Canvas: Embed a Twitter Widget into your Course Home Page

We had several faculty doing this in D2L, and I’m pleased to say that it’s MUCH easier in Canvas.

Canvas: Embed a Twitter Widget onto the Home Page

1. From your course, select “Settings,” and then “Apps.”

Twitter 1Twitter 2

2. Locate “Twitter” on the list, and select it.Twitter 33. Choose to “Add Tool.” It will install the tool into your course.  Then, go back to the “Home Page,” and choose to “Edit” the page.

Twitter 4Twitter 5Twitter 64. From the “Rich Content Editor,” select the “V” drop down. Then choose “Twitter.” A dialogue box will appear. This will allow you to either insert a widget that tracks an individual Twitter account (@____) OR a hashtag (#).

Twitter 7Twitter 8Twitter 95. Once selected, choose “Preview,” and then “Embed.” This will embed the widget into the home page. “Save” the homepage, and that’s it !

Twitter 11

Canvas: Upcoming Changes to Conversations

One thing that will take some getting used to is that Canvas is constantly changing/updating. Canvas likes to push updates every three weeks. Now, most of time these updates are small, but sometimes they can lead to big changes in the look/feel of the system.

One big change that is coming :

  • “Old Conversations” will not be available after May 24th, 2014.

Currently, when you access “Conversations” (Inbox), you see this :

Old Conversations

  Starting on May 25th, 2014, “Conversations” will look like this :New ConversationsThis isn’t a huge change in functionality, but it’s something to note. Conversations will work basically the exact same way, as this change is mostly aesthetic.

If you struggle with using the new “conversations,” either contact our department OR check out for up-to-date documentation.

Canvas: Give Students Extra Attempts/Time on Quizzes

One question that we are anticipating coming up as we move to Canvas, is how to “moderate” student quizzes. Often times, faculty need to give students “special” access to quizzes for a variety of reasons.

Examples of “special access”:

1. Student needs an extra attempt
2. Student needs extra time

To “Moderate” a quiz in Canvas:

1. Go into your Canvas course, and select “Quizzes” from the navigation bar.

Moderate Quiz 1Moderate Quiz 12. Locate the quiz you wish to “moderate” and select the name of it.

Moderate Quiz 23. This will take you to the information for that quiz. Locate the “Moderate This Quiz” button on the right hand side and select it.

Moderate Quiz 3 Moderate Quiz 44. This will take you the “Moderate Quiz” screen. You will have a list of all of your students and the following information will be provided.

  • Name of Student
  • Number of attempts available
  • Time it took student to take quiz
  • Number of attempts left
  • Score
  • Edit/Moderate pencil icon

To give your student extra time and/or an extra attempt, select the “pencil” icon.

Moderate Quiz 5 5. A dialogue box will appear where you can give this student:

  • Extra Attempts
  • Extra Time on Every Attempt

If the quiz is locked, choose to” Manually unlock the quiz for the next attempt.”

Moderate Quiz 6


Canvas: Compatible File Formats (re: Commenting in SpeedGrader)

One of the great features of Canvas is the ability to markup student assignments directly within the Canvas SpeedGrader (Check out the documentation on the Canvas website to see this in action). One thing to keep in mind is that this “markup” capability only works with certain file types. If a student submits a file in an unsupported file type, you will not be able to mark up the assignment within Canvas.

Supported file types:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pptx)

Excel (.xls/.xlsx) is currently in “Beta” (testing) and did not work when I tested it.

If a student submits an assignment in the proper file format, you will have the “commenting” features available (see below). Speedgrader 1Speedgrader 1

If the student submits a file type that is not compatible, the file will still most likely display (depending on the format), you just will not have the “Comment” buttons. There will also be an “error” message that says “Annotations are not available for this document.”

Speedgrader 2 Speedgrader 2So, even if a student submits an unsupported file type, you can still view/grade it in Canvas, you just can’t “markup” the assignment. If you plan on using the commenting features in SpeedGrader extensively, you will need to have your students save their assignments in a compatible file format.


