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New Year, New Canvas Features to Try!

January 8, 2018

By April Pelt, Digital Learning Strategist

If you’re looking to up your Canvas game during the new year, consider trying out these new features.

New Gradebook

Canvas recently introduced a New Gradebook interface. In addition to featuring a more streamlined look and more sorting options than its predecessor, the New Gradebook allows instructors to automatically apply late policies to student submissions.

New Gradebook is currently a beta feature, so you will need to manually enable it in each of your courses. To do so:

  • Click Settings on the course menu.
  • Click the Features tab at the top of the page.
  • Turn on New Gradebook.

Once you have enabled the New Gradebook, you will be able to automatically apply late submission policies to student work. To use this feature:

  • Click Grades in your course menu.
  • Click the gear-shaped Settings icon in the upper right-hand corner of the gradebook.
  • Configure your course-specific policy.

If a late policy is enabled, then you will not need to take lateness into account when grading the submission. And if a student has a valid excuse for turning in a submission past its due date, then you can change their submission status so that the late penalty does not apply to them.

Note that Canvas’s late policy options aren’t highly sophisticated, so if your individual course policies are more elaborate than applying a deduction per late day/hour, then you will likely need to continue applying deductions manually.

Consult the Canvas Guides for more information on applying late policies.

A word of caution: Once you’ve applied a late penalty to a student submission, you cannot revert to the current gradebook.

Duplicate Items Within Canvas Courses

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to spend less time on mundane tasks, then you may want to ring in Spring 2018 by giving Canvas’s Duplicate feature a try. It allows you to create a copy of any Page, Discussion, or Assignment (though not, as of this writing, quizzes) within a course.

To use this feature:

  1. Locate the item you would like to duplicate, either in Modules or the Assignments, Discussion, or Pages indexes.
  2. Click the gear-shaped Settings icon for the item.
  3. Select Duplicate from the menu.

This will create an unpublished copy of the item, which you can then rename and edit as needed.

Here are a few suggestions about how to make the most of the Duplicate feature in your courses:

  • Create the first instance in a series of repeating assignments (e.g., homework, in-class quizzes, weekly reading journals, etc.), then duplicate as many times as needed. This is especially useful for creating gradebook columns for assignments that students submit in hard copy, but it can also be used for online student submissions.
  • Create a page called “Template” that includes any text and/or design elements (e.g., page borders, images, etc.) that you would like to be consistent across your course. (For more information on creating visually engaging Canvas courses, check out Visual Design in Canvas.)

A word of caution: once created, copies become independent items in their own right, so changes made to the original will not be reflected in the copies.



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