2015A Canvas Sites Now in “Past Enrollments” for Students

As of today, 2015A Canvas sites are now in students’ “Past Enrollments” list.

To access the “Past Enrollments” list, students must enter Canvas, click on Courses, and then click on View All Courses. On the next page under “Past Enrollments,” students will be able to view their past courses.

Students Sitting on School Building Steps

Students can find their 2015A Canvas sites in their “Past Enrollments” list.

If an instructor has placed a 2015A site in another term, it will still appear in a student’s Courses tab until the instructor asks Courseware Support to place the site in the 2015A term.

Students who want their 2015A sites to remain in their Courses tab can follow the customization instructions in this link:

How do I customize my Courses drop-down menu?

On May 31st, 2015A Canvas sites will be moved into the “Past Enrollments” list for Teachers, TAs, and Designers.

Please see this blog post if you have any questions about term restrictions, and please email Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu for assistance.

Submitting Final Grades


Wondering how to transfer Grades in Canvas to CIT? The answer is here!

As you wrap up grading for the semester, you might be wondering how you can use the Canvas gradebook to submit final grades for your courses. Although many instructors calculate and include final grades in their Canvas sites, there is no direct integration between Canvas and Courses InTouch (CIT).  Since CIT is the official record for student grades, final grades must always be added there.

If you use Canvas for grading and calculating a final grade, you can export the Gradebook as a CSV using the instructions here and work with it offline in Excel:

How do I download scores from the Gradebook?

If you have any questions, please contact Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu.

Canvas Production Release: May 16, 2015

Canvas operates on a three-week release cycle through which features are added or updated. Courseware Support posts highlights from Canvas’s production release notes, a link to these notes, and other relevant content to the Canvas at Penn blog a few days before the production release, which usually occurs on Saturdays. Please contact Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

5/16/15 Production Release Highlights:

  • Discussions Like Icon: Instructors can create Discussions and allow students to indicate “liked” Discussion replies. The Canvas Like icon is only available in Discussions and is enabled on a per-Discussion basis. To enable the liking feature as part of a Discussion’s options, instructors can select the “Allow liking” check-box.
  • Save & Publish Option: When creating Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, and Pages, instructors have the option to save and publish them at the same time by clicking the Save & Publish button. Alternatively, instructors can still save the item in a draft state by clicking the Save button and then publishing at any time as a separate step.
  • Student Submission Detail Page: On the student Submission Detail page, the submission feedback/preview bar no longer includes a green background. This change makes the View Feedback/Preview buttons more accessible to keyboard users and screen readers.
  • Big Blue Button Enhancements: All conferences now display the End button, which previously only appeared as part of long-running conferences. When a user with the appropriate permissions clicks the End button, the conference immediately concludes on both the “Conferences” page and on the server. In Groups, users who create a conference are also able to end a conference.
  • Assignment Columns and Return/Enter Key: The Gradebook supports the Return/Enter key in advancing through each cell in the Gradebook column. This feature benefits instructors who enter all student grades for an assignment at once. When an instructor reaches the end of the column, the Return/Enter key advances to the top of the next column.
  • Quiz Question Answer Comments and Rich Content Editor: Instructors can post images, format text, and perform other Rich Content Editor functionality in correct answer comments, wrong answer comments, and general answer comments.
  • Multiple Sections in Course List: If a user is enrolled in more than one section in a course, only one enrollment appears in the course list.
  • Media Previews: Media uploads can be previewed in New Files. Canvas code has been updated to ensure media files are always uploaded for processing. If the media file has not yet been processed for the preview, Canvas will generate a message stating the file has been queued for processing and to try again in a few minutes. Important: Courseware Support doesn’t recommend storing media files in the “Files” area of your Canvas site. For an explanation and alternative media-sharing method in Canvas, please see this blog post.

Other Canvas Changes:

On June 6, 2015, Canvas will no longer host new Etherpad collaborations because Etherpad cannot integrate with Canvas user authentication. Users that have links to existing collaborations will see a warning message notifying them to migrate any necessary content before August 8th, when all Etherpad collaborations that are hosted by Canvas will be permanently deleted. As an alternative to Etherpad, users can also create Google Docs Collaborations in Canvas. The Canvas at Penn blog will posts reminders about migrating Etherpad content before the deletion deadline.

For a complete production release update, please see:

Canvas Production Release Notes (2015-05-16)

2015-05-16 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Canvas End-of-Term Grading Checklist

The following checklist has been designed to help your end-of-term grading run smoothly.

1.) Download and Save the Current Version of the Canvas Gradebook

It’s a best practice to download and save a course’s Canvas gradebook before entering final grades. Here are instructions for how to download the Canvas gradebook:

How do I bulk download Assignment submissions in Canvas?

