With the introduction of Apple Silicon at last week's Apple WWDC 2020, the Mac is ready for the most significant transition of all time! Will we see Canvas Mobile Apps on macOS for the first time? The truth lies below!
Well, you might think that it is Apple's version of Intel's x86 chip, right? Wrong. Apple Silicon is using ARM processors (the AXX processors found in many iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad).
Chart showing the features of Apple Silicon
ADVANCED POWER MANAGEMENT With advanced power management, performance and battery life will improve, better than ever before.
SECURE ENCLAVE Secure Enclave will bring best-in-class security, and Apple's high-performance GPU is going to deliver better graphics performance to every Mac. This enhancement makes them even better for professional applications like Final Cut Pro (post-production video editing), Motion (motion graphics), Compressor (video encoding), and high-performance games.
NEURAL ENGINE AND MACHINE LEARNING Combined with Neural Engine Technology, Apple Silicon chips will make the Mac a fantastic platform for machine learning.
OTHER TECHNOLOGIES Apple is also bringing many other custom technologies, such as video-display and image-processing engines, that will help make the Mac better than ever before.
Why make the switch from Intel to Apple Silicon?
The transition will establish a universal architecture across all Apple products. It makes it far easier for app developers to create their apps for the entire Apple ecosystem (not just iOS products, but also Macs as well).
(Running mobile apps on the desktop has been made possible for Chromebooks when Android apps and Google Play were introduced.)
Until WWDC 2020, there have been a total of three significant transitions in Apple's history.
1994-1996: Transitioned from 68k processors to the PowerPC architecture
2001-2003: Transitioned from Mac OS 9.2 to Mac OS X (the latter now known as just macOS)
2006-2007: Transitioned from PowerPC to Intel processors (the computer that I am typing this post on is from an Intel-based Mac)
January 2006: Mac OS X 10.4.4 was released, supporting the Intel architecture for the first time
June 2006: First Macs with Intel processors started shipping
June 2007: Transition almost complete
August 2009: Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard dropped support for PowerPC based Macs. Support for PowerPC-only applications still supported on this version, however.
With WWDC 2020, Apple has announced two more major milestones.
2020-2022: Transition from Intel processors to Apple Silicon is underway
2020-2021: macOS Big Sur (11.0.x) will be the first version to support these processors. After nearly 20 years, macOS finally moves from version 10 to 11.
Will there be any impact?
App developers can easily convert the apps they have created for iOS products to run on the new Apple silicon to take advantage of its latest technologies and performance. And for the first time, developers can make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without having to modify the code. That would mean that the App Store could merge into one unified store in terms of Apple platforms (currently, there is one App Store for iOS, another one for the Mac). For Canvas Mobile developers, there won't be a huge impact; there is no need to rewrite the entire source code from scratch.
The Transition Process
Even though Apple will ship the first Mac with the new Apple silicon processors by the end of 2020 and complete the transition by 2021-2022, Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for years to come, at least until 2025-2026. Furthermore, Apple will continue to sell new Intel-based Macs in the future. The transition to Apple silicon processors represents one of the most significant milestones in the history of the Macintosh.
Universal App Quick Start Program
The Universal App Quick Start Program (UQSP) includes all the tools and resources developers need to build, test, and optimize their next-generation Universal apps for macOS Big Sur. For $500, in addition to developer resources and one-to-one technical support, Apple will send a Developer Transition Kit (DTK) for developing and testing Universal apps. The program will last no more than a full year.
(We don't know if the $500 fee is for an individual or an organization.)
Developer Transition Kit 2 (DTK-2)
(This is actually a Mac Mini, but with an Apple A12Z Bionic processor instead of an Intel Core processor.)
While some developers think of the DTK-2 as a gift from Apple and want to keep it as a token of appreciation, that isn't really true. According to the terms and conditions, the DTK-2 is the property of Apple. Developers must return the kits to Apple within 30 days following the conclusion of the program. The first time the UQSP program occurred was back to 2005. It cost $1,000 to join, and Apple gave developers a DTK-1, which is a Power Mac G5. As with the new DTK-2 devices, those Macs also had to be returned at the end of the program, although Apple did provide participants with a free first-generation Intel iMac in return.
Canvas and the UQSP
Now, back to Canvas. The main topic is: How can Instructure optimize the performance and layout for Canvas Mobile on macOS? We know that there is a Responsive Layout on the web version of Canvas, and resizing the width changes the view. We want to find out how the layout will look like for Canvas Mobile running on macOS.
Here is a look at Canvas Student on the iPhone in portrait orientation, showing the Assignments page of the Math 3 course. Below it lies the Course Navigation links. Even though it may look similar to the Responsive Layout for the mobile web version of Canvas, the title bar (Assignments - Math 3) is not clickable to get to the Course Navigation page with these same links.
Now, let's look at the iPad view of the History 101 course. It resembles more of the desktop web version of Canvas, with the Course Navigation links on the left side.
What that means is that there are currently some inconsistencies between Canvas Mobile and Canvas Desktop. It's not just the title bar that can open the Course Navigation menu on the iPhone, but also resizing and scaling for font size and accessibility.
What I want to see in Canvas 7 is the ability for Mac users to resize the app window, switching between the iPhone view to the iPad view, and vice versa.
Mobile View (Apple and Google platforms only)
There needs to be an option to open the course content in the Canvas Mobile Apps.
Mobile View is not available for Windows 10 since Windows 10 Mobile support ended back to January 2020.
The following items are supported in Mobile View:
Conversations & Notifications
Clicking the Mobile View button will pop up this dialog. If you are enrolled as a teacher, you can choose to open the content in the Canvas Teacher or Student app to see how the content will look like as a teacher or student, respectively.
(If you do not have the corresponding app downloaded, it will redirect you to the app store for the platform you are running (App Store for Apple platforms, Play Store for Google platforms).)
(This does not work correctly for Canvas Parent, as parents can only view assignments, course events, grades, and the front page for a student within that app, not other portions of Canvas.)
There are potential issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible to optimize the mobile experience for the Mac. Here are a few.
QR Code for Mobile Login does not work on the same device
This feature is designed to work on two devices at the same time: the desktop platform displaying the QR code, and the mobile platform scanning the code. In order to fix this issue, biometric technologies may need to be used (i.e., Touch ID and Face ID on the Mac; Pixel Imprint on the Chromebook).
(When enabling biometric login for a certain device, users must reenter their Canvas password for security reasons.)
FINGERPRINTS AND TOUCH ID Will the same fingerprint work for additional Canvas institutions added through the list when Change User is selected? We don't want 5 fingerprints each representing a different institution, making things more complicated! (Up to 5 fingerprints can be added on a single device with Touch ID.)
FACE ID Things may get complicated with Face ID on Apple products including the iPhone X series, iPad Pro 3, and later devices. One scenario is that if your parent's or sibling's face looks just like yours and breaks in (Scenario 1)! Another scenario is when you can successfully authenticate when you are really young, but not when you grow up (Scenario 2). According to Apple, the statistical probability is different for twins and siblings that look just like you, and among children younger than 13 years old because their distinct facial features may not have developed fully, making them unnoticeable until they grow up.
