Waitlisted students in Canvas

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Students who register for a course waitlist are now admitted to Canvas courses as Observers during the add/drop period. This is the view-only “Observing: nobody” role you’ll see in your course People list. This allows waitlisted students the opportunity to view course content, but not interact or otherwise engage in Canvas course activities. If a space opens up and they become registered, they’ll gain full access to the course and be assigned the normal Student role. Waitlisted students who don’t get a spot in the course by the end of week two will be automatically removed from the course.

Note: a current Canvas bug is that students who drop a course and become Inactive are not always removed from Canvas Groups that were created when they were enrolled. If you’re using student Groups in Canvas, check your group enrollment at the end of the add/drop period. Go to the People area and select the Groups tab(s), then open each group. If you see inactive students, drag their name out of the group, to the left-side “unassigned” area. You can then re-balance group enrollment, if necessary, by dragging name tiles between groups.

This article was last updated on Sep 7, 2022 @ 3:54 pm.


Add a PSU Canvas user to a concluded course

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If a course is set to a past term the +People button will be greyed out. To make it active, you change the dates of the course so it’s no longer concluded. There are two options for this: setting the course to Default Term, or switching from Term to Course dates with and End Date in the future.

  1. Open the course and select Settings in the course navigation menu. This puts you in the Course Details tab.
  2. Option A: scroll down to the Term menu. This is where you can select Default Term. Doing so will change the position of the course in your All Courses list, which is chronological.
  3. Option B: in the Participation menu, select Course in stead of Term. In the date fields below, set both a Start and End date, with the end date in the future. Added users will only have access to the course up to this date.
    Note: leaving the end date blank does not make the course-open ended, it will default to the previous end date of the the course term.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and Save.
Term menu with Default Term selected.
Participation menu with Course selected and new dates entered.

This article was last updated on Aug 3, 2022 @ 10:52 am.


See a student view of Grades

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The Student View button is not active in the Canvas Grades area. To see your gradebook as a student does, you need to select a student’s name from the Grades roster. A good way to see if grades display as expected is with the Test Student account. This is the last entry in your Grades roster. In that row, enter the maximum point value for each graded activity. Then select Test Student and Grades to see a student view of your current grade visibility and display settings. For more details on the student grades page, see How do I view a student’s Grades page in a course from the Gradebook?

Note: checking your students’ Grades page part-way through the term is also a good way to get an overview of their course progress.

  1. Open your course and select Grades.
  2. Select a student's name or scroll to the bottom of the roster and select Test Student. This opens a new partial window on the right of your browser.
Test student popout window showing Grades button.
  1. Select the Grades button. This opens a pop-up window with a list of graded activities and grades displayed as per your settings. If these are not displaying correctly, check the tutorial on how to Set up your gradebook. Note: the student view, by default, has "Calculate based only on graded assignments" selected. This means that, unless you set your gradebook to treat missed assignments as zero, student may see an inaccurate total. See Set up your gradebook for instructions.
Header of the student grades view showing visibility settings.

This article was last updated on Jul 11, 2022 @ 10:55 am.


Set up your gradebook

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Preparing your gradebook in Canvas prior to the start of term will help you avoid last-minute changes. Five setting areas to consider are below. After you make your selections in each area, a good way to see if grades display as expected is with the Test Student account. This is the last entry in your Grades class roster. In that row, enter the maximum point value for each graded activity. Then select Test Student and Grades to see a student view of your current grade visibility and display settings. For details check See a student view of Grades.

Your course grading scheme

In Canvas Grades, student scores are shown by default as a percentage. If you want to display a letter grade, you select a grading scheme. You can enable the default grading Canvas scheme or create your own, as long as it conforms with the Portland State grading scale. You can customize your grading scheme, or select the default, in course Settings. Instructions are here: How do I add a grading scheme in a course?