Canvas: Hide Score Total for Assessment Results (re: Rubrics)

I’ve been playing around in the “Rubrics” tool a lot lately. One button that really confused me was the “Hide Score Total for Assessment Results” button (see below).Rubric 1Rubric 1Well, I’ve been able to figure out what this tool does. It determines whether or not you see a “total score” for the rubric within the “SpeedGrader.”

Rubric 2Rubric 2

If enabled, it does not calculate the rubric score and translate that automatically to the grades area. So, if you use a rubric, and want to grade from AND want Canvas to take the rubric grade and auto place it into the grades area, keep this option unselected.


Canvas: Long Running V. Time Limit Conferences

One thing I’ve been looking at lately is the difference between “Long Running” and “Time Restricted” conferences in Canvas.

First, A review of the “Conferences” tool:

Part of setting up a Conference is choosing either “Time Limit” or “No Time Limit” (see below).

Conferences Conferences 2New Conference Time Limit v Long Running

If you read the Canvas documentation they say that a “Long Running Conference” is a conference that you use more than once. One example would be “office hours.” The idea is that you can set up one “Conference Room,” and then just reuse it over and over again without having to re-set the “conference” up.

However, it doesn’t appear to work this way. After some testing, these different “Conference” types seem to work the exact same way. SO, if you want to use “Conferences” you will need to set a new one up for each session.

I will be sure to do another post if I determine that this has been fixed OR if I’m wrong in my initial assessment.

Canvas: Public v. Private ePortfolio

During this switch to Canvas, I’ve spent A LOT of time learning the in’s and out’s of the system. One of the only things I couldn’t wrap my head around was the difference, in Canvas, between a “Private” and “Public” ePortfolios. Well, I finally figured it out !

Public v. Private ePortfolio

In Canvas there are two types of ePortfolio, Private and Public. This is the difference.


To share a “Public” ePortfolio, you need to obtain the URL from Canvas.

Public ePortfolioPublic ePortfolioIn the case of this ePortfolio, the link is:


I can send this link to anyone, and they can easily access the ePortfolio. In addition, anyone can type in that URL and access this ePortfolio. So, if you have a public ePortfolio, all anyone would really need to do is make a series of guesses for the URL.


Anyone can search for public ePortfolios on the Canvas system if they know how, and eventually, they would find your public ePortfolio.


Now, below you will see the ePortfolio dashboard if it is set to “Private.” Notice that there is a link that says “Copy and share this link to give others access to your private portfolio.” Once you select that link, it changes the URL at the top.

Private ePortfolio

The URL for this private ePortfolio is much different (longer) than the public one. It also includes a “verifier.”

Private ePortfolio 2The above is the URL you would copy/paste and send out to others, and only if they had this link would they be able to access the ePortfolio. With a “private” ePortfolio, nooone can simply guess the URL.

See what happens when I type in the original “public” URL (Http:/

It prompts me to log in. Once logged in, the page is blank and it gives me an “unauthorized” error at the top.

Private ePortfolio 3 Private ePortfolio 4



Transitioning from D2L Capture to Panopto

Since our current lecture capture platform is “D2L Capture” (A D2L Product), we will no longer be using this product once we switch to Canvas. Our department has purchased a license to a new product called “Panopto.

If you are currently a D2L Capture user:

In preparation for the move from D2L to Canvas, we have copied and moved all of your D2L Capture videos into our new lecture capture platform, Panopto.  Don’t worry, your videos will remain on the Capture site (, until the end of this semester. However, starting this summer, you will need to use Panopto if you wish to continue recording lecture capture videos AND/OR want to share any videos previously recorded. We will have Panopto training starting in mid-March (and then ongoing), and I’m always available to meet with you individually (before or after mid-March) to discuss and train you on this new platform.

To access your videos prior to summer semester, follow these steps: ***I recommend logging in at least once to make sure you can see your folder/videos—report back any issues.

  1. Go to
  2. Click the drop-down next to “sign in using,” and choose “Canvas Panopto Integration”
  3. Select “Sign In”
  4. Input your Maryville username/password
  5. Locate the “Folders” drop down on the left hand side. Locate your folder (FirstInitialLastName—ex. RCunningham).
    1. Note: You may want to make sure all of your videos have been transferred.

