Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Canvas: Usage Stats, plus How to create a nickname or shorten a Course Name

Greetings all! Welcome to the eLearning blog. This week is entirely devoted to Canvas.

Tip of the week: Using "Nicknames" to change your course names

Course names too long, too similar, too confusing? The solution is nicknames!

Sometimes you'll find that the names of your courses aren't quite what you'd like them to be. Perhaps a name is too long, meaning that the end of the name gets cut off on the course card on your dashboard, for example. Or maybe you are enrolled on a number of courses with very similar names, and it's not easy to distinguish between them at a glance. The good news is that it's easy to personalise the names of your courses in Canvas.

Here is a short screen cast to show you how to use 'Nicknames':

Next: Data! Hurrah!

We have started to generate some interesting data on Canvas usage at Glasgow School of Art. Here are our first statistics on course usage.

Total Active Courses: 148
Total Active Teachers: 283
Total Registered Students: 2,991
Average Page Views per week: 139,512

The numbers are particularly amazing when you consider that we launched our new Learning Management System with only one summer to plan, prepare and execute. 

So, which are the most active courses?

When looking at the leader board, do bear in mind that some courses have many more students than others, and some 'courses' are really an entire year of a programme. There  hasn't been any weighting to offset this.

With that disclaimer, we can now announce that the most visited courses at GSA's Canvas for the first half of Semester 1, 2017 (including August, September and October) are as follows:

Top 25 Courses By Pageviews
Course Name
Page Views Overall
1.       Technical Support Department
2.       Using Canvas for Students
3.       MSA Stage 2 17/18
4.       Postgraduate Cross-School Electives
5.       MSA Stage 5 17/18
6.       MSA Stage 3 17/18
7.       MSA Stage 1 17/18
8.       MSA Stage 4 17/18
9.       Singapore Y4 FoCI / Design History & Theory 17/18
10.   FoCI Y3 Semester 1 - Elective Enrolment Site 17/18
11.   Design Domain Central 17/18
12.   GSA Student Voice
13.   GSA Dates
14.   FoCI Year 4 (DH&T) 17/18
15.   Singapore Y3 FoCI / Contexts of Critical Inquiry 17/18
16.   Careers, Employability and Enterprise
17.   Exchange Students Outgoing
18.   FoCI Y1 Semester 1 From the Classical to the Postmodern 17/18
19.   Interior Design year 3- 17/18
20.   School of Fine Art Community 17/18
21.   Design Theory 17/18
22.   FACS Year 4 Fine Art Critical Studies (FACS) 17/18
23.   MSA General Community 17/18
24.   Interior Design Community
25.   Interior Design Level 4

Well done to all GSA instructors for spending the time and putting together their Canvas courses in such a short time. It hasn't been easy but we did it.

Initial feedback from staff and students has been overwhelmingly positive. We'll capture more comments in the Learning Resources annual survey and feed that back in a later post.

Check out more Using Canvas Tips at the GSA Using Canvas for Staff course. 

Friday, 10 November 2017

New E-Book on Assessment, Feedback and Technology

A new Open Access e-book that provides valuable insight into the way technology can enhance assessment and feedback.

The Book

E-Book thumbnail
E-Book Cover
The book is a result of a two-year project on e-assessment and feedback run by the Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE), a collaboration between five colleges on issues around digital technology in Higher Education. It contains three research papers which capture snapshots of current practice, and 21 case studies from the BLE partner institutions and a little beyond.
The three papers focus on
  • the use of technology across the assessment lifecycle,
  • the roles played by administrative staff in assessment processes,
  • technology-supported assessment in distance learning.
The case studies are categorised under the headings:
  • alternative [assessment] tasks and formats,
  • students feeding back,
  • assessing at scale,
  • multimedia approaches, and
  • technical developments.
Here are three reasons why everybody involved in Higher Education should read this book, in particular the case studies:
  1. Processes in context:
    The case studies succinctly describe assessment and feedback processes in context, so you can quickly decide whether these processes are transferable to your own situation, and you will get a basic prompt on how implement the assessment/feedback process.
  2. Problems are highlighted:
    Some case studies don’t shy away from raising issues and difficulties, so you can judge for yourself whether these difficulties represent risks in your context, and how these risks can be managed.
  3. Practical tips:
    All case studies follow the same structure. If you are in a hurry, make sure to read at least the Take Away sections of each case study, which are full of tips and tricks, many of which apply to situations beyond the case study.
Overall, this collection of papers and case studies on assessment and feedback is easily digestible and contributes to an exchange of good practice.

