Online Teaching & Technology Blog

Center for Online Learning, Research and Service @ Illinois Springfield

Category: Canvas Tips

Proctoring Options at UIS

As the semester draws to a close, COLRS wishes to remind faculty of several proctoring options available to use, especially on higher stakes exams such as finals:

Respondus actually offers two proctoring solutions, depending on faculty need. Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas. When enabled for a quiz in Canvas, students cannot print, copy, access other applications, or search the internet during the online exam. (Instructors can still include links to external webpages, spreadsheets, audio or video files, etc. in the exam.) Because LockDown Browser does not prevent students from using secondary devices such as iPads or cell phones, this is best used in a live testing environment, in which the instructor or a designated proctor can monitor students in a classroom or lab setting. LockDown Browser should already be installed in most on-campus classrooms and labs with computers. To confirm that LockDown Browser is installed in a specific room, contact ITS at 217-206-6000 or techsupport@uis.edu.

Respondus Monitor is a fully-automated proctoring solution that builds upon LockDown Browser and may be appropriate for online or remote students who are unable to come to campus to take an exam. Students use a webcam to record themselves during an online exam. Afterwards, flagged events and proctoring results are available to the instructor for further review. Respondus Monitor can be used on most devices (Windows, Mac, Chromebook, and iPads), and there’s no need to schedule a proctoring session in advance. Read more about Respondus.

The UIS Testing Center is open to in-person testing by appointment at no charge for UIS students, during the day Monday-Friday, and many evenings until 7:00 PM. The Testing Center also continues to offer remote testing via Zoom. (Students will need a laptop with webcam to test remotely; Chromebooks and phones are not allowed.) Students can schedule test appointments by emailing testingservices@uis.edu. Current hours are available on the Testing Center website.

Finally, for Illinois students who need an in-person proctor but are unable to come to campus, students may visit a local community college, usually for a nominal fee. To locate a testing service in the United States, the U.S. Territories, England, Singapore, Canada, or Puerto Rico, try the National College Testing Association. Read more about in-person proctoring options.

To discuss your particular test proctoring needs, please contact COLRS at colrs@uis.edu or 217-206-7317.

Use Canvas to Generate Seating Charts

As we prepare for the Spring 2022 semester, Provost Papini has requested that all instructors teaching on-ground courses develop seating charts for those classes, should contact tracing be necessary. Word templates are available to develop seating charts on the COLRS blog, although some faculty may find it more convenient to generate seating charts using the Canvas Attendance feature.

 For assistance using the Attendance tool, including creating and editing seating charts, please call COLRS at 217-206-7317, email colrs@uis.edubook a one-on-one appointment, or visit our open office hours on Zoom daily at 10 AM and 2 PM.

Surveys in Canvas

Surveys can be a great way to ask students questions that do not necessarily have right or wrong answers. The quiz tool in Canvas allows you to set up graded or ungraded surveys and can even be set to collect anonymous responses. This provides a great way to solicit anonymous feedback from students about your course mid-semester, to get feedback about a specific assignment, or even just to get to know your students better.

Here are some important points to consider when designing and implementing surveys in your Canvas courses:

  • Surveys may only be created using the “Classic Quizzes” engine, rather than “New Quizzes.” (More information about how to select “Classic Quizzes” can be found in the instructions linked below.)
  • Use the “graded survey” option if you want it to appear in the Syllabus area, the Gradebook, the Calendar, and the To Do Lists. You may make graded surveys worth zero points.
  • Student Analysis for surveys must be downloaded as a CSV file, which can be opened in a spreadsheet program such as Excel. Item Analysis is not available for surveys.

Canvas Community provides detailed instructions for creating surveys, which are almost identical to quizzes. Additionally, there are instructions on how to view survey results, which become available after at least one student has completed the survey. (Note: If you have chosen to make results anonymous, you may wish to wait until all or a majority of students have taken the survey before viewing any results.)

