What’s New In CarmenCanvas (As of Feb 17, 2018)

(For a full list of updates, please see release notes from 1/27/18 and 2/17/18)

For Everyone

  • In Inbox
    • The course menu is now an autocomplete menu, which should make finding the course that you’d like to message much easier.
    • The “new message” icon has been updated.
  • In SpeedGrader DocViewer
    • Free text annotations can now have either a white or transparent background. You can also now adjust the text size. 
    • Multi-page documents can now be navigated using the forward/backward pagination links, or by typing in specific page numbers
  • In the Rich Content Editor, you can now indicate images as being “decorative”; decorative images are those that do not necessarily contribute to the content, and as such you do not need to input alt text.
  • There is now a distinction between the “settings” (i.e. gear) and “options” (i.e. three dots) icons.
    • The Settings icon contains selections that would actively change how the page is displayed.
    • The Options icon contains selections that link to additional functionality or other Canvas areas.
  • The file download icon in Modules has been updated to a paperclip/attachment icon.

For Instructors Only

  • You can now leave individual feedback in group assignments that are individually graded.
  • There is now an additional “Student View” icon on the course home page.
  • In the New Gradebook
    • You can now enter grades as percentages or according to a grading scheme; previously, you could only enter point values.
    • “Muted” and “Unpublished” statuses are now indicated with text in the assignment column header.

What’s New in CarmenCanvas (01/06/2018 Release)

(Read more about this release in the release notes.)

For Everyone:

  • (CVM-Specific) A “CVM Course Schedule” link is now available in the left menu within courses. This will take you directly to the CVM Schedule site.
  • The image picker in the sidebar of the Rich Content Editor now provides a checkbox to mark an image as a decorative image. (This can be used from an accessibility standpoint to indicate the image does not provide relevant meaning.)
For Instructors Only:
  • Updates to the new Gradebook: Ask us how to opt-in!
    • You can now set rules for late and missing submissions. For missing submissions, you can set a default percentage of the total possible score; for late submissions, you can set a percentage that will be deducted from the final assignment score per day/hour, as well as a lowest possible score.
  • Rubric criterion now support extra credit (i.e. excess points above maximum point value specified).
For Students Only:
  • Submissions to graded discussions can now be found under your personal “Submissions” folder.

What Is New in CarmenCanvas (12-09-2017 Release)

For Everyone:
  • The accessibility checker icon has been updated for the Rich Content Editor
  • You can now reply to or forward messages to more than 100 individuals
For Instructors Only:
  • (Ask us about opting into the New Gradebook!)
  • There is now a new button on the Assignments index page to move all items from an assignment group to another
  • Inactive students are now marked as such in the Groups editor

Getting Through Finals: Try Time Management That Works Because You Commit to It

If you’re seeking strategies for making it through final exams, you may want to spend some time this weekend (and then every Sunday until the semester is over) to develop a very specific weekly calendar and schedule each hour (or half hour) to include lectures, labs, work, extracurricular activities, social time, intense study sessions, grocery shopping, laundry and sleep time — just about everything you do. These calendar items are appointments you commit to keeping.

This calendar should include sessions of intense self-testing/study time for each class of the day and preparation for upcoming exams. Writing notes verbatim or passively reading notes or viewing presentation slides are the opposite of intense study/self-testing.

sample planned student calendar

Exam Prep Tips

“Many students think that preparing for a test means memorizing information the night before or rereading the information until their brain convinces them, “I got it!” when that’s just wishful thinking. Test preparation workshops provided by learning centers usually emphasize the following strategies”:
  • Use effective learning strategies from day one (in this case right now).
  • Determine exactly what the test will cover, and practice teaching that information to an audience — either real or imaginary — until you can do it flawlessly.
  • Determine what types of questions will be asked. Prepare for the test based on the type of questions that will be asked.
  • Organize information by preparing charts, outlines, or study guides.
  • Schedule specific time for test preparation on your weekly calendar (throughout the week).
  • Chunk material and master that material. (Test yourself over it; teach it back to yourself.)
Peer tutors and the Office of Teaching & Learning can help you strategize for final exams.

McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus: Sterling, Va.

Take Action to Boost Your Motivation and Learning

One of the most valuable actions you can take as a professional student is to boost your own motivation and learning. How do you do that?

1. Use learning strategies that work. (Here’s a reminder about effective study cycles.)

2. Examine your mindset. The most powerful influence on your grades are your behaviors, not innate intelligence or talent. Do you have a fixed or growth mindset? Check out www.mindsetonline.com to determine which one you have. In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

3. Monitor and adjust self-talk. “Self-talk constantly occupies students’ (and everyone else’s) minds. If the majority of those thoughts are negative and self-destructive, they can negatively impact students’ learning efforts ….” On the other hand, compassionate and encouraging self-talk makes learning easier. You will “get this stuff,” you will learn what you need to complete the semester, you can adjust study strategies now to maximize performance during the last leg of this semester.

