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Canvas Release: Canvas for Elementary

Canvas Release: Canvas for Elementary

This document (last updated 2021-11-10) provides a summary of the Canvas for Elementary feature, which was originally introduced in the Canvas Release Notes (2021-06-19)For specific release updates within this document, please see the releases change log.

The Canvas for Elementary feature creates a digital classroom that reflects the physical classroom experience for elementary students. This change allows teachers to set up a homeroom course and a course for each subject to organize and focus student course participation. 

 

Community Resources

Feature Releases

This document outlines up-to-date functionality for this feature. This document will continue to receive additional updates as indicated in the feature's release change log. Releases are subject to change.

Customer Feedback

Community discussions regarding Canvas for Elementary are welcome in the K12 Canvas Users Group (use the C4E tag).

Feature enhancement ideas are welcome in  Idea Conversations.

 

Feature Documentation

How-to documentation for this feature is included in the Canvas for Elementary User Guides.

Affected user roles:

  • Admin
  • Instructors
  • Students
  • Observer/Parent

Lesson comments are welcome for functionality clarification. Lessons will also be updated with all future enhancements as indicated in this document.

Feature/Integration Setup

Permissions

Users who want to create subjects (courses) must have the Manage Courses: Courses - Add permission.

At the account level, account admins have this permission by default. 

API

This feature involves the following additions:

  • Courses API
  • External Tools API
  • Users API

For details, see the Canvas API Change Log.

Mobile Support

This feature can be used when viewing Canvas using a browser on a mobile device.

The following functionality is available within each mobile app:

Android Student 6.14; Student 6.15

  • Home, Schedule, Grades, Resources; Subjects

iOS Student 6.13; iOS 6.14

  • Home, Schedule, Grades, Resources; Subjects



Release Schedule

This feature was made available in the beta environment as of 2021-05-17. Additional enhancements will continue to be made to this feature as announced in the change log.

As of 2021-06-19, this feature can be enabled in the production environment.

As of 2021-11-10, feature development has been incorporated into the Canvas Releases. Further updates will be posted in Canvas Releases.

Account-Level Setup

Subaccounts

Canvas for Elementary features are enabled via an account setting. The setting can be set at the account or subaccount level. When enabled, this setting affects the Canvas interface for all students enrolled in at least one course within the account or subaccount.

Canvas for Elementary features can be enabled through the Canvas for Elementary (beta) checkbox in the Settings page. Most commonly, this setting will be enabled in an individual subaccount and not at the root account level.

erinhmcmillan_0-1621291113678.png

Additional Features

Blueprint Courses

Blueprint Courses can be used for individual subject courses. The Blueprint Course could be created in a subaccount that has enabled Canvas for Elementary. If used as a homeroom course, the Homeroom Setting should be set in the Blueprint Course. Course Templates can be managed by Canvas admins though teachers may have permission to manage individual content items within an associated course.

Course Templates

A course template can be used to create individual subject courses. If used as a homeroom course, the Homeroom Setting should be set in the Course Template specified for the subaccount. Course Templates can only be managed by Canvas admins. Once a course is created from a course template, the course is no longer associated with the template and can be managed completely by a teacher.

Self-Enrollment

If the self-enrollment option is enabled at the account level, students can join and drop Canvas for Elementary Courses. When a subject’s visibility is set to public and a student views the subject, a Join this Subject button displays in the Course Home Page. Once the student enrolls in the course, the Course Home Page displays the Drop this Subject button.

If the subject is set for students to self-enroll and add via a join link, and a student views the link, the student will automatically be enrolled in the course. However, the student can view the Drop this Course button and drop the course at any time.

Enrollments

Separate courses should be created for each subject. To create separate courses, student enrollments should be current, and admins should allow teachers to manage course subject content. 

SIS data should be provisioned to have separate courses or sections sync from an SIS to Canvas for each subject if possible. If an SIS sync is not possible for an institution, courses can be created manually. 

Students should be enrolled in the course set as the homeroom course as well as all subjects where the student should be enrolled. If students are not enrolled in the homeroom course, they will not be able to see homeroom announcements.

Enrollments can be synced from individual subjects into the homeroom course to be included in recurring SIS synced data.

Course-Level Setup

Homeroom Course

One course should be designated as the homeroom course. The homeroom course controls announcements displayed in Home for students. The announcements also display for teachers as well so they know what announcement is being viewed by their students.