Student Access to Courses with Incompletes

COLRS and ITS have implemented a new procedure for students with incompletes, designed to make the process simpler for students and faculty alike. Beginning with incompletes from Summer 2021, and moving forward, students who have been assigned an incomplete in Enterprise will automatically be granted extended access to the corresponding Canvas course, for a period of one year. For example, all students who earned an incomplete in Summer 2021 already have access to the corresponding course in Canvas until August 2022, in order to give them time to complete all coursework before their provisional grades become permanentNo action is required on the part of the instructor to grant this extended access, other than timely submission of grades in Enterprise.
What’s not changing:

  • Instructors should still communicate their expectations regarding the completion of the course with any students who have received an incomplete.
  • Instructors should still submit incompletes and provisional grades in Enterprise by the Registrar’s due date each semester.
  • Instructors should still submit grade changes to the Registrar according to the current procedures when students have successfully completed a course.
  • Students who did not receive an incomplete will still lose access to the course the week before the start of the following semester.

In case a student with an incomplete finishes their work before the year is up, and you wish to remove student access to your course, please contact COLRS for assistance.

Find “My Media” in Your Canvas Account Tab

Kaltura integration with Canvas was recently enhanced to allow access to the “My Media” gallery outside of Canvas courses. This means that all faculty, staff, and students can now access Kaltura through Canvas, even if they are not currently enrolled in any Canvas courses.

To get started, simply click on the “Account” tab in the Canvas global navigation menu. Then, select “My Media.”

A screenshot of the Global Navigation menu, showing where to click ("Account" and "My Media")

The old link to Kaltura MediaSpace that previously existed in the “More” tab has been discontinued. The “My Media” link within existing Canvas courses remains unchanged.

For questions or tips on best practices using media clips in your courses, or to schedule a consultation with the COLRS Multimedia Specialist, please contact COLRS via email at colrs@uis.edu, phone at 217-206-7317, or book your one-on-one appointment today.

Google Security Updates May Impact Your Files and YouTube Videos

Last month Google announced security updates for Google Drive and YouTube that will make sharing files and videos more secure. Your Canvas courses may be impacted by the change if any of the following apply to you:

  • You use the “Collaborations” feature with Google Docs
  • You share files in your Canvas courses that are hosted in Google Drive
  • You share or embed older unlisted YouTube videos with your students (YouTube videos that are publicly listed, and YouTube videos uploaded after January 1, 2017, are unaffected)

If any of these apply to you, the update will cause Google Drive links to change and may lead to new file access requests from students. Additionally, any unlisted YouTube videos uploaded before January 1, 2017, have already been changed to private. To check and see which of your Google Drive files are impacted, visit drive.google.com/drive/my-drive, find the security update banner on the top, and click See files.

In most cases, COLRS recommends updating your Canvas links so that they comply with Google’s new security standards after September 13, 2021, when the update is applied automatically. If you wish to update the security settings for your files before that time, you can do so by following these directions. In some cases, you may wish to opt of the security update. Doing so will retain all existing links as they exist today. Instructions for removing the security update are also available.

Additionally, COLRS also encourages all instructors to check that YouTube videos linked or embedded in your Canvas courses still work. If you find broken YouTube links, you may need to change your privacy settings for the video back to unlisted. If you are not the owner of the video, you may need to contact the original owner or find an alternate resource.

For technical support with Google Drive or YouTube, please contact ITS at techsupport@uis.edu or 217-206-6000.

HyFlex Pedagogy

The HyFlex (hybrid flexible) learning model is both a teaching format that bridges and blends the physical and digital classrooms and the pedagogy that informs the design of HyFlex learning. Originally conceived by Brian Beatty and his colleagues at San Francisco State University, the HyFlex model provide students more flexibility while maintaining high quality instruction for all students, whether they are joining the course face-to-face, online synchronous (Zoom), or asynchronously online. A short overview of HyFlex is below. View instructional strategies and additional resources on the HyFlex Pedagogy page on the COLRS website.

