Monday, 21 May 2018

This week in Canvas: GDPR; Universal Design for Learning; and preparing for 18/19


By now (even if only because we keep getting emails from companies checking that we want to remain on their mailing lists), most of us will be aware that the arrival of ‘GDPR’ is imminent.

What is GDPR?

It’s the General Data Protection Regulation, the new EU law which regulates the use of the personal data of individuals within the EU. And it’s due to be enforced on May 25th 2018.

What’s this got to do with Canvas?

Well, Canvas couldn’t operate without storing various pieces of data for all users – from email addresses and profile pictures, to IP addresses and device details, to information relating to assessed student work. The way in which Canvas (and the company which developed it – Instructure) handles this data will soon be governed by the GDPR.

Do I need to worry about this? Or do anything?

Nope! Instructure states that it has ‘robust plans to comply’ with GDPR. For further details, see here.

Universal Design for Learning

In GSA’s ‘Using Canvas for Staff’ course, you’ll find a new module called Universal Design for Learning.

What’s this all about?

In this case, UDL is about designing your Canvas course in a way that works for all students, regardless of any physical or learning disability, or their mode of accessing the course (eg on a mobile device, or using a screen reader).

Studio-based education can be brilliant at accommodating a rich diversity of learners and their varied needs, but it’s not devoid of barriers to learning. It can be supported by resources made available via Canvas, but, again, barriers can exist here too. You can remove such barriers by presenting resources in a navigable and accessible way on Canvas, allowing them to do their job of supporting students’ developing studio practices. So if you present content on Canvas, direct students to resources there, or encourage them to interact with one another to support learning outside of the studio, you should be thinking about universal design. If your Canvas course is well designed according to UDL principles, then it’s likely to do the job for all learners, irrespective of their needs.

Preparing for 18/19 in Canvas

You’ll find everything you need to know – including FAQs and video tutorials – about getting your Canvas courses ready for 18/19 in a dedicated module in GSA’s Using Canvas for Staff course.

But why not come along to a one-hour training session during May or June, where Learning Technology staff can take you through the process, face-to-face? (Biscuits provided!)

Sign up here for a preparing for an ‘18/19 Canvas Clinic’

If you’re new to Canvas, missed the training first time round, or just want a general refresher, then we’re also offering some 90-minute general Canvas training sessions, to help you to get to grips with the basics:

Sign up here for a general training session

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Getting Ready for 18/19 - Early Bird Training and Rollover Instructions!

17/18 Canvas courses are soon to  end,  and 18/19 are soon to begin. How does it all work?

What happens to Canvas courses at the end of the academic year?

Every Spring, the Learning Technology team generates new, fresh, empty courses. The  new courses have a template applied to them which shows you where to put the minimum baseline content expected to be found in each Canvas course. This includes tutor contact details, course or programme specification and ILOs. Teaching staff  populate the new course from their old course by importing the resources that they want to keep. Each September, the previous year's courses enter an 'archived' state.
Go to the 10 Point Checklist to see what your new course should contain before you publish it.

How do I get my resources and content into my new course(s)?

You should sign up for a 1 hour '18/19 Canvas Clinic'. If you already have a 17/18 in Canvas, you should leave this session with your 18/19 course ready for students. Canvas Clinics will be offered throughout the summer and into September. The first sessions are starting in May.

Hey early-birds: Be the envy of your department and get your next year course ready to roll!

 Sign-Up for an 18/19 Canvas Clinic session here on Doodle  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.If you cannot attend an in-person session, make sure you watch the GSA tutorial videos for guidance. Your 17/18 resources can be easily imported into the new course. 

When will student be able to access my course?

Students will be automatically enrolled on courses (apart from electives) according to the records held by registry. This usually occurs one week prior to the start of Semester 1. 
Courses are UNPUBLISHED until the teaching staff or admin staff publish them. No students can access unpublished courses, and they will not receive any notifications, announcements or calendar events from an unpublished course. 
In both Semester 1 and Semester 2, students have access to published courses from one week prior to the term starting. Students can actively participate in a course (submit assessments, add discussion posts, etc) for 21 days following the end of semester/term. Students will continue to have access to their previous courses in archive form for the duration of their time at GSA (archives will be maintained for 5 years). Both staff and students can find archived courses by clicking on courses<all courses and scrolling to the bottom to see Previous Enrolments.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Making the Most of Canvas: How to Hide Marks from Students until they are all more tips

How do I Release the marks to All Students at the Same Time?

