Campus Pack Going Away Friday, May 20, 2016

five alarm-clocks on a grass lawn

Time to say “goodbye” to Campus Pack!

On May 20, 2016, Courseware Support will be shutting down Campus Pack, the blog and journal tools in Canvas. The decision was made to discontinue these tools at Penn due to declining usage.

Used Campus Pack Journals? Try Canvas Assignments

As a replacement for journals (private between instructors and students), we recommend Canvas Assignments.

Assignments can be used to:

  • Assess how well students are achieving course outcomes
  • Set up online submissions that can be quickly graded in the SpeedGrader

Used Campus Pack Blogs? Try Canvas Assignments

As a replacement for blogs (open to the entire class), we recommend Canvas Discussions.


Please direct any questions to

Canvas Production Release: May 14, 2016

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 if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

5/14/16 Production Release Highlights:

  • Enrollment Invitations and Restricted Start Dates: When a student is invited to a course where students are restricted from accessing the course before the start date, students do not receive an enrollment invitation until the course is available as part of the course, term, or section start date.
  • Concluded and Inactive Enrollment Setting Persistence in Grades: When an instructor enables or disables the setting to view concluded and/or inactive enrollments for a course Gradebook, the enrollments-view persists between Canvas sessions and browsers. Gradebook settings are set on a course-by-course basis.
  • Notifications and Pages: If a user has enabled the “Course Content” notification setting to “ASAP,” notifications are sent when an instructor edits a course page.
  • Student Quiz Grades and Pending Submissions: Overall grades shown in the Global Navigation Menu do not include partial grades from outstanding manually graded quizzes.

For a complete production release update, please see:

Canvas Production Release Notes: May 14, 2016

2016-05-14 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Please click here to view the transcript for this video.

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 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?

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 to upload your grades to Courses InTouch. (See Section 13.4 “Uploading a Grade Roster”).

Please note that although these instructions make reference to Blackboard, the spreadsheet-configuration requirements still apply to the downloaded version of the Canvas gradebook you will upload to CIT.


Please email

Video: Grading in Canvas at the End of a Term

We hope you enjoy this video geared towards faculty and TAs managing grades in Canvas using the gradebook! It shows six steps for finishing up grading in Canvas at the end of a term.

Six Easy Steps:

  1. Download and save your Canvas gradebook
  2. Hide (“mute”) assignment grades and feedback from students
  3. Hide total course grades from students
  4. Grade all ungraded assignments
  5. Unhide assignments and total course grades
  6. Download and save finished gradebook

If you have any questions, please email Courseware Support at

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 2nd and end Tuesday, May 10th, 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 “don’ts.”


  • 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 5/4 at 5:00pm, make the “Until” date 5/4 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 ( 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 if you need assistance with any of these suggestions or if you have any questions.

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 if you have any questions.

Canvas Production Release: April 23, 2016

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 if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

4/23/16 Production Release Highlights:

  • Wrapped Assignments and Event Titles: The Calendar-Month view supports text-wrapping for events and assignment titles with long names. When this feature is enabled, a calendar item-name longer than the width of the date wraps the content to the next line. Some events may create additional white space between shorter events on the same week as days with longer events because the Calendar infrastructure enforces a table grid for the entire row. “Wrapped Assignments and Events Titles” is used in conjunction with the “Wrap Event Titles in Calendar Month View” account-level feature option, which must be enabled by an institutional admin in Account Settings.
  • Sub-account Global Announcements: Admins and sub-account admins can create global announcements at the sub-account level. This feature allows sub-account global announcements to be shown to all sub-account admins and users enrolled in courses within the sub-account. To help differentiate announcements at the account and sub-account levels, the message also indicates which account or sub-account sent the global announcement. “Managing Global Announcements” requires the “Global Announcements” account permission.
  • Gradebook Performance Updates: Gradebook content is loaded incrementally for improved performance. Some Gradebook features such as column sorting may not be available in larger courses until all students have been loaded on the page.
  •  Communication Channel Update: If a user tries to reply to a message in an unconfirmed communication channel, the error delivery message includes information about how to confirm the communication channel so replies can be sent back through Canvas. Previously the message only mentioned that the reply could not be delivered, and the majority of users were unsure how to update or confirm a communication channel.
  • Folder Clicks and Page Load: When a user repeatedly clicked folders in the left panel in “Files,” the right panel stopped loading for the last selected folder and did not display any files content. This behavior occurred in Chrome and Safari. Canvas code has been updated to remove unnecessary calls to previously selected folders and view files content.
  • Crocodoc Annotations and Group Assignments: When an instructor creates Crocodoc annotations on a group assignment, all students in the group can view the annotations.