Scenario 1: Twin stuffed animals acting as siblings (younger one on the left). Assume that the registered face is that of the younger sibling. If they were real humans, will Face ID succeed on both of them, or will it only succeed on the younger sibling?
Scenario 2: Age progression of the same person (6th grade on the left, senior year on the right). Notice that her facial features are more noticeable as a young woman on the right.
Incompatibility with Intel-based Macs
As of right now, there are no Macs that run Apple Silicon processors. Doing a search for Canvas Instructure in the Mac App Store will not return any results. Apple Silicon is an ARM type of processor, and the first Apple Silicon Macs may arrive for consumers before the end of the Fall 2020 semester.
Seriously? No Instructure desktop apps for the Mac?
Lack of touch screen support
When there are iOS apps running on a Mac with Apple Silicon, not having a touch screen can be a problem. What if a teacher needs to make annotations on images using the Apple Pencil when he/she forgot to bring in his/her iPad? Not having a touch screen hampers the process.
In the MacBook Pro series, there is already a touchpad and a Touch Bar. A touch screen would be excellent, bringing all the multi-touch gestures from iOS to the Mac. An Apple Pencil puts the icing on the cake.
A teacher grades a random student with a caption and drawings from the iPhone.
Lack of augmented reality (AR) support
Even though AR support is available since Canvas 6.5, there is no rear-facing camera on MacBooks. There should be a MacBook Duo to resolve these issues. (MacBook Duo is a fictional name for a 2-in-1 Apple Silicon MacBook that looks similar to the iPad Pro with a detachable touch screen and keyboard, but runs macOS instead of iOS. This has not been officially announced by Apple yet, at least until Q1-Q2 2021.)
Augmented reality files use the USDZ file extension.
SpeedGrader annotations gone wrong
Another issue is the orientation of SpeedGrader annotations. In the example below, both the image on the Mac and on the iPad are both in portrait mode without any problems. A teacher performed his grading on the iPad with Apple Pencil, and it was OK. The graded annotations were on the picture in portrait mode, as you can see in the image below. When going to the Mac to check it out, the annotations that he did on his iPad shows up in landscape mode, which is different from the image from the Mac.
The orientation of annotations on an image can be annoying. With five questions wrong in Part I and 12 wrong in Part II, what did the student really miss?
"I can't read this. Can someone help out?"
When we tested Canvas Mobile with Chromebooks on displays with very high resolutions (Pixel Slate), we found out that the font size is too small and unreadable on the default accessibility settings. Canvas Mobile on Mac really needs to address this accessibility issue ASAP.
The font size is too hard to read when using default accessibility settings for Android apps.
One font for all platforms
I've been a fan of typography ever since I got used to the December 2016 facelift of Canvas (Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-12-10) > Other Updates > User Updates > Global Font Update). The Lato font needs to be included in not just the web interface, but the mobile apps and the new community (New Community Almost Here) as well. This makes the experience consistent across all Canvas services.
There are two Canvas Apps that haven't been updated for a long time. Here's why they need to stay and not be delisted.
Polls (last updated 9/7/2017)
The Canvas Polls app is an easy way for you to request students' opinions in the classroom and collect responses with ease. They only need to download the Polls for Canvas app on their smartphone devices. A teacher uses his/her Mac as a hosting device, while his/her students use their smartphones as responding devices.
Sample Polls screen showing a sample question from the hosting device. In this case, the correct life span of captive pandas is between 25-30 years (marked with a blue dot).
MagicMarker (last updated 5/19/2016)
The MagicMarker app is an efficient and effective way of recording the mastery of learning outcomes in the classroom. This syncs with the Learning Mastery Gradebook in Canvas (How does MagicMarker appear in the Learning Mastery Gradebook?). Tables created in MagicMarker are different than the groups you create in Canvas.
The MagicMarker app syncs with the Learning Mastery Gradebook. You can separate your students into groups and even export the data.
I hope that the Canvas Mobile team gets its hands on the UQSP and DTK-2 soon! Believe me, when the new students arrive for the Spring 2021 semester and beyond, Canvas users can set up mobile apps for grading notifications, due date reminders, and vice versa. When TestFlight for Canvas 7 comes out, educators can demonstrate how Canvas Mobile on Silicon really works and what really needs to be tweaked. Remember, we don't want students to leave out negative course evaluations in the Mobility section (if listed). (TestFlight invitations are limited up to 10,000 users, so be quick to join in once the TestFlight program starts!)
Everything’s green and the driveway is covered in sidewalk chalk and life is totally normal, so that means it’s time for a mobile update!
As you would expect, all of our teams have been racing to remove impediments to remote learning in Canvas for most of the past eight weeks. The Canvas mobile teams, for their part, have shipped 20 updates over the same time period across all apps and both platforms. Here are some highlights of those updates in case you missed them.
QR login. Logging in can be hard on multi-tenant platforms. It’s harder still on multi-tenant platforms that allow for vanity domains and web portals and multiple authentication providers and cross-listed courses. Not only do you have different keys for different people, but you have multiple locks on each door! You can think about finding your school in the Canvas mobile apps as an adventure in getting you to the proper door and lock. But the happy path on this adventure can get narrow, and there are dragons in these woods! With the addition of QR login, we submit that if you’re already through the door, you’re allowed to bring your phone through the door, too. There’s some tweaking underway on the implementation, but with well over 100,000 successful QR logins so far, the concept is working to reduce unnecessary friction.
Conferencing upgrades. Since video conferencing usage is up, we wanted to make it easier for students to join conferences from mobile devices. If you use BigBlueButton for conferencing in Canvas, the student mobile experience is significantly better than it was a few weeks ago. We created a native conferences list, and more importantly, we added alerts for active conferences to students’ dashboards so they can join conferences as soon as they launch the student app. That alert looks like this:
Student View. With more course content than ever making its way onto Canvas, we wanted to make it easier for teachers to see how students experience their courses on mobile devices. You can launch Student View from within any course in the teacher app to be redirected to the student app as Test Student. That flow looks like this:
We have a few other irons on the fire, namely improving discussions, exploring a lightweight offline mode, reducing friction in parent/student pairing, and something about confetti. If there’s something we can do to boost your sanity or better serve your students, make sure you've created a feature idea in our Ideas space—post the URL to your idea in the blog comments, and we’ll see what we can do!
I am the Instructor of Business Office Administration Course via Online Class Instruction. With COVID-19 we started our online class instruction journey with continued communication and connection via Canvas Conferences Join with out students.
The connection between the LIVE class schedule with online instruction was key for ensuring there was no separation of school learning, no pausing in rhythm and no disconnect. Thus I started meeting daily at 8AM for morning roll call, announcements, and instructions on daily task assignments assigned via Canvas Conferences Join. We also continued to do a daily afternoon conference join for roll call, announcements, and live activities at 1PM which consisted with real class schedule of returning from lunch (1pm).
By the second month we agreed to change the AM Canvas Conferences Join to 9AM to better fit with everyone's schedule at home, since many had kids. Below are the instructions for our Daily AM and PM Canvas Conferences Join.