A course can be designated as a homeroom course with the Enable as Homeroom Course checkbox.

Enable as Homeroom CheckboxEnable as Homeroom Checkbox


Once a course is set as a homeroom course, Course Settings only include the Course Details and Sections tabs and allows teachers to specify details for the homeroom course.

Course Details Tab

If allowed by a Canvas admin, teachers can set a course card image, wide banner image, and a course color.

The card image displays for the subject in Home. If no card image is set, the course card defaults to the color set for the subject.

The wide banner image displays as a banner on the subject home page. The banner image will be cropped to a 5:1 aspect ratio. The minimum height should be 100px. If no banner image is set, the home page will use the card image.

The color set for the subject populates for all students across Canvas. If no color is set, the subject defaults to gray.

The Friendly Name field allows teachers to set a nickname for subjects. Friendly names display for all users enrolled in the course and display in the Home page, homeroom announcement, calendar, subject header, Global Navigation Menu, and notifications.

Homeroom Course Settings, Teacher ViewHomeroom Course Settings, Teacher View

 

 

Course Content

The Course Navigation Menu only contains the Canvas features needed to manage a homeroom course: Announcements, Important Info (Syllabus), People, Files, and Settings.

Announcements and Important Info content should be added to the homeroom course to display for enrolled students. Both content areas display to students in Home.

Individual Subjects

Separate courses should be created for each course subject. Courses can be created via SIS or manual process.

Admins should allow teachers to manage course subject content.

Enrollments

Students should be enrolled in the course set as the homeroom course as well as all subjects where the student should be enrolled. If students are not enrolled in the homeroom course, they will not be able to see homeroom announcements.

SIS data should be provisioned to have separate courses or sections sync from an SIS to Canvas for each subject if possible. If an SIS sync is not possible for an institution, courses can be created manually. 

Enrollments can be synced from individual subjects into the homeroom course to be included in recurring SIS synced data.

Homeroom Sync

For manually created courses, the Course Settings page for a subject course includes the Sync Enrollments from Homeroom checkbox. Users can select the homeroom to populate with the current course enrollments.

If more than one homeroom is available, all available homeroom courses display in the drop-down menu.

Once the course details page is updated, enrollments will be synced to the homeroom course. User data synced to the homeroom course includes custom role, role_id, start_at, end_at, and completed_at.

Course Settings Subject SyncCourse Settings Subject Sync

The page displays when a sync is in progress and the date of the last sync. 

 

Enrollment Sync in ProgressEnrollment Sync in Progress

Enrollment Sync CompleteEnrollment Sync Complete
 

Home Features

The Dashboard for K–6 students is called Home and is the default display for all students enrolled in a K–6 course.

Admins and teachers can switch between the Homeroom View Dashboard and the Classic Canvas Dashboard (Card View), even if they are enrolled in a K–6 course. 

  • In the Global Navigation Menu, the Homeroom View Dashboard link displays as Home, while the Classic View Dashboard displays as Dashboard.

Homeroom View DashboardHomeroom View Dashboard

 

The Card View Dashboard includes an option to return to the Homeroom View at any time.

Card View DashboardCard View Dashboard

 

Create Subject

When a subject is created from Home or the All Subjects page, the Create Subject window includes the Sync enrollments from Homeroom checkbox. 

When selected by a teacher, the homeroom drop-down menu displays and includes all homerooms where the teacher is enrolled. The teacher should select the appropriate homeroom that should be synced with the new subject.

Note: When selected by an admin, the homeroom drop-down menu displays all unconcluded homeroom courses.

Create Subject WindowCreate Subject Window 

Home Tabs

Home includes four default tabs: Homeroom, Schedule, Grades, and Resources. The sidebar displays Important Dates as defined by the teacher.

Note: For teachers, Home also includes the To Do tab.

Student Home PageStudent Home Page

 

Homeroom

The default tab in Home is the Homeroom tab, which contains all announcements from the homeroom course and displays any subjects where a user is enrolled. The Homeroom page displays an icon that visually indicates the Homeroom.

Announcements

If created for the homeroom, the announcement displays under the Homeroom tab. If more than one homeroom is assigned, announcements for each homeroom display in the page. By default, announcements are sent to all sections within the homeroom course.

