Canvas New Releases 7-15-2017

On JCanvasuly 15, Instructure will release multiple new features for Canvas. Duplication of Assignments and Pages will be a welcome time saver for faculty. For example, if you need to add multiple in-class homework assignments to populate your gradebook in Canvas, this will be a quick way to create those assignments.  New courses added to Canvas after July 15th will default to Modules for the Home Page. In addition, Canvas is changing icons throughout Canvas.

Assignment Duplication

Assignments can be duplicated in the Assignments index page. The duplication option is located in the Settings menu for every available assignment. When an assignment is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the assignment name.  You can duplicate any assignment by clicking on the gear icon to the right of the assignment name and choosing Duplicate from the drop down menu.

Duplicating an assignment defaults the copied assignment to an unpublished status. All items in the assignment are duplicated including the name, description, point value, and options, except for the following situations:

  • Copied external tool (LTI) assignments, such as Turnitin, will need to be reconfigured.
  • Copied assignments are always assigned to everyone in the course; differentiated assignments are not retained for individual users, groups, or sections.
  • Copied peer review assignments retain the peer review setting and Assign Review date, but the number of reviews per user will be set to zero.

Note: Quizzes and Discussion assignments cannot be duplicated.

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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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Start of the Semester Checklist for Canvas

Clipboard with checkmarks and Canvas logoWelcome back to the Spring 2016 semester!  Did too much holiday cheer wipe out your memories of those start of the semester tasks you need to do in Canvas?  Is this your first semester teaching in Canvas? Here are a few things to check as you set your courses up for the semester.  Remember that Turnitin Assignments will need to be set up again as the integration with Canvas has changed.



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.  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 Send a message to your students.

checkbox_no Combine multiple sections of a course.

checkbox_no Add TA’s

  • Go to the People link in the course menu and select “+People”.  Enter the TA(s) email address and click on “Add”.

checkbox_no Import Content from another Canvas course

  • Go to Course Settings for the Spring 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.
  • Click on “Import”

Check box Add Assignments

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

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

We have several Introduction to Canvas trainings scheduled.  Sign up at .

Using Box for Collaborative Cloud Storage in Your Courses

Box is a cloud storage and collaboration solution available to St. Edward’s University students, faculty, and staff. With Box, you can create, store, collaborate, and access files and information securely from anywhere, on a multitude of devices. Faculty, you have 50 GB of storage space on Box. Use it today to save files for your courses and share folders and files with your students or colleagues to collaborate.

Box Logo How do I Access Box?

To access your new Box account, visit and click continue. You will be routed to the myHilltop login screen, and after successfully entering your St. Edward’s username and password, you will be routed to your Box dashboard.

Once logged in, you can check out the “Welcome to Box” resources folder provided for you. Please review the Box SEU FAQ document. There is also helpful documentation and videos, to help you get the most out of the great Box benefits now available to you, including:

How are Faculty using Box Today?Box Interface

Faculty, staff, and students are currently using Box for their work and courses. Here are a few faculty stories of how Box is used for their courses:

Kim Garza, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, uses Box in her course and shared her story:

“I wanted to share what happened in my class yesterday with Box. At the beginning of the semester, I created a class folder by posting the collaboration link in Bb/Canvas (super easy). We’ve been adding files to it along the way. But yesterday, I asked them to edit a Box note in class. They were so jazzed by the colored boxes with their initials moving all over the place. It was a bit performative in nature. I enjoyed watching them delight in collaborating in the cloud synchronously. Now, I will say that their task wasn’t really profound — an over-glorified sign-up sheet — but the engagement and geek-out factor was off the charts.”

Other faculty, including the Capstone Faculty, such as Todd Onderdonk, Associate Professor Of University Studies, are encouraging their students to use Box as a great option for the students to store the electronic parts of their research files in Box folders, and to help them with their research processes.

Jump In or Get Help

Box is fully available to all faculty, staff, and students of St. Edward’s University.  Feel free to start using it whenever you are ready. If you would like support, however, in using box, the Office of Information Technology can help.