You must log in to Canvas each morning and afternoon for mandatory roll call attendance via Conferences Join (Set times 9AM-10AM and 1PM-2PM, times may be changed).
During the Conferences Joins we cover: Instructions, Live Practice Activities, Updates, Briefed Lectures and Important Announcements. The Conferences Join has been wonderful for us to touch base together as a whole class, and for me to provide my BOA students with briefed lectures.
Canvas Conferences Join has worked to cover roll call via the Shared Notes section (see sample attached). They all know to go to Shared Notes as soon as they Join and sign their name! I have Live Q & A from students via Chat on going through out the lecture, as well the students interact act with each other on the Chat. I upload my google slides to start the presentation and in conjunction share YouTube Videos that correspond to the lectures which can easily be shared via the Share a Video tool, as well as Share my Screen to show them a document or a web site that I want them to view.
The students know the time we are scheduled to have our Conference Join and login to Canvas at that time to click Join. The great thing is that Canvas also send an email alert and it sows up in the Dashboard for easy access! I love Conferences Join and highly recommend it to connect with your students on a daily basis during COVID-19 Online Instruction.
We usually talk about the risks of having your smartphone or tablet close when you are studying, since they are an inexhaustible source of interruptions and distractions. But these devices can also become your best allies if you use them properly. Would you like to know what are the best apps for students ? Keep reading because we have compiled the best Apps for students like you.
It is undeniable that the mobile, along with other devices, has become an inseparable companion in our day to day. We use it for countless things, perhaps making and receiving calls has become secondary. We use the mobile to communicate with friends and family, listen to music, exercise, practice meditation, etc. And for each of these functionalities we use an application. If you are a student, why not make the most of your mobile for this important part of your life?
The applications that we can use to study can help you take notes, organize your study time, save and organize documents, stay focused, learn languages, etc. And all these applications are in your app store (App Store or Google Play) with just one click. But since we know that the world of apps is an almost infinite universe, we have thought that it would be very helpful for you to know some of the best apps that you can use when studying.
This application is one of the most powerful on the market to manage notes and take notes, since it allows you to capture information in different ways: written, web or screen captures, photos, voice notes, video, PDF, ... One of the things The most interesting features of this app is being able to combine documents of different types, such as making a handwritten annotation on a photo captured at the moment and another on file, or taking a web capture and adding an audio file, a document and a photo ... You can also attach documents from the Office package.
With Evernote you can organize all your documents and information, and you can access them from your computer, mobile or tablet, since it allows the synchronization of the application in real time with all your devices. In addition, it also allows you to work online with other users and synchronize shared files. Without a doubt, a very interesting application when taking notes and organizing all this documentation.
Evernote has a free version, which is limited, and a paid version. It is available on iOS, Android, MacOs and Windows.
The One Note application, from the Office 365 package, is another of the most notable when it comes to managing documents and taking notes. It allows you to type on the keyboard or by hand, as well as take voice notes, draw, cut out web elements. It is also possible to draw with it thanks to its flexible canvas, as well as digitizing the notes you have on paper.
Like Evernote, One Note allows text search in all those notes that you have taken by hand, as well as in the documents that you have scanned. This functionality is very useful when you have to search for a specific text or document.
One of the remarkable things about this application is the possibility of working online with other users, so that everyone can modify or complement the initial content. In addition, being the property of Microsoft, it allows you to work perfectly with the other applications of the Office package. It has a simple and modern interface. All this makes One Note one of the best apps for taking notes and organizing documentation. It is available on iOS, Android, MacOs and Windows.
Google Docs, also known as Google Docs, is the word processor for Google's office suite. You will find this application installed by default in smarphones that have the Google operating system installed, as well as in chromeboks. In case you have an Iphone or iPad you can also install it. And of course, you can work with Google Documents from any browser.
We have chosen this application because you can always take it with you, regardless of the device you are working on, you will have access to all your documents, create new ones and modify existing ones.
Google Documents allows you to work without an internet connection, and the moment you reconnect it will update the changes you have made. All the documents you generate will be automatically saved in the Google cloud, so they will always be accessible and safe.
One of the characteristics that we like the most is the way in which it facilitates collaborative work, since you will be able to invite other users to work on certain documents, so that you can work simultaneously on a class assignment with the rest of your team members.
Google Calendar is Google's calendar, and you can access it from your Google account. In this calendar you will be able to organize and plan your entire student life, from marking the days and times of your exams to planning and blocking time to study next week. Without a doubt, a calendar is an indispensable tool for the organization and planning of the study, and we think that the Google calendar is one of the best options.
In Google Calendar you can schedule your events, enter reminders and set your goals. The reminder works as an attached note that will appear at the time you schedule it and you can delete or postpone it once you see it. These reminders can be punctual or periodic. The objectives are set by you, and the app gives you different options on what you want to do. Once you set your goals you can choose the frequency with which you are interested in carrying out the activity and the application will find a place in your schedule so that you can carry them out. If what you want is to add an event, the app allows you to differentiate it with colors and add photographs, files or alarms for your events.
In the application you can configure different views (day, week or month) which will allow you to see at a glance the month's planning or see in more detail everything you have to do during a specific day. In addition, Google Calendar is synchronized with other Google applications, such as Gmail.
Like the other applications in the Google office suite, this application is free and available on iOS and Android, as well as on the web.
Todoist is one of the best list and task management applications. You can easily enter all the tasks you have to do and classify them into folders to organize the scope of each task (studies, work, staff, etc.). You can also assign labels to the tasks to later filter them (for example, you can put the computer label for all those tasks in which a computer is necessary to perform them).
Like most to-do and task management apps, you can set deadlines and reminders for your tasks. In this way, if you have to deliver a job within a month, you can set the deadline for the delivery date and a reminder a few days before so that you do not forget.
Todoist allows collaborative work, that is, it allows you to share tasks with other people and thus manage teamwork more easily. In addition, this application has a gamification part that aims to boost your productivity, since the more tasks you complete, your "Karma" will increase.
Todoist has a free version and a premium version, which is paid. In addition, you can use this application on all platforms.
This app is based on the Pomodoro technique. With it you can plan the time you dedicate to each job and divide it into time intervals. It is a simple application that will allow you to stay focused and focused for a period of time.
Be Focused allows you to personalize the time you dedicate to each work interval, as well as the time dedicated to short and long breaks. In addition, you can visualize in a graph your progress to know how much time you have dedicated to each task. Simple and effective, basically a Pomodoro timer. Available for iOS.
Forrest App is an application, based on the Pomodoro study technique, that will help you stay focused during your study sessions or work. We love this app because it adds a touch of gamification to avoid interruptions during periods of concentration.
How does the Forrest App work? It is very simple, you program a task and you start the clock. Right now you are planting the seed of your virtual tree. During the next 30 minutes your tree will grow, until it becomes a beautiful tree after 30 minutes of concentration. Every 30 minute period you will get a new tree until, little by little, you will get to have your own forest.
What happens if during your 30 minutes of concentration you leave the application and go to consult Instagram or answer a WhatsApp message? Well, your tree will die, and if you are a good person you will feel bad. It is a visual and enjoyable way to be clear about the time you have been able to stay focused and be productive. The best? You will be able to exchange your virtual trees for real ones and with your study time you will contribute to reforest endangered areas.
