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Take Five: Catch Up on New Canvas Features

Effective Date: October 6, 2022

Canvas is expanding to meet the needs and requests of instructors across all disciplines. Recently, the platform introduced a host of new and improved features to better connect instructors and students, enable more automation and opportunities for organization, and even encourage celebration. Read on to check out some of the new options.

Cheers to On-Time Assignments and a Fresh View

Page formatting for Canvas assignments is refreshed and offers an updated interface that allows details about the assignment to be more visible to students with fewer clicks. The workflow for building and evaluating assignments is unchanged, as are the process and options for students to submit assignments. Instructors preferring the previous view can revert back under the settings options. Canvas is also now providing a little digital celebration, in the form of screen confetti, for students who successfully submit assignments on time and for instructors using the Link Validator who confirm all the links in their course are working properly. Review these enhancements.

Accessibility is for Everyone

Now more than at any other time in the past, there is a demand to recognize that the responsibility of creating equitable access to all learning materials is a critical part of what it means to deliver inclusive instruction. As institutions rely more on digital components to build and deliver instruction, the need to ensure those digital components don’t create a hindrance or barrier is on the rise. Canvas’s Accessibility Checker detects common accessibility errors for content built directly inside the Canvas Rich Content Editor. Both students and faculty can connect with AccessibleNU to find other tools and resources across the University to ensure equitable access for all learners.

Gradebook Upgraded for Efficiency

The Canvas Gradebook is now better at saving instructors time and reducing manual processes. As graded assignments stack up during the quarter and Gradebook data grows, instructors often need to sort, filter, and search data within the tool. Are you interested in generating an automated list so you can email students who didn’t receive a satisfactory grade? Do you want to filter assignments by keyword or due date? Would it be helpful to see at a glance whose submissions are late or missing? Are you interested in a SpeedGrader that can evaluate all of a student’s assignments and give a single unique snapshot? The upgraded version of Gradebook introduces options for all the above and more. Learn about the new features.

Discussion/Announcements May Be Better in Beta

Canvas’s vendor, Instructure, is engaged in an ongoing project to redesign the Discussion/Announcements through regular updates that introduce new features. The features are optional, and instructors can trial them at any time. One of the most noteworthy new options is an anonymous discussion setting designed to get students asking questions, sharing opinions, and engaging in ways they don’t typically. The setting is also a great way to conduct polls. Other recent new additions include:

  • Reply reporting for inappropriate, offensive, and/or abusive comments
  • @mentions to directly tag
  • A reply sidebar
  • Ability to sort posts’ oldest or newest replies

Visit the Canvas Learning Center to learn more about the redesigned Discussion/Announcement options.

Take the Guess Work Out of Grading Group Effort

While group assignments are useful for a myriad of learning objects, they may prove a frustrating challenge for evaluating individual contributions. Enter Northwestern’s Center for Leadership at the McCormick School of Engineering, which developed the Teamwork Assessment app to ease this frustration. Now integrated with Canvas, the app provides insights to clarify the who, what, when, and how of individual student contributions to team assignments. Beyond allowing a view into tasks, the app enables students to share structured feedback with their teammates, rate instructor guidance and support, and more. Learn more about the Teamwork Assessment app, and understand how the Canvas integration can help you track team behavior.