Pat’s Canvas notes

NOTE: press comma for keystroke shortcuts; updated September 22, 2013; send comments to ppringle 'at'

Canvas guides  

Canvas Community  

Table of Contents
Module 1: Intro and Canvas overview  
Module 2: Communications channels, profiles, and getting help
Module 3: Course customizing and management 
Module 4: Course building 
Module 5: Events and assignments 
Module 6: Syllabus
Module 7: Quizzes 
Module 8: Objectives and outcomes 
Module 9: Canvas gradebook and speedgrader 
Module 10: Importing, uploading, and migrating 
Module 11: Other core technologies

Canvas nagivation diagram

above diagram also on p. 12 of quick start guide pdf and mod 2. diagram link

Module 1: Intro and Canvas overview

rich text editor hints: use shift-enter to enter a new line

The Dashboard is the first thing you will see when you log into Canvas. The Dashboard helps you see what is happening in all your courses and allows you to figure out what to do next.

The Dashboard consists of three main elements:

  1. Global Navigation across the top of the page,
  2. the Sidebar with various types of feeds, and
  3. the Global Stream, which comprises the main body of the page.

The Dashboard is designed to answer the questions, "What is going on in all of my courses?" and "What do I need to do next?"

PC screen shots: alt-prtscr  (image of screen saved to clipboard)

*mac screen shots:

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Module 2:Communications channels, the Profile, & getting help

email = “conversations” (oh dear, really?); communication channels :  The Conversations Inbox is split into two windows and displays messages chronologically.

conversations inbox has messages in left window and preview in right window; in preview create, send, or view msgs


conv. inbox—newest msg on top


add email   open settings, type address and “register” email

add SMS: open setting/add contact method


adjusting notification preferences; settings, then edit

               six categories

  1. Course Activities
  2. Discussions
  3. Communications
  4. Scheduling
  5. Groups
  6. Alerts

setting notification prefs

By selecting the Checkmark icon, you will be immediately notified of any change for the activity.

By selecting the Clock icon, you will be notified daily of any change for the activity.

By selecting the Calendar icon, you will be notified weekly of any change for the activity.

By selecting the X icon, you will remove the notification preference and will not be notified of any change for the activity.

see default notification settings ¾ of the way down this page


When you hover over the name of the notification, you can view the details of the notification and adjust your preferences. Note: Some notifications are for instructors and admins only and will be noted in the hover descriptions, which are

default notification settings 9/10 of the way down this page


Edit personal settings

 By clicking on the Settings link in the Help Corner of the Canvas interface, users can

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Module 3: course customization and managment

NOTE view the keyboard shortcuts, press the comma key.


               reorder links –drag and drop; hit save

customize course home page: change course page layout

You can select one of five different views for the Course Home Page:

  1. The Course Activity Stream (Communication Stream)
  2. A Page I'll Design Myself
  3. The Course Modules/Sections
  4. The Assignment List
  5. The Assignments with Syllabus

how do I access people 

student view 

accessing student view 

               when to use student view

grant yourself access to student view in settings (in course navigation area)

Canvas guides  

To search again, you do not have to return to the Guides home page. Use the small search field in the sidebar to search again.

how to submit and get feedback  

There are five links to various types of options available for help or feedback:

  1. Ask your instructor a question: Ask your instructor questions about course material or send them a message
  2. Search the Canvas Guides: This link will take you to Canvas Guides where you can search Canvas documentation for information about features inside of Canvas.
  3. Report a problem: Submit questions and problems to the Canvas Support Team
  4. Ask the Community: Submit questions and problems to the community of Canvas experts.
  5. Request a Feature: Submit ideas about how to make Canvas better.

Note: If you are an instructor, you will not see the Ask your instructor a question help link.

Use Canvas Community  for help before filling out a ticket

Click the Request a Feature link. You can submit your ideas about how to make Canvas even better by clicking on this link or by visiting the Feature Request Categories.

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Module 4 course building

How to create a module



Build page with rich content editor  

   Rich Text editor uses web based formatting rather than traditional formatting when it comes to paragraph/line spacing. 

In standard word processing, hitting the enter key takes your cursor to the next line (single spaced typing).  In web page design, you want to hold down the shift key when hitting the enter (so, shift+enter), to obtain the single-spaced paragraph look.  Pressing enter is equivalent to starting a new paragraph and adds an extra blank space between the text (similar to double or 1.5 spacing in word processing).

               embed a video within a page  open page/edit/launch html editor/copy and paste the embed code

upload, view, and organize files 

create folder – files/add folder

control access and set sequences

three levels of permissions:

  1. Fully public,
  2. Private until linked to (Semi-Private), and
  3. Fully private.
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Module 5: events and assignments

what is an assignment?  in assignments folder

 course activity stream—home page, “see course stream”

activity vs. assignment?


course calendar—add event 

Students will see the event listed in the Syllabus page. The link will be un-bolded, signifying that it is not a graded Assignment.


add assignment shell to calendar

You can create Assignment shells from the Calendar. Assignment shells are placeholders for the Assignment until you fill in the Assignment details. You can create varied due date Assignment shells via the Calendar too.

create assignment shell on assignments page  assignments/create assign. shell/etc

add assignment groups assign/add assign. group/...title/...grading rule/...update

An assignment group contains assignments worth different point values?

edit assignment details   and options (points, etc): open assign/edit/edit details or edit options

what are the different online submission types  add assignment/select more options/select submission type


Students can only submit one file type per assignment submission. They cannot change the submitted file type unless they re-submit the assignment.

how to restrict online submission type files open assign/select submis type/allow file uploads/restrict file types