QR for Mobile Login (Available starting March 28 for students, April 4 for teachers and observers)
This feature appears in the Canvas Student 6.7 Release Notes and is now available in the Ready Release Notes (Ready Release Notes (2020-03-28) > Updated Features > User Navigation > Mobile App Login QR Code).
For teachers and observers, the QR code login will be available for the Teacher and Parent apps beginning April 4, 2020. Go to Ready Release Notes (2020-04-04) > User Navigation > Teacher/Observer Mobile App Login QR Code.
QR for Mobile Login. This is already available in the beta environment and will be available in the production environment in the first two Ready Releases on March 28 for students and April 4 for teachers and observers.
Once you click on it, to log in to your Canvas account when you're on the go, just simply scan the QR code from the Canvas Mobile app (Change User > QR Login (below Find My School)). The code expires after 10 minutes, after which you will need to start the process over.
Sample QR code. For security reasons, we had to wait 10 minutes before posting this so that the code is invalidated.
Native Conferences List
You can view any conferences made within Canvas from this section. Webviews are no longer used. Students can join in by tapping the green Join button.
WHAT ARE CANVAS CONFERENCES? Canvas Conferences is a free service provided by BigBlueButton. If your institution is likely to need more than 10 concurrent Conferences powered by BigBlueButton, we recommend upgrading to Premium BigBlueButton or exploring alternative conferencing solutions Canvas partners with, such as Zoom, Hangouts, Teams, and other video conferencing tools who are offering free or discounted services. Learn more. Not all of these services may be supported by your institution. Please contact your local admin for more information.
Sample conference. There is no Join button because the conference has not started.
There are some experimental features in the iOS version of Canvas. Unless stated otherwise, experimental features are available in both the Student and Teacher apps.
(Those are view-only, just ignore them. Only our production team can control these features remotely.)
conferences (TEACHER ONLY) Enable the native view for the Conferences in the Teacher app.
favorite_groups You can view your favorite groups in the Groups tab.
simple_discussion_renderer We don't know what this is, but it may render discussions faster in areas with low-bandwidth, hence the name Simple Discussion Renderer.
graphql_speed_grader Enables the GraphQL data query engine for the SpeedGrader. Learn more.
parent_calendar (TEACHER ONLY) This is useful if parents want to notify their child's teacher about certain events, such as a doctor's appointment. This can come handy for teachers to mark absences as excused.
student_calendar (STUDENT ONLY) It allows you to access your own calendar that is not part of any course.
qr_code_login_enabled (STUDENT ONLY) This refers to the QR for Mobile Login feature above, which will be enabled on March 28 for students and April 4 for teachers and observers.
There is a more responsive layout, though we haven't tested it yet.
Want to learn more?
Please stay tuned to the Canvas Mobile Release Notes space (Release Notes: Mobile) over the next few days to get a broader look at these features. We hope you continue to excel!
Right now, there's a lot to balance, especially if you're moving a face-to-face class completely online. Canvas Mobile will allow you to access the Canvas features you need the most frequently efficiently and allow you to be more flexible with where, when, and how you access coursework. With three different apps, there's a lot of information available. We're going to do our best to collect the essentials for you to browse and then you can continue on with your teaching/learning/parenting experience.
Before going on, it's important to take a moment and share that all Canvas users, including those who use the Free For Teacher version, have access to the Canvas Mobile Apps. While users associated with an institution search for their school or enter the [institution].instructure.com when signing-in, Free For Teachers use canvas.instrucutre.com.
At Instructurecon 2019, we presented Let's Role with Canvas Mobile with the goal of helping others understand the different roles in Canvas that match up with the apps and features in the role-specific apps. You can watch our presentation, too: .
Canvas Teacher is designed for instructors and faculty members. This app is a great way to publish/unpublish items, view student progress, grade/provide feedback, and make small adjustments to assignments when you're away from the computer.
Canvas Parent is designed for family members or advisors who observe students. You'll use your observer credentials to sign-in to Canvas Parent.App users can set notifications on a per-student basis to keep notifications to the essentials and make it easier to see academic expectations and progress.
There are so many resources and lessons we could share, but we hope that this provides you with a starting-point with Canvas mobile. If you have any questions, please ask! We'll do our very best to find a solution, direction, or connection. We keep a close eye out for new discussions in Canvas Mobile Users Group, and we watch for questions in Q & A.
In providing support for faculty and courses, certain best practices have been validated repeatedly.
One of those is optimizing Canvas content pages to increase the likelihood your students will actually see and use them!
Unpack Course Documents to Become Canvas Pages
When new instructors are transitioning to Canvas, the process can be overwhelming. An unfortunate, frequent shortcut is to simply “link” documents like the Syllabus or assignment instructions. This may appear to be a quick solution—but only for one semester. When the complexity of updating increases, the missed opportunity to apply best practices becomes apparent through extra hassles and files housekeeping over time.
“A shortcut is the longest distance between two points”— Charles Issawi
Bad reasons to Link documents in the RCE or Modules:
Lower faculty skill-level or understanding of Canvas. Links to files are all the instructor knows how to do.
Instructor already has a big Masterfile with .pdfs and WordDocs that hasn’t been changed in years.
Imaginary threats, like the fear that students will change the Syllabus and argue some detail with the instructor.
Student UX hogwash! Courses have always been a big stack of papers to manage. Why suddenly make life easy for short attention spans?
Document was made on an old typewriter (or on MSWord) with lots of tabs and spaces to center the text. It will be a nightmare to learn the Word ribbon tool at this late date.
Signs that .pdf/.doc overuse is an issue
The course files area has 6 old versions of the Syllabus from which to choose.
Course content is not updated because the instructor can’t locate their original doc for editing.
Students don’t read the syllabus.
Instructors don’t understand why students don’t read the syllabus. See hint.
Hint: Students are looking on an iPhone and don’t want to clog up their memory by accidentally downloading that 10-page Syllabus yet again,plus the document opens in a tiny viewer in a 1 pt. font. Instead, use Canvas content pages to stream beautifully!
Instead of waiting for increased difficulty all around, consider unpacking your .docs into Canvas as a best practice.
Transitions are an ideal time to use Headings/Styles, alt text, descriptive links, ribbon tools, and correct tables in the pages rich content editor (RCE).
Encourage mobile streaming view for all content, versus documents to download and manage.
Increases the likelihood of students being able to see and use the content on any device.
Transitions are an ideal time to check copyright, record your Fair Use justifications, and/or update content into safe compliance.
Quicker updates each semester.
Compare updating a Syllabus in Canvas (Edit, type, save) with updating a linked document (Locate master doc, make changes, save, replace in Canvas, test to make sure you linked the correct doc, get rid of old doc, preserve link, etc.)
Remember, if you don’t do this every day, the workflow is forgettable. Once a semester, and you’ll forget what you’re doing.
No need to search for master copies on a former employee’s home computer. Everything related to the course lives in the Canvas course.
.Docs that are already Accessible easily become Canvas content pages that are accessible, with a simple copy and paste.
