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Create and Rename menu items

I have taught online courses for years. I was forced to switch to Canvas this year. It does have a clean overall design, but it is very limited in functionality. 

These are things that I need/am missing in Canvas that would enable my students to succeed in my classes.

1. I need the ability to create additional menu items. I do not want to use Canvas' "modules" as a catch-all for things in my course. I have never used the word "modules" in a class and I do not use them to organize materials. Professors should have the ability to organize the classes in ways that facilitate student learning. This includes creating additional menu items and giving us the ability to rename menu items.

2. I do not give quizzes. I need a menu item named exams. I want the ability to rename the "quizzes" tab to exams. For people who do give quizzes, there should be two menu options, quizzes and exams.

3. There should be a way create questions worth bonus points in exams. Instead of the easy way to do this in other systems (like Blackboard, where you just click "bonus" and say how many points), in Canvas I'm told I have to make the questions worth 0 points then go back in and grade those questions by hand.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there, @susquehannock ...

Sorry that your question has been sitting out here for a while without a response.  I can try and answer your questions for you:

  1. There is a free LTI app (external tool) that integrates with Canvas which you can use to add custom navigation menu items to your course.  It's called the Redirect Tool.  To begin using this tool, navigate to your course "Settings", and then click on the "Apps" tab.  Scroll down the list of available LTI apps until you find and click on the image of the Redirect Tool.  On the following screen, click on the "+ Add App" button to configure the button that you want to make for your course.
    • Just a side note about "modules" ... since you mentioned it.  At our Technical College, even though Canvas uses the word "Modules", our curriculum is designed in "Learning Plans".  Other schools may organize their curriculum by Units, Chapters, etc.  So, as you can imagine, there will be different terminology depending on the school.  We still use the "Modules" page, but when we design our modules, we label the title as "Learning Plan #: {Learning Plan Name}".  We organize all our content via the "Modules" page and hide things like the "Assignments", "Discussions", and "Quizzes" pages because we want our students to use "Modules" to access the content.  I realize this might not be ideal for your use case, but I thought I'd mention what we do.
    • The first bullet point leads to your next question about re-naming menu buttons.  This is not possible in the Canvas interface.  While it may be possible for your school's local Canvas administrator or someone from your school's Online Learning/eLearning department to modify course navigation buttons using some JavaScript code, doing so applies the change to every single course at your school...not just your own course(s).  So, you'd need to have a conversation with your Canvas admin about a change like this to discuss the larger ramifications of what this would mean for other instructors and their courses at your school.
  2. For reasons I've explained above, this is not something I would really recommend (changing the name of the button from Quizzes to Exams).  I totally get that a quiz may have some sort of meaning to people compared to the meaning of an exam.  But, if people are looking for written documentation about Quizzes here in the Community, they will have to look for the Quizzes there are no Exams Guides.  At our school, when a course has a quiz, test, or exam, we just select the Quizzes tool and then name the quiz item appropriately...even though it still falls under the "Quizzes" course navigation button.
  3. Full disclosure, I am not an instructor.  I'm a Canvas administrator at our Tech College, and I do not teach.  However, I do believe you are correct about the extra credit questions in a quiz.  However...I'll admit I am not 100% sure on that, so if someone contradicts me, I'd be happy to be wrong.

I hope this information will be of help to you.  Sing out if you have any other questions about this...thanks!  Take care, stay safe, and be well.