**fabulous tricks for restricting file sizes ==> show advanced options  

for online file uploads==> Check the checkbox for Allow File Uploads, and *then* the checkbox for Restrict Upload File Types and more things will appear:   

So, if you want your students to be able to turn in only Word .docx and Word .doc files, you
WOULD NOT TYPE:  .docx, .doc
WOULD TYPE:  docx,doc   (no periods, no spaces)

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Module 6: Syllabus

online syllabus checklist

3 main syllabus elements: a calendar and grading scheme [2], a syllabus description [3], and a syllabus table automatically managed by Canvas [4].

syllabus description: The syllabus description is where you can post your course description, a brief introduction, class guidelines, weekly reminders, and other important information. You can copy content from Word documents directly into the Rich Content Editor or create original content inside of the Rich Content Editor. You can also link to your Syllabus by uploading it into Files. Canvas will automatically create a Scribd preview of your document so your students don't have to download it before reading it.


What is a syllabus?
can link to it if you upload to files

The Calendar and Grading Scheme section will display information about course events and grading. The grading scheme information can be edited in the Assignments feature while the Calendar information can be edited in both the Assignments and Calendar features. Any changes made will be reflected in the Syllabus tool.

syllabus table: Any course assignment or event will be listed in the bottom half of the Syllabus page with the undated items appearing at the bottom [1]. Changes to these dated events can be made in both the Assignments and Calendar features and will be automatically updated in the Syllabus tool.

Many instructors and/or institutions will have a syllabus file created outside of Canvas that they want to upload and give students access to. Although this topic, "How do I upload a PDF to a Page?", could apply to any other page in the course, it is presented here as a way for adding a PDF version of your syllabus to the Canvas Syllabus tab.

how to use Google Docs (now Google Drive) for your syllabus  A Kathy’s cool tip

Canvas designer guides example syllabi 

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Module 7: quizzes 

how to create a quiz with individual questions  quiz/create new.../add new quest/save/publish

how to create multiple choice quiz

what are the different kinds of quizzes     graded survey: students get points for completion but not correct answers/ graded and ungraded surveys can be anon.

give xtra time once quiz is published   quiz link/moderate/


Remember, you can go into Student View and take your own quiz.  To get into Student View:  Settings on the left side, Student View on the right side.


How to move quiz to module: module/gear symbol/add content    back to top of notes 

Module 8: objectives and outcomes


How to add an outcome to a course outcomes (course navig.)/find/(acct. vs. common core)

How to create outcome groups outcomes/new group/

how to align an outcome with a rubric  outcomes/manage rubrics/view rubrics/edit/find outcome criterion/update rubric

Where do I find outcomes report for an individual student 

Outcomes from Centralia College (Kathy)

at CC Canvas administrator must type in outcomes**[otherwise they won’t show]

each outcome is worth 5 points (4 is “mastery”)

add a rubric to an assignment   (read “understanding rubrics” by Heidi Andrade)

What is a rubric


Use a Rubric to:

tegrity recording about rubrics   

How do I add a rubric to an assignment  open assignments/edit or create new assign./add rubric/

How do I edit rubric details? open outcomes/manage rubric/edit rubric/edit rubric title/edit criterion description/edit criterion longer descrip./add rubric ratings/edit rubric rating/edit criterion point value

To add a rubric rating, mouse over a cell wall and click the double-ended arrow [1] to split a single cell into two. Split cells on the row as often as necessary to created the desired number of ratings.  back to top of notes 

Module 9: Canvas gradebook and speedgrader 

How to jump to speedgrader   assignments/ open assign./speedgrader -available in every graded assignment
use it to view, comment, and grade

How to evaluate an assign. in speedgrader  you can evaluate an assignment by entering a grade in the grade field [1]. You can also click the View Rubric button [2] and use the rubric to evaluate the assignment, if there is a rubric attached to the assignment. If you would like to submit a comment on the evaluated assignment, type in the Add a Comment field [3]. You can also attach a file or a media comment by clicking one of the Attach icons [4]. When you are ready to submit your comment, click the Submit Comment button [5].

How to open a rubric in speedgrader rubric/select grade area in rubric

How to give feedback to students in speedgrader speedgdr/add text comment –can add speech recognition, file or media content

Grading assignments in the gradebook 

What are grades? 

Use Grades to:

The Canvas Gradebook is a fully featured management tool that allows instructors to:

How to enter and score grades 

How to send message to students from gradebook  open assignment dropdown menu,

How can I view grades for concluded student enrollments?  people/prior enrollments/                back to top of notes 

Module 10: Importing, uploading, and migrating  

Before importing evaluate your content 

Recommendations for a Good Conversion
This is a short list, but it's pretty important stuff, all related to the general theme of cleaning up the site before you generate the backup file or archive you're planning on converting.  Most of these recommendations are worth considering regardless of whether your source files are to be derived from ANGEL or Bb.

How to import a Canvas course export package settings/import course content/choose Canvas export package/choose file/open file/select migration content/adjust events & due dates/create date substitutions (cool)/import course/view current jobs/select content to import

Note: If you imported the course and did not select migration content, Canvas will show any issues that occurred with the import. Click the issues link to view them.

  What does the course import tool do? same as above but less detailed

How to import content from another Canvas course  settings/import content.../copy a Canvas course/select course/select migration content/adjust events and due dates etc...


Managing course files Files are where you upload course files, syllabi, readings, or other documents. You can lock the folders so students cannot access your files. Files can be placed in Modules, Assignments, or Pages.


Tegrity video about importing content into Canvas       

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Module 11 (opt.) other core technologies 


Tegrity training series 


Canvas Video guides 


Canvas designer guide  


Misc. training offered by instructure

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