TL;DR – There are a lot of useful resources and changes coming out of the Canvas community and you should check them out. In particular, Canvas Teacher App, duplicate assignments, and Canvancements.
Year two of InstructureCon was yet another whirlwind. Austin Powers arrived, there were people flying in from the ceiling, and I heard too many James Bond references to count (yes, it was spy themed…). If you are not familiar with InstructureCon check out the video recap from this years event (bonus points if you spot me):
With last year under my belt, I was far more prepared for these crazy antics and focused on attending sessions on Canvas data, new advancements, and community hacks. I also took some time to meet with folks like Jeremy Dean of Hypothes.is to talk about what is up and coming for their Canvas integration (Hint: it’s pretty awesome and we get to test drive it!). Listed below are some of the highlights from this years conference sessions.
You are probably wondering what a canvancement is. Well, a canvancement is a canvas enhancement created by members of the Canvas community to fix or advance aspects of Canvas that Instructure either will not be changing or have not yet updated. This session (which was cut short by the fire alarms), was by far the best session I attended at InstructureCon. Presented by the dynamic duo Kona and James Jones, I found myself cheering along with the rest of the crowd as they presented each example. Some of my favorites: Move-able Dashboard Tiles, QuizWiz*, and Importing Rubrics from a Spreadsheet. Trust me, these are AMAZING! All Canvancements are freely accessible to the community and very simple to install. Detailed documentation is provided! So simple! I promise. Just to show you how easy this was, I produced a screencapture of me installing the Sortable Dashboard Tiles Canvancement and it’s less than a minute long:
Check out all Canvancements here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-8591-canvancements-canvas-enhancements
Seriously, you will not regret it. Game changers.
*Don’t be fooled by its name, QuizWiz is actually a Speedgrader enhancement that will save you from endless clicking as you move through student’s work. Especially if you grade with a rubric.
This one is as simple as it sounds. Assignments can now be duplicated. If you have a weekly discussion post or even three in class tests a semester, you no longer have to create a new assignment for each one. If the instructions and the submission type are the same, simply duplicate the assignment and edit any dates and titles that may need to be changed. To find this feature, find the gear icon next to the assignment you want to duplicate and choose “Duplicate Assingment”. These can be moved around modules same as any other assignment you create.
Canvas Teacher App
Ever wanted to create an assignment on your iPad? Or maybe you are tired of opening a separate application to grade and annotate student work. The new Canvas app for Teachers finally has (nearly all) the capabilities of the web application. Available for Android or Apple, the new app was created by a small team of developers specifically for mobile use (as in, they didn’t just shove a webpage into an app). With far fewer bugs and constant revisions, the new Canvas Teacher is providing a far better mobile experience for faculty and I recommend checking it out!
This is a new Canvas feature that allows you make certain courses into dynamic templates. Unfortunately, this is as much as I know about it right now. From what I gathered during the release announcement, this would be great for departments who want to share “templates of courses” or easily update different sections when you don’t want to merge or cross-list them.
To find out more check out the community post: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-11513-canvas-release-blueprint-courses
Hypothes.is will be rolling out a new integration with Canvas this fall. This integration will fix bugs in the old one (e.g. seeing annotations in specific groups) and expand upon features. Muhlenberg will be participating in the pilot run of the application. Be on the lookout for more information in the future.