Canvas DocViewer Replacing Crocodoc for Grading

CanvasOn June 21st, Canvas will replace the Crocodoc grading annotation tool with its own DocViewer. This is a necessary step as Box has ended support for Crocodoc.

All of the annotation tools will still be available in the new DocViewer, but the interface has changed a bit. The image below shows the new DocViewer with tools located on the right side of the display.

The DocViewer toolbar displays the number of pages for a document, zoom in and out of the file, and six annotation types for commenting: point, highlight, free text, strikeout, free draw, and area annotation types.

Currently, annotation selection is not persistent, so once an annotation type is selected, the toolbar defaults back to the selection tool. Users must select each annotation type individually.

The Canvas DocViewer will also replace the inline Preview tool for documents linked to within a page.

A complete description of file types supported and tool availability is available in the DocViewer documentation in the Canvas Community.

Contact Instructional Technology at for assistance with Canvas.

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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SXSWEdu Highlight: Bring Personalized Learning in Your Classes

SXSWEdu Conference

The pedagogy of personalization referenced in this post was presented by Alix Horton (New Tech Network-Literacy Coach), Drew Schrader (New Tech Netwotk-Dir Assessment), and Paul Curtis (New Tech Network-Dir of Platform Dev) in the summit session of SXSWEdu 2017.


What is Personalized Learning?

It entails school culture, pedagogy, available resources and all that might influence the shape of the learning environment. In the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan: Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education (NETP) and the 2017 NETP Update, both define personalized learning as the following:

“Personalized learning refers to instruction in which the pace of learning and the instructional approach are optimized for the needs of each learner. Learning objectives, instructional approaches, and instructional content (and its sequencing) may all vary based on learner needs. In addition, learning activities are made available that are meaningful and relevant to learners, driven by their interests and often self-initiated.”

Personalized learning usually leverages digital tools and applications to customize learning for each individual and ensure students can close the skill gaps, achieve mastery, or gain advanced knowledge in the concepts taught. Personalized learning provides instruction that is meaningful and contextualized for the students, and consists of the following (SXSWEdu 2017):

  • The pace of learning is adjusted and self-paced.
  • Learning objectives, approaches, and content are optimized for each learner.
  • Learning is motivated and driven by learner interests.
  • Learners are given choice in what, how, when, and where they learn.
  • Learning is often supported by technology.

To allow true personalized learning, faculty utilize technology to make it easier to transform courses that support individualized learning. In this post are some strategies in support of personalized learning. Continue reading

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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Scheduling Office Hours and Student Appointments

Calendar imageScheduling appointments to meet with individual students can now be managed through Canvas. This removes the frustrating administrative burden of managing multiple places (calendar, daily planner, email, hand-scribbled notes from class) where you track your student meetings to discuss that paper or project.
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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


End of Semester Tasks in Canvas

CanvasChecking the Course End Date

The course end date in Canvas restricts students from participating in courses after that date. Make sure your course end date is set to be the last date you want students to view or submit course materials.  By default, the course end date in Canvas is set to be the same as the last course meeting as defined in Banner.  If students need to submit final papers, exams, projects or review course materials after that date, you will need to change the course end date. To change the course end date:

  • Go to Settings in your course menu
  • Go to Ends and extend the date
  • Click Update Course Details to save the changes

Grading Tip – Hiding or Holding Release of Student Assignment Grades

Would you like to release all of your grades for an assignment together so that students don’t see their grade until you are done grading all of the assignments?  Did you know you could “mute” an assignment? A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any new instructor comments until the assignment is unmuted. A muted assignment displays a “mute” icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted. Students will be unable to view their grade, including grade and score changes or submission comments for the assignment until the assignment is unmuted. Instructions for muting an assignment are found in the Canvas Community.

For additional assistance in using Canvas contact Instructional Technology at