The most recent announcement always displays as the default announcement. Announcements display the date the announcement was posted. Next and Previous buttons are displayed as part of the Announcements section. If the Previous button is disabled, no previous announcements exist for the homeroom.

If no announcements have been posted within the last two weeks, the announcements section indicates the homeroom has no recent announcements. Instructors are able to create a new announcement from the announcements section.

Announcements do not support replies.

Notes: 

  • If no course is set as the homeroom course, the Homeroom tab displays no announcements.
  • Courses must be published for students to view announcements.
  • In individual subjects, the X Number of Announcements Shown on the Homepage checkbox is not supported.

Homeroom AnnnouncementsHomeroom Annnouncements

 

My Subjects

Courses that are created within Canvas for Elementary are shown in the Homeroom as Subjects. Traditionally, elementary students are in one classroom with one teacher teaching multiple subjects per day. 

Separate courses should be created for each subject. Courses may be imported via SIS, created and associated with a Blueprint Course, or copied from a Course Template.

Once a course subject has been created and published, and a student has an active enrollment, the course subject displays in the Homeroom Subjects page. Teachers can publish courses for individual subjects at the time that is right for their students.

Note: For Teachers, the My Subjects section is organized by Published Courses and Unpublished courses.

My SubjectsMy Subjects

The subject name is a friendly name, which can be set by a SIS provider or manual entry by a teacher. The name displays the same way to all students and cannot be changed by students.

Subjects also display items due that day, any missing assignments, and if there are any announcements for that specific subject.

If permission is granted by an account admin, teachers can set the subject title that displays for students. If a teacher has set an image and a course color, the specified image and color also displays for the subject. The color is persistent across all related subject dates and items throughout Canvas.

Notes

  • For institutions that are departmentalized or have other teachers responsible for various subjects (core or specials), students see tiles for every subject that is published by the teacher where they have an enrollment, no matter the teacher. 
  • For teachers, Home displays both published and unpublished subjects.
  • Admins can create new course subjects from Home. When subjects are manually created by an admin, the admin is enrolled as a teacher in the subject.

Homeroom Schedule

The Homeroom Schedule page displays an icon that visually indicates the Schedule.

The schedule displays the date and all accompanying subject tasks and is similar to the agenda that would be written on a classroom whiteboard. Students can view the overview of their schedule by day. This schedule mimics the List View Dashboard, where assignments and pages are added to the schedule based on due date; availability dates are also included if provided within an assignment. 

Missing assignments are shown in the schedule by a warning icon and collapsed by default. When expanded, the missing assignment list displays up to 10 missing assignments sorted by oldest due date. If more assignments are missing, the page displays a Show More link. Each item in the list includes the assignment title, due date and time, point value, and course name. Links direct to the Schedule tab for the subject.

Labels display for an assignment and indicate if the assignment has been graded, has received feedback, or both. 

Student Home, Schedule TabStudent Home, Schedule Tab

Additionally, if a calendar event description or location has a link to a conference, the Join Conference button displays in the Schedule event for the duration of the event.

If the Join Conference button is green with a video icon, the conference is currently active. If the button is gray with a crossed-out video icon, the conference is not currently active.

Schedule with Zoom LinkSchedule with Zoom Link

Homeroom Grades

The Homeroom Grades page displays an icon that visually indicates the Grades.

Viewing grades for a subject displays the grades page that shows an overview of a student’s progress. Parents and teachers can view the grading scheme used for each subject and will show the overall grade for each subject. Clicking the name of the subject will link the user to the Grades page for that subject.

The total grade is displayed if allowed by the course setting Hide totals in student grades summary. If this option is disabled, the grade for that subject will display dashes instead of the total grade.

Grading Periods are also supported in the Grades page. However, the option to view all grading periods at one time may be restricted by the institution.

Notes

  • For teachers, the Grades page displays a link to the Gradebook for each subject.
  • For non-teacher roles, if a course does not include any grades, the page indicates that there are no grades to display.
  • The Grades tab is hidden if the Grades Course Navigation Menu in all other Subjects are hidden. The Grades tab is also hidden if there are no active Subject enrollments.

Student Homeroom GradesStudent Homeroom Grades

 

Homeroom Resources

The Resources page always displays in Home and displays an icon that visually indicates Resources for the course.