4. Attribute results to actions: An empowered learner examines or investigates how and what works when they study; empowered learners know they have the ability to change their results by changing behaviors.

5. Know your learning style preferences (but don’t think that’s the only way you learn!): Dr. Jerry Masty encourages students to take the VARK. Once you do that, use active learning strategies that match your preferences. (The Office of Teaching & Learning is here to assist.)

6. Rest, nutrition, and exercise: Schedule them in!

McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus: Sterling, Va.

What’s New in CarmenCanvas (11/18 Release)

(Complete notes for the 11/18 release)

For Everyone:

  • Emails for Canvas notifications are now better formatted for mobile devices.

For Instructors:

  • The following actions now utilize the new sidebar interface:
    • Moving of course navigation items (within course settings)
    • Moving of modules and module items
    • Moving of people into groups (within the People tool)
  • The new gradebook is coming! The feature can be enabled on an opt-in basis start Spring 2018, and will become default in Autumn 2018. Teaching and Learning will be holding showcases in the following weeks. (More Information)
  • Items that can be duplicated (assignments, graded discussions, and pages) can now be duplicated within a module.
  • Criteria can now be duplicated within a rubric.

An Effective Study Cycle

Saundra Yancy McGuire advises students to consider a Study Cycle of intense study sessions. (If you have consulted with the Office of Teaching & Learning, you’ve been introduced to the concept of self-testing as study.)

The five steps to the study cycle include:

  1. Preview
  2. Attend Class
  3. Review
  4. Intense Study Sessions
  5. Assess
Previewing involves reviewing learning outcomes for a lecture or module that allows you to see the big picture and figure out how what you will learn fits together. Attending class is critical because you can transform that into study time, engaging with the material in a number of different ways instead of passively listening. “As soon as possible after class, (you) should undertake … review of (your) notes, recalling what happened in class and explaining it to (yourself) (a phenomenon called elaborative rehearsal) ….”

“Intense study sessions can be as short as 15-20 minutes … or as long as 75-90 minutes though 50-60 minutes is a typical duration.”

During those sessions:

  1. Set specific goals.
  2. Do active learning tasks. (Need help with this? Contact the Office of Teaching & Learning.)
  3. Take a break/have a reward.
  4. Review.
Then track your progress and determine how to adjust the approach to best serve you as a learner.

McGuire, S.Y. (2015). Teach Students How to Learn: Strategies You Can Incorporate into Any Course to Improve Student Metacognition, Study Skills, and Motivation. Stylus: Sterling, Va.

What is New in CarmenCanvas (10/28/2017); Also, Exciting Features Coming Soon!

The October 28th release is packed full of features and enhancements for instructors!

For Instructors:

  • The new Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor (RCE) helps you with enhancing your students’ ability, especially those who use a screenreader, to perceive and to process content created using the RCE, such as content pages, activity instructions, and discussion posts. Remember: making your course materials usable and accessible benefits all students. Some issues that the checker currently identifies include: text size contrast, table captions and headers, heading structure, and image alt tags. For more information about the tool, please check out the release notes posted above; for more information about accessibility, please feel free to email us! (Recommended resource on accessibility)
  • You can now copy a discussion.
  • The move-to menu that appears when you copy an assignment or a discussion has been replaced with a sidebar.
  • The Gradebook History page has been redesigned to include filter controls for student, grader, assignment, and start/end date.
For Students:
  • An issue that results in students receiving an error following quiz submission has been resolved.
For Everyone:
  • In the document previewer (DocViewer), you can now collapse and expand longer comments.

In addition, a recent blog post by the Office of Distance Education and eLearning lists some additional enhancements that are coming to CarmenCanvas next semester:

  • With the Office 365 integration, you (and your students) will have the ability to, in CarmenCanvas, create collaborative documents, access and create links to files stored in Office 365, create assignments where students can receive, edit and submit a document stored in Office 365, and more. (More information)
  • A new Gradebook is coming! The basic functionality remains the same, but it will come with new features and enhancements that will help with efficiency. Some items include additional ways to soft filter the columns (including student names), custom per-account colors for statuses such as late and missing, hiding unpublished assignments, cross-hairs to highlight the currently focused cell, late policy automations, as well as reordering the group and total columns. These functionalities will be rolled out in phases, with the first phases being available on an opt-in basis – Teaching and Learning will offer resources and showcases prior to Phase 1 becoming available in January of 2018. 

    New Gradebook with Cross Hairs

  • A newer, faster and better Quizzing tool (codenamed Quizzes.Next) is coming some time during the Spring 2018 semester! This is a complete rewrite of the quizzing functionality, and it will be initially available as an additional assignment type rather than a complete replacement (which will happen no earlier than 2019). See a feature comparison between the existing Quizzes tool and Quizzes.Next in its current form. Teaching and Learning will offer resources and showcases as soon as the new tool becomes generally available.