For a longer discussion of why downloading and saving a course’s gradebook is a best practice, please see:

Best Practices: Downloading the Gradebook at the End of the Term

2.) Finish Entering Grades in Canvas

Depending on the type of assignment or “quiz” (exam, test, quiz, or survey), you may have a several feedback and grading options. To learn about these options, please see the Grades and SpeedGrader sections of the Canvas Instructor Guide.

Woman frustrated  in front of laptop.

Avoid grading headaches by following these simple steps!

3.) Unmute All Assignments and Quizzes

Muting in Canvas is when you hide feedback and grades from students. If you have used muting throughout the semester, you should double-check see if all of your assignments and quizzes are unmuted. Not only will you want to unmute assignments so students can receive your feedback and grade, but you will also want to unmute assignments and quizzes for the total grade that your students see in their Canvas grade summaries so that it match the course grade you enter in Courses InTouch (CIT). If you don’t unmute assignments and quizzes, your students will not see their real total course grade in Canvas, as it will not include their muted assignments.

For more information about muting and an in-depth explanation with screenshots of why you should unmute your assignments and quizzes at the end of the semester, please see:

Hiding Grades from Students

4.) Download and Save the Final Version of the Gradebook

Please see the instructions in the first step. It’s a good idea to keep both versions of the gradebook–pre-final grading and post-final grading–for your records.

5.) Upload the Gradebook to Courses InTouch (CIT)

Follow the directions at http://www.upenn.edu/registrar/CIT/CIT-OLG-user-guide.pdf to upload your grades to Courses InTouch. (See Section 13.4 “Uploading a Grade Roster”).


Please email canvas@pobox.upenn.edu or click on Help > Report a Problem from inside Canvas for assistance.

Canvas Feature Ideas–Let Your Voice Be Heard!

What’s a Feature Idea?

Formerly known as feature requests, feature ideas let you suggest improvements to Canvas. Feature ideas are available through the new Canvas Community site.

Click on the "Ideas" tab in the new Canvas Community site for feature ideas.

Click on the “Ideas” tab in the new Canvas Community site for feature ideas.

For instructions on sharing a Canvas feature idea, please see:

How do I create a new feature idea?

The University of Pennsylvania’s Most Popular Feature Ideas

Many of the feature requests Penn users placed in the old Canvas Community have been transferred as feature ideas to the new Canvas Community. The following links are for transferred feature ideas that Penn users have deemed highly desirable. We encourage our readers to click on these links and vote for any feature ideas they too would like to see developed for Canvas.

Add Rich Content Editor to Conversations

If you’re unfamiliar with these tools as they currently exist in Canvas, please click here to learn about the Rich Content Editor and here to learn about Canvas Conversations.

Update Attendance Exported Report

Attendance Overhaul

These feature ideas are for enhancements to the Roll Call tool.

Printable / PDF-Exportable Quizzes

Numerical-Answer Questions Need to Allow Regrade Option

These feature ideas are for enhancements to Canvas Quizzes.

Users Need to Be Able to Customize Notifications at the Course Level

This feature idea is for enhancements to Canvas Notifications.

View All Assignment Submissions (for Students)

Move or Delete Incorrectly Submitted Assignments

These feature ideas are for enhancements to Canvas Assignments.

Include Firefox ESR as Supported Browser

This feature idea is for including an additional browser version to browsers that Canvas supports.

Thank you for helping improve Canvas!

Please contact Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu if you have any questions.

Course Request Form Is Working Again

The Canvas Course Request Form is fully functioning now. Please place your Canvas site requests through the Form at the following address:


Courseware Support would like to thank our users for their patience while our technical team worked on this issue.

Users who still seem to be experiencing issues can contact canvas@pobox.upenn.edu for assistance.

Canvas Helps Student Accommodations for Final Exams

Learning from Experience

Stumped about accommodating students in Canvas? We can help!

Stumped about accommodating students in Canvas? We can help!

Over the years, Courseware Support has helped instructors accommodate their students when the standard final-exam schedule conflicts with external circumstances or conditions in a student’s life. If you’re using Canvas for final exams, then there are a few things you should know about in case you need to accommodate a student. What follows are some of the more common scenarios for which instructors have requested our help in past final-exam periods. Through these examples, we thought it’d be useful for our readers to see how they can quickly and easily accommodate their students.

A Student Needs Extra Time for an SDS-Approved Accommodation (Before Taking the Exam)

The University of Pennsylvania’s Standards for Accommodating Exams for Students with Disabilities states, “SDS (Student Disabilities Services) encourages faculty to provide exams to students approved for accommodations.” While there are many accommodations for which students may receive approval from SDS (please click on the link above for a list), Canvas lends itself particularly well to the time-extension accommodation, which grants SDS-approved students “extended time (25%) (50%) or (100%) more time for in-class tests and quizzes” (borrowed from the “Definitions of Specific Accommodations” in the above link).