Important Info

The Important Info section displays the Important Info content from the homeroom course. Users with edit permissions can edit this page. If more than one course is set as a homeroom course, the name of each course displays above the content.

If the homeroom does not include any Important Info, this section will not display in the page.

Resources with Multiple HomeroomsResources with Multiple Homerooms

Student Applications

The Student Applications section will show the External Tools (LTI) that have been enabled for student use at the account, subaccount, or course level.

If the homeroom does not include any External Tools, this section will not display in the page.

Staff Contact Info

Staff Contact Information is also available to students so parents can reach out if needed. This information is pulled from each of the subjects where the student has an enrollment, along with the contact methods specified for each teacher or TA.

Messages sent to the teacher are sent via the Canvas Inbox.

Important Dates Sidebar

The Home sidebar displays important dates identified by a teacher for an individual subject. Important dates are displayed by date with the most recent date first. Each item in the list includes the course name, the item title, and the icon that represents the item. Items with dates on the same day are sorted by most recent time to latest time, but the time does not display. The title of each item can be clicked for quick access to the item details.

Important Dates Sidebar for TeachersImportant Dates Sidebar for Teachers

Assignments, Graded Discussions, and Quizzes within a Canvas for Elementary subject can be marked with an important date within the assignment content. Anyone who has permission to add assignment details can see the checkbox.

Important Date CheckboxImportant Date Checkbox

Calendar events and assignments can also be marked as important dates as long as a Canvas for Elementary subject is selected. 

Note: Individual user calendars and the Homeroom calendar do not support important dates.

Event CalendarEvent Calendar

 

Home To Do List (Teachers)

For teachers with active enrollments, Home also includes the To Do tab. The To Do tab contains the same information that was previously displayed in the sidebar. Assignments display by due date in ascending order.

Each item in the To Do list displays the assignment name, the course name, the number of points, the due date for the assignment, and the number of items that need grading for that assignment. Some assignments may display multiple due dates.

Teacher Dashboard To DoTeacher Dashboard To Do

Parent/Observer Support

In the Dashboard, Parents and Observers can use a drop-down menu to switch between students. The Dashboard displays only subjects where the selected student is enrolled. Additionally, when a student is selected, the Subjects link in the Global Navigation Menu displays the same subjects for the selected student.

All Tabs in Home also display subjects relevant to the selected student.

Parent/Observer Student Home Drop-down MenuParent/Observer Student Home Drop-down Menu

Pairing Updates

If a parent or observer created their account using a student join code, and their Account Settings page includes the Observing link, the Dashboard student menu includes an option to add a new student via pairing code. 

 

Parent/Observer Add Student Menu in HomeParent/Observer Add Student Menu in Home

If the parent or observer makes a new pairing with a student, once the pairing is complete, the Dashboard displays the subjects for the newly paired student.

 

Individual Subject Management

Home Page

In Canvas for Elementary, the Front Page is called the Subject Home page. When a subject does not have a home page, teachers can view a Manage Home button to add or select a subject home page.

Empty Subject Home Page for TeachersEmpty Subject Home Page for Teachers

 

When a page is selected as the Subject Home page, Subject Home displays below the page title.

PagesPages

 

Individual Subject Tabs

Individual subjects help orient students and only display specific navigational elements as compared to the Home view. The Home Page, Schedule page, and Modules page are subject to course design, as teachers may choose to hide these pages.

Home Page

The Home tab is the first page viewed in the course. It displays any subject-specific announcements as well as the Course Home Page content.

The subject’s home page can be changed as often or as little as the teacher deems appropriate. A front page can be created in Pages and set as the home page. If a course contains Modules, Modules can also be set as the Home Page. 

Teachers can update this page as often as needed, such as if providing a weekly orientation.

Announcements

The most recent announcement always displays as the default announcement. Announcements display the date the announcement was posted. Next and Previous buttons are displayed as part of the Announcements section. If the Previous button is disabled, no previous announcements exist for the subject.

If no announcements have been posted within the last two weeks, the announcements section indicates the subject has no recent announcements. Instructors are able to create a new announcement from the announcements section.

Subject Home Page for StudentsSubject Home Page for Students

 

Public Courses

If course settings are set to allow students to self-enroll and add via a join link, the banner image displays a Drop this Course button once the student has enrolled. The student can manually drop the course at any time.