The transfer process reveals old-school tabs and spaces misuse. Oops. Those must be manually corrected once the content is in Canvas RCE.
.pdfs can be a nightmare. Depending on the complexity of content, you may need to open a .pdf in Adobe Acrobat Pro and export it as a WordDoc, then scan carefully for substitutions, misspellings, and other transcription errors.
Course builders work with what we have. Sometimes you just let one thing go—temporarily—to meet a deadline or inch toward progress.
*Good Reasons to link a document in RCE or modules
Students need to download and print an entire document intact. Example: APA or MLA formatted example research paper.
Information is not likely to change and is not available another way. Example: an archived out-of-print article.
Information that is already accessibility checked. Example: Government website downloads or official releases.
Ready or Not
Ready or not, increasing numbers of students view Canvas courses on mobile devices. (Numbers may vary by institutions, but the overall trend is upward for mobile use.)
Even if your course is designed for desktop/laptop, a quick check on iOS and Android devices will give you a more complete idea of what students see—and why they interact with the course the way they do.
In this version of the parent app, we added support for messaging between parents and teachers. This has been a request since we originally launched the app, and we think we've figured out how to incorporate messaging in a way that benefits both parents and teachers (and in turn, students)! Here's what's new.
Floating message icon:
Parents have access to messaging from several views around the parent app, including the assignment details view shown above.
Pre-filled composition view:
Since the parent tapped to compose a message from the assignment details view, we pre-populate the subject field with the student name and assignment, and set the recipient as the teacher of the course.
When the parent sends a message, the student name and a link to the related assignment are automatically appended to the end of the message the teacher receives, so absent any other context, the teacher can see which student/course/content the parent was referencing.
Inbox in parent app:
The parent receives the teacher's reply in a simplified inbox in Canvas Parent.
A few other things to note:
All of this is using the existing Canvas inbox/messaging features that teachers and observers can already access in Canvas web/API/other Canvas apps today.
We hope this improves the communication flow between teachers and parents in a way that doesn't introduce unnecessary noise and helps support students. Feedback is welcome.
iOS plans to release 3.1 to the App Store this month.
Android won't release 3.1 outside the Play Store beta linked above. As per the original plan, Android will release all of the 3.0+ updates to the Play Store as 3.2, and from there the iOS and Android parent apps will be in lock step again. My guess is that 3.2 will ship to the App Store and the Play Store next month.
Up next: new calendar for parents (Canvas Parent 3.2) and students (Canvas Student 6.7)!
We’re at nine million monthly active users of the Canvas mobile apps, which is many millions more than when I last posted about Instructure’s approach to mobile. If you’re new to Canvas, or if you’re curious about how and why we do the things we do, this post is for you!
We anchor mobile app development to a few principles:
Focus on experience. There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to making Canvas fit into your pocket. The mobile apps have to be secure and accessible and scalable. They have to be translated into 34 languages. The mobile apps have to evolve with regular changes to Canvas web and mobile operating systems. They have to handle courses with 10 students where every assignment is an LTI launch, and they have to handle courses with 200 students where every assignment is a discussion. The iOS and Android apps have to look and function the same way despite being on two different tech stacks produced by two different teams of people. But just as importantly, the mobile apps have to deliver worthwhile experiences. If regular operations take too long or make you miserable, or if the interface just looks like bad, you might as well be using any other LMS. Canvas has to be better.
Here's a subset of the 82 polish items to address before releasing Canvas Parent 3.1, for example:
These polish tickets are usually cosmetic, and they come when we compare iOS and Android side-by-side at the end of developing a feature.
Ship things. Product development exists on a spectrum. On one end, you plan every detail and you never take risks and as a result, you never ship things because you find that details change and risks can’t be avoided. On the other end of the spectrum, you don’t plan enough and you ship quickly and you break things. The outcomes at either end of the spectrum aren’t good. The Canvas mobile teams strive to be somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, always erring on the side of shipping. We can’t deliver the value that we don’t ship. We believe that when we mess up, we ought to listen and learn and ship again.
People over process. In my experience, this is the most overlooked value from the agile manifesto -- which is roughly the constitution of agile software development. Our teams do their best to reconcile what’s planned and what’s right when there’s a gap. We try to keep enough perspective to prevent process from lulling us into doing stupid things. There are scenarios where this principle doesn’t work, but we try to create situations where it does (small teams, smart people, taking on new challenges, limiting recurring meetings, encouraging communication, etc.).
Here's one of my favorite parts about working at Instructure:
This is the mobile support lead's way of saying something is on fire somewhere, check it out. I've worked for companies where people roll their eyes when they see this and say they'll get to it next sprint. That's the worst, and it's what you get with process over people. If there's a fire, we're going to stop regularly scheduled programming to go deal with it.
Prioritize real-life benefits. When you’re planning a project on a platform as versatile as Canvas, it’s tempting to miss the forest for the trees. What happens with our new feature if this course setting is on and this feature flag is off and this sub-account hides this button and this root account has this permission disabled for this role and this ticket hasn’t merged to beta? Concerns like these take up a huge amount of mental space, and to a large extent, it’s the job of product and engineering teams to make sure these cases are hashed out. At some point, it’s also true that 99.723% (see: made-up numbers) of users won’t experience the case you’re worried about, and you’re better off figuring out how to remove extra bits of friction for the average user. This is not a straightforward thing to balance, but in general, the mobile teams will prioritize delivering maximum value to maximum people over checking every last feature box.
Throw a little weird in there. Our software is designed and built by people as quirky as our users, and it ought to reflect that fact for the sake of everyone involved. If you like your software a little more dry and dusty, I’ve had good luck recently with printer utilities, insurance apps, and SimCity 2000 doesn’t hold up quite as well as I expected. Weirdness is especially vulnerable to atrophy over time, but it’s worth protecting. We want to flex those weird muscles.
When you mix those principles together, you get role-based apps which are updated regularly and rated best-in-class by users -- with spinning Canvas logos and panda avatar builders to top it off!
This definitely doesn't mean everything is awesome. Our approach involves tradeoffs. Let’s use peer reviews as an example. It’s a cool feature, and some people rely on peer reviews, and you can’t conduct peer reviews from our mobile apps today. We consider peer reviews every time we touch assignments in mobile. We have a design, and we know how it would work, and we know what it would take to support it. The problem is that peer reviewing is a relatively lesser used feature of assignments, and it would take a lot of effort to support natively. Instead of working on peer reviews last fall, we focused on things like improving load times on grade lists in student and teacher apps, and increasing the visibility of feedback on submissions, and reducing taps to submit assignments. But if you created those peer review assignments, this is still a bummer, and I get it!
I can think of a few escapes for this predicament, in no particular order:
If you’re on a tablet or Chromebook, Canvas web is fully supported in your native web browser
Some schools contract with our professional services team for custom development
Our mobile apps are open source, and some schools build their own mobile apps using our repositories as a model
You could build the feature yourself and submit a pull request for our mobile team to review
We can hop on a call and you can argue that we’re doing it wrong
You can submit a feature idea in our community and see how it resonates with other Canvas users
If you want to know more about web/mobile parity, our documentation team has created some guides for the student and teacher apps that you may find helpful. If you have feedback on making those documents better, send it on!