If one of your students needs the time-extension accommodation, you can set up your exam in Canvas so that this student, and only this student, has extra time. For instructions on how to do this, please see the section called “Adjust Additional Options” in the following link:

“Once I publish my Quiz, how can I give my students extra attempts?” (Reminder: A Canvas “quiz” is any question-and-answer-based assessment [e.g., final exam] created and given in Canvas).

Students Needs Extra Time While Taking an Exam

In certain situations, students might request extra time on a timed-exam, or you might decide they need extra time while taking your timed-exam. If you accept this request or make this decision, you can add extra time to the exam while students take it by following these instructions:

Once I publish a timed quiz, how can I give my students extra time?

A Student Needs to Re-Take an Exam

If you have decided to let a student re-take an exam, you can do this by following these instructions:

 Once I publish my Quiz, how can I give my students extra attempts? (Same link as SDS-approved accommodations. Covers all extra-attempt scenarios)

A Student Needs to Take an Exam Early

If you are letting a student take your final exam before the standard exam time, you can do this by following these steps:

I. Add an availability date to your exam. The availability date should be the date and start time scheduled for your exam. For an explanation of availability dates and instructions on how to use them, please see:

What is the difference between due dates and availability dates?

Important: Please make sure to set the availability date before you publish the exam. If you reverse these steps, the exam will be available to all students until you set the availability date.

II. Publish the exam. Please see the section called “Publish a Quiz” in the following link for instructions:

How do I use Draft State in Quizzes?

III. Use the “Moderate This Quiz” feature to make the exam available to the student. To do this, you will use the quiz-moderating feature.  In the following link, you will see the setting you have to enable, labelled “Manually unlock the quiz for the next attempt,” in the “Adjust Additional Options” of the page:

Once I publish my Quiz, how can I give my students extra attempts?

Need Assistance?

Please contact Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu if you have any questions.

Final Exam “Dos” & “Don’ts”

Preparation Makes All the Difference


Chances are no one at the University of Pennsylvania needs to be reminded that final exams start Monday, May 4th and end Tuesday, May 12th, at least not at the Penn Libraries, where we’re seeing many students prepare for their exams. While there’s always a palpable undercurrent of anxiety involved in exam prep, it’s also true that the dedication to learning students display during this time of year is nothing short of inspirational, and it’s this positive aspect of the reading period on which I’d like to focus. Seeing students so devoted to doing their best on exams, I thought it would be useful for instructors, TAs, and staff who are prepping their finals this week to receive some tips for ensuring that everything goes smoothly when it’s exam time, hence the following final exam “dos” and “donts.”


  • Do ask your students to use supported browsers if they are taking the exam on their own devices. If they don’t and lose their internet connect while taking your exam, their responses won’t be backed up, as the capture mechanism for responses doesn’t work with unsupported browsers. Please share this list of supported browsers with students before they take the exam so they can see it if they need to update their browsers to a version Canvas supports: Which browsers does Canvas support?
  • Do talk to your Local Support Provider (LSP) before giving a Canvas exam in an on-campus building to make sure that the room you’re using has the technological configuration and capacity to support all of your students taking the exam at once. An LSP would know, for example, if the Wi-Fi in a building is strong enough to support multiple users accessing the exam simultaneously. If you don’t have your LSP’s contact information, please see: Faculty and Staff Support Directory
  • Do tell your students to clear the cache of whatever browser they’re using before logging into Canvas if they’re taking an exam in an on-campus computer lab, on a device borrowed through an on-campus service, or on another Canvas-user’s device (e.g., a friend’s). Please share these cache-clearing instructions with your students before they take your exam: How do I clear my browser cache on a Mac? and How do I clear my browser cache on a PC?
  • Do use the Test Student to take your exam before releasing it to students. Doing this will show you if the exam has been set up correctly and will show you how students will interact with your exam. For more information on using the Test Student, please see: What is Student View? and How do I access Student View?


  • Don’t save answer keys in your Canvas site before students take the exam. If you want students to have access to an answer key, add it to Canvas after they take the exam, or share it with them through some other safe means after the exam.
  • Don’t make your “Until” availability date, if you’re using one, the same as your due date. Rather, give a 5-minute window between the due date and “Until” date (e.g., if a due date is 5/5 at 5:00pm, make the “Until” date 5/5 at 5:05pm. The times on your students’ devices might be inaccurate, so using an “Until” date that’s exactly the same as the due date might bar students who aren’t aware of this inaccuracy from submitting. To learn more about availability dates, please see: What is the difference between due dates and availability dates?
  • Don’t set up another Canvas assignment or quiz for students who are taking another version of the exam or submitting an alternative format without contacting Courseware Support (canvas@pobox.upenn.edu) first. A Canvas quiz or assignment must be completed by all students in a course, so creating an additional assignment or quiz intended for just one or a few of your students will make it so that your other students will also have to submit the assignment or take the exam; if they don’t, it will negatively affect their total grades. Courseware Support can assist you with scenarios like this.

Get Help!

Please contact Courseware Support at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu if you need assistance with any of these suggestions or if you have any questions.