Canvas New Release Features for June 3


The June 3rd update to Canvas will feature a few new items to allow for better display of announcements and improved editing of content pages. New editing features include a new table menu and the ability to see embedded content while editing.



Course Home Page Recent Announcements Display

Faculty can now add Announcements to any course home page, including the Syllabus, Course Modules, a Page, or Course Activity Stream. Previously recent announcements only displayed when the Course Home Page was set to the Front Page. If enabled, Recent Announcements will show at the very top of whatever page is selected as the Home Page.
Screenshot showing 3 announcements at the top of the Course Activity Stream Home Page

To add announcements to the home page for a course

  • Go to Course Settings and on the Course Details tab, scroll down to the bottom and select more options.
  • Check the box for “Show recent announcements on Course home page” and select the number of announcements you would like to display
  • Click on Update Course Details to save the changes

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New Features Coming May 22 for Turnitin and Canvas Scheduler

Canvas and TurnitinAt the end of the Spring Semester on May 22nd, we will enable two new features in Canvas.  One is a major interface update for Turnitin and the other is a minor interface update for the Scheduler.



Turnitin’s New Feedback Studio

Turnitin has released a major product upgrade that will be available on May 22nd. The new version of the service, called Turnitin Feedback Studio, offers all the functionalities of Turnitin, but with a simplified, more intuitive interface. Once upgraded, you can expect to see a new interface when you open up a student’s paper in Turnitin. Your students will also experience this new interface when viewing Originality Reports and receiving feedback through Turnitin.  This upgrade will not affect the creation of Turnitin assignments in Canvas.

To get acquainted with the upgraded Turnitin Feedback Studio you can:

Canvas Scheduler

The new interface for the Canvas Scheduler will make it easier to see who has signed up for appointments and enable students to more easily see available appointments.  The basic functionality of the Scheduler has not changed.

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Faculty Canvas Focus Group

CanvasOn March 27, 10 faculty representing every school joined the Office of Information Technology’s LMS Success Team for a Canvas Focus Group. Participating faculty answered a series of questions about their use of Canvas and gave us feedback on what they’d be interested in learning more about. The LMS Success Team will use this feedback to develop support articles, create new Canvas trainings and inform new faculty trainings. We’ll also be rolling out a Level Up! campaign next fall to help faculty discover new features and new ways to use Canvas.

We learned that faculty both love (convenience) and hate (grading) the Attendance feature. We’ll offer some tips to deal with grading and Attendance in the Questions section. Quizzes were challenging so we plan on offering some additional training to assist in using quizzes. Now, on to some of the feedback we received.

Favorite Features
Data on student access
Uploading documents and images
Integration with Panopto
Combining classes
Time Savers
Clickable Rubrics
Combining multiple sections of the same course
Copying course content from previous courses
Differences between Pages, Modules and Files (and when to use each)
Weighting grades
Using Attendance, and its impact on Grades
Setting up rubrics
Combining classes
Like to Learn More About
Using Turnitin in Canvas
Importing course materials, including assignments and calendar events
Best pedagogical practices for learning how to use Canvas features

Several faculty expressed interest in additional training on using the Quizzes feature in Canvas. Instructional Technology will develop a workshop specifically on Quizzes and offer this as a training at the beginning of the fall semester. There is also a guide to Quizzes in the Canvas Community.

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ePortfolio Evaluation Task Force

Eportfolio Word CloudAn ePortfolio evaluation task force, comprised of faculty, staff and students is underway at St. Edward’s University.


Two university-wide initiatives have identified ePortfolios as an important tool for advancing student learning at St. Edward’s University. The five-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), “Vocation: Discovering One’s Purpose in a Changing World,” will commence in 2017. Reflection plays a vital role in helping students achieve the designated learning outcomes as they move forward on their path of vocational discovery, and the QEP calls for and includes funding for an ePortfolio to aggregate that reflection. The new general education framework should begin implementation with the freshmen class of Fall 2018. Requirement Development Committees composed of more than 80 faculty members representing all schools proposed student learning outcomes and requirements for individual curriculum elements during the 2016-2017 academic year. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of those committees saw a role for an ePortfolio in general education courses for archiving signature assignments and work, reflecting on learning experiences, and integrating general education, the major, and other learning in the curriculum, co-curriculum, and personal experiences. Both the General Education Renewal Committee (GERC) and the QEP Committee have asked that a formal selection process get underway to evaluate potential ePortfolio platforms.