Despite an aggressive marketing campaign and screaming until my lungs grew sore, some instructors on my campus still try to use the old all-in-one Canvas app to teach. While I am grateful I got these slow-to-change holdouts to even download, install, and use an app in the first place, their stubbornness to upgrade to the Canvas Teacher app blow what remains of my mind. But this is a problem for another day.
We recommend uninstalling any other version of Canvas Parent installed on your device before you install the beta. You can connect to production and/or beta environments to try it out! Here’s what’s new in this version:
Grades list support! This list includes support for grading periods, and it’s now the default view for each course in the parent app! If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s identical to the grades list in the student app.
Improved syllabus! If a teacher chooses a syllabus as their course home, that syllabus appears in the parent app, and it now includes the associated assignments/events list (“Summary” tab) visible from the student app. And get this: links from the syllabus now function!
Front page support! If a teacher chooses a front page as their course home instead of the syllabus, that page now appears in the parent app. Links from the front page also function. (Already noted: the current beta version misspells “front page” as "frontpage." This will be fixed before release.) Other notes that won't apply to most courses: Syllabus and front page cover most course homes in K12, so those are the two course home types supported by parent app in 3.0. If another home page type (like “Course Activity Stream”) is selected, we’ll attempt to show the syllabus. If a syllabus doesn’t exist and a front page isn’t set to course home, the parent will only see the grades list in 3.0.
Go play with it! If you notice any wonkiness, you can “Send Beta Feedback” through the TestFlight app, or reply to this community post. Once we're through testing 3.0, we'll release it and move on to Canvas Parent 3.1: messaging!
(Android beta link coming before long, I think. If you want to know more about the Android parent app release plan, check out the fall update.)
Working as an EdTech Specialist at a renowned Med School I come across various scenarios.
Major Users:Students, Instructors and Canvas Admins (Including Me!:smileygrin:)
How and Why:
Majority of our students use Canvas iOS app to take notes on their iPads. We have 50+ courses in MD Program and Canvas app is very helpful as it eases the stress of downloading a lot of paper or notes and bring it to the class. Instead use the canvas app on the iPads and write notes on PPTs or PDF's which are linked in their courses.
Other places where Mobile App comes in to picture is when our 3rd Year MD students are in clinics and have no time to login to Desktop. All that they do is use their apps and look at their schedules during their hectic Clerkship Courses. Students find the process of synching calendars easy and are happy about it.
Note taking is easy, stress free and students need not carry tons of paper or books to sessions or classes.
What they like: Announcements, Calendar Events, Grades, To-Do items, Assignments and Files
***I use the Canvas App on Various devices to troubleshoot and test out any new features which can be useful for our students and faculty***
We’re waffling between snow and sunshine in Utah and my discolored pumpkins are shriveled and leaking, so that means it’s time for a fall update! Here’s what the mobile teams are working on.
Rise of the Machines
After a couple of relatively smooth iOS update cycles over the past two years, iOS 13 landed like Jello in a mud puddle. Its release coincided with a few big changes shipped as Canvas Student 6.6 and run-of-the-mill fall start firefighting. This combination resulted our patching the iOS student app every two weeks since August. While most of our users weren’t impacted by most of the bugs that were fixed, we didn’t hold onto fixes any longer than necessary. Now that the fall start rush has subsided, we’ve decided to redouble our efforts to automate testing in our mobile apps.
We’ve made more progress on automated testing in the past six months than in the previous three years combined, but we expect the robots to do more -- and to do it faster -- so that humans can focus on creating cool new things instead of shipping patches for defects that robots would have caught.
To illustrate the point, here’s a gif of an automated test of quiz-taking in the Android student app, first through the quizzes list and then through the assignments list:
So that’s much faster than a human doing the same thing.
The up-front cost is high: it takes longer for a person to write the test above than it does for a person to test that flow. But once the test is written, it can be run as often as necessary. When you consider that the student app test suite is comprised of hundreds of tests, being able to run all of those tests in minutes instead of weeks is a substantial improvement.
The iOS and Android teams are both committed to writing and running all P0 and P1 [highest priority] tests by the end of this year. The good news is the automated test runs are already catching defects! A test run failed earlier this week when “Stop Acting As User” resulted in the robot admin being logged out altogether, for example.
The bad news is the increased focus on automation slows down our progress on parent app feature improvements. But I think it will be worth the wait.
Canvas Parent 3.0
In case you didn’t see the previous mobile update, we’re dividing parent app work into three chunks: grades list and syllabus (3.0), messaging (3.1), and calendar (3.2).
We’re in the process of testing one API change scheduled to go to production this week to finish up work on iOS Canvas Parent 3.0. I think we’ll be able to provide a link to the TestFlight version of that update by the end of this week. Apple allows public TestFlight links now, so no need to register beforehand anymore!
I’ll provide a little more detail when I post the link, but at a high level, you’re going to see a grades list in the parent app for the first time, more robust homepage support (syllabus and frontpage will both be supported), and links from each of those places will work. Here's what that looks like:
This replaces the old "week" view within a course, which was redundant within the parent app.
If the TestFlight version looks good, we plan to ship it to the App Store in December.
For a variety of reasons -- some of which have to do with automated testing -- the current plan is for Android to bundle all three parent app chunks into a single update, which we’ll call 3.2. I’ll post a public link to that work-in-progress within a few weeks. We’re predicting that both platforms will ship 3.2 at about the same time in the new year.
Keep your eyes peeled for a separate post with more details soon!
Since this post was relatively light on visuals, I took a picture of my desk neighbor and Android QA lead, "Just-Try-And-Stop-Me" Joe, working on automated tests for the student app:
Since the release of the New Quizzes platform in June 2018, there have been many advances. Here are some things that you should know about New Quizzes on Canvas Mobile.
CREATING A NEW QUIZ
In order to create a New Quiz, you must do so from the desktop. You cannot do it from the Canvas Teacher app since there is no Add Assignment button on the bottom right corner of the screen.
From Assignments, we will create a new assignment. We will not use the Add Quiz/Test button due to the lack of certain fields.
Now that we've got the Instructions and Content Selector Sidebars, we can go ahead and fill in some details.
For this assignment, please use the Quizzes 2 LTI External Tool.
Once we save and publish, it will be visible in the Mobile Apps. The pencil icon on the top right will be the only way for you to edit the quiz instructions from the Assignments page. To add/remove questions, select the External Tool under Submission Types.
Once the student finishes the test, the results will be displayed.
Wait a second! Something's not looking right when there are fractions.
Students can leave comments to request regrades. The teacher can then open the Mobile SpeedGrader and see the problematic question.
RULES FOR REGRADING
Regrading only applies to completed submissions. If all students are affected, please wait for all submissions before regrading.
Since the correct answer is a fraction, manual grading may be needed. To avoid any issues from occurring in the future, please recommend students to round decimals to the required precision, up to the thousandths.
And that's it! You can now master the power of New Quizzes in the Canvas Mobile Apps!
Hello, I am an account administrator in an educational institution in Brazil, and sometimes I am not in my work base to be able to correct some kind of error in the disciplines pointed by some teacher or some emergency.
