iPhone

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aolsonpacheco
Community Participant

Yes this feature is great!

ccalderon
Community Champion

Hi Julie! Something I show instructor often that surprises them - the "Move To..." option in Modules (as opposed to clicking and dragging):

162813_Move.gif

Such a small thing, but such a big timesaver!

kedgecomb
Community Champion

Thank you for the reminder!  That is such a great way to move items.  Sometimes users cannot control the mouse as efficiently as they would like! 

brueckert
Community Champion

Based on the responses I get when I describe the feature, many of our faculty don't realize they can create question banks along with quizzes that pull a random number of questions from said banks. This always comes up when I talk about formative assessment strategies.

This thread could be interesting - almost like a bulleted list of training session ideas. Thank you to everyone who responds!  🙂

gouldt
Community Contributor

We have had some difficulty creating testbanks, but we found that when you import the quiz as a qti it automatically goes into the testbank. Just a little FYI for those who might also have noticed this problem.

I am new.  How do you create the banks?

Hey  @brijones ​, check out How do I create a question bank in my course?​ That will get you started. Then check out the "Related Content" area at the bottom of that guide for other relevant guides. If you need any help don't hesitate to ask a question in the Find Answers​ space (How do I ask a question in the Community?​).

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

 @julie_magadan ​, I just thought of a few more:

(1) Using rubrics for assignment grading: You'd think that once you create a rubric and attach it to an assignment, it would populate the grade field in the SpeedGrader--right? Wrong! After you create your rubric and attach it to its assignment(s), you still have to edit the rubric to enable the checkbox "Use this rubric for assignment grading." See: How do I use a Rubric to grade an Assignment?

(2) Editing rubrics: In the same vein, when someone tries to edit a rubric that is already attached to more than one assignment, a scary warning message pops up. After you think a bit about what you're doing, you can generally ignore it and carry on. Smiley Wink

(3) SpeedGrader settings: Many teachers don't realize how powerful the Settings link in the SpeedGrader is. I use it to make sure that only assignments that need grading bubble up to the top so I can go through submissions in order without having to navigate through students who haven't yet submitted. See: How do I sort Assignments in SpeedGrader?

Jeff_F
Community Champion

You are such a gem...!    This will speed up my grading for certain.    

2-8-2016 1-42-53 PM.jpg

Thank you,  @Jeff_F ! That's an awesome feature, isn't it? I would think everyone would want to use it...but it's so well hidden. Smiley Wink

Oh, and if I recall correctly, SpeedGrader settings don't persist upon course copy, so you'll need to remember to set it up once at the beginning of every semester. Now that you know it's there, even if you forget to change the setting, you'll realize it immediately as soon as you navigate to your first grading task.

jen
Community Contributor

Does this sorting feature include if you are using rubric scoring and not grading? We don't care about our rubric "final grade" so we don't have the rubrics set to show those scores in SpeedGrader. If you have it set to "by submission status" will it notice that some have rubric scores and others do not?

jen
Community Contributor

Can you explain this one a bit more? I see this warning and would like to know what it really means:

Editing rubrics: In the same vein, when someone tries to edit a rubric that is already attached to more than one assignment, a scary warning message pops up. After you think a bit about what you're doing, you can generally ignore it and carry on.

 @jen ​, while I can't speak to what that message really means or was intended to mean, I can certainly hazard my interpretation as to the message this warning is meant to convey. Any action to change a rubric will generate that warning message, and I believe it's meant to inform you that you're in the process of editing not only the rubric that appears on the page in front of you but also in other assignments as well. So whatever edit(s) you make could potentially have impact on (1) other assignments and (2) assignments for which you've already used the rubric for grading. That's why I said that in this case, since you're only making the edit so that you can have the rubric automatically populate the grade field, you can carry on through the warning message, as long as you've thought about it.

tellison
Community Contributor

Stefanie,  I have to add that the showing the instructors where the Grade with Rubric is on Discussion Forums is helpful. @https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10187-4152724127   Faculty are so excited with the ease of grading with this addition.

