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"Modify Canvas to use Experience Points" Canvas course

"Modify Canvas to use Experience Points" Canvas course

Update (7/20/2017): Recovery efforts have been successful, and then course is back to working!  

Update (2/23/2017): Thanks to those who have participated, I will work towards making this a permanent open course!  

Hello peoples, I am in need of 3+ volunteers to run through a canvas course module that I have designed.


  • Have a Canvas Free For Teacher account (so I can invite you in)
  • Have a FFT course that you can experiment in (i.e. not a live course with real students in it)
  • Be interested in using attrition grading vs subtractive grading (i.e. earned XP)
  • Willing to spend about an hour within the next month to complete and provide user feedback on the module
  • Preferably have not gone through the process already via Randy Orwin's tutorials (linked below)

Full disclaimer, the module content leans heavily on orwinr's great blog tutorials Gaming the System Part 1 and Gaming the System Part 2. I was in need of content to build instructional design around, and thought that this would be useful and do-able in the time permitted.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them 😜

The course is now live! (as of 4/4/2016)

You can check it out and enroll yourself at Experience Points for Canvas.

Let me know if there are any issues with access. The course is set-up so that anyone can look at the contents, except for the discussions. You will need to self-enroll to take part of those. As a Course Reviewer, please take part in those! This should take an hour or less without analysis, so it might take longer than that because of writing out feedback. If you can, set aside that block of time in a quite area so that you can fully concentrate on. If you need to break it up into multiple time slots, there are instructions on the Course Reviewer Survey on how to deal with that.

Thanks! Ready... Set....... GO!!! 😜

Message was edited by: Janell Amely Added live course link


I'd be interested in testing this out and meet all the requirements. Smiley Happy

Yes, sign me up.

I'm signing up for the FFT account now--awaiting the link to confirm.

I will volunteer for this module

Thanks everyone, for being so generous with your future time;p

Speaking of time, I should have been a bit more specific. Still about an hour, but "in the next month" means that I needed to "secure" testers before the module is done, and then run and get feedback on it within the following weeks. So the time that it will be "up and running" should be about Monday, March 28th (possibly a bit sooner).

Sorry for the confusion, unraveling the requirements and due date expectations for this online class has been much harder than it should be 😜 Goes to show that online classes need a more rigorous support structure design for students than face-to-face classes do.

Count me in! Smiley Happy

Quick update, The module is 99% complete, I am just waiting on the instructors feedback to see if they have any further suggestions. My goal is to go live on Monday, April 4th.

Part of the review includes feedback on the quality of instruction (organization, clarity, pacing), and I am curious if there is a preference on how to give feedback? For example, I can write up a Google Doc/PDF/Form to be filled out, and it can be digital or printed/scanned/photoed to get it back to me. Is it easier to write out feedback by hand, or digital?

PLEASE not by hand. That's why I'm in online learning! My handwriting is atrocious! I would vote for a Google Doc or form or anything I could type directly into. Smiley Happy

I will use word or wordpad if i were you. google Docs is not the best place to be doing that stuff.

Question. your post that i volunteered in​, can you tell me what i have to do before April 4th?


I'm interested in volunteering but... I have followed Randy Orwin's advice on setting up XP/points-based gradebook. Although I have not had live students participate in the course yet. Do I still qualify? :smileylaugh:

I'd love to see what you create and how you implement it; I believe I am creating something similar. I would also prefer to give feedback via a Google docs Form please.

Cheers - Shar

Did anyone here hear what i said about Google Docs?

Hi Austin,

You only said Google Docs is not good, but you didn't say why. From my point of view, using a Form (Survey) is a better way to collect feedback that can be anonymous, directed with specific questions, and immediately available since it's collected in the cloud. Plus, Forms can quickly visualize numerical data especially if there's a question asking to rate ease of use on a numerical scale.

I'm usually pretty skeptical about downloading documents that have the potential to become another file that I forgot where the browser downloaded it to, and then have to open another program to access it. And if I'm not at the device where I originally saved the file, forget about it.Smiley Sad

Web-based collaborative document for the win!
Cheers - Shar

I would be interested in knowing your reasoning for not google docs. I could understand if it was super sensitive data that I was collecting that would need an IRB to sign off on it.In that case Google docs would not be an option since it isn't considered secure enough for that type of data.

I'm leaning toward a Google Form to prompt review for each section, but it would have to be left open in a different tab for the entire course, since I don't believe there is the opportunity to save and reopen the form. It would remove a step of collating data for me. Or I could leave the option to add a name and fill out which ever section reviewers get to, and if they have to submit it incomplete, they could start a new one and fill out the remaining sections...

