Tag Archives: Canvas

Canvas Updates January 2018

Welcome back to a new year and a new term. The Macomb CTL is here to support you in developing productive and rewarding courses for your students.

Let’s take a look at the Canvas releases of January 6 and February 3.

The New Gradebook

The major change is that the New Gradebook is now available for instructors to turn on in your courses. This can be done from the Settings page in the left-side course navigation menu. Then click on the Feature Options tab to see the New Gradebook toggle switch (see image below).

Some of the differences in the new gradebook include:

  • New menus for more settings and sorting options.
  • Late and missing flags with automatic deduction policies.
  • More filtering options.

new gradebook

Do be aware that if you turn the New Gradebook on and then turn on automatic grading for late or missing assignments, you will not be able to return to the “old” Gradebook unless you deactivate the late/missing automatic grading policies.

We invite you to test out the New Gradebook and familiarize yourself with its look and feel before it permanently replaces the current gradebook. We’ll continue to update you well in advance of the launch date as we get more information from Canvas. The New Gradebook will officially launch in the second quarter of 2018. At this point, the old (current) Gradebook will be retired.

More information about the New Gradebook can be found at:

Additional January 6 Updates

Please see the New Feature Screencast for a video demonstration of the updates in the January 6 release:

The Release Notes contain a complete documentation of the release.

One notable update is the ability to add extra credit points to your rubric criteria in SpeedGrader.

Rubric extra points

You may find this method useful for adding extra credit to assignments that use rubrics.

Additional January 27 Updates (delayed to Feb 3)

See the screencast of new features below, and also see the full documentation in the Production Release Notes. 


There’s also a change in the DocViewer mode of SpeedGrader. Now you can make free-floating annotations anywhere on the page, with either a white or transparent background.

Docviewer Free Text

The next Canvas release after February 3 will be February 17, and it can be previewed on the beta server starting February 5.

We wish you the best for the Winter semester. Please contact us at 586-226-4774 with any questions you may have, and don’t forget to look over the CTL Winter 2018 Professional Development booklet for any workshops that may interest you.

Canvas October 28 Release

It’s time for the triweekly Canvas release – let’s take a look at some of the new features.

The release will take effect Saturday, October 28. To view the changes before then, please visit the Canvas beta site. This site resets every week and any changes you make will not be reflected on the “normal” (Production) Canvas site.

Foremost is the Accessibility Checker, found in the Rich Content Editor toolbar (the new person-shaped icon to the right of the Paragraph styling menu – depending on your screen resolution, you may have to use the scrollbar to scroll to the right.) The Checker allows you to detect and fix common accessibility issues with headings, text color, images, links, and tables.

Accessibility Checker

This much-requested feature is already generating lots of discussion in the Canvas Community where faculty and course designers are sharing feedback. We expect ongoing development and improvement of what promises to be a valuable tool in making courses accessible for persons with disabilities.

See Canvas’ New Feature Screencast video for a demonstration of this release.

You can also read and comment on the full Release Notes in the Canvas Community.

Also notable is the restyling of comments in the DocViewer application (for viewing file submissions in SpeedGrader.) Rather than showing the full text of multi-line comments, DocViewer will show expandable ellipses. This will allow you to view more comments at once without sacrificing detail in your comments.

DocViewer comments with condensed content

This update is already available in the current production environment.

The next Canvas update will be released November 18 and can be previewed in Beta mode starting November 6.

Dr. Sue Richardson (English) will be facilitating a Lunch and Learn workshop on using Canvas Groups to enable peer reviewing among your students. Join us on Friday, November 10 at 10am–11:30am at South Campus, J-211 – lunch will be provided! Please register on WebAdvisor and search for 5-digit registration number 54489.

Canvas Production Release – August 26

The most recent Canvas beta release was deployed on August 14 and will go into production this Saturday, August 26. As always, you can view beta releases at macomb.beta.instructure.com and logging in with your Macomb credentials.

Insert/Edit Media Button

The new insert/edit media button allows for easier embedding of videos and images.

One notable addition is the Insert/edit media button to the Rich Content Editor toolbar.

Dimensions of Embed

This new feature is especially useful when working with embedded videos. Although Canvas can automatically embed videos from some services such as YouTube and Vimeo when you paste the URL into the Rich Content Editor, the dimensions (size) of the video may need adjustment. The Insert/edit Media button allows you to easily modify the media’s dimensions without having to use the HTML Editor.

Please see the complete Release Notes for further details and look forward to using this new feature in your Canvas courses starting August 26.

We’re excited about the Fall term at Macomb and helping you engage your students in innovative ways. Please contact the Center for Teaching and Learning at 586-226-4774 or stop by our offices located at South Campus J-211 and Center Campus C-127. Be on the lookout for the Fall schedule of CTL and Professional Development workshops.