View and Download the Book

The e-book is an Open Access publication freely available below.
For further information, see ble.ac.uk/ebook.html, and view author profiles at ble.ac.uk/ebook_contributors.html

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Horizontal Line Across a Canvas Page

Horizontal Line Across a Canvas Page

It is best practice to break up large pages of text into more easily digested chunks.  One quick and easy way to do this is to use horizontal lines. You can easily add a horizontal line to your page with one short piece of HTML code.

 <hr style="border: 4px solid blue;" />

<hr style="border: 2px solid red;" />
code snippet hr.png

notepad and pencil.png

Steps to Create a Horizontal Line on a Canvas Page

  1. Select and copy the line of code above,
  2. Navigate to an existing Canvas page and go to Edit mode,
  3. Scroll down to the point where you would like to place your line, insert your cursor after the last line of text before your planned line, and then hit enter a couple times,
  4. Switch to the HTML Editor,
  5. Scroll down until you see the desired line of text followed by the two "<p>&nbsp;</p>" that were created by hitting enter twice,
  6. Place your cursor after the first "<p>&nbsp;</p>" code, and click enter,
  7. Paste the copied code snippet.
  8. Switch back to the Rich Content Editor to view the results.
  9. To modify the code to make the line thicker or a different color:
  • Raise the number of pixels (yellow highlighted text above) to make the line thicker. 
  • Replace the blue highlighted text in the code snippet above with the color you want to use.

INSTRUCTIONS [Basic HTML] Buttons, Lines, Fonts - Oh My!

button (9).png 

HTML - Buttons

  1. Add your link to the page using the 'Insert Content into the Page' tool 
  2. Go to the HTML editor
  3. Find the <a tag
  4. add the tag highlighted in yellow below

<p><a id="" class="btn" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (default)</a></p>

<p><a id="" class="btn btn-primary" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (primary)</a></p>
<p><a id="" class="btn btn-info" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (info)</a></p>
<p><a id="" class="btn btn-success" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (success)</a></p>
<p><a id="" class="btn btn-warning" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (warning)</a></p>
<p><a id="" class="btn btn-inverse" href="$WIKI_REFERENCE$/pages/basic-html-buttons-lines-progress-bars-fonts-oh-my">Click Me! (inverse)</a></p>

Horizontal Lines

Thin Line Code

<hr />

Thick Line Code

<hr style="border: 1px solid#000;" />

To make a thick line using a different color, just replace the hex code (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

<hr style="border: 1px solid#000;" />

Fonts - Oh My!

<p><span style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: x-large;">Times New Roman</span></p>

<p><span style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: x-large;">Verdana</span></p>

<p><span style="font-family: 'Comic sans MS'; font-size: x-large;">Comic Sans MS</span></p>

<p><span style="font-family: WildWest; font-size: x-large;">WildWest</span>
*Just replace the name of the font you want to use in the green area of the code. If it doesn't stick it means Canvas doesn't see it as "safe" and strips it. I have found that most work. 


TML] Buttons, Lines, Fonts - Oh My!

button (8).png

 HTML - Buttons  

 HTML - Horizontal Lines

You can make faint lines:

 And you can make thick lines:

 You can make different colored lines:

 Black line 1px thick

 Blue line 4px thick

 Red line 6px thick

 Green line 8px thick

 Purple line 12px thick

 Yellow line 16px thick

 Orange line 20px thick

 Pink line 24px thick

Hex Color Code Example:

<hr style="border: 2px solid#5b9aa0;" />

IT Helpdesk and Browsing Open Courses on Canvas

New to Canvas: IT Student Helpdesk and Office 365 Email link

You asked for it, you got it! You can now find links to the IT Helpdesk and your GSA email from the main side menu in Canvas. Just click on 'Help & Links'.

Also: Guest Access Courses

Did you know you can browse through the open-access courses such as Learning Workshops, Counselling, Printmaking, Photography, Sustainability, and lots more? To find the open courses, click on 'Courses' in the side menu, then click 'All Courses', then click the 'Browse Courses'. button You'll end up here: https://canvas.gsa.ac.uk/search/all_courses/

Watch this 1 minute screencast for details.

Bye for now!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Before You Publish Your Canvas Course: 10 Point Checklist

Before You Publish Your Canvas Course: 10 Point Checklist

Are you ready for students to access your course? Here is a check list of tasks before you hit 'publish':

1) Does the home page look right? 

Have you removed all the pink text? Have you entered the tutor names and contact details?
Have you entered the ILOs into the Course Outline and tidied it up?

2) Are the modules full of content and published?

Go into your Course Settings, then Student ViewLinks to an external site. and check through your course to see what the students will see. Did you publish every item that you want students to see? 
Have you edited or removed the sample modules from the template (Project 1, Project 2, Project 3, etc)?

3) Have you set up any Assessments (if you are using them)?

