What’s New in CarmenCanvas (AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018)


Release Notes: 08/04, 08/25, 09/15

For Everyone:

  • In DocViewer, comments with replies are now grouped together in expandable stacks.
  • In the Rich Content Editor, you can now provide longer descriptions for an image (for example, for accessibility purposes) using the longdesc attribute.

For Instructors:

  • The new scheduler is a great way for you to organize office hours and offer them for students to sign up, all inside Carmen; for example, Professional Development 1-A is currently using this new functionality to organize the Wellness Checks for VME-I students.
    • Instructors can also subscribe to the calendar feed that shows all scheduled appointments and related information; for example, using Outlook.
  • The SpeedGrader now lets you export submission comments into PDFs.

For Students:

  • The new Student To Do List View on the Dashboard lets you view all course tasks in a list format, organized by date and course. Besides graded items, you will also start to see non-graded to-do’s from your courses. You are also now able to add your own to-do items to your to-do list.

News from InstructureCon/Carn 2018!

The annual Canvas conference, InstructureCon (nicknamed “InstructureCarn” this year … as in carnival), took place from July 24th to 26th. Here are some of the new features and enhancements announced that I am most excited about, some of which have already been rolled out:

  • Available Now
    • Duplicate entire modules – This has made my workflow significantly more efficient in some cases!
    • SpeedGrader Enhancements including image annotation and comments showing on the same page as source location.
    • Non-scoring rubrics – This is a great feature for mastery-based marking, helping students focus on feedback rather than point values
    • App page view reporting – With all of your pre-clinical students having iPads, this helps with getting more accurate information on the usage of your course resources.
    • Anonymous & Moderated Grading – Did you know that
  • Coming Soon
    • Aug 4th Release:
      • Student Planner / Dashboard List View – This view puts deadlines and to do items front-and-center for students; this view also allows students to add their own to do items! Look out for an update on this from Teaching and Learning soon after release.

        New student dashboard list view

      • Assigning Pages and Ungraded Discussions to student to do – You’ve been able to set module requirements for students to view your content pages; now you can set due dates and help your students remind themselves by putting them on their Planner.
    • SP19 / Now in beta:
      • New Gradebook: This is a redesigned gradebook with additional functionality and a cleaner interface – faster, more informative, easier to customize view and make quick adjustments, and so on. In addition, you are able to set automatically-calculated late and missing assignment policies with the New Gradebook. Let Teaching and Learning know if you would like to explore the new gradebook in your courses!

        Screenshot of new gradebook showing ability to set late and missing assignment policies

  • In Development
    • Analytics 2 with “interactive and actionable charts.”
    • Quizzes.Next – This is a completely redesigned quizzing tool that will come with a new experience as well as additional question and stimulus types. I’m most excited about additional capabilities in question bank management and sharing, as well as ability to tag outcomes to individual questions!
    • More information forthcoming – Rich Content Editor drag and drop, SpeedGrader screen recorder, etc..

What’s New in CarmenCanvas (JUNE/JULY 2018)

The annual Canvas conference, InstructureCon, takes place from July 24th to 26th. We’re excited for new features and enhancements that will be announced at the conference – stay tuned for another update coming soon!


Release Notes: 6/23, 7/14

For Everyone:

  • You can now create recurring “duplicate” events in the Calendar
  • The Discussions page has been updated with a new design
  • Canvas now displays an error if you try to upload a file exceeding available quota using the Rich Content Editor Content Selector
  • In SpeedGrader, comments now remain on the same page as the annotation
  • Language referring to “wiki” has been updated to “page(s)” for consistency

For Instructors:

  • You can now duplicate entire modules
    • A duplicated module and its contents are set to an unpublished status
    • Classic quizzes (indicated by a rocket icon) cannot be duplicated; a module containing a classic quiz cannot be duplicated until it is removed from the module
  • (This is not a new feature, but did you know that you can do moderated grading in Canvas, in which you can assign multiple graders as well as the grader who can determine the final grade?)
  • You can now create rubrics without point values; previously while you have had the ability to attach a rubric and not use it for grading, the rubric creation process required that you attach point values to the ratings.
  • The menu icon in SpeedGrader has been updated to include “Keyboard Shortcuts” and “Help”.

