Rafter 360 and Canvas: A new way to adopt and access course material

Maryville has chosen Rafter to provide a comprehensive solution for course materials. Going forward, faculty and students will access Rafter via Canvas. In order to accommodate Rafter, we’ve made a slight change to the global navigation menu in Canvas.

We added a new icon to the global navigation menu titled Resources.

When Resources is clicked, links to Rafter appear. These links are titled Course Materials, University Library, Writing Studio, Lynda.com, Grammarly, and Lockdown Browser.

When Course Materials is clicked, the appropriate links should be clicked.

  • Faculty will use Rafter to adopt course materials.
  • Students will use Rafter to access eBooks and update their shipping address for physical books.

For questions about Rafter, please contact the Maryville University Bookstore. For questions about Canvas, contact LDT.

Updated Notification Preferences

Recently, Canvas added an option to user notification preferences, which is beneficial for students to be aware of. Students can select the Include scores when alerting about grades. checkbox under Grading. If the checkbox is unselected, grades are not included as part of the notification. This option relates to notification for both initial submission grading and changes to existing grades.


Please contact the LDT team with questions.

Requesting a Sandbox

Are you interested in having your own sandbox, or development course, in Canvas? A sandbox, or development course, is essentially a testing course. It allows you to try out Canvas features, course ideas, etc. in an environment similar to your typical Canvas course without actually updating a live course and potentially confusing students. You also have access to the same student view feature as you do in a live course, so you can see exactly what a student would see.

With a sandbox, or development course, you can:

  • Build your course and import all the content into your live course(s). This is especially helpful to instructors whose courses may not be available for months, but want to work on building the content.
  • Test out new course ideas.
  • Try out Canvas features.

To request a sandbox, or development course, email Learning Design and Technology.

Turnitin File Type and Size Requirements

If you’re enabling Turnitin on an assignment, it will be helpful to know its file size and type requirements.

File Size

If your assignment allows any file type, the following sizes will be accepted by Turnitin in order to generate an Originality Report.

  • Less than 40mb.
  • Has a minimum of 25 words.
  • Is less than 400 pages in length.

File Type

The following files types will be accepted by Turnitin in order to generate an Originality Report.

  • Microsoft Word documents (.doc / .docx)
  • Adobe PDFs (.pdf) – PDF image files, fillable forms, files that don’t contain highlightable text (i.e., scanned file), or files created with software other than Adobe Acrobat are not accepted.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint files (.ppt, .pptx, .ppsx, .pps) – Turnitin will convert a PowerPoint file into a static PDF, leaving all text and images in their original format. Features such as presenter notes, embedded video, and animations will not be visible. In addition, any visual effects (i.e., shadows and 3D) should be removed prior to submitting the file.
  • Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (.xls / .xlsx)
  • HTML files
  • Rich Text Format files (.rtf)
  • Plain Text files (.txt)
  • Google Docs from Google Drive – Third-party cookies must be allowed by your Internet browser; otherwise, Google sign-in attempts will fail.
  • OpenOffice Text documents (.odt)
  • WordPerfect files (.wpd)
  • PostScript files (.ps / .eps)
  • Hangul Word Processor files (.hwp)

The following file types are not acceptable and will not generate an Originality Report from Turntiin.

  • Password protected files
  • Microsoft Works files (.wps)
  • Microsoft Word 2007 macro-enabled files (.docm)
  • OpenOffice text files created and downloaded from Google Docs (.odt)
  • Documents created using OpenOffice (.doc) – These documents are not 100% Microsoft Word equivalent.
  • Apple Pages
  • Spreadsheets created outside Microsoft Excel (e.g., .ods)
  • Text with visual effects

If your student must convert a file to a new file format (extension), he / she should rename the file with a name other than that of the original file. This helps prevent loss of the original formatting or image content of a file.

Please contact us if you have any questions about enabling Turnitin on an assignment.

Semester FAQs and Checklist

The next semester is fast approaching. To prepare for the upcoming semester, we’ve put together frequently asked questions we typically receive before each semester.

Beginning of the Semester Frequently Asked Questions

When is a course made available to faculty in Canvas?

The general rule of thumb is that courses are available to faculty 28 days prior to the first day of class.

When does content appear for online courses?

If you teach online, content will be applied to your courses either the day the course becomes available OR in some cases, shortly after.

When do students gain access to their courses in Canvas?

Students gain access to courses two weeks prior to the start of the term UNLESS they are in an online graduate nursing course. Students in online graduate nursing courses receive access the morning of the first day of the term.