Are the points and weighting correct? Check assignment due dates and points. Double-check the weightingLinks to an external site.that you've assigned to assignment groups.
Have you muted assignmentsLinks to an external site.? The default in Canvas releases a grade to a student as soon as the instructor has completed grading UNLESS you adjust this setting. All you need to do is remember to "unmute" the grades when you have completed grading for the entire class.

4) Have you hidden unnecessary navigation links?Links to an external site. ?

Some navigation links such as Files will already be hidden. If you are not using Assignments, discussions, or other items, you may choose to hide them. The resulting course will be simpler for students to navigate.

5) Are you planning to take attendance using Canvas?

6) Have you customized your notifications settingsLinks to an external site.

Doing so will limit the number of emails that you receive. Also, unlike Blackboard, we will not have the power to lock a student's notification to their GSA email, so we suggest you encourage the students to set up their notification preferences for text messages or alternative emails.

7) Are your colleagues enrolled in your course yet?

8) Have you removed the word 'New' from your title (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.?

9) Have you submitted a Reading List to the library?

10) Yes to all? You are ready to publish  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.your course!

Monday, 28 August 2017

How to add a Turnitin assignment to Canvas.

This week's tip: How to add a Turnitin assignment to Canvas.

Turnitin is the plagiarism checker used at GSA. GSA typically uses this as a tool for students to check their own work prior to final submission.

Turnitin can be used without sending the submissions to the plagiarism detection database as a tool for marking. This is an alternative to the standard assignment tools within Canvas. Both Turnitin and Canvas assisgnments will show up in the GRADES section in the mark book.

Please have a look at the instructions (4 mins)  for adding a Turnitin assignment to Canvas.

Turnitin's integration with Canvas (using a tool called Learning Tools Interoperability - or LTI) offers full support for the use of Originality Check, GradeMark, and PeerMark within Canvas. 

Please view the Canvas Guide for more info:

How to add a Turnitin Assignment

How to manage a Turnitin assignment

Tuesday, 22 August 2017


Canvas is designed with a 'mobile first' mission - the responsive design resizes and displays course graphics, documents, system tools and menus within the app, making it really easy to use. For best results, don't access Canvas in your browser on your phone - use the app!

There are two mobile apps for Canvas: one for students, and one for teachers. Search for them by name in the playstore or app store.

Canvas Student

The Canvas by Instructure app is the mobile version of Canvas that helps students stay current with their courses. With the app it is easy to view course material, participate in discussions, check the calendar, contact tutors, and submit assessments. Students can download the Canvas by Instructure app on Android and iOS devices. 

Canvas Teacher

Canvas Teacher App answers the question, "How do I use Canvas more efficiently?" This mobile app focuses on a teacher's frequent, lightweight interactions with Canvas that could be accomplished more efficiently in mobile than in web.

Basically, if you want to do any online marking, upload resources or manage your Canvas courses in any way from a mobile device, you will want to get the teacher app.

Download the Canvas Teacher app on Android and iOS devices:

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

TUES, Aug 22 12:00 – 14:00
WEDS, Aug 23 WED 13:30 – 15:30
TUES, Aug 29 TUE 13:30 – 15:30
MON, Sept 18 12:00 - 14:00

Sign Up Here: https://beta.doodle.com/poll/ra4s9ikt8ntg38yi

Making the Most of Canvas: Using the 22 Point Scale

This week's tip is about marking using the custom GSA scale.

For many programmes, the 22 point scale is standard. We've put it into Canvas and you can assign it to any assessment.

Watch this 2 minute video to learn how to do it!

Do you want to change the default grading scheme for the whole course? You can do that in settings. Read this documentation for more info.

How Do I Enable a Marking Scheme for my Canvas Course? 

Monday, 31 July 2017

Making the Most of Canvas: Subscribing to the Calendar Feed

Did you know that you can subscribe to the Canvas calendar, and sync it with your outlook or ical calendar? 

It's very easy to do and will allow you to overlay your canvas events onto your outlook calendar, or view the two calendars side by side.

To subscribe to Canvas within Outlook:

1. In Canvas, Click on the Calendar

2. Click the Calendar Feed link.

3. Copy the calendar feed link.

4. Open Outlook. In the sidebar, click the Calendar icon
5. Click on ‘Open Calendar’ in the top ‘Manage Calendars’ menu

6. Click ‘From Internet’
7. Paste in the Canvas Calendar Link
8. Calendar will appear under ‘Other Calendars’ in Outlook
9. To view the Canvas and Outlook calendars together, or to separate them to view side-by-side, click the arrow beside the calendar name.

Note: The Canvas Calendar is read-only from within Outlook; edits cannot be made and events can’t be added via Outlook, only by returning to Canvas.

Prefer to use the Outlook web interface? 

Instructions for syncing via the web outlook client are here:

Happy Canvassing.....