Once you gain access to your courses in Canvas, you will be able to access Panopto directly from any of the course shells.

Note: Our office will continue checking the Capture site until the end of this semester for any new recordings. If there are any new recordings we will continue to move them to Panopto for you. We also can add users to other users folders, if access is needed (ex. I could be added to Julie’s folder and vice-versa).

For help documentation/videos on Panopto, check out their support website AND/OR check out the introductory video below.


Canvas: A Review of 2013 & Look at 2014

I was catching up on reading the Canvas Blog today, and stumbled across a few interesting things.

A look back at what Canvas accomplished in 2013.

  • 278 new Canvas customers (we now have over 600)
  • 10 million people use Canvas as their LMS
  • 141 new Instructure employees (we now have over 300)
  • 25 new official partners
  • $30 million in funding
  • 94% customer support satisfaction
  • 99.95% up-time for the year

I”m a big numbers person, and these are impressive ! Also, they are much higher than some of the numbers I’ve been discussing in my training sessions, so this shows that 2013 was a year of tremendous growth for Canvas.

In addition, Canvas has posted the results to their 2013 security audit. Basically, Canvas hires a company to perform tasks on the system to try and reveal any security flaws. The report came back with only 4 issues. None were critical.

If you wish to review this, please use the following link.

link: Canvas 2013 Security Audit

A look a head to 2014.

For any who are interested, Canvas has created a “road map” website called “Canvas Studio.” If you are interested in what Canvas has planned (features, improvements…etc), this is a great source for this material. Since Canvas is updated approx. every three weeks, this is a great way to keep up with what is new to the system. On this page, it has a list of “In progress” projects, with details about what is being done AND a list of “completed projects,” with documentation and notes about has been done.

As always, ILP will keep the faculty/staff updated with any pertinent changes.

The Digital Age of Reading – by Geriann Brandt Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, College of Arts and Sciences

How do educators impress upon their students the importance of reading? This appears to be such a rudimentary question, but it can be more of an arduous task than most may believe.  I’ve come to the realization that it’s not the students who should change their understanding regarding the importance of reading; it’s me.  Well, I should say the importance of ‘how’ the students read, not what they are reading. The student of the 21st century is not like my cohort age group when it comes to reading. These students are embedded in the Digital Age.

A recent December article featured in CNN News purported that most individuals in the U.S. do not turn off their hand held devices at night, and it is the first thing they look at in the morning. The same could be said for the college student. So why would I possibly entertain the idea that college students would place their devises on ‘sleep’ mode and pick up a book-a real book during their free time? It has come to my attention that I may be fighting a losing battle in regards to the promotion of a hand-held book. I honestly believe that only a true bibliophile can understand the cosmic joy of holding the tome, the smell of magic the pages retain, and eventually allowing yourself to (maybe) pass it onto another true reader. As I immerse myself more affectingly in my personal goals of academics, and of course, encouraging students to explore the pure joy of immersing themselves into a work of any genre of literature, I feel like I’m fighting against one word..the word is Digital!

Apparently, a new study generated by PlayCollective and argue that children from the age of two to thirteen are reading more eBooks. Along with the 64 % surge in reading from the company’s 2012 survey, children who are engrossed in their eBook can easily place a finger on a word with which they are not familiar and a definition appears. Poor Webster. I’m assuming that I will be seeing many an edition placed haphazardly on tables at community garage sales.

Just this past week, the brilliant students at MIT felt so strongly about the power of words, they created a ‘wearable book.’  A book that allows the reader experience a sensory of the word… well, some of the words. As the reader continues through the journey of events found in the book, they will be able to feel what the characters are feeling. This is accomplished through actuators and sensors that connect to the wearable vest. Whatever the protagonist or antagonist experience, the reader will also experience the same physiological sensation. After reading the article I realized I felt the exact same sensations when reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick for the first time, but without wearing a sensor vest.