The Return of Countdown to Classes

The Return of Countdown to Classes

Each school year gives us a fresh start and a chance to try something new. The IRC wants to inspire you with some different ways to use campus technology tools. Here’s a sneak peek of what we have lined up for the Countdown to Classes:

4 Weeks to Go

This Year I Want to Rethink my Syllabus

Syllabus and Course Schedule Design
Description: Our syllabus and course schedule set the stage for our classes. This session will cover different options for designing your syllabus and course schedule while exploring ways of posting and displaying information in Canvas. Please bring a copy of a current syllabus.

August 2nd from 1:00 – 2:00pm in Decker 347

3 Weeks to Go

This Year I Want to Rethink my Course Homepage

Course Homepage Options in Canvas
Description: Canvas has many options for creating a course homepage that suits you. This session will cover different course home options and share some design secrets for creating something inviting and useful for students.

August 9th from 1:00 – 2:00pm in Decker 347

2 Weeks to Go

This Year I Want to Rethink my Presentations

Creating Engaging Presentations
Description: We only have a short amount of time with students each week. This session will help you rethink the way you communicate and present data in the classroom.

August 16th from 1:00 – 2:00pm in Decker 347

1 Week to Go

This Year We’re All Going to Rethink Accessibility

Accessibility Basics for Teaching and Technology
The IRC will be part of a panel discussion on accessibility issues related to teaching and technology during the fall faculty sessions. We hope to see you there!

Please remember that the IRC is available all year to work with you on whatever teaching and technology project you might have. Email us today!

New Canvas Mobile App for Teachers

New Canvas Mobile App for Teachers

Canvas has released a new mobile app for iOS and Android. The Canvas Teacher App is replacing the Speedgrader mobile app and will allow for grading, communicating with students, and upgrading course content. Click here for more information. The Speedgrader app will be available to use, but will no longer be supported by Canvas.

NEW FEATURE: Use Google Drive in Canvas Seamlessly

NEW FEATURE: Use Google Drive in Canvas Seamlessly

One of the goals of the IRC is to simplify the technical aspects of education and we like to celebrate when we can find ways to save time for instructors. So we were positively joyful when we heard about the new integration between Google Drive and Canvas.

You’ve always been able to share content from your Google Drive in Canvas, but now you will be able to do so seamlessly. We’ve created a video to explain all the new Google Drive features. It’s a little long (10 minutes), so we’ve broken it into smaller videos linked below.

Here are 5 things that you’ll now be able to do:

  1. View Google Drive in the Canvas Course Menu (Part One Video | Canvas Help Page)
  2. Embed and Link to Content from Google Drive in the Rich Content Editor (Part One Video | Canvas Help Page)
  3. Add Google Drive Content to Modules Using External Tools (Part Two Video | Canvas Help Page)
  4. Allow Students to Collaborate in Canvas Using Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Part Three Video | Canvas Help Page)
  5. Link to Cloud Assignments in Google Drive (Part Four Video | Canvas Help Page)
Want more out of YouTube?

Want more out of YouTube?


Ever wanted to start a YouTube video at a later spot?  The folks at Google have continued to add features to YouTube over the last 11 years to help organize, manage, and utilize over 800 million hours of video.  Right click on a video at the point you want the video to start and select the “copy video URL at current time” option from the menu. The URL will be copied to your clipboard.  In addition, you can choose to copy the embed code or make the video loop. Starting a video at a chosen point allows you to target learning for your students; or to shorten the most boring video in the world (below).  Want to try it?  Start the video below and right click to see the options.

Canvas Help is now Help & Resources

Canvas Help is now Help & Resources


One of the things I have always loved about Canvas is that their help guides are actually helpful. I’m really excited to share that we are now about to make Help even more wonderful by expanding our listing of links to include AU resources.


We’ve added links to the Nicholson Library and the Chat with a Librarian feature for easy access to these important resources for you and your students. There’s also a link to the KLC’s Canvas page with information on tutoring and workshops for students. Finally, we’ve added a link to this very blog for faculty to also have access to our tips and tricks.

What’s New in Canvas?! Faculty Winter Session

What’s New in Canvas?! Faculty Winter Session


Canvas updates every 3 weeks with new features and fixes to problems, so sometimes it can be hard to answer “What’s New in Canvas?”. Tim and Jodie presented cool new features and showed off a few that old favorites during the Faculty Winter Sessions on January 17. Here are some of the highlights:


Jodie shared the new setting that allows you to show recent announcements on the Course home page. She also let faculty know that it’s okay to change the course name to something easier to remember…no harm to Canvas and it can make identifying multiple sections much easier. Finally, she pointed out the button to Validate Links in Content that will check your course for broken links.

Rich Content Editor:

Tim shared some keyboard shortcuts that we can use within the Rich Content Editor (RCE)  in Canvas. Tim’s favorites were revealing the hidden menu for the RCE by pressing ALT + F9 and inserting links by pressing CTRL + K for the links page.


Jodie showed how to exclude an assignment from the course total and also how to excuse an individual student from an assignment. Finally, she pointed out how to you can message students within the gradebook by who haven’t submitted the assignment, haven’t been graded yet, or who score more or less than a certain point value.


Tim introduced AU’s new bubble test solution called Akindi. The system is integrated within Canvas and is able to pull your class roster and also send test scores to the gradebook. Instructors can create test sheets within Canvas and print them at their local scanner/printer. After students have taken the test, the instructor just scans and emails the test sheets to their email and can upload the scans to Akindi in Canvas. This will grade the tests, provide statistical information about the test, and allow instructors to upload the grades into the Canvas gradebook.

Roll Call Attendance:

Jodie showed instructors what their students see when they view their attendance record on Canvas.

Help! My Students’ Final Grades are Wrong

Help! My Students’ Final Grades are Wrong


Tim and I usually receive a few panicked calls towards the end of the semester from instructors who feel like their students’ final scores are inflated. We usually look in two places to solve this problem…

First, have you given zero points for assignments students haven’t turned in?

Ungraded assignments in Canvas are treated as though the student was not supposed to complete that assignment. So if Chuck Wagon hasn’t completed a 200 point assignment, his grade will be calculated based on 800 points possible instead of the 1,000 points possible that the rest of the class is being graded on. There are two solutions for this. You can put a zero in for the grade at the time that the student doesn’t turn it in (I find this is a jolt of reality for a lot of students). Or you can wait to the end of the semester and select the options in the Grades to “Treat Ungraded as Zero.” I would wait to the end of the semester because otherwise it counts all ungraded assignments as zero and students will (and this is a technical term) freak out when they’ve only turned in 1 assignment and it shows them failing the course during the first week in class.

Second, are the points possible for all your assignments correct?

It happens to the best of us. The assignment was worth 10 points, but we put in an extra zero and now grades are being calculated for 100 points possible. Students getting 10 out of 100 are definitely going to see a lower final score than if it was 10 out of 10. The easiest way to check this is to scan the points possible on the Grades page. Pay attention to the points possible in the column heading but also scan the student scores. If I see something is labeled as out of 100 but all the students have scores under 10, I know I’ve got a problem.

Still have questions about your final grades? Tim and I are always happy to help you figure those issues out.