Blackboard Unavailable Dec. 18th Due to Upgrade

BlackboardOn December 18th, 2014 we will be upgrading Blackboard to the April 2014 Release. This new version of Blackboard retains the current look and feel while adding several new and enhanced features including web-based or inline grading, a true student preview mode, enhanced calendar functionality, enhanced discussions, and date management for course copied materials. Our current version of Blackboard, Service Pack 11, is out of support so we are taking this opportunity to upgrade to the newest, stable release of Blackboard. Blackboard will be unavailable all day on Thursday, December 18th while we upgrade.

A summary of new and enhanced features is below. Instructional videos and links to detailed instructions may be found at “What’s New in Blackboard“.  The Faculty Resource Center staff will be happy to meet with you before the upgrade to show you these features on our test server. Please contact us if you have questions about using these features.

Inline Assignment Grading

Instructors are now able to view, comment on and grade assignments “inline”, i.e. in the web browser, rather than having to download them to a computer for grading. Files that have been submitted electronically to Blackboard, may be displayed in the inline viewer and annotated directly within the browser. The tools available for annotation are: Comment, Draw, Highlight, Text and Strikeout. See the detailed instructions on using Inline Grading.

Enhanced Calendar

The calendar now displays a consolidated view of all course calendar events for a user.  Instructors can use the calendar course tool as a primary way of managing and communicating the schedule of events and assignments in the course. The calendar supports due dates, if set, for gradable items and repeating events, such as class meeting times. Clicking on calendar items allows an instructor to view or edit the item, or grade attempts on the associated item. See the detailed instructions on using the new Calendar.

Student Preview

There is now a built-in true student preview mode in every class. You can submit assignments, take tests and view grades as a student.  See the detailed instructions on using Student Preview.

Improved Discussions

The Thread Detail page is thoroughly redesigned yet maintains all of its existing functions. All of the posts in a thread are now visible at the same time on one page, thereby maintaining the context of posts and replies to one another. You can still collapse threads.  See examples of the new discussion layout.

Date Management

Use the Date Management tool to easily adjust all content and assignment dates in your course. Accessed via the Control Panel > Tools you can choose to adjust dates automatically or individually from one convenient location.  See detailed instructions on using the date management tool.

Favorite Apps at St. Edward’s University

The #100percentdigital faculty-staff learning community got off to a great start last week with the Apps and Appetizer Mixer.  Thanks to all of you who joined us.  I learned a lot from both the full group discussion and smaller conversations about what the best apps are and why.  Below is a word cloud showing the results of our live poll using Poll Everywhere, which lets participants respond via text message or web page from any mobile device: Continue reading

Apps and Appetizers Mixer

word cloud of appsWelcome back to campus faculty and staff! Join your colleagues, Innovation Fellows, and Instructional Technology staff at the Apps and Appetizers Fall semester mixer on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 from 3:30pm-4:30pm in the Faculty Resource Center (FRC), Premont Hall 110. Lets start off the semester by sharing mobile Apps,  appetizers, and Apple cider. Bring your iPad, iPhone, Android phone or other mobile device and share which apps help you manage your work and life. Discover apps for productivity, education and fun! At last year’s mixer, Evernote was voted the favorite app.  What will it be this year?

Please sign up today: so we can bring enough snacks.

Mobile Apps at St. Edward’s University

Mobile device ownership is on the rise at St. Edward’s University. 34% of this year’s freshman are bringing tablets including iPads and Android tablets and 97% have smart phones. There are more than 115 university-owned iPads on campus used by faculty, staff, and students.  How are these devices getting used? Here’s just a few uses we know about:

  • St. Edward’s Mobile App: brings all the campus information you need to the palm of your hand.
  • Productivity: Digital workflow apps help us go #100percentdigital and include, Evernote a digital note taking tool, Box and Google Drive, which are cloud collaboration and file organization tools, and Diigo an online social bookmarking and annotation tool. We are offering Computer Training Workshops to learn more about these tools. Sign up today:
  • Judy Leavell, School of Education – use of free Children’s literature iPad apps for Student Teacher’s to increase iPad usage in K-12 schools.
  • Todd Onderdonk, University Programs, Cory Lyle, Professor of Spanish, and Grant Simpson, dean of the School of Education – use of iPad apps to create Digital Autobiographies of young students while studying abroad in Chile.
  • Kim Garza, Professor of Graphic Design – had students design apps for the iPad and used iPad apps for group work.
  • Michael Wassermam, Professor of Environmental Science & Policy, and Roberta Sue Engel, Visiting Assistant Professor of Entomology – using mobile apps to collect mobile data in field work.