Canvas default grade scheme

Assignment grade display (points, percentage, or letter)

Each graded assignment you create automatically generates a column in the gradebook. You can also select how you want the grade displayed. By default, it will be displayed as a point value. You can change this to a percentage, complete/incomplete, or to a letter grade by applying your grading scheme to the assignment. Note that selecting a grading scheme in Settings (as above) will display a letter grade in the course Total column, but not individual assignment columns. To do that, you must select the Letter Grade display setting for each assignment.

By default students can also view grade distribution statistics for a course. To hide that data from students, follow these steps: How do I hide grade distribution scoring details from students?

Menu to select grade display.

Assignment groups, with options to weight or drop grades

It’s helpful for students if you organize assignments into categories like quizzes, papers, homework, etc. You can do this with assignment groups. Each group creates a new column in your gradebook. That column displays each student’s percentage of the total points available in the group. You can also use assignment groups to set up a weighted grading system, with each group given a percentage value for the course. This is helpful if you need a high point value for an activity that is not a high percentage of the grade – as with frequent low-stakes quizzing. Lastly, you can use assignment groups to create rules, such as dropping the lowest score in a group. Find detailed instructions below on:

Assignment groups.

A grade posting policy

By default, Canvas will post grades to students automatically as you enter them. You can change this setting so that grades are posted manually, when you choose to make them visible to students. This setting can be made at the gradebook level (the policy affects all assignments), or the individual assignment level.
Note that If you copy a course and include course settings as part of the import, the course posting policy from the original course will be copied into the new course. This will override any grade posting policy settings you have in the new course. Additionally, imported assignments will retain their assignment posting policy from the original course.

Set a grade posting policy for the full gradebook

Set a grade posting policy for individual assignments

Gradebook settings.

A rule for calculating missing assignments

By default, the Canvas gradebook totals only positive scores. Missing assignments are not automatically calculated as zero. This can give students a misleading grade view. To change this you set missing assignments to a percentage value of 0%. This affects all assignments in the course, and is applied once the due date has passed. If a missing assignment is submitted, the new submission must be updated in the gradebook or the grade will not change.

Apply a missing submission policy for all course assignments

Missing submission setting.

This article was last updated on Jul 27, 2022 @ 1:24 pm.


Canvas media recorder troubleshooting

When attempting to record media using the Rich Content Editor, you may encounter problems with your browser or operating system. To troubleshoot, try the following steps.

Check your browser

  1. Use either Firefox or Chrome (Safari doesn’t work with the Canvas media recorder). Make sure the browser is up to date by checking here: Chrome updates; Firefox updates.
  2. Clear your browser cache. OAI recommends doing this each term, or more often. This may clear saved passwords, so back them up elsewhere. Clear your cache in Chrome; clear your cache in Firefox.
  3. Check your browser permissions. On first use of the recorder, a pop up message appears requesting access to your camera and microphone. It's easy to dismiss this alert instead of allowing access. To correct that, follow these steps: Chrome permissions for camera and microphone; Firefox permissions for camera and microphone.

Check your operating system

Make sure your computer’s operating system is up to date.

For PSU managed computers

For non-PSU managed computers

Browser permissions popup in Chrome.
Browser permissions popup, Firefox.

If you’ve gone through all the steps above and are still having issues getting the Canvas media recorder to work, please submit a request to OAI Support with a brief description.

This article was last updated on Jul 7, 2022 @ 4:49 pm.


Module release options

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You can use Canvas modules to set conditions on how and when students move through coursework. For example, you can lock upcoming modules until a specific date and time.

Additional conditions you can use include releasing a module only:

  • After another module has been opened and completed
  • After students view a file and mark it as done
  • After students participate in a specific discussion
  • After students submit an assignment or quiz
  • Once students achieve a minimum score on an assignment or quiz.

The process for releasing modules conditionally has two parts. The first step is to create a module containing the required activity/content that students must complete. The second step is to create a subsequent module with prerequisite settings. This module remains locked until the requirement module tasks are complete.

