Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about UW Canvas. If your question is not listed here, please contact UW Bothell Learning Technologies at email@example.com.
This page is subject to change as different issues, features and common questions arise.
Setting Up Courses
Customizing a Course
Transferring from Blackboard
Downloading & Submitting
All courses are automatically created in Canvas. UW Seattle has created a process that uses information from the time schedule to upload your courses of record into Canvas.
If the course you are teaching is a credit course and appears on the time schedule, you will not need to request a course from UWB Learning Technologies. For those who need non-course sites or "shell" sites for moving content over from Blackboard should request a course from UWB Learning Technologies: Course Request Form.
As soon as the time schedule for each quarter is released, your courses will show up in Canvas.
Students are automatically enrolled in the course when they enroll through the University course registration system. Students will not have to self-enroll in Canvas courses.
In Canvas, you can manually cross-list sections, meaning that you can have multiple sections of the same course in one Canvas classroom. This allows you to use only one course for content and instruction, rather than multiple Canvas classrooms. UW Seattle has outlined this process here:
How do I set a page I created as my course home page?
This can be a bit tricky. The Canvas Guide for Instructors outlines the process step-by-step:
If a course is made public, does it show in the Courses menu for everyone at the university?
No. If you make a course public, you will need to share the link to your course with those who need it.
Can I make some content public but keep other content private?
No. All content in a course is either all public or all private.
How do I move files within the Files area?
Files in Canvas are organized in alphabetical order. While you can still move files into folders, you cannot rearrange the alphabetized structure of the files and folders.
For more detailed information on how to move files within the files area, take a look at the Canvas Guide for Instructors (make sure to check out all the links on the right hand side of the page):
How do I turn my class off?
To remove access to course content from students, go to the Settings area and change the end date of the class to the actual end date of the quarter. If you want your students to continue to have access to the course, simply change the due date to some date in the distant future.
When I click on the view all courses in the course and groups tab, I see two versions of the same course. How do I know which one to use? How can I remove one?
This is known as a bug in Canvas in which all courses are duplicated, but only one course is the one which students are enrolled in. Instructors (or TAs) only see the duplicate course if they click on the View All Courses in the Course and Groups tab or if they view sections in the Settings menu.
Students only see the correct course list and don't see the duplicate because they're enrolled in one section. Instructors can know which is the correct course by simply viewing only the courses viewable in the Courses and Groups tab, or if there is another section, viewing the course that has a SIS ID number in the Sections tab.
UWS and Canvas are currently working on a solution. If you would like to remove the duplicate sections, you will need to contact UWS Canvas Help, firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do students save their information from Blackboard?
UWB Learning Technologies is currently working on an in-depth guide for students on how to do this. When it is finished, we will be communicating it out to students and faculty. For a brief overview on how to save work from different sections of you Blackboard course, please see the page below:
What are the reasons for failed migrations from Blackboard?
There is no good way to tell what happened for a failed migration. The best thing to do is simply try the migration process again.
What is the process of getting an archive course for those who only teach a course occasionally to be able to transition courses from Blackboard to Canvas?
You can request an archive Canvas course by filling out the UWB Learning Technologies Canvas course request form. These courses are for archive purposes only since all other courses being used for teaching are automatically created.
What are conferences?
Conferences are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups. It can also be used to demonstrate technologies or troubleshoot technology issues online. For more information on conferences and how to set one up, take a look at the Canvas Guide for Instructors (make sure to check out all the conference links on the right hand side of the page):
What is the inbox at the top of the page and how does the messaging (Conversation) system work?
In Canvas, the internal messaging system is called Conversations. The conversations tool provides a way for faculty and students to engage in a private conversation.
The inbox you see at the top of the page in Canvas is where you will find all new and existing messages or conversations. You can think of this inbox in the same way as an email inbox. For more detailed information on Conversations and how they work in Canvas, take a look at the Canvas Guide for Instructors (make sure to check out all the conference links on the right hand side of the page):
If my course goes over the 500MB storage limit, can my course get more?
Yes. You will need to request additional storage from UWB Learning Technologies.
How do we best add library eReserve items?
You can do this in a variety of ways, as it is simply a web link to the eReserves page. You can do any one of the following to add the link to your course:
- Create a page with the link and link to the page from a module or assignment
- Add the link directly to a Module
- Include the link as part of an assignment
In SpeedGrader, can you comment on plain text, .rtf, older versions of Word (.doc), or Open Office documents like you can with .docx files? Are there any issues with Macs?
No. The annotation tools for SpeedGrader do not work on plain text (.txt), rich text (.rtf), or Open Office (.odt) files. Howver, you can still preview rich text and Open Office documents in the SpeedGrader.
Annotation tools do work for the older versions of Word/PowerPoint/Excel (.doc/.ppt/.xls). There did not appear to be any issues with using a Mac to upload files as long as they are in these formats.
Am I able to remove the comment function in SpeedGrader, so students can't comment?
No. This is a feature of the SpeedGrader.
What is the Peer Review function? How does it work?
A peer-review assignment enables students to comment on a peer's submitted assignment. Peer reviewers can be manually assigned or you can have Canvas automatically assign a peer reviewer to an assignment. Only those who have turned in the assignment will be assigned to be a reviewer.
For more detailed information on Peer Review and how it works, take a look at the Canvas Guide for Instructors (make sure to check out all the links on the right hand side of the page):
Additionally, here are a few things we have learned about the Peer Review function:
- Students can't complete a peer review of another student until they submit their own assignment.
- Students can review more than one student. You can assign them multiple reviews either manually or by using the automatic peer selection and choosing a number more than 1.
- Peer review is not (and cannot be) built into the gradebook as an assignment, so assessing students' peer reviews is difficult in Canvas.
Will I be able to submit my grades via Canvas?
If you use Catalyst to submit grades, UW Seattle has created a system to submit grades from Canvas to Catalyst. Check out their help guide:
Is there a way to submit all assignment grades at one time, rather than submitting one at a time?
Yes. You can mark an assignment as muted--which means that grade notifications and instructor comments will not be sent out until the assignment is unmuted. An assignment that is muted will display an icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted. To mute an assignment via the gradebook:
To mute an assignment via the SpeedGrader:
Can I still download all assignments as a zip file, or do I have to download each assignment individually?
There is a download submissions link on the right hand side of the page. It will download as a .zip file that you can then save and open.
Is it possible for students to submit multiple files for an assignment?
Yes. Students are able to submit multiple files for an assignment. All they need to do is click on the add another file link below each submission in the assignment.
Can students turn in a zip file of multiple files?
Yes. Students can submit a zip file for an assignment. However, an instructor will not be able to preview the files in Canvas. To see the files, they must first be downloaded.
Can you download all of the zip files for a particular assignment in a similar way to how you can download individual assignments?
Yes. Instructors can download all student submissions as a zip file via the assignment. There is a Download Submissions link on the right hand side of the page.