Canvas Student

Release Notes: 6.3 (iOS, Android)

  • The Rich Content Editor now supports attaching images from User Files
  • Page views in the mobile app are now reported
  • Where permissions are granted, an user can now delete annotations and comments made by others

Canvas Teacher

Release Notes: 1.6 (Android)

  • The app now displays an error message when uploading a file that would exceed the file quota
  • The Pages tool now supports editing page content if a student has been given edit access
  • The Pages tool has been redesigned


What’s New in CarmenCanvas (MAY 2018)


Release Notes: 5/12, 6/2

For Everyone:

  • The Files tool now has the 3-dot settings menu icon.
  • In DocViewer …
    • You can now annotate image files (BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF).
    • Users who are not the author of an annotation can comment on it.
    • Long comments are not truncated after five lines, rather than one.
    • Comments are now aligned with their associated annotations
  • In the Rich Content Editor under the Links tab Course Navigation section, some links have been updated to reflect what’s in Course Navigation (left menu).

For Instructors:

  • In DocViewer, you can now delete any annotations or comments for any user; for example, for peer review assignments.
  • In Gradebook, comments are hidden if an assignment is muted.

For Students:

  • The assignment submission page now shows “Submitted” when you submit an assignment; previously the terminology was “Turned In”.

Canvas Student

Release Notes: 6.2 (Android), 6.2.6 (iOS)

  • Android 6.2
    • Students can now edit pages for which they have been given permission
    • Pages tool has been redesigned for improved usability and accessibility
  • iOS 6.2.6
    • A share button has been added to external URL module items

Canvas Teacher

Release Notes: 1.5 (Android, iOS), 1.6 (iOS)

  • If you have a multi-section course, you can now send section-specific announcements in the app
  • External tools can be opened in Mobile Safari by tapping the Launch External Tool button.
  • User Files
    • You can now access your personal user files via the user menu.
    • The Rich Content Editor now supports attachment from personal user files.
  • Speedgrader supports submitting a grade by tapping the Return key using a mobile keyboard.
  • Android: Discussions with multiple due dates are now labeled with “Multiple Due Dates”.
  • iOS: If you’re encountering issues with the app, you can now tell the app to reset temporary files (i.e. cache) upon next launch under the Settings app.

What’s New In CarmenCanvas (APR 2018)

For a full list of updates, please see the following release notes:


For Everyone:

  • Inline file preview box is now taller (400px to 800px)
  • The Rich Content Editor now sports a word counter
  • BUG FIX: Video controls for embedded video files now displays as expected in Firefox

For Students:

  • BUG FIX: Rubrics using criterion ranges now correctly highlights the range that corresponds with the score given

Canvas Student

  • You can now view and access concluded courses that still exist
  • (Android) External tools can be opened outside of the Student app by tapping the Open in Browser icon
  • Redesigned Login (iOS) Announcements, Discussions, Conversations/Inbox (Android), Files, Assignments (iOS), Pages (iOS), and Grades (iOS) pages
  • The Rich Content Editor can now be used to create or reply to announcements

What’s New In CarmenCanvas (As of Mar 31, 2018)

For a full list of updates, please see the following release notes:

For Everyone:

  • Announcements have been updated to have a cleaner and more accessible design.
  • Comment replies in DocViewer are now included in annotated PDF downloads.
  • Individual comments in DocViewer now include an icon that displays the type and color of the annotation.
  • Starting with the 3/31 release, Internet Explorer 11 is now supported at a functional support level – while all features will continue to be supported, there may begin to be visual differences from other browsers.

For Teachers:

  • New features have been added to the Announcements page, including  clearer indication of delayed posting, quick toggle to allow/disallow comments, and section-specific course announcements.
  • The Outcomes functionality in Canvas allows for tracking of student competencies throughout a course and across different activities (assignments, quizzes, etc..) While there isn’t currently a curriculum-wide implementation of Canvas Outcomes, please contact us if you want to learn more. The Outcomes tool now supports bulk import from CSV.

How to become “test wise”

Texas A&M’s College of Medicine has a great website filled with test-taking tips. “What is Test Wiseness? It is a subject’s capacity to utilize the characteristics and formats of test and/or test-taking situations to receive a high score (Hyde 1981, 3). These are skills that can allow you to perform well in any testing situation and to know what to do before, during and after the test. Research tells us test-wise people have improved attitudes toward testing, have less test anxiety and achieve better grades (Vattanapath and Jaiprayoon 1999). Sweetnam (2003) found that even students familiar with the content may do poorly because they lack test-taking skills.”

We encourage you to take a look!

Keystone study strategies outlined

“Three keystone study strategies” outlined in the book Making It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning can become habit and help you structure the remainder of your time this spring semester.

1. Practice Retrieving New Learning from Memory: “Retrieval practice” means self-quizzing. “Retrieving knowledge and skill from memory should become your primary study strategy in place of rereading.” You can do this by stopping during a study or review session to ask yourself questions.