Step One: Create a module for required work and select requirements

Depending on the type of coursework, you can require students to:

  • View the item
  • Mark as done
  • Contribute to the page
  • Submit the assignment
  • Score at least…

Step-by-step instructions on setting module requirements are here: How do I add requirements to a module?

Students will see module item requirements in the details area below each item name.

Module items list with requirements listed beneath.

Step Two: Create a subsequent module with prerequisite settings

Once required work is defined and inside a module, you can use it as a prerequisite for a subsequent module. Note that this is just a prerequisite module selection: details on what students must have completed in that module are defined in the requirements.
Step-by-step instructions are here: How do I add prerequisites to a module?

Students can see the prerequisite module in the heading area.

Module header showing that it has a prerequisite.

This article was last updated on Jun 28, 2022 @ 11:45 am.


Recover deleted Canvas items

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If you accidentally delete an activity or page in Canvas, there is a way to check and see if it can be retrieved. This will not work 100% of the time, but it’s always worth trying.

  1. Open the course in Canvas.
  2. Locate the URL field in your browser. This will begin with canvas.pdx.edu:
Canvas course URL.
  1. Put your cursor at the end of this URL address and add: /undelete (you must include the forward slash character).
Canvas URL with /undelete appended
  1. Enter return. The resulting list of items are those available to restore to your course.
List of deleted items with Restore button
  1. Select the restore button for any items you want to undelete.

This article was last updated on Jul 8, 2022 @ 4:20 pm.


Add an extra credit question to a New quiz

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Canvas Quizzes do not have a true extra credit option for automated grading. It’s possible to award extra credit, but this requires manual grade input as shown below. For large classes that need a mostly-automated option, see “Creating an Extra Credit Quiz.”

To create an extra-credit question, you set that question’s point value to zero. When you grade the question, any points assigned are added to the quiz total. The total can exceed 100%. Once extra points are manually entered with SpeedGrader, the new total transfers to Grades as usual.

Note: in the New Quiz engine, it’s possible to enter a point value for the full quiz that differs from the sum of points-per-question. For example, if you set the total points on the assignment details page to 50 and create a quiz with 10 questions each worth 1 point, the quiz has a total of 10 points but is worth 50 points when graded. If a student answers 9 questions correctly, their quiz score is 90% (9/10). However, their final score in the Gradebook will be 45/50 (90%). For quizzes with extra credit questions, we recommend that the assignment total and sum of point values are the same to avoid student confusion.

  1. Create a quiz and, on the assignment details page, enter the total possible standard question points, excluding any possible extra credit points.
Assignment detail points for standard questions.
  1. Select Build and enter each required question and point value, selecting Done after each question. Make sure the sum of these question points corresponds with that in your assignment details.
  1. For an extra credit question, create a question and enter the point value as zero. We recommend letting students know that extra credit points must be manually graded.
New question with point value set to zero.
  1. Grading completed quizzes: open SpeedGrader from the Grades column for this quiz.
SpeedGrader selected in quiz Grades column header 3-dot menu.
  1. Add points for a  correct extra-credit question.
  2. Select Update to save these scores to Grades. The score can exceed 100%.
  3. Enter optional feedback in the Comment field and select Submit.
Points entered manually, Update button selected, comment Submit button optional.

This article was last updated on Jul 13, 2022 @ 10:21 am.


Add an extra credit question to a Classic quiz

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Canvas Quizzes do not have a true extra credit option for automated grading. It’s possible to award extra credit, but this requires manual grade input as shown below. For large classes that need a mostly-automated option, see “Creating an Extra Credit Quiz.”

To create an extra-credit question, you set that question’s point value to zero. When you grade the question, any points assigned are added to the quiz total. The total can exceed 100%. Once extra points are manually entered with SpeedGrader, the new total transfers to Grades as usual.