By default, Canvas allows students to see assignment grades as soon as you have graded the assignment. A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any new instructor comments until the assignment is unmuted.

You will almost always prefer to hold student grades until all assessments have been graded, and then release grades to all students at the same time. Your admin staff may well have created your assignment and muted it for you, but if you are managing your own assessments, it's important to be aware of this feature.

To hide student grades until you are ready to release them, you need to mute assignments in the Gradebook.

You can also mute an assignment from Speedgrader directly.
Instructure guide to 'How to Mute an Assignment (So marks and feedback aren't released to the students until they are all in) in Speedgrader'.

More Tips:

How do I hide upcoming assignments?

While you can’t exactly “hide” upcoming assignments in Canvas, there are ways to make those assignments inaccessible (some of these require using modules…) to students:

Lock the assignments until a given date.
Instructure Guide: “How do I lock an assignment before or after the due date?”

Remove Assignments from the navigation menu entirely, (Do this under Settings>>navigation) then lock the module containing the assignments until a given date.
Instructure Guide: “How do I lock a module?”

Use prerequisites/requirements, which are features of the Canvas Modules.
Instructure Guides: “How do I set up prerequisite Modules?” and “How do I add requirements to a Module?”

Can past assignments be hidden?

No, past assignments cannot be hidden, only deleted -  which would also take them out of your Grade Center and delete any submissions. Students can see a past assignment, but not submit to it after the locked date.

How can I see when students last logged in to Canvas?

Canvas allows you access to a lot of student analytics, and this one is pretty easy – go to Course Settings >> Course Statistics button >> Students tab.

Here is further information on “Where can I find statistics about when students are accessing the course?”

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Canvas tip of the week: Adding a Turnitin Assignment to Canvas

Do you need a refresher in how to add a Turnitin Assignment to your Canvas course? Here's a screencast showing you how it's done:

Check out the Canvas Guides for more step by step instructions:

The Turnitin assignment tool has a few limitations:
  • You cannot use Turnitin with group assignments. 
  • Turnitin assignments cannot include more than one submission date; differentiated due dates are not supported. 
  • Turnitin submissions require a minimum of 20 words, a maximum of 400 pages, and a file size maximum of 40 MB. 
  • You cannot restrict student submission types. 
    • Turnitin allows students to submit their assignment as a text entry or upload any supported file type: Text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pptx), Postcript (.ps), Portable Document Format (.pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), HyperText Markup Language (.html), WordPerfect (.wp), Hangul (.hwp), or Open Office (.odt/.ods/.odp). They can also upload an assignment from Google Drive or Dropbox. Turnitin does not allow students to submit unsupported file types.

Here's how to manage Turnitin assignment settings:

In Course Navigation, click the Assignments link. Click on your Assignment title.

Open Assignment

To open Turnitin settings, click the Settings tab.

OR, to open Turnitin settings in smaller window sizes, click the Menu button [1] and select the Settings option [2].

If you included a description in the assignment, the description displays at the top of the page [1]. If you want to include additional instructions, you can enter them in the Instructions field [2]. Instructions appear for students in the Assignment Summary tab.
To limit submissions to files that Turnitin can check for originality or expand submission to include all files, use the Allow submission of any file type? radio buttons [3].
  • If you select the Yes button, any file can be submitted that is less than 40 MB, has a minimum of 20 words, and is less than 400 pages.
  • If you select the No button, Turnitin will only accept files that meet the same file requirements and generate Originality Reports, which include the following file types: Text (.txt), Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx), Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pptx/.pps/.ppsx), Microsoft Excel (.xls/.xlsx), PostScript (.ps/.eps), Portable Document Format (.pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), HyperText Markup Language (.html), WordPerfect (.wpd), Hangul (.hwp), and Open Office Text (.odt). Files can also be uploaded from Google Drive or Dropbox.