*edited to add not...forget one teeny word and it completely changes the sentence... 😜

For what you would need to do:

  • Have an email
  • Have a course with at least a couple of assignments created in it and a test student

I recently learned about how to make the course open (Thanks 😜 How to make a FFT course completely open? (no login) ), and other options can be set to let each user self-enroll in a couple of different ways.

To enroll (when it is open):

It can be done by emailed link, by secret passcode(?), or by setting the course to allow self-enrollment, and add the link to the front page. This is my understanding, so if it is faulty, I'll figure it out;p

I have never done this on my own before, the classes I have worked with auto fill with students who registered for it months ago. In fact, most of this I have never done/had go live by myself before, therefore the "Review" part of the whole thing. There may be parts that are confusing, completely wrong, spelling/grammar errors, too slow, too fast, takes too much time, boring, not enough images, too many images....

As the designer, I am too close to tell what is and isn't working, so I need several someones with fresh eyes to look at it and tell me what can make it better.

There is also a Pre-Survey and Post-Survey done with Google Forms, and a Google Sheet (spreadsheet) that is relied on pretty heavily in the course, so that may be a problem in some cases.

ishar-uw, although I need several "un-experienced in setting up Canvas XP" testers, I also would appreciate comments from others who have gone through the process that Randy so helpfully broke down. Someone that is experienced with the process can point out issues in the instruction or my judgement for what is helpful in the course. Also, a big part of the course includes posting what you have done (images in a discussion board) which 1) helps others see what you have done/are working on, and 2) allows for taping of a greater pool of expertise.

For example, I have gone through the process of figuring out grading exactly once, and that was heavily scaffolded by my mentor (her class is the one that we gamified), and Randy's blog posts. The rest I am kind of making it up and triple checking as a I go 😜 So I am far from an expert in this!

The course (and multiple surveys!) are now live! You can check it out and enroll yourself at Experience Points for Canvas. ​Let me know if there are any issues with access. The course is set-up so that anyone can look at the contents, except for the discussions. You will need to self-enroll to take part of those. As a Course Reviewer, please take part in those!

This should take an hour or less without analysis, so it might take longer than that because of writing out feedback. If you can, set aside that block of time in a quite area so that you can fully concentrate on. If you need to break it up into multiple time slots, there are instructions on the Course Reviewer Survey on how to deal with that.


Ready... Set....... GO!!! 😜

I have a problem with this course. The canvas that you used this in, is a canvas i don't have. The canvas grade book i have, looks like this:


Hi Austin,

The image that you posted is the student view of the Grades page. The Gradebook is visible from the instructor/designer account. If you are still interested in completing the course on how to setup an entire class to use XP, you can sign up for a Free-For-Teachers account at Create a Canvas Account. Sorry for any confusion this might have caused!

do i create a teacher account? if so, i don't have a phone number.

It depends on your desired end result. Are you planning on designing or teaching a course in Canvas? This "Modify Canvas to Use XP" course is designed for someone who will be teaching a Canvas course at their school and wants to teach with XP instead of only letter grades. Unfortunately a student can't change the classes that they are taking to make it possible to earn XP in, although I wish I could do that with the classes that I am taking! I can only do it for the classes that I am teaching.

As a student, I can change the way that I see my grades by unchecking the "Calculate based only on graded assignments" box that is in the column to the right of my grades, and directly below the "Show All Details" button. That will show me what my grade looks like if all the points I have earned right now are counted against the entire possible points for the course, but it will be in a percentage. To see the amount of point that I have, I can hover my mouse over the bottom dark grey "Total" percent number, and it will come up as points/total points. Like this:


There are still 49 points for me to earn in this class! I hope that helps, and remember to be careful about posting personal information online in pictures Smiley Wink

If you are interested in taking free classes for students through Canvas, try the Canvas Network​ for Massive Open Online Courses(MOOCs).

so you are saying, me, AS A 12 year old student, is allowed to make and/or teach a CLASS??1!!​, I can't speak for​, since it's her initiative--but generally speaking, why not? Smiley Happy

Sure! You would be surprised how much you end up learning when you design a class to teach others. In fact, weren't you speaking about how you wanted to use Minecraft in education? Why not design your own history course where you and your friends build out a medieval city in Minecraft? You can have classes about different jobs (Iron Smith, Farmer, Inn Keeper, Street Lamp Lighter, Beggar, etc), classes on how a village is laid out, and why villages swore fealty to the nobles.

If you did a test run on your friends, where they have to complete the assignments to earn Experience Points, this course would be helpful so that you could setup the experience points. If you are into some deep reading (this is the text book for my graduate students' class), see if you can get the book, "Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age"​. It is a fun read about how teachers can use video games to teach with, and includes a lot about how the author taught history with the video game Civilization. Another good book that you might like is "Teachercraft: How Teachers Learn to Use Minecraft in their Classrooms"​ which you can get for free at that link. Sean Dikkers is an awesome guy, and you can find a lot of videos of him on YouTube.