HyFlex Pedagogy

YouTube video start screen for Pedagogy: The Secret to Successful HyFlex by Harvard Extension
Overview of HyFlex Pedagogy from Harvard Extension

The approach adheres to four core values or principles, listed here as stated in Brian Beatty’s book, Hybrid-Flexible Course Design: Implementing student-directed hybrid classes (2019):

  1. Learner Choice: Provide meaningful alternative participation modes and enable students to choose between participation modes daily, weekly, or topically.
  2. Equivalency: Provide learning activities in all participation modes which lead to equivalent learning outcomes.
  3. Reusability: Utilize artifacts from learning activities in each participation mode as “learning objects” for all students.
  4. Accessibility: Equip students with technology skills and equitable access to all participation modes.

Sample HyFlex Lesson Plan

Sample HyFlex Lesson Plan
Excerpt of a sample HyFlex lesson plan. The plan contains the activity, time allotted, and what in-person, synchronous remote, and asynchronous online student activities will be. View the full HyFlex lesson plan on the COLRS website.

Increase Engagement with Kaltura Video Quizzing

Kaltura offers the option for instructors to integrate low-stakes objective quizzes on videos that are used in courses. Paired with shorter videos (around 5-10 minutes), the quizzing option offers the possibility for increased student engagement and encourages students to watch videos all the way through. To get started, go to My Media inside any of your Canvas courses. Then:

  1. Click Add New and then select Video Quiz.
    video quiz button
  2. You will be taken to the Editor / Media Selection page, where you can either select an existing video or upload a new one.
  • To upload a new one, click the Upload Media button.
    upload media button
  • To use an existing video, scroll through the list and click Select next to the one you want to use for the quiz.
    select button
  1. From here, a window will open within your current tab where you can create your quiz questions. The quiz tool will allow you to insert questions into the video at specific intervals using the highlighted timeline tool and edit description and grading information for the quiz. This help document from Kaltura details the quiz creation and editing process, including screenshots.
  2. When you are finished adding quiz questions and updating the settings, click Done. The video quiz will now be available in My Media and can be added to a Canvas course, just like any other video hosted in Kaltura.
    done button
  3. If you wish to integrate your Kaltura video quiz into the Canvas gradebook, you will need to create a new Canvas assignment in a module or on your Assignments page in your course.
  4. For Submission Type, select External Tool.
    external tool selection
  5. Click the Find button.
    find button
  6. Scroll down until you see Kaltura Video Quizzing, and select it.
    Kaltura video quizzing selection
  7. Your My Media page will load in a small window within the tab, and a list of your available video quizzes will appear. Select a video quiz to use. This will take you back to the Configure External Tool page. Click Select to confirm your choice.
    select button
  8. Scroll to the Points field. Enter the total point value for your Kaltura Quiz.
  9. Click Save & Publish to make the assignment available to your students.

points field

There are several important points to keep in mind:

  • As a best practice, COLRS does not recommend this tool for high-stakes exams.
  • This feature is not compatible with Respondus Monitor or Examity.
  • Only objective (true/false or multiple choice) questions are gradable. Open questions and reflection points are not considered gradable and will not be counted in your students’ scores.
  • Kaltura treats each gradable question (true/false or multiple choice) as equal in value and will divide the total point value for the quiz by the number of gradable questions. For example, in a 10-point quiz with 2 gradable questions, each question will be worth 5 points.

Make Online Videos and Presentations Look Their Best

How can we look and sound our best in Zoom or video presentations? Scott Moomaw, the multimedia specialist for COLRS, shares a few easy hints for making sure your home video productions and Zoom meetings look as good as they possibly can.​

In the studio, it is easier to look and sound good. We have the equipment we need: cameras, microphones, lighting, everything to make your presentation its best. But we’re not in the studio right now. We’re all working remotely, trying to do our best with our laptops and virtual conference rooms, but we can still do many things to look our best.

Background

First, be aware of your surroundings. Your background, in particular is important. If you’re unsure about your background, go with something plain — a wall or tidy bookcase. My basement office doubles as the kids’ playroom when I’m not here. I hung a simple curtain rod as a backdrop to provide a bit more of a professional appearance.