Thank you for mentioning that, tellison‌! Since we're talking about using rubrics to grade discussions, you might be interested in adding your vote and feedback to https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5749-display-discussion-rubrics-by-default 

cholling
Community Champion

Even I often forget where this is -- I know it exists, but since I'm not in Canvas every day (GASP) I forget it's not as obvious as it is with assignments.

sbeck1
Community Champion

Just to add to Stefanie's comment... We had several faculty members that were not interested in using rubrics at all. They felt that it was extra work having to recreate those rubrics in Canvas that they already had in Word documents. Once they realized how using rubrics would actually simplify and speed up grading for them, they were quick to get on board. Added to that, is James Jones's Canvancement for importing rubrics from a spreadsheet, and it is almost a no-brainer. Faculty are excited to use rubrics now.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Yay! So glad  @James ' Rubric Importer helped!

Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

I would say using some of the elements in the StyleGuide.  In your instance of Canvas, if you go to:

http://[InstititutionName].instructure.com/styleguide

...there are some elements there that you can use when designing your course(s) that will give your pages some nice elements...such as accordions, alerts, borders, tabs, etc.  You'll probably need to have a bit of experience with HTML, but some of the code isn't too terrible to figure out.  For example, over in the Instructional Designers group here in the Canvas Community,  @jperkins ​ created an awesome blog entry called Using jQuery without Custom Javascript.  Another one that I've bookmarked is Tabs started by  @brad_hinson . I've certainly learned a lot more just by participating in those threads, and I've even created a resource in our instance of Canvas for our instructors called "Canvas Labs" which gives instruction on how they can use code snippets I've grabbed from the StyleGuide, modify them slightly, and use them in their own course(s).

applem
Community Contributor

Need to test the new elements on a mobile device, also.

Speaking of these features, I read something recently (don't remember where) that with the next upgrade to Canvas many (most?) of these functionalities would no longer work? Do you (or anyone) want to comment on that?

Hi cholling‌...

Since this discussion topic is now no longer threaded, it's difficult to determine which posting of mine you were referencing.  However, I'm making an educated guess you were asking about the Tabs thread I had linked to.  If this is the case, I would recommend that you read through the reply from  @James ‌ in this blog post: Making a Content Page with Tabs.  He has a much better explanation about all of this than what I could provide.  Hopefully, this will help.

julie_magadan
Community Member

Thank you to everyone who has responded!  stefaniesanders, snugent,  @Chris_Hofer ​  @brueckert ​  @ccalderon ​  @kona  these are all great tips.

With much appreciation,

Julie

c_swartz
New Member

I found a few things I really like.

First, the course names the system uses are long.  I can Nickname my courses and see only the short, recognizable version. 

Second, online chat with tech support is a killer.  Those folks know their stuff.

Finally, the flexibility of Pages is great.

gouldt
Community Contributor

Google Docs integration- more and more of our students are using Chromebooks and this feature is amazingly easy to use. Student no longer need to have the document producing software on their computer. They can submit an assignment from google docs in the same place they would upload an assignment. They must have their google account linked in settings.
I found another use for google docs, there is a chrome add on that enables you to record your browser window or desktop along with audio. So if a student creates a presentation in google docs they can narrate it using Screencastify (free Chrome add on). Once they have created the presentation it is automatically submitted in google docs and accessible when they go to submit and assignment.

I really appreciate how Canvas allows such seamless integration with Google.

johnmartin
Community Champion

Thanks for the Screencastify tip gouldt 

Let me also add, although I find the Google Apps LTI falls far short of where I'd like to see it (see https://community.canvaslms.com/message/60636-canvas-google-apps-lti-authorization-failures ) I can still use iFrames to embed a wide-open Google Doc that creates a space where students can freely work, add images easily, etc. Someday we'll get something built into Canvas directly perhaps.

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Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Another little trick that I've been utilizing quite a bit is the Ctrl+K option when creating links to websites.  When editing a course page, highlight the text on the page that you want to create a link to (for example, your school's website, Google.com, etc.)  Then, press Ctrl+K on your keyboard to display this menu:

InsertLink.jpg

Add the URL to the first box.  In the "Text to display" box, this should already be filled in with the same text that was highlighted on your page (in this example, I highlighted the word "link".  In the "Title" box, this is the pop-up text that you would want people to see when they hover their mouse over the link.  Last, the "Target" drop-down can be set to "None" or "New window".  I prefer new window to ensure that my links to external websites open in a new window.

That is the coolest  @Chris_Hofer ​!  I'm totally using this right now Smiley Happy  Great topic  @julie_magadan ​!

- Melanie

Great to see you Melanie! Maricopa still misses you. 🙂