Leave the default settings or change them. If you do not allow late submissions, students will not be able to submit even if granted an extension. Late submissions are all time and date stamped and marked as Late.

Click Submit when done.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Want some CPD? Try a MOOC

MOOCs are a great way to learn more about learning technologies, open education, and just about anything else you care to explore. 

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. Participating in a MOOC can give you ideas for structuring your own courses, as well as teaching you the subject of the MOOC itself.

Here are a few MOOCs on blended and online learning as well as other topics that are starting soon and open for participation:
OU - Open University
7 week course, start anytime
UNSW Australia (The University of New South Wales)
Starts Mar 26, 2018
The University of Hong Kong
Starts Mar 26, 2018
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Starts Apr 02, 2018
The University of Melbourne
Starts soon
Duke University, Creative Time
Starts Apr 09, 2018
University of California, Irvine
Starts Mar 19, 2018

Friday, 16 March 2018

Canvas Update: Changes to Announcements

You may have noticed a recent change in Canvas: Announcements are bigger!

Canvas updates happen automatically every three weeks. Sometimes the changes are unnoticeable, and sometimes they are quite dramatic. Canvas made changes to the size of announcements in order to offer better accessibility and a more modern aesthetic.

If you are finding that your homepage is now too crowded with the larger announcements, you can limit the number of announcements to just show the most recent one or two.

Here's a screencast showing how to do that:

And click here to view the Canvas guide. 

Section Announcements

Another new feature of the announcements has also come out this release: Section Specific Announcements are now possible! If you have created sections in your course, can select your section from the dropdown list below the announcement when you create it.

Want to know how to set up sections? Click here for the guide 

Want to know what else is new? 

Here is a short video recap of all the changes in the latest Canvas update:

Canvas Release Notes March 10

If you want to read the release notes every three weeks, you can subscribe by visiting here, logging in, and 'Following' the page:

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

View Content Page History / Revert to Previous Version

How do I view the history of a page in a course?

When you can edit course pages, you can view the page history and see the date, time, and author of any changes made to the page. Page editors can also roll back the page content to a previous version of the page.
The images shown in this lesson are for the instructor view, but the same steps apply for students who have access to edit course pages.
  • Even when granted editing access in page settings, students cannot roll back a prior version of a page within a course. They can only roll back page content for pages within student groups.
  • HTML and CSS changes are not stored in the page history.

Open Pages

Open Pages
In Course Navigation, click the Pages link.

View Pages

View Pages
Pages is designed to open to the front page for the course, if there is a front page selected. To select a page from the Pages Index, click the View All Pages button.

Open Page

Open Page
Click the page you want to view.

View Page History

View Page History
Click the Options icon [1] and select the View Page History link [2].

View Latest Revision

  View Latest Revision 
By default, the page history will show the latest revision.

View or Restore Prior Version

  View or Restore Prior Version 
To open a prior version of your page, click the date you want to access [1] and then click the Restore this revision link [2].
Note: Students cannot restore a prior version of a page within a course.
  View History 
Canvas will restore the prior version to the most recent revision [1]. If you want to replace your current page with different content, click a different date and page revision. Note that restoring a page revision will also associate your name with the page history.
To return to the current page revision, click the close icon [2]. You can also use the breadcrumb navigation [3] to return to the current page or the pages index.

Canvas Tip of the Week: Undelete anything in your course


If  you have accidentally deleted an item in one of your Canvas courses, see steps below to undelete:

  1. From within your Canvas course, take a look at the web address of the course and look for the course ID number. It’s the number that comes after the "courses/" . So in the example below, the course number is 149 (sample).
  2. If there is anything following the course number, delete it. Then add /undelete. The new URL should look like this: 

  3. Hit the Return or Enter key on your keyboard. Voila! Any recently deleted items will be listed.
  4. Click on 'restore'  to restore the item(s) you accidentally deleted.
NB: You must be a teacher or editor on a course to undelete items.