Lighting

Be aware of any harsh light sources. Never set yourself up with a window or other bright light source right behind you. Use a desk lamp or another light source to highlight yourself. You don’t want to be a silhouette to your viewers.

Camera Angle

Adjust your camera position so that it’s looking at you straight on. You may need to elevate your laptop for this to work, but an upward facing camera is an awkward angle and can be distracting, even uncomfortable for the viewer.

And there you go. It doesn’t take much to create a pretty drastic improvement in how you come across to your audience.

Student issues with Respondus LockDown Browser

COLRS has recently received several reports of students experiencing issues when attempting to take a Canvas quiz using Respondus LockDown Browser. Recent security updates on Mac and Windows may be the cause of most common issues with LockDown Browser, and are explained in greater detail below:

When LockDown Browser starts, it must be permitted to access this server: static-public-downloads-cloud.respondus.com

LockDown Browser accesses this server in order to check if an update has been issued by Respondus. If your computer and/or network is blocking access to this server, the LockDown Browser session will not be permitted to continue.

It’s possible that your computer’s security settings are blocking access, or you possibly have a firewall or anti-virus software running on your computer or network that is causing the block.

When this issue occurs, students may encounter Error Code a4 or the following warning: “Update server is not supplying information, or the connection to update server is blocked.” Information on how students can resolve this issue can be found in the Respondus Knowledgebase for Mac users and Windows users. Please share these resources with your students if you receive any reports of issues.

If students are experiencing other problems while using Respondus, such as the lack of the required webcam, Information Technology Services may be able to help by allowing students to borrow hardware. Students should contact ITS Client Services at 217-206-6000 or techsupport@uis.edu for more information on this program and hardware availability.

Are you running out of storage in Canvas?

As we approach the one-year anniversary of launching Canvas at UIS, COLRS staff has noticed that file storage in some courses is quickly filling up – and in a few cases, faculty are running into limits. Canvas restricts each course to approximately one half of one gigabyte, or 500 megabytes. While this is more than enough for the vast majority of courses at UIS, you may run up against this limit if you are uploading many larger files directly into Canvas, including video files, high resolution images, and narrated PowerPoints with embedded audio. When a course runs out of space, faculty and students may be unable to add additional files.

(To check how much storage each of your courses is using, simply select that course from the Canvas dashboard and click the “Files” link in the left-hand navigation panel. Your storage used is displayed towards the bottom of the screen.)  

To avoid this issue, COLRS recommends using Kaltura to host all media files and Box to host all or most course documents. There are several advantages to this approach:

  • Files hosted in Kaltura and Box do not count against your Canvas storage allocation, and both services include unlimited storage.
  • Kaltura has extra accessibility features not included with the built-in Canvas media player, including closed captioning. State and federal regulations require us to ensure that all media files provided to students are accessible.
  • Box allows you to quickly make changes to your documents directly through a web browser, without needing to download and re-upload files. Changes made to your files in Box are available immediately when those files are embedded in your courses in Canvas.

To get started using Kaltura, please review our Kaltura Media overview and instructions for adding Kaltura Media videos to Canvas courses. COLRS also provides instructions that instructors can copy and paste into their Canvas courses to use for assignments in which students must submit a video.

ITS provides more information on using Box, and COLRS has also created a video tutorial demonstrating how to embed Kaltura and Box files into your courses.

How do I customize my Courses list as an instructor?

Many faculty members have contacted us about how to “unpublish” courses from last semester to manage the courses that appear on their Canvas Dashboard screen.

Courses cannot be unpublished after students have submitted work, but you can customize which active courses you want to show in your Course list and Dashboard. Courses you want to show in the Courses menu are called favorite courses. You can favorite any active course that appears on the course list page.

When no courses are favorited, the courses list automatically displays up to 20 courses alphabetically in the drop-down menu. However, once you have selected at least one course as a favorite, only your favorite courses will appear in the Courses list.

Note: Courses are always listed alphabetically; you cannot reorder your courses manually.

Open Courses

Canvas course menu

In the blue Global Navigation on the left side of Canvas, click the Courses link [1], then click the All Courses link [2].

