Canvas Tips of the Week

Tip of the Week


Accepting Student Assignments

To accept student written assignments, you can use either Canvas or Turnitin assignments.  What if you want to use Turnitin to check plagiarism and the rubric tool of Canvas for grading?  You can create the rubric in Canvas first and save the assignment using the “online” submission type.  Then edit your assignment and change the submission type to “External Tool” and choose Turnitin.  Please do this BEFORE you publish the assignment, otherwise, some students may submit their assignments to Turnitin inbox and others to Canvas.

Students will not be able to see the rubric. You may want to make a PDF or Content Page version that can be shared in the prompt. However, teachers will be able to use it in the SpeedGrader. We want to thank Dr. David Kneip for submitting this tip. For more tips, please check here. If you have an effective way to use Canvas or some other course tools that you would like to share with us, please email it to Berlin Fang ( or Amy Boone ( Thanks!

Canvas URL

When you or your students need help with Canvas, it is a good idea to send the URL (web address) of the page where you encounter the problem. EVERY page in Canvas has a unique URL, for instance:
Providing the URL greatly improves the efficiency of communication and reduces the possibility of errors.
We would also like to remind you that you and students can get 24/7 support from Canvas by clicking on the help icon on the Canvas menu. Please provide the URL to them too when seeking help with them.

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Import Your Canvas Calendar into Google

When you create an event, quiz, discussion, or assignment with due dates, it will automatically generate an entry in the Canvas calendar.  You can add this calendar to ACU’s Google calendar to put all your calendars in one place. To do that, log in to Canvas, go to the calendar tool, and copy the calendar feed. Then return to your Google calendar, choose to “add a co-workers calendar,” select “From URL”, and paste the URL that you copied. Like other calendars in Google, you can turn them on and off if dates from Canvas start to clutter your view.

Your students can also add their Canvas calendar to their Google calendar if that helps them keep track of due dates.

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New Gradebook

Canvas has a new gradebook which you can turn on yourself under “feature options” in course “settings.”  The new gradebook will allow you greater flexibility in how you view student grades.  For instance, you can view gradebook items by assignment name, module, points, due date or assignment group. You can also use “statuses” to color code late, missing or resubmitted items.

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Free Form Rubric

If you use a rubric to grade, it might be a cumbersome process to create scales at certain intervals for each criterion, for instance, 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 points.  What if you want to give someone 18 or 19.5?  Use free form rubrics with which you can assign any point within a given range.  If you want, you can also add comments for specific criteria as you grade.

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Turn on Fullscreen View of Doc Viewer

Students sometimes have difficulty seeing your feedback on their assignments in the document view window. Resizing the window may help, but the window often keeps moving with cursor movements. A better solution is to go to “full-screen view” by clicking on the full-screen icon as shown below. Students can press “esc” to return to normal view after they have seen your feedback.

Canvas Fullscreen View for Doc Viewer

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Delayed Announcement

If you want to send an announcement to class, but not immediately, try to “delay posting,” which will release your announcement exactly at the time you want. You can also release modules, quizzes, assignments and discussions at specific times too.  For more information and past tips, check here.

Hide Grade Distribution

Students do not see each other’s grades, but they can see the grade distribution and where they are in the distribution.  If that does not help your class, you can turn off the feature by going to course settings, and, under “advanced settings,” check to “hide grade distribution graphs from students.” Remember to “update course details” when you have done that.  For more information and past tips, check here.

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Add Your Own Grading Schema

Canvas has a default grading schema that can help you translate percentages into letter grades.  Often it may not be the same with how you set up your own letter grade scheme. You can define your own scheme by going to course settings and “set grading scheme” on your own, as shown in the following screens:

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Automatic Group Assignment

Did you know that Canvas can help you divide your class into various groups automatically?  Go to “people” in your Canvas course.  Under “student groups”, create “group set” and then you can define how you would like Canvas to divide your groups. You can also use multiple group sets for the same course. For more information and past tips, check here.

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Use Student Collaboration

If you want students to collaborate on a document, you do not have to create a Google Doc and then share the document one by one with your students.  Canvas collaborations does the same in an easier way.  Click on “collaborations” and start a “new collaboration” and add students or groups into the new collaborative document you started. For more information and past tips, check here.

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Media in Quizzes

You can include a video or audio component in a quiz question. When you add a new question, you will see a text editor box. Select the “record/upload media” option to record or upload your media. For more information and past tips, check here.

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Student View

Interested in what your students see when they open your course in Canvas? Head to settings and click on student view.

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Wifi for Lockdown Browser

When enabling Lockdown Browser for a test or quiz in Canvas, make sure students are using ACUsecure Wi-Fi and not BasicACUwifi. Some Lockdown Browser features do not work efficiently using BasicACU Wi-Fi.

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Get Canvas Help

Need Canvas HELP? Did you know that Canvas Support is available to students and professors 24/7? To chat online with a Canvas Support Agent, simply click “HELP” in the lower left corner of your Canvas screen. The Support Agent will immediately assist and they are extremely competent in solving Canvas problems!

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Make Your Course Content Accessible

Canvas has added an accessibility checker tool in the content editor. The icon is shaped like a standing person. Click on it and it will show you if your page is accessible.  See the photo below for an illustration.

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Drop the Lowest Grade(s)

If you weigh your grade categories, you can drop one or more lowest grade from an assignment category.  To do that, go to “assignments”, click on the gear, and then “edit”.  Enter the number of grades you would like to drop.

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Duplicate Your Rubric Criterion

Tired of entering the same information manually when you create your rubric?  You can now duplicate criteria, including all the point values, in your rubric.  Click on “+ criterion” and you will see the option to duplicate a criterion. You can also duplicate a criterion first and make adjustment later.

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