Know of other app uses?  Have a favorite app to share?  Share it in the comments or drop by the FRC (Premont 110) on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 from 3:30pm-4:30pm.

Join the #100percentdigital Faculty-Staff Learning Community

#100percentdigital blog logoWondering how to get the most out of your new iPad? Ever compared apps with your friends or students? Follow Lifehacker or Profhacker?  Tired of all that paper piling up in your office?  If you answered yes to any of these questions (and even if you didn’t), Instructional Technology and the Center for Teaching Excellence invite you to join the #100percentdigital faculty-staff learning community, focused on digital workflow and practice.

To join, please fill out this short registration form.  We will get in touch with you shortly about how to join the web site and share with the community. Continue reading

Going 100% Digital with the iPad

Coffee & iPadMary Boyd, Vice President of Academic Affairs at St. Edward’s University has made the commitment to go digital. As she explains on her new blog, #100percentdigital:

I’ve committed to moving to a 100% digital workflow and practice.  That decision required a lot of persuasion by colleagues, who convinced me that I could do everything I do now, but better, in a completely digital process.

To encourage Mary’s commitment and get the community involved in helping her go digital, I’m offering a little incentive. I’ll buy coffee (or an equivalent beverage) for anyone who catches Mary using paper instead of her iPad. There are a few conditions:

  • It has to be paper she provides. It doesn’t count if you bring her paper in a meeting.
  • You have to tweet your picture to the hashtag #100percentdigital and to me @frostdavis
  • I reserve the right to stop this incentive program if Mary is using too much paper (and I’m buying too much coffee)!

Apps for the Commuter

a snapshot of traffic in Austin on a typical morning

A Typical Morning of Traffic in Austin

Last week, Profhacker’s Open Thread Wednesday asked about our favorite mobile apps.  The text of my response is below, with the addition of links:

I have to give a shout out not to an app but to some built in functionality in iPads and iPhones. My commute can be up to an hour, and since public transportation is not an option that means all driving and no reading.

I find VoiceOver–one of the accessibility features on the iPad and iPhone–to be invaluable. Here’s how I include it in my workflow. During breakfast, I read RSS feeds using Mr. Reader on my iPad. (I love this app because I can send articles to InstapaperDiigotwitter, etc.). I send the articles I want to read later to Instapaper and make sure they download before I leave the house. (I only have wireless on my iPad, so no downloads on the road.) In the garage, I open Instapaper and ask Siri to turn on VoiceOver. Then I start my iPad reading and listen to the morning’s news while I drive. When I arrive on campus, Siri is once again working on the campus wireless network, so I have her turn off VoiceOver.

Turning on VoiceOver

How To Turn On VoiceOver

Turning on VoiceOver

You can also turn VoiceOver on and off using the menu, but when it is on it takes more clicks. You can find the feature under Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver. You can also set the speed of the voice here.  I find I have to keep mine closer to the tortoise and the hare so I can follow the text while I am driving.  Be aware that touch gestures may be different in this mode.  For example, you must click to select, then double click to open items.  Scrolling is also different.

Alternatively, I have used Voiceover to read books in the kindle app. I found that I could do one chapter of Hirsch’s Digital Humanities Pedagogy per drive, and I could almost hear Lisa Spiro or Tanya Clement talking as their works were read to me. I also used VoiceOver when riding in an airport shuttle when reading made me queasy.

Using my iPad for this reading means that my iPhone is still free for other uses, like checking traffic on the maps app during traffic jams.  I find this type of reading useful for texts I want to familiarize myself with but which I don’t need to go in depth. Since I’ve also saved them to diigo, I can always go back to them when I need to read deeper.  VoiceOver works better on connected prose because if you miss a word, you can usually get the meaning by context.  Finally, I had to slow the pace of the voice down to make sure I caught everything.