Manage Courses

manage courses

To favorite a course, click the star next to a course [1]. Courses with filled stars show the course is a favorite [2].

In the Dashboard, any courses you have with an instructor role will be listed first, followed by TA roles and any other custom instructor-based roles. Your courses with student roles are listed last.

Note: When you favorite at least one course, the Dashboard will only display favorited courses. Canvas will also continue to automatically favorite new course enrollments.

View Unpublished Courses

view unpublished courses

Unpublished courses can be identified by a gray background [1] and the Published column [2]. You can favorite unpublished courses.

View Past Enrollments

view past enrollments

Depending on course configuration, you may still be able to view your past enrollments after courses have concluded. However, favorited courses are not automatically removed as a favorite. If a past enrollment course still shows as a favorite, users can unfavorite the course by toggling the star icon.

Voting Up New Feature Ideas in the Canvas Community

Canvas New Feature Ideas allow all Canvas users to suggest ideas and rate ideas for new and existing features and fixing bugs in Canvas. Canvas use New Feature Ideas to prioritize work. They have some great pages about starting idea conversations and the Canvas development process.

Who can start an idea?

Any registered user! Your UIS Canvas account allows you to create new ideas and rate or comment on existing ideas. Rating the is the “voting” mechanism that Canvas uses to measure support for an idea.

How do I rate a conversation?

Rating is how you demonstrate just how important an idea conversation is to you.

To rate an idea conversation, click on the “Log in to participate” button in the red banner at the top of the page. Click on the number of stars you wish to rate it, with 1 being low and 5 being the highest importance.

Notes: You must be logged into the Community to rate. Also, you cannot rate your own idea.

Canvas Ideas that we think UIS faculty and staff may wish to rate and move up in the development pipeline:

What do the stages for Canvas Ideas mean?

  • Initial Stage: Canvas is reviewing your idea
  • Moderating: An idea conversation starter that is incomplete or needs clarification may be placed into Moderating status.
  • Open for Conversation: Ideas that are open for conversation allow any Community member to rate or comment on the idea.
  • In Development: In Development ideas conversations are currently being worked on or will commence work within the next six months.
  • On Beta: On Beta idea conversations have features available in the Beta account of your Canvas environment. Visit How do I access the Canvas beta environment?
  • Archived/Not Currently Planned: Archived idea conversations include a comment and provide clear reasons for why the conversation was archived.
  • Complete: Complete ideas have features that are implemented and deployed to Canvas.

Scoring of Matching, Ordering, and Multiple Answer Questions in Canvas Quizzes

In Canvas’s New Quizzes tool, partial credit is not available on Matching, Ordering, and Multiple Answer Questions. To adjust student scores for these questions, you can use “fudge points” in the Canvas SpeedGrader. You can also manually override the grade, by entering the correct grade in the total points for the quiz.

Partial credit is given in the Canvas Classic Quizzes tool for these question types.

New quizzes in Canvas have a solid green spaceship logo. Classic quizzes have an outlined spaceship logo.

New quizzes in Canvas have a solid green spaceship logo. Classic quizzes have an outlined spaceship logo.

Canvas users, including UIS faculty and staff, can “vote up” new features and feature changes in Canvas.

Student-Created Video Presentation Assignments and Submissions

Assignments that ask students to create video presentations can be excellent methods to assess synthesis of course materials or to present original research. Below you will find best practices for setting up student video presentation assignments in Canvas, including some instructions that you can copy and paste to include in your assignment instructions.

But, first, a word about what NOT to do.

No Media Recording uploads to Canvas Assignments
Media Recording uploads to Canvas Assignments are NOT recommended.

Please do not create a Canvas assignment with a submission type of “online” and “Media Recordings” upload. This type of assignment will have the students upload video files directly to Canvas, which will quickly cause your course size to reach its storage limit. After your course meets its storage limit, you will not be able to upload any additional files to your course.

