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.

Continue reading

What’s the Best Web Browser to Use with Canvas?

web-browsersAlthough Canvas officially works on all of the latest releases of Chrome, Safari, Firefox and IE, there are a couple of instances in which Safari or Firefox may not be the best choice. Which browsers does Canvas support? in the Canvas Community is regularly updated with the latest browsers supported.  We recommend having the latest version of at least two browsers installed on your computer. For Canvas, Chrome should be one of those browsers.

Below are two known issues with Safari and Firefox.

Safari Issue with Student Turnitin Submissions

If students attempting to submit a Turnitin assignment are prompted to enter their login and password, they should switch browsers from Safari to Chrome or Firefox.  Turnitin requires the use of browser cookies and some versions of Safari may not be set up correctly.  If students want to continue using Safari, they should

1. Click on the “Safari” menu and select “Preferences.”
2. Click on the “Privacy” tab.
3. Set “Block Cookies and other website data” to “Never”

Note: You may need to close and then re-open your browser window, clear your browser cache, and/or log out and back into Canvas for these settings to take affect. After you are finished using Turnitin, you may revert your privacy settings.

Firefox Issue with Online Grading Using Speedgrader and Crocodoc

If an instructor is using the online commenting tools with Canvas’ Speedgrader (Crocodoc), there is a known issue that Firefox may not save the last comment.  Since comments are automatically saved, you may not notice that the last comment entered is not saved when you navigate to the next student’s assignment submission.  We recommend using Chrome when grading online.

TurnItIn Assignments in Canvas

canvasturnitinThe TurnItIn LTI integration with Canvas allows you to use the TurnItIn plagiarism service to check your student’s writing assignments for originality against a large database of internet sources. When creating assignments in Canvas using TurnItIn, there are some important limitations to keep in mind:

  • You cannot restrict student submission types. By default Turnitin always allows students to submit their assignment as a text entry or upload any supported file type. Supported file types are: .txt, .doc/.docx, .ppt/.pptx, .ps, .pdf, .rtf, .html, .wp, .hwp, .odt/.ods/.odp
  • Students cannot submit multiple file uploads.
  • If you want to use a Canvas rubric for the assignment, you must add the rubric before setting the External Tool submission type. Create the assignment with any other submission type, save the assignment, add the rubric, and then edit the assignment to select the External Tool.
  • You cannot use Turnitin with group assignments.
  • You cannot have more than one ‘Assign to’ dates.
  • The TurnItIn Assignment details will not be viewable while in Student View mode.

As you watch the video on how to create a TurnItIn Assignment in Canvas, keep in mind and make note of the following best practices: Continue reading

Canvas and Turnitin Changes for Spring 2016


Turnitin Changes within Canvas

The process for adding Turnitin assignments to Canvas is changing beginning December 21, 2015.  Turnitin has changed the way that it integrates with Canvas, which means three important things:

  1. Instructors have to use a new process for setting up Turnitin-enabled assignments in Canvas for the Spring 2016 semester. It is recommended you do not copy any Turnitin assignments from previous semesters. The old method of creating Turnitin assignments will no longer work after December 21, 2015.  The new method involves more steps, but allows you full access to all of the Turnitin features including Grammar Checking. To set up Turnitin Assignments follow these instructions for setting up a Turnitin assignment or view the video below.
  2. Turnitin Originality Reports for assignments submitted to Canvas between Spring 2015 and Fall 2015 will no longer be available after December 21, 2015. If you want to retain these Originality Reports, you will need to download them individually per student for each assignment. This is important if you have student grade challenges or need copies for department assessment. While the Originality Report won’t be available after December 21, the students’ file submission (without the Originality Report) will still be available in Canvas.  Instructions for downloading Originality Reports:
      • Go to Grades in your Canvas class.  In the grade column for a Turnitin Assignment, click on the color-coded rectangle to load the Grade window.  Click again on the color-coded rectangle. This will load the Originality Report in a new window or tab.
      • In the Turnitin Document Viewer, click the printer icon, located towards the bottom left of the screen. 
      • Select “Download PDF of current view for printing.”
      • A popup window will come up, and after a short time there will be a link: “Click here to download your file.”
      • You can then save or open the report as a PDF file.

    Note: There is no way to bulk-download Originality Reports for all student submissions.

  3. Student instructions for viewing feedback via Turnitin’s GradeMark have also changed. Students will now access their GradeMark feedback via Assignments.  If you grade Turnitin submissions using the Speed Grader student instructions for viewing feedback will remain the same.

