Canvas 101

Canvas 101 provides faculty with information and quick wins regarding the Canvas learning management system. This resource will introduce you to key Canvas features to meet the College for Creative Studies’ Canvas Minimum Usage Requirements.

Below are a list of topics covered in Canvas 101:

What is an Announcement?

Announcements are a built-in tool in Canvas that allows faculty to post information and updates to all students enrolled in the course. Once posted, students will automatically receive an email of the announcement in their CCS email inbox.

Announcements can be posted right away or scheduled using the scheduler function.

Announcements can be used to update students about a course, send reminders, notify students when grades post, or provide information related to the coursework.

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Announcements Overview

What is a Weekly Module?

Canvas modules are an organizational tool that allows faculty to structure course content by each week. Modules help simplify student navigation through a course.

With weekly modules, faculty can require interaction with course content before moving on to the next module by using requirements settings. Faculty can set module requirements and even lock modules which can be scheduled to open on a certain day and time.

Weekly modules are where students find course content including Overviews, To Do Lists, Assignments, Discussions, Lectures, Demonstration, Resources, etc. 

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Modules Overview

What is an Overview Page?

An overview page is a page that lives in the weekly modules and provides students with a roadmap for the weekly course expectations. The overview page can be used to provide contextual information or a brief introduction about the week’s theme or content, provide critical information about the week, provide weekly learning outcomes that tie back to larger course learning outcomes, and student to do lists.

What are Weekly Learning Outcomes?

Weekly learning outcomes are actions that students should demonstrate each week that will lead them to obtaining the larger course learning outcomes. Weekly outcomes keep the course content on track and provide sequencing for scaffolded learning.

It is best to keep 3-5 weekly learning outcomes in mind for each week’s course content. 

What are Weekly To Do Lists?

Weekly to do lists provide students with a list of items to accomplish related to the course content for each week. To do lists help keep students on track and provide a one-stop area for finding the week’s requirements. To do lists should include all student tasks required for the week.

What is a Canvas Assignment?

A Canvas assignment is a page that provides an assignment’s criteria or project brief, a description of the activity/task, an explanation to why the activity/task is taking place, assignment submission requirements, due date, point values, and a rubric.

Assignments should count as assessments towards the students’ final grade in a course, and relate back to the weekly learning outcomes and larger course learning outcomes.

Canvas assignment pages can be configured to have scheduled due dates, points, group work, and file uploads for student assignment submissions.

When published with point values and due dates, assignments populate in the Canvas grade book where grades are recorded.

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Assignments Overview

What are Assignment Groups?

Assignment groups are a cluster of assignments that can be organized and weighted to determine the students’ basis for a final grade in a course. 

Assignment groups allow faculty the ability to cluster like assignments together and assign a percentage of the course total. For example, you can create an assignment group for discussions and that group makes up 30% of the final grade in the course. Assignment groups allow this 30% to be assigned to the discussions group, and Canvas will run the math calculations in the grade book for the grade total for each student. 

In order for assignment groups to calculate properly in the Canvas grade book, assignment groups must total 100%. See the example below.

Basis for Final Grade:

  • Discussions – 30%
  • Assignments – 40%
  • Final Project – 20%
  • Participation – 10%

What is a Canvas Discussion Board?

A Canvas discussion board is a native tool within the learning management system that is available for all Canvas courses. Faculty can create focused and threaded discussions to promote student interaction, and the exchanges of ideas or critiques in an online format.

Discussions can be configured to have scheduled due dates, points, group work, be graded, and provide feedback to students from the faculty or from student peers.

Discussions can be graded; when published with point values and due dates, discussions populate in the Canvas grade book where grades are recorded.

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Discussions Overview

What is the Canvas Grade Book?

The Canvas grade book helps faculty easily view and enter grades for students. Depending on the grade display type, grades can be viewed as points, percentage, complete or incomplete, GPA scale or a letter grade.

When assignment groups are leveraged, assignments in the grade book can be weighted to emphasize the importance of one project or group of assignments. When using assignment groups, Canvas will automatically calculate grade totals for students.

Note: Grades that appear as “-” in the grade book do not count towards a student’s final grade in the course. If a student is missing work or the faculty does not accept late work, assignment grades should be entered as “0” or “F” in order for that missed/late assignment to count towards the student’s final grade.

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Grade Book Overview

Watch: SpeedGrader Overview

What is a Rubric?

A rubric is a way to set up an outcome-based or custom assessment criteria for scoring/grading. Rubrics are typically tied to weekly outcomes or course learning outcomes and can help align assignments and assessments in your course.

Rubrics can also facilitate the grading process, make assignment criteria clear and known to students, and clarify expectations and communication with students regarding their coursework. 

Faculty can create and attach a rubric to an assignment in Canvas for quick and easy grading in the Canvas SpeedGrader. When attached to an assignment, the rubrics are visible to students on the course assignment pages, so there is no confusion as to the expectations of an assignment.

Watch a video via the Canvas Community:

Watch: Rubrics Overview

What is a Weekly Wrap Up Page?

A weekly wrap up page is a page that is used to reiterate concepts, themes, or topics that were covered during that week of the course. A wrap up provides a conclusion to the week and ties up any loose ends for students.

Wrap up pages are also a great place to include information about what’s to come for the following week.