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You’re Invited to a Canvas Focus Group

As we approach the end of our first year fully using Canvas, we’re looking for some feedback from faculty who have incorporated the tool in their classes. While we have a bird’s-eye view into how Canvas works, we don’t always have insight into how it works for you. With that in mind, we’re interested in understanding:


  • How is Canvas meeting your needs?
  • What are challenges with using Canvas?
  • What are some favorite timesavers in Canvas?
  • What do you wish you could do in Canvas?
  • How do you use Canvas in face-to-face or blended classes?
  • How do your students engage with Canvas?
  • How has student participation increased?

To gather this information, Instructional Technology will host our first Canvas Focus Group on Monday, March 27.

Canvas Focus Group
Noon-1 p.m.
Monday, March 27
Fleck 314

Lunch will be provided, so please RSVP for this event and let us know about any dietary needs. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact Brenda Adrian at

Tech Failure!? Now What?

FailFor about 3 1/2 hours on Tuesday, Feb. 28, because of a large-scale event with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Canvas was unavailable to faculty and students. The outage lasted from around 11:40 a.m. to 3:10 p.m., and coincided with disruptions to other AWS-hosted services at St. Edward’s and across the country.

In general, our increasing reliance on cloud-hosted services results in much greater reliability, but incidents like this can still occur and cause temporary outages. For reference, Canvas’ overall uptime over the last 12 months is 99.98 percent, which is difficult to beat.

Canvas Support responded quickly to this outage, posting updates every 15 – 30 minutes on their status page . They have committed to working to limit our exposure to any future, similar events, but there is no foolproof way to prevent these situations.

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New Features in Canvas: 2-21-17

CanvasThe latest Canvas update includes a new interface for adding people to your class and Student Context Cards which provide another way of looking at student analytics in a class.

Adding People

With the new interface, faculty will be able to add Teachers, TAs, and Non-Grading TAs to their class by full Email address or Login ID (username appearing before the @ in email addresses).  In both cases, you will need to separate multiple entries with a comma.
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Presenters Announced for Experiments in Teaching

Experiments in TeachingJoin the Center for Teaching Excellence, Instructional Technology, and the Munday library for Experiments in Teaching on Wednesday, February 22, 3:30 – 5:30 pm in Jones Auditorium (Ragsdale 101).

We invite all teaching faculty (full-time, adjuncts, and staff who teach), staff, and administrators to join us for talks and a reception celebrating pedagogical experiments on campus. Featuring a wide variety of St. Edward’s faculty members making brief presentations about their innovative teaching projects, “Experiments in Teaching” will explore the range of teaching initiatives at St. Edward’s University and the models they afford our teaching community. We aim to create a venue for colleagues to share the challenges and successes of teaching innovation. The event will be an open reception with food, drink, and “lightning” talks, followed by informal conversation among all participants. Presenters will use the brief lightning talk format to share a “teaser” for their project then be available for more conversation over refreshments. Lightning talks will begin at 3:30 pm.

Presenters include:

  • Richard Bautch | Gameplay, Biblical Text, and What Drives the Prophet: How Students Turned Call Narratives into a Video Game
  • Peter Beck | Conducting an international field course employing ecological and social research methods
  • Emily Bernate | Using Linguistics Corpus Data in English-Spanish Translations
  • Kim Garza | Augmented Reality to Highlight Archives
  • Katy Goldey and Raelynn Deaton-Haynes | Race for the CURE – A collaborative approach to a course-based research experience for undergraduates in Hormones and Behavior
  • Selin Guner | Xenophobia Workshop
  • Jena Heath | Students as teachers, allaying digital anxieties and building skills
  • Elisabeth Johnson | Close Reading + Glossed Reading via Social Annotation
  • Richard Kopec | Active Learning Pedagogy and LLCs
  • Katherine Lopez | Experiences from Flipping Intermediate Accounting
  • Jack Green Musselman | US/Russia Intercultural Dialogues: A Global Exchange
  • Alexandra Robinson | Whiter Shade of Pale
  • Georgia Seminet | Close Readings with Kami – Students Sharing Knowledge
  • Don Unger | Using Student-Made Videos to Document Community Engagement
  • Teri L. Varner| Using NVivo 11 Pro in Wicked Problems LLC : Listen, Learn & Communication (FSTY 1321)
  • Sara Villanueva | Leading Courageous Conversations in Your Classroom: Helping Students Engage in Difficult Discussions and Civil Discourse
  • Amy Wright | Exploring Austin through a Critical Lens
  • Debra Zahay-Blatz | How to Apply Digital Marketing Certification Content
  • Brad Zehner | Teaching International Business Using a Novella, Shades of Truth