New Canvas User Interface

Global menu with Account selected and Logout highlightedOn December 21, 2015 we will also switch the Canvas user look and feel to the new Canvas interface which is more responsive on mobile devices. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Global Navigation menu that currently runs across the top of Canvas is now a vertical menu on the left (see the image at the left).  Use the far left menu to access your Courses, Calendar, Inbox and Commons.
  • The Logout option is now located under the Account button.
  • The Course Navigation menu will be just to the right of the Global menu.
  • The Course Navigation menu also collapses on smaller screens, allowing for a more content-focused and responsive layout.
    Canvas logo with 3 lines to the right

Click on the 3 lines to the left of the course name to restore the course menu.


Blackboard Tips

Blackboard Tips: Grade Center

A Calculated Column gathers data from multiple Grade Center columns and performs a calculation such as an average grade for a set of assignments. New courses and restored courses contain two Calculated columns by default: a Total Points column and a Weighted Grade column. To create a new calculated column, select a type such as “average column” from the “Create Calculated Column” list. On the following page enter a column name and set other options, such as whether to display the column to students. Click submit when you are finished.

Blackboard Tips: Make Your Course Available

To make a course available in Blackboard, go into your course’s homepage on Blackboard. On the Control Panel on the left side of the screen, click ‘Customization,’ and then under ‘Customization,’ select ‘Properties.’ This will take you to the Properties window. Under ‘Set Availability’ check ‘Yes’ to make the course available, then click ‘Submit’ at the bottom of the page.

Blackboard Tips: Edit Mode in Blackboard

When you are in Blackboard, if you find that you cannot edit your content, look at the edit mode button in the top right corner of the page. If the edit button is switched to the off position then click it and it will switch on. You should now be able to edit your content. The purpose of having the edit mode button is to allow you to see your Blackboard course from a student perspective. It can be useful to check your edits with the edit mode off when you are done.

Blackboard Tips: How to ensure that your students can reply to your Blackboard announcement e-mails

When you create an announcement in Blackboard, you will be presented with the option “E-mail Announcement” to send the announcement to your students via email. If you want your students to be able to respond to you directly, be sure that you check the “Send a copy of this announcement immediately” box. Otherwise, Blackboard will send the email from a generic IT address and any responses from your students will be directed to IT rather than back to you. To ensure that the email is sent from your address, make sure to check the box to the right of “E-mail Announcement.”

Blackboard Tips: Creating a Turnitin Assignment

The process for creating an assignment in Turnitin is different than creating a normal assignment. To do this go to your blackboard homepage click the “Assignments” link in the course menu. Mouse over “create assessment” and select “Turnitin Assignment” form the drop down menu. Select the type of assignment you wish to create from the three options presented. Enter an assignment title, a point value, and the start, due and post dates. Once you are finished click “submit”. Your Turnitin assignment will appear under Assignments.

Blackboard Tips: Course Reports

Faculty can use the Course Reports area to generate reports on course usage and activity. Faculty can view a specific student’s usage to determine if students are actively using course materials. The report appears in the form of graphical charts. Course reports provide different ways to view information about student activity and content usage. To run a new report, select a course you are teaching and open the course Control Panel, click on Evaluation and then Course Reports. Choose your desired options and run the report.

Blackboard Tips: Clearing Attempts in Turnitin

If you need to clear a student’s attempt in Turnitin, go to the Full Grade Center and find the cell that corresponds to the student’s attempt that you would like to clear. Then click the double arrow box to the right of the cell and select the third option “Attempt” from the menu. In the Modify Grade window, select the “Clear attempt” button. Click submit to save changes.

Blackboard Tips: Course Reports

Faculty can use the Course Reports area to generate reports on course usage and activity. Faculty can view a specific student’s usage to determine if students are actively using course materials. The report appears in the form of graphical charts. Course reports provide different ways to view information about student activity and content usage. To run a new report, select a course you are teaching and open the course Control Panel, click on Evaluation and then Course Reports. Choose your desired options and run the report.

Blackboard Tips: Reordering Items in a Content Area or Menu Bar

In order to move items in a content area, mouse over the top right corner of the item box (or the double pronged arrow to the right of the box in the case of the menu bar items) until the cursor changes into the four pronged arrow. Now simply click and drag the item to where you want it to be.

Blackboard Tips: Downloading Assignments from Grade Center

To download assignment files that students have submitted, go to Grade Center and click on the double arrow to the right of the assignment that you would like to download. Select “Assignment File Download” from the drop-down list. On the next page you can choose to download all files or just the files from selected students. Click “submit” once you have selected which files to download, and then click the “Download Assignments Now” link. Save the .zip file to your drive and open it to view the files.

Blackboard Tips: Copying Files from One Course to Another

If there is a file that already exists in one course that you wish to make available in another course you must first locate the file and click the double down arrow on the right side of the file’s name. From the drop down menu, select the “Copy” option. Then select the course and folder in which you wish the file to appear. Finally, click “Submit.” Your file should now be available in both courses. To move a file from one course to another, simply follow the same procedure as above but instead of selecting the “Copy” option from the drop-down menu, you will select the “Move” option.