    1. Create a quiz with the Classic quiz engine, enter settings, and save it.
    2. Select Edit and the Questions tab.
    3. Enter each required question and point value, selecting Update Question after each one.
    4. For an extra credit question, create the question and enter the point value as zero. We recommend letting students know that extra credit points won't be reflected in their score until the question is manually graded.
    5. After students complete the quiz, open SpeedGrader and add points to each correct extra-credit question.
    6. Select Update to save these scores to Grades. The score can exceed 100%. Enter optional feedback in the Comment field and select Submit.
New question set to zero points, with note that score will not reflect extra credit until after manual grading.
Manually grading question. Total shows score is over 100 percent.
Update scores button.

This article was last updated on Jun 22, 2022 @ 2:34 pm.


User Roles in Canvas

Student Roles

Student

  • Primary use: Students enrolled in a course site.
  • Permissions: The student role has permissions to view course content and engage in course activities, including the ability to submit assignments, participate in discussions, and view the course roster.
  • Limitations: Students cannot view or modify settings for a course.

Observing: Nobody

  • Primary use: To identify students who have been waitlisted.
  • Permissions: Observers have  “read only” access to the course content. This role can also be linked to a student enrolled in a course in order to monitor their progress. In that case the role is Observing: [student name].
  • Limitations: Observers have no permissions to edit or participate in course activities. As in the classroom, students trying to get into a waitlisted class need to keep up with course activity during the add/drop period in case they get in. When that period is over, students not admitted will no longer be in your roster with this role.

Inactive

  • This is not a role, but a status that means the student has withdrawn from the class after the start of term.
  • You can “conclude” their enrollment (see the tutorial for this), but we strongly advise leaving inactive students in your roster if they’ve submitted any coursework. If a student uses financial aid or the GI Bill, they may need to request a record of their enrollment and activity in your course, even after they’ve dropped it.

Teaching Roles

Teacher

  • Primary use: For instructors who need full access to the Canvas features for instruction.
  • Permissions: Teachers have all course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit and delete all content in a course, edit course settings, and manually add individuals with active Canvas user accounts.
  • Limitations: None.

Guest Teacher

  • Primary use: For instructors who are not the instructor of record to participate in and facilitate some parts of the course.
  • Permissions: Guest Teachers have most course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit and delete all content in a course.
  • Limitations: Guest Teachers cannot add or delete individuals from a course,  nor publish the course.

Community Partner

  • Primary use: The community partner role is for community-based learning partners to be able to participate and co-author elements within a course (such as co-creating learning objectives) in partnership with the instructor of the course.
  • Permissions: Community Partners have the ability to add, edit and delete content and activities, manage groups, and facilitate discussions.
  • Limitations: Community Partners can view the user list, but cannot and/delete students or view grades.
    Note: Community Partners must have an Affiliate Account and Odin username to access Canvas.

TA (Teaching Assistant)

  • Primary use: For assistant instructors and teaching assistants.
  • Permissions: TAs have permissions similar to the Teacher role. They have all course-level permissions, including the ability to add, edit and delete all content in a course, edit course settings, and manually add individuals with active Canvas user accounts.
  • Limitations: TAs cannot add other Teachers or TAs into the course, nor publish the course.

Mentor/Grader

  • Primary use: For graders.
  • Permissions: Mentor/Graders are restricted from editing the course and is designed to exclusively grade student work.
  • Limitations: This role is restricted to only being able to grade users.

Staff Roles

Designer

  • Primary use: For instructional designers/technologists (and staff with similar responsibilities) who write and manage course content, but do not actually teach courses or grade student work.
  • Permissions: Create course content, discussions, announcements, assignments, quizzes, and other content features.
  • Limitations: Designers cannot view or modify grades. Designers cannot add Teachers or TAs to the course, but can add students.

DRC Service Provider

  • Primary use: For DRC contracted workers who need access to the course in order to provide accommodations.
  • Permissions: Same permissions as the student role. Has permissions to view course content and engage in course activities, including the ability to submit assignments, participate in discussions, and view the course roster.
  • Limitations: DRC Service Providers cannot view or modify settings for a course.

This article was last updated on May 9, 2022 @ 1:29 pm.