As for the phone number, do you have to have one? If so, tell one of your parents what it is for and get their permission to use their phone number. I have never been called by anybody at Canvas, but that is the phone number they would call if you reported a problem and wanted to talk with them.


To ALL gamers! i will create a class about terraria

Hi Austin, I moved your last post to its own discussion, since it is now a new topic. Adding a description of your course on what you expect your "students" to learn from your course might help get interested people to enroll in it.

Course Open for "Terraria 5 - 12", Please enroll!

Hi Shar;p

I wanted to say thanks for completing this course, your feedback is really helpful! Once I get a moment for analysis, I will send you a message following up on your specific questions;p

Also, somewhat linked to this is the that orwinr wrote up, but was "discovered" when I started designing this course;p It is up for voting April 6th to July 6th, 2016. Vote if it something that you would like to see modified in Canvas!

To be able to get a whole Unit up and running, i need at least a week or so.

I would love to participate & meet both of your criteria.


What are the chances that you would make this course available in the Commons, so that I and others can use it as a training tool for faculty?

Agent K

Once I have fully completed all revisions from very helpful feedback, I fully intend to share this on the Commons. Since I am still completing the course this project is for, and writing up a ton of stuff about the course and formative evals, etc., it probably won't be till after that course is done (Yay May graduation! 😜 )

With that said, the more feedback from course reviewers that I can get, the better the end result of the course;p

If you have the time to "Beta Test", I would greatly appreciate it!

Although I will be leaving this link live while I do revisions next week (4/18-4/22) I do need to complete any user reviews so that I can write them up and analyze them for a Formative Evaluation report (homework, yay...;p )

For all those who mentioned they were interested:​,​,​,​, and possibly​, If you have the time to complete and/or review the course by this Sunday (4/17), I would greatly appreciate it!

Shout out to ishar-uw who was the first guinea pig, and gave me absolutely amazing feedback! 😜

Alrighty, last time to add your insight on this awesome course on setting up XP in Canvas 😜 *Any* feedback will be highly appreciated, and used to create course version 2. Thanks to everyone who has had an interest in this thread!

When I try to switch my gradebook to grade by points, that option does not

show. When I clock on the arrow on the Total box, the only option that

pops up is "Move to Front". I have tried this in one of my real courses,

as well as a test course. Neither one gives me the option to switch to

points. Any ideas?

On Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 11:53 PM, <

Hmmm...are your real course and test course on the same domain(school)? If so, I wonder if it is an Administrator decision to only allow teachers to use percents, so they disabled that option?

If you are not using a For Free Teacher account hosted by Canvas, you could maybe try that, it will definitely work there. My guess is that you actually want to use points in your course/s, so if that is the case, contacting you school Canvas IT peoples might be the next step.

Thanks for trying, though!

i like it.

Glad that you like it, Austin 😜

Go for your goals, Janell. Don’t give up.

Apologies for the moment of stupid this morning, and much thanks to for reminding me of this possibility in her course feedback!​, is the course that you are attempting to put into points just maybe happen to use weighted assignment groups? If you are using weighted groups, Canvas removes the option to use points! I remember reading that somewhere, now that Kona brought it up on the feedback form, and then realized that that might be the issue with your missing points option 😜 Moment of derp for the day!

To anyone who originally went through this course, if you by chance have the Google Sheets file, "Expected Earned XP", even if it is a modified copy, please tell me! (or share here). I had mistakenly believed that if I had published/shared a Google document, it would not matter if I archived it on a removable hard drive. Turns out I only archived the shortcut, and now the file is gone, and I haven't been able to find it anywhere, not even in my Google Drive Trash. :smileycry::smileycry::smileycry:

If you happen to have this, it would be a life saver, as it had a ton of work in it to make calculating points almost effortless.



I have a heavily modified copy of the spreadsheet, but I'll share what I have and you can recreate it from there.

Good luck,
Cheers - Shar

Thanks Sharmaine! It is officiallly on my todo list!


I was wondering if you have recreated the "Expected Earned XP" Google Sheet? I understand all the concepts in the course but the speadsheet would be very useful!

Thanks so much! 

Thanks for the kick in the booty;p I've been meaning to get back into the course and fix all of the broken links and the template file for a while, but there is always something more interesting to do, especially since I have moved away from teaching/Canvas/gamification in general. 

Everything should be back and working, thankfully ishar-uw‌ was able to send me a good portion of data to rebuild the template;p There is a direct link to the template in the "Course Handouts" module that goes to the rebuilt file. Thanks for your interest!

You are a star! And thank you to ishar-uw for helping you out!

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