I know I can use a mobile browser, but it's not one of the best experiences.
It would help a lot if Canvas had a mobile app for account administrators, which would allow us to solve problems much more quickly and effectively.
It could even be a copy of the teacher's app, but with a few more permissions.
I am not normally an end of the line type person when getting on the bus, usually, I am towards the front 10% of the line. I feel like I have almost missed the Mobile App bus. I don't have an excuse for why it has taken so long for mobile apps to grab my attention, but now that it has, I'm glad I waited.
Recently I've been researching all of the resources available about Canvas' mobile apps. Our college adopted Canvas in early 2015. I have been aware of the apps since the beginning. At the time we adopted Canvas, the apps did not seem to work as well as the website. I've recently discovered, now that some time has passed, Canvas has made quite a few improvements in their apps.
I know that an increasingly larger percentage of students at our college use their mobile devices to access their courses. I don't have any idea how many of those might be using the app, but I feel like it would be a larger number if we were promoting the use of the app to our students and instructors.
After reviewing all of the information in the @Canvas Mobile App Group (#CMAG) I have discovered that a) the Canvas Student App has many features that allow students to interact easier than when they are using a browser to access their course, and b) I have not been providing information and promoting the use of the Canvas Student App as I should be.
So my next steps, now that I have been enlightened, is to begin introducing and promoting the use of the App to our students and instructors. I am excited to begin this marketing of the App. Anything that makes navigating the course and learning easier for students is a priority for our college. I know that there is a lot to learn, but I am thankful for all of the authors that have contributed the information in this community.
Hey Mobile People! I'm not sure if everyone's been following the saga of the new Grade Posting Policy (
Post Policy Updates Feedback for your reading pleasure) or not, but I've also found an issue that I think would be best addressed in this space. When I am in the Teacher App it says that my students' grades are muted even though I haven't set a manual posting policy on the assignment nor did I mute it in the App. I do still have access to the mute toggle switch in the App..weird, right? What's even weirder is though my grades are still "mute" according to the App, my students confirm that they can see them and when I look on the desktop version my grades show as visible. I have no clue what the "mute" is doing in the App (nothing it seems). I also can't seem to create a grade posting policy from the app. I've looked on the guides for the App and don't see a reference to either the old muting or using the new policies. Here are some screenshots of it:
Does anyone know if the Teacher App (iOS) just isn't updated or do I have gremlins? Here's to hoping others are having this issue too (I think...)
I feel that the "reflect" takeaway is an ongoing theme with my blogs in the Canvas Community. However, it's one of those practices that is incredibly valuable but I almost have to schedule it... When it comes to courses that students actively visit via their iPad or smartphone, I think that there's even more encouragement to constantly look for ways to improve my use of Canvas.
Yes. Perfection isn't a reasonable goal. With that in mind, I think it's absolutely okay to make constant evaluation part of my teaching routine. Just because something worked last year, doesn't mean that it's the best I can do now or that a process will work in the same way for students this year. (Wink wink: Mobile Update - Summer 2019!) Technology is constantly evolving, and I think I should take that and make my teaching/design process grow too!
Is there a tip you are able to (or plan to) apply to your work in the future? How will it help you overall?
Refer to the Course Evaluation Checklist and the Mobile Course Evaluation Checklist throughout the term. Ask colleagues or supervisors to take a look at your courses. I know that sometimes it's that new set of eyes that catches something you've "accepted" for who knows how long. Even if it's frustrating to experience that "why did I think of that?!" moment, it's learning. Some of my most successful course designs are results of getting feedback from someone I respect (or a group of students!) and then trying a few things...before I get to a result that works.
Do you have follow-up questions for CMUG members?
As a teacher, what's your process for evaluating courses before you publish for students?
As a technology coach or Canvas admin, how do you increase curiosity about (mobile) course design in general?
Hope summer is going well for you! After the second-rainiest spring on record, the atmosphere over Utah burned away and now we're all walking around in climate-controlled space suits and eating sand.
Here’s what the mobile teams are working on.
New assignment details and submission flows are coming in Canvas Student 6.6! We showed off this update at InstructureCon two weeks ago, but in case you missed it, here’s what that looks like:
The student app assignment detail view is the most-used detail view across all of our apps, and we’re really excited about this upgrade going into the new school year. We improved assignment details in a few ways:
Grade visibility. Most students access the assignment detail view to check a grade (surprise!), so we needed the design to reflect that pattern.
Feedback visibility. Grades are just the tip of the feedback iceberg. Almost all the value for the student -- and the bulk of time spent grading -- is in the comments. We wanted to beef up the visibility of teacher feedback (off the top of my head: annotations, annotation comments, submission comments, media comments, rubrics, and rubric comments). The student can now find all feedback in a single place while also viewing and interacting with their submission. And for the first time, students can navigate all rubric details -- all scores, definitions and descriptions -- both before and after submission.
Submission flow. If you’ve never submitted a file to Canvas from another app on a mobile device then you haven’t felt confusion. You may have heard about it, but you haven’t felt it in your bones. That’s a problem because students increasingly rely on the mobile app to submit assignments. Well, problem solved in 6.6. Here’s the new share extension in action -- submitting from the Files app on iOS to Canvas:
Submitting from within the app is also much better -- with the one exception of cloud assignments: those remain unchanged. To ship this update before fall start we had to save improvements to cloud assignments for another day. To play with new submissions yourself, see the TestFlight link below.
Lastly -- unrelated to assignment details -- hold onto your wigs and keys if you use Canvas Student on iPad because here’s the thing you’ve been waiting for:
That’s right, support for split view is coming in 6.6!
We’re in the process of testing 6.6 for both platforms right now. The iOS team is on track to begin rollout in the first week of August, and the Android update will happen a few days afterwards. If you want to help us test the 6.6 update by playing with it on iOS through TestFlight, here’s a link:
As usual, if you find any funny business, feel free to report it below. (...unless the 6.6 update is already released to stores when you're reading this. Once a release hits stores, you're better off reporting any issue you find to Canvas Support.)
Over the past few weeks we’ve worked on improving load times for submissions in the teacher app. If you work in large courses -- on the order of hundreds of enrollments -- stay tuned for the next teacher app release on iOS and Android. It should hit stores within the next few weeks. Everyone will see improved load times but it will be most noticeable for large courses.
Next up for the teacher app is adding support for post policies, which are the new gradebook’s equivalent of the old gradebook’s muting/unmuting grades.
We’ve already released two updates that should really help the observer self-registration process for teachers and parents this fall. If your school/system uses self-registration for parents, take note and help spread the word:
[INSERT LASER-LIKE FOCUS HERE]
Teachers can now create pairing codes for an entire class with a single click. Check out the documentation onexporting pairing codes to see how.
Parents can now add additional students to observe from the parent app. Android added this feature a little while ago, and iOS supports it as of this week. Canvas guides are being updated right now with directions for parents, and I'll update this post with the links when they're live. Update: Check out the iOS and Android guides for adding students to observe from the parent app.
I’m super excited to have these updates live before fall start, and I hope you are too! They should really smooth out the parent onboarding process.