Best Practices for Student Video Submissions

Students have access to record and share videos through Kaltura Media, the UIS video creation and storage solution. Student video projects can be created in Kaltura Media or created else and uploaded to Kaltura Media. Students may share the videos by (1) submitting a URL (web link) to the video to a Canvas Assignment, (2) embedding their video in a text box, or (3) adding a link to the video or embedding the video in a Canvas Discussion.

Create a Canvas Assignment for Student Video Submission

  1. Click on “Assignments” from the course navigation.
  2. Click “+Assignment” at the top right corner.
  3. Name your assignment.
  4. Enter a description or assignment details in the rich content editor. Be sure to include instructions for how your students can embed or link to their Kaltura Media video to submit their assignment.
  5. Points – Set the number of points the assignment is worth. If ungraded, enter “0”.
  6. Assignment Group – Select an assignment group if any have been created.
  7. Display Grade As – Select the type of grade that shows up in the gradebook and on the students’ view.
    • Percentage
    • Complete/Incomplete
    • Points
    • Letter Grade – Uses the grading scheme
    • GPA Scale – Uses the grading scheme
    • Not Graded – If the assignment has no submission AND is ungraded
  8. “Do not count this assignment towards the final grade” – Check this box if the assignment has a submission BUT is ungraded.
  9. Submission Type – Set the submission type to “Online” and check the box for either:
    • Text Box – choose if you want students to embed their Kaltura video for you to view. This submission method doesn’t involve extra steps for your students to locate the Kaltura URL.
    • Website URL – choose this option if you want students provide a URL to video on Kaltura, YouTube, or other video sharing platforms.
  10. Group Assignment – Select to designate the assignment as a group assignment.
  11. Peer Reviews – Select to have students review their peers’ work provide feedback.
  12. Assign – Select who and when will see the assignment, as well set the due date.
  13. Click “Save & Publish” to allow student submissions or just “Save” to keep it hidden from students.

Video Submissions to Canvas Discussion Board

By default, students will be able to embed Kaltura Media videos in a discussion post. Follow these directions to create a Canvas Discussion. Be sure to include instructions for how your students can embed or link to their Kaltura Media video in their post.

How to use the Total Column in the Canvas Gradebook

You can customize the Total column in your Gradebook. The Total column can be moved to the front of the Gradebook or sorted to display grades in an ascending or descending order.

You can switch your students’ total grades from a percentage to a point value in the Gradebook.

By default, total grades are shown as a percentage with two decimal places.

Notes:

Viewing total grades as a point value is available only if you use unweighted assignment groups in your course. When assignment groups are weighted, points cannot be displayed for the total grade.

Open Grades

"Grades" item in the course menu

In Course Navigation, click the Grades link.

Open Total Column Menu

Hover over the Total column header and click the More Options menu.

total column

Sort Total Column

sort total column

To sort the Gradebook by ascending or descending total grades, click the Sort by link [1], then select the Grade – Low to High or Grade – High to Low option [2].

Switch to Points

display as points

By default, total grades are shown as a percentage with two decimal places.

If your course uses unweighted assignment groups, you can view your students’ total grades as points. Click the Display as Points link.

warning

Canvas confirms you want to switch the total grade view. If you do not want to see this warning message for your course again, click the Don’t show… checkbox [1].

Click the Continue button [2].

Switch to Percentages

display as percentages

You can switch back to percentages by clicking the Total menu icon and selecting Display as Percentage.

Move Total Column

move to front

To move the Total column to the front of the Gradebook, click the Move to Front link.

Canvas Tips for Faculty: My Links Don’t Work!

Many faculty who have imported course content from Blackboard have founds links that appear to be active don’t work. Here are common issues with imported links, and the steps you can take to fix your links.

Problem #1: When I or my students click on the link, we receive an error message which says the content is insecure. I know it is a good link to a safe website. What can I do?

Explanation: When a link has been created for a site that does not use the https: (secure) protocol, Canvas will return a message about “insecure content,” because Canvas is a secure (https:) site.