Register for the Event:

Displaying Announcements on the Home Page in Canvas

In a release on 1-7-17, Instructure released a new feature for Canvas that we think you will find useful.

Announcements Can Be Featured on the Course Home Page

If your course has a content page set as the course home page, you can display a certain number of recent announcements at the top of the page. To enable this feature, go to Course Settings, scroll to the bottom and click on More Options. Select the Show Recent Announcements checkbox and specify the number of recent announcements that should be shown (up to 15). By default, the interface displays three announcements unless the number is adjusted. Announcements display in the home page for two weeks.





Click on Update Course Details to save your changes.

The announcements will show at the very top of the home page, before any course banner images or titles.

Screenshot of course home page showing announcements at top of page

For additional assistance in using Canvas contact Instructional Technology at

Canvas Start of Semester Checklist

Clipboard with checkmarks and Canvas logoWelcome back!   Here are a few things to check as you set your courses up in Canvas for the semester. The Canvas Community is a great resource if you have questions about using Canvas. You’ll also find answers to many questions on the new Office of Information Technology Support site.



checkbox_no  Make your course available to students

  • Publish your course by clicking on the Publish button in the upper right menu of the Home page
  • Check the Start and End Dates for your classes. By default, students cannot view classes outside of those dates, even if the course is published.  Make sure to set the course end date so that students can use it to study for final and to check their final Canvas grades. Go to the Course Settings to check and change the dates. Click on the Update Course Details button to save the changes.

checkbox_no Rename your course to add the semester and year

checkbox_no Import Content from another Canvas course

  • Go to Course Settings for your Fall 2016 course and click on the button to Import Content into Course
  • Under Content Type select Copy a Canvas Course
  • Search for the course name
  • Choose All Content unless you want to only copy over specific content or want to exclude Announcements created in your prior class.  Note that Announcements from the prior semester are automatically included in an All Content import.  These announcements will be available to students in the current course unless you delete them from Announcements. If you have announcements we recommend choosing “Select Specific Content” and not importing announcements.
  • If you want Canvas to try and adjust your Due Dates on Assignments, also select Adjust Events and Due Dates
  • Click on Import
  • Complete instructions with screenshots are available in the Canvas Community

checkbox_no Check for Broken Links in Your Class

  • If you have imported a lot of material from Blackboard or another Canvas class, it’s a good idea to check for broken links before publishing your course.
  • Go to Settings and click on the last button on the right for Validate Links in Content

checkbox_no Combine multiple sections of a course

  • If you teach more than one section of the same course, you can combine these into one Canvas course. Please be aware of potential FERPA issues if you combine course sections that do not meet together.  You can take some steps to protect students’ privacy by removing People from the menu, and not combining discussions. Instructions for combining courses are available from the Canvas Training Center.

Check box Add your Syllabus

  • Upload your Syllabus and link to it from the Syllabus tool in Canvas
  • You can also copy sections of the Syllabus into the Syllabus Description or a Page in Canvas.

Check box Add Assignments

  • When you add an assignment  it is also automatically added to Assignments, Calendar, Syllabus and Grades
  • Turnitin Assignments are created by selecting the Submission Type External Tool

checkbox_no Add TA’s or additional instructors

  • Go to the People link in the course menu and select +People.  Enter the TA(s) email address, change the role to TA and click on Next. Verify the correct person is being added and click on Add.

checkbox_no Send a message to your students

Check box Meet with Instructional Technology

  • We’re available to help you design your Canvas course, setup your grades, learn how to use new tools such as web conferencing or lecture capture, and to answer questions.  Contact us at