Canvas: Extra Credit Assignments

One thing that Canvas is awful at is giving extra credit to students. Unlike D2L, there are no built in “extra credit” grades, assignments, quiz questions…etc. SO, to do extra credit in Canvas, you have to be creative.

Below are several options for creating extra credit assignments (courtesy of Canvas Guides).

Add Extra Points to an Existing Assignment

media_1361478922350_displayAdd extra points to an Assignment you’ve already created. Manually enter the extra points in the Gradebook.

As in this example, this assignment is worth 10 points. Adding 5 extra points will bring the assignment total for this student to 15 points. The added points will increase total points calculated in the Gradebook’s final grade.

You can also use Fudge points to add extra points as well.

Create Extra Credit within a Rubric


Add an additional Criterion to a Rubric for extra credit. Make sure you make the rubric worth more than the assignment and you can give students extra points or not without affecting the actual assignment points.

Create New Assignment with No Submission

062cea30-f9c5-4d17-8dde-742334af9669_displayMost Instructors require an online or paper submission for assignment submissions, but you can also select the option for no submission. No submission assignments work well for classroom duties, such as moderating a discussion or for in-class presentations.

Create a new assignment with zero points possible [1] and in the Submission type drop-down field, choose No Submission [2].

After students complete the work, manually add points in the Gradebook.

Extra Credit and Assignment Groups

Assignments must be housed within an assignment group. Assignment groups can be unweighted or weighted, depending on how you wish to grade students within your course. Click here to learn how to create weighted assignment groups.

Unweighted Assignment Groups

588ba305-1696-48d8-8fb7-b23989b1655e_displayWhen assignment groups are not weighted, you can create extra credit assignments in their own assignment group if you wish. You may want to create a separate group to help distinguish between the different types of assignments. In this example, this entire assignment group has no points possible [1].

When the student completes the work required for the extra credit assignments, you can manually add points to the Gradebook.

Weighted Assignment Groups

cd26ed0d-ea59-453f-9b53-55d43211ffd4_displayWhen assignment groups are weighted, Canvas will not calculate grades for an entire group that has no points possible. Therefore, for extra credit assignments to calculate correctly in weighted groups, they must be housed within an existing assignment group that has at least one assignment worth more than zero points. In this example, the extra credit assignment is housed within an assignment group with multiple assignments worth more than zero points [1]. Notice how the assignment groups are weighted [2].

When the student completes the work required for the extra credit assignments, you can manually add points to the Gradebook.

Errors with Weighted Assignment Group

media_1361484010175_displayIf you create your extra credit assignments with zero points within their own assignment group, but you decide to weigh your assignment groups, your extra credit assignments will not calculate correctly within Canvas. Canvas cannot calculate assignment groups where there are no points possible. For example, if the student has 12 points of 0 points possible, Canvas can’t determine the impact to the overall grade because 12 cannot be divided by 0.

An error will appear in the total grade column, as well as next to the affected assignment(s). In this example, the two extra credit assignments (both with zero possible points) have been placed in an assignment group called Extra Credit. However, the assignment group has been weighted. The warning notification indicates that the score does not include Extra Credit (as an assignment group) because the entire group has no points possible. In this situation, the assignments will have to be moved to another assignment group, or you will need to include an assignment within the Extra Credit assignment group that has at least 1 point possible.

Canvas: Emailing Multiple Courses at Once

One question I received quite a few times during training was “how do I email my students.”: Well, In Canvas you email students via “Conversations,” which you can access by selecting “inbox” on the Global Navigation bar.

Now, Conversations will be changing soon (see my previous post for details). It turns out that I lied a bit in that previous post when I said that this change was purely “aesthetic.” I’ve just learned that there is at least one big functional difference between “Old” and “New” conversations.

You CANNOT email multiple courses at once in the “New” conversations.

In the old version of conversations (below), you had the ability to email multiple users/courses at one time.

Old Conversations

However, in the “New” conversations, you can only email one course at a time (see below).

New ConversationsI’ve submitted a feature request to have this function added to the new conversations.

How to Insert MediaCore Videos into a Canvas Course

How to Insert MediaCore Videos into a Canvas Course

1. From the “Courses” drop-down menu, choose the course you would like to upload video into.

MediaCore 12. From the course navigation bar, select “Modules.” You will either need to add these videos into an existing module OR create a new one.

MediaCore 23. From the chosen module, select the “+” button, and then choose to add a “Content Page.” Once you choose “Content Page,” choose “New Page” in the space below, give it a name, and choose “Add Item.”

MediaCore 3MediaCore 44. This will add the item to the module. You will need to edit this “content page,” by selecting its name. This will take you to the “Content Page.” From this page select “Edit.”

MediaCore 5MediaCore 6

5. While editing, locate the “V” dropdown on the “Rich Content Editor.” Select “MediaCore.” A dialogue box will pop up. Use the list on the left side to locate a specific folder. Use the “+ Add” button to add the video into the “Content Page.”

MediaCore 7

****Note: To upload a video into MediaCore, see the “Upload button in the image below. The process after selecting “Upload” is fairly simple.

MediaCore 8

6.Once added, you can add additional videos (using the above method) OR use the rich content edit to add images, text, and audio….etc. Select “Save” when finished.

MediaCore 9

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