Solutions:

  1. When including the link in a module, set the link to open in a new tab.
  2. Create a new link in a Canvas “page”

Problem #2: My link shows as “broken” but I know it works. What can I do?

Explanation: Canvas uses “iframes” to display webpages. There are many websites (including the UIS website) that do not allow pages to be displayed as iframes for security purposes, and this can make the links appear broken in Canvas. These links, when imported from Blackboard, are often listed in a module, but as unpublished. This helpful feature helps us to remember to check how these links will display to students.

Solutions:

  1. When including the link in a module, set the link to open in a new tab.
  2. Create a new link in a Canvas “page”

Problem #3: My imported Kaltura links no longer work, but I know my videos are still there. What can I do?

Explanation: If you Kaltura media links have “BBLEARN” included in the link, they are linking to the My Media area in Blackboard. Students will not be able to view them.

Solution: Follow the steps in this video to add Kaltura media links to your Canvas course.

Canvas Teaching Tip: Sending Messages to Students from the Gradebook

An easy way to communicate with students about their performance in your class is by sending messages to a subset of students using the Gradebook. You can use the Gradebook to send messages to select students based on their status or performance on a specific assignment:

  • Haven’t submitted yet—email students who haven’t submitted the assignment, even if they have been manually awarded a grade.
  • Haven’t been graded—email students whose assignments have not yet been graded (submitted or unsubmitted).
  • Scored less than [point value]—email students who earned a grade on their assignment less than X number of points.
  • Scored more than [point value]—email students who earned a grade on their assignment more than X number of points.  

Although one message can be sent to multiple students at the same time, each student will receive an individual message. You can also message students individually in the Gradebook by using the student context card.

Open Gradebook

In Course Navigation, click the Grades link.

"Grades" item in the course menu

Open Assignments Menu

arrow pointing to assignments menu

Hover over the assignment column header and click the Options icon.

Message Students

"message students who" highlighted

Click the Message Students Who link.

Select Message Category

select message category indicated by arrows

By default, Canvas will show names from the Haven’t submitted yet category.

In the drop-down menu:

[1] Select the category of students you want to message. Based on real-time data, Canvas will show the names of the students who fall in the category you selected 

[2] You can also remove students from the message by clicking the Remove icon. Canvas will also generate a subject line based on the category 

[3] You can edit the subject line if needed.

Send Message

Message students who feature highlighting message box

[1] Type a message to the students in the message field.

[2] Click the Send Message button.

Note: Although one message most likely will be sent to multiple students at the same time, each student will receive an individual message.

Canvas Tip: What Do My Students See?

Using “Student View” in Canvas and Managing Course Navigation

Student View

To see the student’s perspective on Canvas, use Student View to view the course, post and reply to discussions, submit assignments, view grades, view people, view pages, view the syllabus, view quizzes, view the calendar, etc. Enabling Student View creates a Test Student in your course. You can also activate Student View in your Course Settings.

To access Student View through your course home page, click on the Student View icon on the upper right:

student view icon

You can now view the course as a student user would see it. For example, students cannot see the Settings navigation link like instructors can.

You will know if you are in Student View because of the persistent box on the bottom of the screen indicating you are logged into Student View.

Click Leave Student View to return to your instructor view:

Leave Student View Button

Course Navigation

As an instructor, you can control which links appear to your students in your course menu. Canvas includes a set of default Course Navigation links that cannot be renamed.

All menu items with this icon:

Canvas menu icon: Eye with line

CANNOT be seen by students. To enable links for students, follow these steps:

Click on Settings at the bottom of your Course Menu:

Canvas course menu; arrow pointing to Settings

Find the Course Navigation tab:

course navigation tab

From the Navigation Page, you can re-order menu items using the drag-and-drop interface.

You can also “enable” a menu item, by clicking on the “kebab” (three dots) associated with the menu item and choosing “enable” –

the "kebab" icon with the Enable option highlighted

Be sure to click “Save” at the bottom of the page to save your changes.

NOTE: Some navigation areas, such as Announcements, can be enabled, but show the “hidden” icon when there is no content. Adding content will enable students to see the menu item.