Want to see this in action? Here is a short screencast of the undelete process:

Monday, 5 March 2018

Learn 23 Things to do with Learning Technology

Is 23 the Magic Number? 

There are a lot of '23 Things' in the digital realm, and many universities have undertaken 23 Things projects to introduce tools and apps in a fun and accessible way. 

So how did this 23 things trend come about? It all started with a library project....

The very first 23 Things, originally called Learning 2.0, began as an education and learning project created by Helene Blowers in August 2006 for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.  It was designed to help librarians to engage with web 2.0 tools. Each week, the librarians were introduced to a new web 2.0 tool - from blogs, to apps, to social media - in a friendly, practical, collaborative online environment. The 23 Things concept has been a roaring success and has inspired many similar projects. 

The content of the programmes listed here, except where otherwise stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY) and you are encouraged to partake and reuse these resources! Long Live OER!

Here are some "23 Things" examples:

Title Image - Charles Stuart Uni 23 Things

The 23 things trend has migrated into other cultural areas. One example:  "23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism" is a 2011 book written by Ha-Joon Chang, published by Penguin which gives twenty-three rebuttals of neo-liberal capitalism. 23 Things has entered the cultural lexicon!

If you only go to ONE 23 things online project...try this one

 Never finished a MOOC and don't think this will be any different? Not to worry - it's still worth it!  

In 2012 San Jose State University assistant professor Michael Stephens performed a research study of 23 Things programs in Australia. He found that even if people did not successfully complete the program, the program still had the potential to positively impact library staff as the participants would still be likely to use what they did learn and/or to return to the program at a later date. Stephens also noted that a strong majority of those who completed said they felt confident exploring and using new technologies: confidence and curiosity were identified as particularly notable outcomes. 

Here's Professor Stephens on Youtube: 

"23 Things" as Transformative Learning: Promoting Confidence, Curiosity and Communication

So dip in and out of the 23 Things of your choice, take what you need, and come back if you want a bit more.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Canvas Tip of the Week: Automatically Open a File and View it in a Content Page

Do you want a file to automatically Display and open a file within a Canvas page?
There is a trick to do this using the inline preview tool. Read on!

Open a File by Default Inside a Content Page

When you add a file to a Page, you see the title of the file as a link. The students can click on the link to download the file, or they can view it inside of Canvas. This is known as Inline Preview.

Clicking on the  preview tool (see the image below) displays the file. It's the little magnifying glass icon.

This is a great feature, but it's very small and it's easy for a student to miss.

But fear not! There is a way to have the file automatically display within the page.
  1. Simply select the link to the file then click the link icon in the menu.
  2. Select the auto-open for inline preview option
  3. Click Update Link

The file will be open in the content page by default.
The student has the option to display the file preview full screen, or can use the zoom tools.  

There is a minimize link to shrink the file back to hide beneath the magnifying glass link once it has been viewed.

Here is a video screencast to give you a bit more detail.

Friday, 9 February 2018

How to Use Canvas Course Analytics and Course Statistics

Did you know that you can view course analytics from your Canvas course, including all the individual student interactions? 

You can drill into each individual user on a course where you are a teacher and see their first and last access, number of times spent on each resource of the course, and how often (or never!) they have accessed your resources.

Canvas has two ways to track activity: Course Analytics, and Course Statistics.

Course Analytics

Course Analytics is accessed by the View Course Analytics button on every course home page (top right corner).

Course Analytics show you course activity by date, with an overview of assignments submitted and marks awarded, and then each student is listed individually.

This video from the University of Kentucky gives a good overview of Canvas Analytics in a course.

More info is here in the guides:

Course Statistics

You access Course Statistics under Settings. Click the Statistics button on the top right.

Course Statistics give you a glimpse into which Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes are engaging students and what might be improved in the future. It will also help you to detect which students are not participating to the fullest or have started to fall behind the rest of the class.

There is some overlap with Course Statistics and Course Analytics, but in the Course Statistics give you a more general overview.

How do I view Course Statistics?