Gregory Beyrer

Issues and Aggravations with Canvas

Discussion created by Gregory Beyrer Champion on Oct 23, 2017
Latest reply on Mar 15, 2018 by Gregory Beyrer

A colleague at CRC emailed me a list of issues and I thought I would start a discussion to help answer some of them. If you have encountered these and discovered ways to deal with them please share. And don't be shy to comment with your own list (or start a new discussion).


In the order presented to me, with my answers:

  • Let the user make the announcements the welcome page (without making a page and then copying announcement onto it).

There is an option to add links to recent Announcements on the course home page, which was added by Instructure in the summer of '17. This is now turned on by default for CRC courses so will be there for courses beginning spring '18. 4152,682262

  • All announcements should be automatically emailed to the students (preset this in Notification options). The email should automatically go to the Los Rios email account and not be stuck in the Canvas Inbox, especially if students do not choose to forward emails.

The default Notifications settings include emailing all Announcements to an enrolled user's Los Rios email address. Note that any user can change their Notifications settings regarding the frequency and destination of Canvas events.

  • The default setting for Notifications should be ON for forwarding announcements and graded notifications and subscribed discussions; that way students do not miss anything and if they are annoyed by the many notifications, they will learn how to update the notifications.

The default settings for Notifications are listed in the document Canvas Notifications.

  • I should have the ability to pin specific postings inside of a discussion board.

One workaround is to turn on likes for a discussion and choose the options so that only graders and like and to sort by likes. 

  • I need an option that allows me to upload the same solution file to all students in the gradebook or Speedgrader at once instead of attaching the file individually to each comment.

That's a great idea. Comments are not included when Canvas grades are uploaded or downloaded. I would edit the Assignment after its due date and attach the solution file there or attach it to an Announcement.

  • Create a keyboard shortcut for submitting a comment in Speedgrader or allow Enter to work as submission once I am in the comment box in Speedgrader. 

That's a great idea. I use a Google Document with a list of comments that I use often.

  • Comment boxes in Speedgrader should stay large/expanded if I am expanding them manually. Ideally, the comment box would expand as needed as I am typing so I can see the whole text at once.

Another great idea. Instructure currently is working on enhancing the Gradebook and is in the development phase. Anyone can participate by visiting the area Priority: Gradebook Enhancements.

  • The sender of the email of announcements and other notifications from my course should be my name as instructor and not Los Rios Notifications (which it seems to be when I email myself through Canvas).

Daily and weekly Notifications come from the same, district-wide address (Los Rios Notifications). Immediate Notifications come from the course. Users can determine the frequency on their Notifications page.

  • See the word count of an uploaded file automatically in Speedgrader, so I do not have to download and open the file for each essay. 

Based on one of the ideas posted in the Canvas Community (Word count for speedgrader grading) the idea is on Instructure's radar (link on that page explains what that means). In the meantime, there is a Chrome plugin that adds an option to the right-click button to do this (Word Count)

  • Speedgrader should show the submitted points/grade for each student also as percentage after I have entered the points. 

Choose the Percentage option for "Display Grade as" when editing the Assignment.

  • Make sure rubrics are imported from D2L; imported drop boxes should automatically convert into assignments with the correct points and the correct rubric.

This is a failure of the D2L-to-Canvas process. An enterprising colleague in the Canvas Community has shared a process for Importing Rubrics from a Spreadsheet.

  • Have something similar to intelligent agents from D2L.

Another great idea. The district's Student Education Lifecycle project has early alert as part of its interests, and I expect whatever product selected to integrate with Canvas.

  • I really really need two due dates with discussion boards since students have to post several times. Right now my work-around is that I create an empty assignment to remind them of the first due date and then enter the second due date in the actual discussion setting. However, the problem is that this means the system checks off the second due date as completed as soon as the first response is posted in the discussion.

I too have this frustration. What I do is make the assignment due date the date the first reply is due and then the end date the date the replies to classmates are due. I also create a second calendar event for the date replies to classmates are due. And I make sure to grade as soon as I read discussion replies so that I do not miss giving students feedback.

  • The students do not realize how much information is in the grade feedback since nothing shows up automatically – students do not know or remember to click on the rubric or on the feedback and definitely not to pull up the file with the annotations in Speedgrader. All that time and work on comments is more or less wasted. Feedback should automatically show up in the gradebook next to the grade as it did in D2L and the annotated file should show up for students when they click on the name of the assignment. Students should see what I see when I grade the assignment in Speedgrader. 

If I had a dollar for every comment that a student did not read I would not worry about planning for my retirement. And that comes from someone who has never been a full-time teacher! All I can offer is a link to a blog entry that I found today: Delaying the Grade: How to Get Students to Read Feedback.