Hot Topics in EdTech at La Salle: July 2015

typingNow that summer is in full swing and we’ve had a chance to take a breath from the last academic year, our thoughts turn to ways that we can improve teaching and learning through technology for the upcoming semesters. As an instructional designer here at La Salle, I encounter people from across the university with all kinds of ideas for how to apply academic technologies in their daily work. Read on for a few of the hot topics in technology that I’ve heard floating around campus this month. If you like what you see below and need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Instructional Design team at and we’ll be happy to assist!

Improving the Syllabus

As you may have seen in a recent email from the Provost, faculty have been given a syllabus checklist to make sure that their syllabi meet the standards of the University. In support of this effort, we have updated the Help menu of Canvas to include resources mentioned on this syllabus checklist including information on classroom accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Student Guide to Resources, Rights and Responsibilities. If you are looking for these polices or other Canvas help resources, please click on the Help link in the top right hand corner of Canvas and see the resources pointed out in the screenshot below.


Using Rubrics for Grading in Canvas

Many faculty are looking for ways to increase efficiencies especially in grading assignments in Canvas. Did you know that you can import rubrics into Canvas, attach them to graded assignments, and then quickly grade student work by clicking on the cells of the rubric? To save faculty the time required to enter the rubrics into Canvas, I created a Rubric Repository in Canvas and pre-loaded over a dozen rubrics for various assignment types that faculty can transfer to their own courses. Once a rubric is in your course, you can modify it as needed and start using it to give clear, efficient feedback to your students.


Online Quizzes in Canvas

Another Canvas feature that has been getting a lot of attention recently is the quizzes tool. Faculty are using it to move some assessments online in order to provide students with more convenient and frequent opportunities for feedback. Canvas quizzes come with the added bonus of making grading easier for the professors. Objective questions will be graded automatically by the system, and there are feedback options for students to receive their score and instructor comments immediately. You can enter question-specific feedback comments for both objective and open-ended items that the students will see after they submit their responses. This feature is a great way to give students more context about correct answers on objective questions or more information about how essays are graded.

This image shows how students will see quiz results after submitting including their answer (1), the automated feedback from the instructor (2), and where the item's score will be (3).
This image shows how students will see quiz results after submitting including their answer (1), the automated feedback from the instructor (2), and where the item’s score will be (3).

In addition, faculty want to make sure the settings for their online quizzes are keeping test-takers honest. Most Canvas users know that you can set the number of quiz attempts, impose time limits, and randomize answers, but did you know you can also randomize the questions displayed to students? By using the question group feature of Canvas quizzes, you can create groups of questions and have the system randomly pull a different set of questions from the group for each student’s quiz. It requires some set-up, but once the question groups are created, they can be transferred to other courses. Here’s a link to the Canvas guide on how to create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions.

Do you have some best practices or technology tips to share with the campus community? Please reach out to us at to share successes, ask questions, or get help with any of the topics mentioned in this post.