Canvas Production Release – August 5

This Saturday the new Canvas production release will go live. To preview its new features, log in to Macomb’s Canvas beta server at macomb.beta.instructure.com with your Macomb credentials. This beta installation resets every week and allows you to view Canvas updates before the production release. Please see the official Canvas documentation for more information on the release schedule and beta server.

Canvas releases are launched every three weeks. To sign up for email notifications on beta and production releases, visit the releases.canvaslms.com page and click the Follow button in the upper right.

The most noticeable changes are the late and missing assignment status labels:

Student Grades in Canvas with Late and Missing Status Labels

These red labels are visible on the submission details page, the student Grades page (shown above for fictional student), and in SpeedGrader. These status labels allow you to quickly distinguish between assignments which were submitted after the due date and assignments which were never submitted at all.

Please see the official release notes for more information on the status labels and for detailed explanations of several small bug fixes, including issues with screen reader accessibility, the Canvas Calendar, and the Rich Content Editor.

The New Feature Screencast video gives a great overview of the new release:

The next Beta release arrives on August 14 – you’ll find any changes on the Beta server in preparation of the next Production release on August 26.

Please contact the Macomb Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at 586-226-4774 or ctlsupport@macomb.edu if you have any questions about using Canvas in your courses or would like to speak to our knowledgeable Instructional Technology Specialists!

Canvas Teacher app replaces SpeedGrader app

As part of their efforts to move away from SpeedGrader, Canvas has released a new app to replace the SpeedGrader app. According to Canvas, this will provide access to “grading submissions, communicating with students, and updating course content”.

To install the app, search for “Canvas Teacher” in the iTunes or Google Play store.

Canvas Teacher app install screen on Google Play

Canvas Teacher app install screen on Google Play.

After installing the app, search for “Macomb Community College” when prompted for your school’s name.

Search for school name in Canvas Teacher app

Search for school name in Canvas Teacher app.

Once you login using your Macomb credentials, you can begin using the app. Please keep in mind that this does not replace the app students use to access Canvas.

Other Canvas apps such as Canvas Parent and Canvas Polls

In addition to the Canvas Teacher app, there are other apps available to interact with Canvas for different audiences.

For more information on the app, please see the Canvas Teacher app release notes in the Canvas Community.

Canvas July 2017 release: New duplication, sidebar features

It’s July and the Canvas team is deploying some exciting new features on the 15th. To preview these or any planned Canvas updates prior to the release date, simply log into the Macomb Canvas Beta Server with your Macomb credentials.

Canvas updates are scheduled every three weeks. Some notable updates in this release include:

  • Duplicate menu item added to the Assignments page and Pages list
  • Rich Content Editor sidebar now appears in Quiz and Assignment editing mode.

Please see the New Feature Screencast for a demonstration:

Detailed release notes are also available on the Canvas Community website.

Duplicating assignments is a quicker alternative to copying and pasting.

Duplicate assigmentBe aware that this new function is currently available only from the Assignments and Pages menus and not the Modules menu.

The Rich Content Editor sidebar, which provides easy access to links, files, and images, is now available for use on Assignments, including Quizzes.

Join the Canvas Community and receive direct updates about Canvas releases by logging in using your Macomb credentials and following the Canvas Release Notes page.

As always, contact us with any questions (ctlsupport@macomb.edu or 586.226.4774) or feel free to leave a comment below.

Helping Students Belong

If you attended Faculty Development Day recently, hopefully you listened to an insightful presentation by our guest Keynote Speaker, Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, from Ohio State University. The focus of Dr. Strayhorn’s talk was on the topic of strategies that will help students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom.

When a student first enters your class, they are not only there to receive an education but they want to feel like they belong there by both their peers and their professors. If a student feels alienated, either by a language barrier, economic factors, ethnicity or some other situation, the chances for a given student’s success are diminished.

After hearing Dr. Strayhorn’s talk, we thought it would be helpful to expand a little bit on his concepts or thoughts and provide a few ideas to help your students feel like they belong.

Belonging is a basic human need. When many students don’t know the culture and vocabulary of higher education, how do we help them establish a sense of belonging? Here are a couple resources you may find useful.

“Being there” for your students is as integral to their success as it is to provide challenging and engaging courses. Sometimes it may not be possible to be present after class as much as you would like, or there may be a language barrier to overcome. It’s important for your students to feel valuable to their classroom community.

This document might be helpful to your students in getting the help they need outside of your office hours:

Helping students navigate higher education – .pdf document

This document shares a number of practices, which specifically apply to the success of black male college students:

Convey high expectations, teach academic success skills, and nurture confidence – .pdf document

If you didn’t have the opportunity to see Dr. Strayhorn in person at FDD, check out this TED talk where he further discusses the concept of belonging.

Inalienable Rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Belonging: Terrell Strayhorn at TEDx Columbus   – YouTube Video