When is a course published to Canvas?

Courses remain unpublished until students gain access. Publishing is an automatic process.

I’m an instructor, but my course isn’t appearing in Canvas.

First, make sure it’s 28 days prior to the first day of class. If it is, and your course still isn’t appearing in Canvas, make sure you’re listed as the instructor for that course. You can check that via accessmu.maryville.edu. If you are not listed as the instructor, please contact your college/school. Once listed as the instructor, the course will appear for you in Canvas within 24 hours.

Beginning of the Semester Checklist

This checklist is applicable for non-online courses.

  • Copy content from a previous course into the new blank course (not applicable to online courses). If you’re copying over Turnitin-enabled assignments, you must re-enable Turnitin after the copying process. If you don’t, students won’t be able to submit an assignment through Turnitin. Remember, just updating due dates will enable Turnitin.
  • Post your syllabus in all your courses. Instead of just posting a link to the file, copy and paste the syllabus information… and post a link to the file.
  • Post an initial announcement in all your courses.
  • View recorded Canvas workshops for a refresher on the system.
  • Bookmark community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/guides, as it provides GREAT documentation on using Canvas.
  • Keep a look out for in-person and online (webinar) Canvas workshops hosted by the LDT team.

If you have any questions not listed above, please contact LDT.

Rubrics and Turnitin: Student View

Typically, when you add a rubric to an assignment, it appears when a student clicks the assignment. When you have a Turnitin-enabled assignment, the rubric no longer appears when the student clicks the assignment.

Students can view a rubric for a Turnitin-enabled assignment by following these steps:

1. From the course, click Grades.
2. Click the assignment.
3. Click the Show Rubric, located in the top-right corner of your screen.

Contact us with any questions about Canvas.

How to Insert a Panopto Video into a Canvas Course

As we have moved from D2L, we will no longer have D2L Capture. Our new lecture capture system is called “Panopto.” If you had videos in Capture, they have been moved for you. If you plan on recording additional videos, you will need to use Panopto.

Below you will find instructions for inserting a Panopto video in a Canvas course.

How to Insert a Panopto Video into a Canvas Course

1. Access the “Courses” dropdown from within Canvas, and access the course you would like to put the video into.

panopto 12. Click “Panopto Recording” on the left Navigation bar. This will pull up the Panopto website into Canvas, where you will select the appropriate folder to locate the video.

panopto 2 panopto 33. When you find the video, hover over it and select “Share.” A dialogue box will appear. Choose to share this with “Anyone on the Internet.” This will produce a public URL that you will use to put into your Canvas course.

panopto 4 panopto 5 panopto 6 panopto 7From here, you can place this URL into any course. To place it into the “Modules” area.

1. Go to the correct course, and select “Modules” from the left side Navigation bar.

2. Select to “+ to add to an existing module (OR create a new module, then select to “+” to it.) When you select “+” a dialogue box will appear. Use the dropdown to select “External URL.’ This will provide you an area to copy the Panopto video URL and give it a title. When finished, choose to “Add Item.”

panopto 8 panopto 93. The video will be added to your module. Once published, students can watch!

panopto 10

Canvas: Draft State Doesn’t Work With Documents

Canvas has recently launched a new interface, and one of the great additions is “Draft State.” Draft State allows for users to set things to “draft,” which means that students do not have access to the item (assignment, discussion, quiz, page, module….etc.).

For an overview of draft state:

There is just one small problem, draft state doesn’t work with documents. So, if you’ve loaded a bunch of files (.pdf, .docx, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .pptx….etc.) into Modules, and want to hide some of them, you are out of luck with the built in draft state functionality.

Luckily, I”ve come up with a fairly easy around, that doesn’t really take any additional effort or time.

1. Go into Modules. You will see your recently created modules, and everything should have a green checkmark next to it, indicating that these items are “published,” and students have access. draft state 12. If you attempt to unpublish a document, it will tell you that “publishing is disabled for this item.” This means that you cannot alter the “published” state of any document.

draft state 2The workaround:

3. Create a module (I called mine “Unpublished Items). Add all of the items you want to hide from students into this module, and “unpublish” the module. This will cause the entire module AND anything in it to be invisible to students. Then, when you are ready for a student to see a specific document, just drag it into the appropriate published module. draft state 3Now, this really doesn’t take any extra time or effort to complete. Since you have to manually select the cloud icon to publish an item anyway, it doesn’t take any extra clicks to drag that item into the appropriate module using the method above.