  • What did I just review?
  • What vocabulary/terminology/concepts are new to me?
  • What are the most important points or ideas?
  • How do these important points relate to what I already know?

“The familiarity with a text that is gained from rereading creates illusions of knowing, but these are not reliable indicators of mastery of material,” the authors write. “… By contrast, quizzing yourself on the main ideas and the meanings behind the terms helps you to focus on the central precepts rather than on peripheral material or on a professor’s turn of phrase. Quizzing provides a reliable measure of what you’ve learned and what you haven’t yet mastered.”

2. Space Out Your Retrieval Practice: “Spaced practice means studying information more than once but leaving considerable time between practice sessions.” As you easily understand, cramming for an exam doesn’t fit this model. In order to implement this technique, you should establish a self-quizzing schedule. The authors suggest first quizzing yourself close to your first encounter with the material, then several days later. “Over the course of a semester, as you quiz yourself on new material, also reach back to retrieve prior material and ask yourself how that knowledge relates to what you have subsequently learned.”

In addition, “another way of spacing retrieval practice is to interleave the study of two or more topics, so that alternating between them requires that you continually refresh your mind on each topic as you return to it.”

The take away: “Lots of practice works, but only if it’s spaced.”

3. Interleave the Study of Different Problem Types: “If you find yourself falling into single-minded, repetitive practice of a particular topic or skill, change it up: mix in the practice of other subjects, other skills, constantly challenging your ability to recognize the problem type and select the right solution.”

Making It Stick also recommends other study strategies, which include:

  • Elaboration or “finding additional layers of meaning in new material.”
  • Generation or attempting to answer a question before being shown an answer.
  • Reflection or “the act of taking a few minutes to review what has been learned in a recent class or experience and asking yourself questions” about the material and your acquisition/mastery of the material.
  • Calibration or “the act of aligning your judgments of what you know and don’t know with objective feedback so as to avoid being carried off by the illusions of mastery that catch many learners by surprise at test time.”
  • Mnemonic Devices or “tools … for creating mental structures that make it easier to retrieve what you have learned.”
From chapter 8 of Brown, P. C., Roediger, H. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Make it stick: The science of successful learning.

Increasing productivity with the iPad

By Jay Hsiao, instructional designer

As a recent student myself, I enjoyed learning on my iPad not only because of the lightweight form factor with long battery life, but also because I was able to be productive with it for learning. Besides the many apps available in the App Store, there are features built into iOS (now at version 11) that are great for productivity.

Ultimately, like any other technology, the iPad is a just another tool. The goal of Office of Teaching and Learning is to help you with optimizing the tool for your daily learning activities, both inside and outside of the classroom, while working with the instructors and the curriculum to affect technology-agnostic changes that’d improve the overall educational experience.

Back to the topic of iOS, have you discovered the Tips app? The Tips app offers a fantastic collection of productivity and creativity ideas – here are a couple of my personal favorites:

  • Quick settings: You might have already figured out that you can access quick settings (including mute and Do Not Disturb!) by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, but you can actually customize it in iOS 11. To do that, go to Settings, Control Center, then Customize Controls.
  • Widgets: If you have or are using an Android device, you may be familiar with these quick bites of information called widgets. Widgets are also available in iOS, by first swiping down to reveal the notifications, then left to reveal the widgets screen. Some apps that you use may come with a widget – check by swiping to the bottom fo the widgets screen, then Edit.
  • “Right-clicking” on the iPad: While the iPad doesn’t have the nifty Force Touch feature that newer iPhones have, try to discover the of extra actions that maybe available to you by tapping and holding on an app or a toolbar icon. For example, you can press and hold on the Notability app icon to access recent documents.
  • Single-app mode: By default, iOS presents only one app on the screen at a time. I’ve found this to be a productivity in that it helps me focus on only whatever I’m working on or reviewing at the moment, especially when used with Do Not Disturb.
  • Master the dock: Once your iPad is unlocked, you are able to call it up any time by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. For me, I put (drag and drop) all of my most used apps directly on the dock, and other apps that I use frequently in a folder on the dock. The dock holds up to 15 apps (for 12.9” pro), including a special section on the right side for recently used app, suggested apps based on usage habits, and Handoff apps that lets you continue what you’re currently working on on other Apple devices.
  • Multitasking: You can work with two apps at the same time on the iPad – notice that all apps support multitasking. There are two multitasking modes: slide over and split view.
    • To put an app in slide over mode, first swipe up from the bottom to call up the dock, press and briefly hold on an app icon, drag it onto the screen so it shows a rectangular outline, then let go. Slide overs float on top of the main app that’s open, and can be put either on the left or right side of the screen. You can even hide your slide over app by swiping it into the left or the right side of the screen, then call it back out by doing the opposite.
    • To put an app in split view mode, you would follow the same steps above, but before letting go, you would hover the app outline over the left or right side of the screen until the main app shrinks, then let go to put the second app in place. You can add a third app in slide over mode when you have two apps on the screen, but you would not be able to interact with them.
  • Spaces: When you use split view multitasking, you are essentially creating workspaces that you can quickly switch to and from. For example, if you are writing a paper and you’ve already collected references, you may create a workspace with Word and OneNote; if you are taking notes while watching lecture capture, you may create instead a workspace with Safari and Notability … with some captures, you may even be able to open the video in Picture in Picture mode!
  • Your apps work together: there are a couple features that iOS provides that lets your apps work together, including: 1) share sheet functionality that we talked about during orientation, which lets you send content from one app to another (for example, the Safari Apps lets you save a webpage as PDF using the share sheet); 2) file organization and usage through the Files app and the file picker, including sources such as offline, iCloud, and BuckeyeBox storage; and 3) as of iOS 11, you are now able to drag and drop content between apps that support it. We plan to write more about workflows in future updates.
    • Speaking of iCloud, we STRONGLY encourage that you backup your iPad to iCloud and turn on iCloud Backup – you would be glad that you did in the worst case scenarios that you lose your iPad, or your iPad becomes nonfunctional. You can do so by going to Settings, tap you profile at the top of the list (or sign in), then iCloud.
  • One last bonus – take a screenshot then annotate: if your courses assign videos for you to review, you can take a screenshot a desired frame of the video by pressing the Home and the Power buttons simultaneously, or by pressing Cmd-Shift-3 (for whole screen) or Cmd-Shift-4 (for part of the screen) on the keyboard. Once you have taken a screenshot, a preview of it will show on your screen, which you can then annotate using, for example, your stylus. When you are done annotating, use the Done button to either delete or save the screenshot to your Photos, or use the share sheet to forward it on.
I hope that you will find the iPad/iOS tips that I have listed here useful. Feel free to reach out to Teaching and Learning if you have questions!

Some of our favorite student features in the Canvas app

The Canvas Student app for mobile/tablet is great for viewing or interacting with your courses on-the-go. Using the app rather than the website on a mobile device also means you can take advantage of platform features, such as push notifications and Slide Over multitasking on the iPad. The Canvas Student app is regularly updated by the vendor with new features and bug fixes – the latest version is 6.0 on both iOS and Android.

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

General Functionality

  • Tucked inside the hamburger menu (top left), you can go to Settings –> Landing Page to change what screen you would like to see first when you launch the Canvas Student app. Are you a timeline person? The Calendar tab may be best for you. Are you a list person? Then the To Do tab may be a better fit.
  • (Initiated on web) On the Calendar Page on the Canvas web app, you can grab the calendar feed link (bottom right of page) and subscribe to it using a mobile calendar app, such as iOS’s built-in Calendar app (under Settings, Accounts & Passwords, Add Account, Other, then Add Subscribed Calendar).
  • (Also available on web) On the Dashboard tab, did you know that you can change the courses that are shown to you and how they are shown? To show/hide courses, tap the “Edit” icon and select/unselect stars; by default, all of your current courses are shown. If you are a color-coding person, tap the settings icon (3 dots) on a course card to change its display color.
  • The Notifications tab is handy in that it not only shows most of not all activities that take place within Carmen, including inbox messages, announcements, announced changes to course materials and activities, and discussion replies.
  • If you are on a smartphone, the Inbox tool is very handy for sending quick messages to your instructors and/or classmates without needing to remember their OSU dot-number email addresses.

Functionality Inside Courses

  • Want to review 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; by the way, the course navigation menu was freshly updated in version 6.0!
  • Notetakers probably already know this trick, but when you open a PDF files that resides within a course, you can tap the edit icon (looks like pen and a writing surface) to reveal tools that you can use to annotate it without leaving the Canvas Student App! When you are done annotating, use the share icon (looks like a box with an arrow pointing up) to save or send the file to another app … with your annotations!
  • Worrying about forgetting to take a quiz? On the information page of a quiz that is not past due, tap the alarm clock icon at the top right to schedule a notification for yourself.
    • While not all types of quizzes are currently supported by the app, it will prompt you to access the web app if and when needed.
  • Speaking of quizzes, as of app version 3.20 on iOS, the Canvas Student app gained an iOS widget (the left-most screen on the home screen, or swipe down and left from the top of the screen) that shows you your current course grades.

We hope that some of the features that we listed above would be helpful for you with using the Canvas Student app more effectively. 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!