Some of Our Favorite Productivity Features in the Canvas Teacher App

We previewed the Canvas Teacher app last August – since then, the app has truly grown into an powerful tool for managing courses on-the-go. The Canvas Teacher app is available for both smartphones and tablets running iOS or Android, and it is regularly updated by the vendor with new features and bug fixes – the latest version is 1.5 on iOS, and 1.4 on Android (differences between the iOS and Android app).

Here are some features in the Canvas Teacher app that we like:

General Functionality

  • The Courses tab shows you all of your active courses. You can use the “See All” link to show all of your courses, and the “Edit” button (on top bar) to add or remove courses from your Courses dashboard.
  • The To Do tab gives a list of all of the pending course activities that you should complete, such as grading. Selecting an to-do item will take you directly to it – for example, selecting an ungraded quiz attempt will take you directly to the SpeedGrader.
  • The Inbox tool lets you send quick messages to a member (or members) in your course, without needing to remember their OSU dot-number email addresses. If your intent is to send a class-wide announcement, the Announcements tool remains our default recommendation. 

Functionality Inside Courses

  • Want to preview course content in full-screen? Use the double diagonal arrow button around the center of the screen to expand the content shown on the right side.
  • Currently, the Teacher app supports the follow course management workflows
    • Settings: The settings panel is accessed via the settings (“gear”) icon. Currently, you can only modify the name and the assigned homepage of your course; HOWEVER, there is rarely a reason to do so, and we ask that you leave those two fields alone!
    • Announcements: Post, manage, and reply to announcements / comments to announcements. The Rich Content Editor (RCE) is used throughout the app, similar to its counterpart that is used in the web app; however, the mobile version currently lacks the ability to easily pick and link to other parts / files within the course.
    • People: Review your roster; click on a student’s name to quickly review how they are doing in your course, or to access an shortcut that allows you to quickly send a message to the student.
    • Assignments/Quizzes: While you are not currently able to create or organize assignments/quizzes in the Teacher app, you are able to adjust their settings. The SpeedGrader tool is integrated into into the Teacher app, which allows you to grade on-the-go … or somewhere relaxing away from your work desk! The mobile SpeedGrader works great with a stylus, such as the Apple Pencil, which lets you provide feedback directly on a student’s assignment submission. Audio and video comments are also supported.
    • Files: You can preview your files, create new folders, upload new files, and manage publish status. The ability to move files/folders is currently not available in the app.
    • Pages: You can create, edit, manage publish status, and delete pages.
    • Discussions: You can create, manage, and participate in course discussions.

Integration with iOS

  • The app takes advantage of system functionalities such as the share sheet (iOS), file pickers, as well as capturing images, audio, and video with the camera.
  • The app icon on the home screen of iOS devices displays the total amount of To Do and Inbox notifications.
  • The app supports push notifications. Tapping a push notification will open the app and display the page that relates to the notification. Push notifications can only be managed from the browser version of Canvas.

If you are already using the Canvas Teacher app, we would love to hear from you regarding your experiences and use cases; if you are not already using the app and you are interested, let us know and we’ll help you get started! If you would like to learn more about the app, feel free to visit (and join) the Canvas Mobile Users Group on Canvas Community.

As a final bonus, if you are an Amazon Echo user … did you know that there is an Alexa Skill for checking what’s going in your courses? This blew our minds last July when it was announced and has become much more capable since then!

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