Self-Enrollment Course with Drop Button in BannerSelf-Enrollment Course with Drop Button in Banner

Course Navigation

The Course Home Page is the first page users view in each subject and is set in the Course Navigation Menu.

By default, the Home link is set as the Home page. If a course contains Modules, the Modules tab also displays to students by default. Therefore, both tabs are visible to students.

Depending on intended course design, one or both tabs can be hidden via the Navigation Menu within Course Settings.

The Home page for the subject can be accessed via the Back to Subject button.

Course Settings Navigation TabCourse Settings Navigation Tab 

Schedule Page

The schedule page is similar to the homeroom schedule, but it focuses specifically on the schedule for the individual subject.

Missing assignments are shown in the schedule by a warning icon and collapsed by default. When expanded, the missing assignment list displays up to 10 missing assignments sorted by oldest due date. If more assignments are missing, the page displays a Show More link. Each item in the list includes the assignment title, due date and time, and point value.

Additionally, labels display for an assignment and indicate if the assignment has been graded, has received feedback, or both. 

Note: The Schedule page does not currently display the schedule for a teacher, but the teacher can view an example of how students will view their schedule.

Modules Page

If the course contains Modules, and the tab is not hidden in the Course Navigation Menu, the Modules page allows teachers to organize their content for their students so they can proceed through course content. Teachers really can organize the modules as they see appropriate for the structure of their content and their students' needs. They can also set requirements and prerequisites as they see fit.

Students can view all applicable content in their Modules page.

Grades Page

The grades page shows more granular information than what was available at the homeroom level. Within each subject, the grades page reflects the student's overall grade along with scores and feedback for each individual assignment that contributed to the overall grade for the subject.

The total grade is displayed if allowed by the course setting Hide totals in student grades summary.

Notes: 

  • The Grades page can be hidden through the Course Navigation link in Course Settings.
  • For teachers, the Grades page displays a link to the Gradebook for each subject.
  • For non-teacher roles, if a course does not include any grades, the page indicates that there are no grades to display.

Resources Page

The Resources page displays the Important Info and Student Applications sections specific to the subject. 

Teachers can edit the Important Info by clicking the Edit icon and viewing the Important Information page.

Note: If the subject does not include any Important Info, the Important Info section will not display in the page. Moreover, if the subject does not contain any External Tools, the Student Applications section will not display in the page. If both sections are empty, the Resources tab will not display at all for the subject.

 

Groups Page

The Groups page acts as a quick resource for subject groups.

For students, the Groups tab displays if there is at least one active subject group. Both automatically assigned and student sign-up groups are supported.

Student Groups TabStudent Groups Tab

 

For instructors, the Groups tab is always displayed and includes a button that links to the group management page.

Groups tab for TeachersGroups tab for Teachers

 

Subject Management

At any time, teachers can view a Manage button at the top of the home page, which provides quick access to Course Settings. 

Once the subject includes an announcement, teachers can also access the Announcements page by clicking the Edit icon next to the course announcement.

Teacher Home Page with Edit and Manage ButtonsTeacher Home Page with Edit and Manage Buttons

Course Settings

The Course Settings page allows teachers to specify details for the subject. If allowed by a Canvas admin, teachers can set a subject image and color. All teachers can set a friendly name for the subject.

The Course Navigation Menu can also be accessed to manage other subject content areas and resources.

Subject Notifications

Subject notification preferences can be customized in a user’s Notifications page. When a user has active subject enrollments, the menu displays the name of each subject. Users can navigate between their subjects and set specific notification options for each subject, if preferred.

Notifications PageNotifications Page

Parent/Observer Support

In individual subjects, Parents and Observers can use a drop-down menu to switch between students. Each subject only displays the names of students they are observing who are enrolled in the course. Profile pictures are not displayed for a student unless the student is selected from the menu.

All tabs in the subject also display content relevant to the selected student.

Note: If a subject is accessed directly from the Dashboard, the student who was selected in the Dashboard automatically displays in the subject.

Parent/Observer Student Subject Drop-down MenuParent/Observer Student Subject Drop-down Menu

If a parent or observer is only observing one student in the course, the drop-down menu is replaced with a label.

Parent/Observer Student Subject NameParent/Observer Student Subject Name

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