Now for the fun part: improving the in-app experience for parents! Our goal is to help parents support their students on a daily basis by answering some simple questions: How’s my kid doing, and what’s due and when? We have three updates planned to answer those questions in a better way, divided as follows.
3.0: New grades list and updated syllabus. Today, parents can only view grades in the week view, which means there’s no way to see a summary of assignment grades in a particular course. In the 3.0 update, parents will have access to the same grades list that students have today (including grading period filter). In addition, we’ll make access to the course syllabus more obvious and add support for linking from rich content.
3.1: Messaging. The parent app is getting an inbox! Parents will be able to send and receive messages from the app, and message composition will be contextual. Parents will be able to compose a message from the assignment detail view, for example, and we’ll add the appropriate teacher(s) as recipients automatically. We’ll also include a link to the content being referenced in the text of the message so teachers have a little more context on the receiving end. (Yes, the parent app will use the existing Canvas Inbox to make this happen.)
3.2: New calendar. The parent app’s calendar isn’t awesome. We’re going to be redesigning it to include more course content like announcements and to-do items, which don’t show up in today's parent app. Parents should also be able to filter the calendar by course and content type, and see busy days upcoming for their students at a glance. (Then we plan to reuse the new calendar for the student app.)
These updates will be built and released throughout the fall. I’ll post progress updates, designs and links to beta builds in CMUG in the coming weeks.
Happy fall start to everyone! If you experience any issues, report them! We're here to help!
Put simply - if we weren't already, we need to begin considering mobile implications for course design. Having the checklist before, during, and after course development removes any instructional designer's best guesses at what needs to be considered.
Is there a tip you are able to (or plan to) apply to your work in the future? How will it help you overall?
The Mobile App Design checklist will be implemented into our instructional design and development process. The checklist will be shared to all team designers which in turn will be shared with instructors during design consultations. I believe starting with one instructor on mobile considerations will have a trickle-down effect to other instructors in their department/college.
Do you have follow-up questions for CMUG members? Is there a discussion you'd like to open?
I'd be interested in best practices for instructors providing feedback to assignments/assessments via the SpeedGrader on mobile devices.
Now having seen Kevin's posts in Canvas Data Requests count vs. Canvas Analytics Page Views, I would echo what many others have said and say that it's critical we are getting accurate mobile data reported to us. I'll share one of his responses specifically to the question of "Are Mobile App page views included"?
Mobile page view data was added to the Course Analytics reporting last year. It has not, however, been added to the Access Report. This may be why you see mixed messages on whether or not it is included. While our plan is to continue adding mobile data to our reports where appropriate, it is critical to understand the limitations of mobile page view data, and the reason for us to start with Course Analytics and not the Access Report.
Even more so than Canvas request data, mobile request data is best used in aggregate to identify trends of activity, and not for audit purposes or to get exact counts. Mobile page view data is inherently tricky to capture, since cell phones can lose service, apps can be force-quit, and phones can lose power and be shutdown mid request. As such, mobile page view might be delayed from getting to our servers, or even dropped. This is true for all mobile usage data, across all applications with mobile analytics data. It's a very tricky data set to work. This is why we focused on including mobile data first with our aggregate reporting (Course Analytics), as this data is valuable in showing overall activity trends.
With the growing use of mobile devices, we understand the need to include mobile data wherever page view data is included. This is something we will continue to work towards. I appreciate, and acknowledge this is not an ideal answer to address your immediate question, however transparency is something I take seriously, so want to make sure you have all the details.
We have Instructure's Amazon Redshift Hosted Canvas Data Services here at Los Rios (shoutout to Jason Rock email@example.com for being so great to work with), and mainly use Tableau for visualizations of that data. The requests table aside it's great to work with, and running queries such as Device Usage gives us a good idea of how many students are using mobile devices (even if they aren't fully mobile-first). We have tens of thousands of students using mobile devices for tens of millions of page hits every semester here (we had roughly 4.5M page hits per day on the request table last semester), so it seems that having equitable representation of that data should be a pressing concern, and needs to be more accessible than pulling from the requests table in Canvas Data (and that isn't even fully accurate).
As I mentioned in my post, there is an entire online college (our 115th Community College) launching in California this upcoming academic year that is being designed as mobile-first: Online Community College - California. These students need have their work counted as equitably as students using a PC, and the reports and analytics should not be any different from students using a PC. This would help our students as well, as there are so many courses being designed to be mobile-first, and that was a huge topic of conversation at the Online Teaching Conference 2019 I just attended last week. I'm very grateful to Kevin for posting and keeping the discussion going, as it is certainly a concern for those of us in charge of pulling those numbers.
Oh....and I won't even get into folks like me that use Photon on their iOS devices in order to use a User Agent and spoof everyone so they think I'm on a PC using Chrome or Firefox rather than an iPhone or iPad, since we know those folks are just trying to use something that plays Flash on iOS ( <--- this was my poor attempt at humor for those nice enough to read to the bottom).
Designers can spend hours on creating the perfect home page for a course, setting everything up just how they like it, then guess what, the student viewing it is using the app. How does that home page look on the app, chances are it scaled differently, or something moved.
Creating a solid template and then adjusting the template to the needs of the course is a great way to make sure your homepage looks sharp across all devices, because when you find out students are primarily using their phones, you better engage them the same way as you would on the desktop.
Here are a couple of mobile friendly CanvasLMS homepage templates I finished up.
Last term we had a Parent Night based on technology systems at our school for anyone that wanted to know what they were and how to connect. The PAIRING with the user has been an absolute breakthrough in the Parent App now - we don't need portal keys from another provider, and we don't need to be responsible for the access. It is so quick and easy, what used to take over 24 hours now takes seconds.
The Parent App has all the necessities for fast information on their students - grades, announcements and the all important calendar. I have been using announcements as 'fast feedback' for a whole class feedback notification prior to any individual feedback and it works pretty well. I give the students the overall "vibe" of a task before any specific feedback and this also goes to the parents. It is timely and means a consistent message across the class.
The calendar tool is fabulous as parents can see what is happening in class either the night before, helping their children be prepared for school each day or can be used as conversation starters at the end of the day. It definitely assists in the "What did you learn today?" question - when said teenager replies with "nothing", then the parent can dig a little deeper just from the information posted on the calendar. And all from their mobile phone. Awesome stuff!
and firstname.lastname@example.org agrees with a hearty email about how easy it is to use. So how are you using it? Please help us get the word out. You wanted it and Canvas delivered. Let's keep suggesting new ideas and voting them up. It is great to have a platform that changes to meet our users both teachers and students. What other features do we need to discuss?
I've been pretty happy with the Canvas mobile app, but have noticed that there seems to be no real way of managing To Do notifications through the Canvas mobile app. I have the To Do notifications show up and can click on them, but they don't go away or mark as completed. I'm all about getting to a zero-inbox in terms of zero notification numbers on my app (which keeps throwing me when I see something on Canvas mobile as an instructor that I can only get rid of by logging in on a computer and marking them as complete). I guess I was wondering if anyone else has had this happen? This isn't dire or even really a big issue, but it's something I noticed and figured it was worth a small blog.