The Canvas system releases updates about every three weeks. Whenever these updates include exciting new functionality for the La Salle University community or if these updates will significantly change your workflows, we will post about them on the 1900 blog.
The following changes took effect between December 6, 2014 and January 5, 2015.
Opt into the updated Files area to restrict students’ access to files by date and access improved file management.
Canvas has updated the Files area of the course with an improved look and additional functionality. Instructors can see when files were created and modified, search for and preview files, and select and move multiple files at a time. The new Upload button allows you to upload multiple files at a time or a whole zip folder.
One new Files feature that had been requested by faculty on campus is the ability to restrict whether students can access a file by date. For example, if you post the solutions to a homework problem, you may not want students to see that information until a certain date.
To access these settings, click on the cloud icon parallel to the file name. You will be presented with the option to keep the item published, unpublish it, or restrict access to the file. If you choose to restrict access, you can make it visible only to students that receive a link to the file or you can set dates when the file should be available or unavailable to students. One the file is restricted, the publishing cloud will turn yellow instead of green in the Files area. Note that it will not change color within the module.
The updated Files area is currently available as an opt-in feature. To turn this on for your course, visit the Settings area on your course menu and click the tab for Feature Options. Then, switch the Better File Browsing option to On.
Assignment feedback to students and related conversations can be viewed from the Inbox.
One helpful feature of the Speedgrader is the ability to provide students with comments and feedback about the work they submitted. Students have the ability to respond to these comments in Canvas to ask the instructor follow-up questions that can help them improve their course performance.
To make it easier for instructors to access student replies to these conversations, they are now accessible from the Canvas Inbox. Click on the Inbox drop-down menu and select Submission Comments to see an aggregated list of these conversations with students. Note that the feedback comments will only appear in the Inbox if students have replied to them.
If you want to make sure that you are seeing these student replies, you may also want to check your Notification Preferences for Submission Comments and perhaps change it to ASAP or daily notification. You can learn more about setting your Notification Preferences from the Faculty Guide.
New Quiz Statistics provide detailed feedback about students’ performance on tests and quizzes.
Canvas has updated the functionality and look of the Quiz Statistics that are available to instructors after students have taken a quiz, test, or survey in Canvas. You can access these statistics by navigating to the Quizzes area and selecting a quiz or exam. On the right sidebar, you will see link to access the Quiz Statistics.
The revised quiz statistics include the average score, high score, low score, standard deviation, and average time that the quiz was completed. There is also a question breakdown that shows the percentage of students that selected or entered each answer choice. For true/false and multiple choice questions, there is a discrimination index that analyzes answer choices according to what was selected by cohorts of achievers. In the example below, the top bar shown under the Discrimination Index is high achievers, followed by middle and low achievers.
The quiz statistics information can be very helpful for making sure that your questions are not too easy, too difficult, or perhaps not reliable indicators of students’ knowledge.
Assign assignments to students only in specific sections
If you merge multiple sections into one Canvas course, you can now associate assignments with just one of the sections. This might be helpful if a snow day or other weather event causes you to alter the assignments between the sections.
To differentiate assignments between the sections, create or edit the assignment and scroll down to the due date section at the bottom of the page. In the For drop-down menu, select the section that is responsible for the assignment and enter the due date. If you need to select other sections that are responsible for the assignment or to change the due date for another section, click the +Due Date button and complete the information for that section. When you have finished making changes, click Update Assignment.
If you would like all students to complete the assignment by the same due date, leave the For drop-down menu with the default Everyone.
You can review the full list of updates from Canvas’s 12/6/14 Production Release Notes and 12/20/14 Production Release Notes. Contact the Instructional Design team if you have any questions about these updates!