For a complete production release update, please see:

Canvas Production Release Notes: April 23, 2016

2016-04-23 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Please click here to view the transcript for this video.

IMPORTANT: New Canvas User Interface Coming May 16, 2016

What is the New Canvas User Interface?

The new Canvas User Interface (UI) is an updated interface structure enhanced by a responsive user experience for the User Dashboard and Global Navigation menu. The Course Navigation menu also collapses on smaller screens, allowing for a more content-focused and responsive layout.

For more information please see:

Person jumping with the sun, mountains, and a clear, blue sky in the background.

You’ll jump for joy over the new Canvas UI!

Is any functionality changing in Canvas?

No, but Canvas will look different.

Are there are new features?

Users have the ability to add nicknames and color code their courses:

How do I use the new UI?

The first thing you will see when you log into Canvas is your User Dashboard. The User Dashboard helps you see what is happening in all your courses and allows you to figure out what to do next. To help manage Canvas activity, the User Dashboard also supports the Recent Activity Stream, which can be toggled at the top of the User Dashboard based on user preference. The recent activity stream shows activity for all your Canvas courses. To view Recent Activity, click the User Dashboard icon. The icon will switch from the left side to the right, indicating the current Dashboard view.

You can return to your User Dashboard at any time by clicking the Dashboard link in Global Navigation.

When will this change happen?

We will be making this change on Monday, May 16, 2016. This date was selected since it falls between Spring 2016 and Summer Session I to minimize disruption to Penn users.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for this change?


Where can I learn more?

For more information, please see our video.

You can also download a PDF text-and-image adaptation of the video.

Note: The new Canvas UI will look slightly different when it appears on May 16th from what you’ll see in the video and PDF. None of the features discussed in the video and PDF will be different, however. For your reference, here is how the new Canvas UI will look when you access it on May 16th:

New Canvas UI as it will appear on May 16th.

Please note that the University of Pennsylvania logo you see in the video and PDF:

University of Pennsylvania logo in video and PDF

Will have been changed on May 16th to:

University of Pennsylvania logo in the New Canvas UI as of May 16th.

These logos function like “Home” buttons for your Canvas account. As of May 16th, you can click on the second of these logos to return to your Canvas User Dashboard.

Where can I direct questions?

Please contact Canvas Support at

Canvas Production Release: April 2, 2016

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 if you have any questions about an upcoming production release.

4/2/16 Production Release Highlights:

  • Course Storage Report: In Account Settings, the “Reports” tab includes the Course Storage Report. Configured by term, this report pulls the current statistics for storage space used for every course (shown in megabytes). The resulting CSV file will have one row per course and will show the course id, course sis id, course short name, course name, account id, account sis id, account name, storage used in megabytes.
  • Gradebook Individual View & Final Grade Decimal Places: In the Gradebook, Individual View shows two decimal places for a student’s final grade. This change helps improve consistency with rounding in the Gradebook.
  • Notification Preference View: In the Notification page, the notification-option menus can be changed without hovering over a communication channel column. This change improves accessibility and allows notification options to be accessed by all users. Enabled notifications are shown with a dark background. Changing a notification option applies the option immediately. Users who have enabled push notifications will still be able to manage push notifications in the “Push Notifications” column. Please note that enabling push notifications only allows notifications to be sent immediately or not at all (daily and weekly notifications are not currently supported).
  • Manually Graded Question Quiz Statistics: In addition to showing a link to SpeedGrader, quiz statistics show relative grade performance for manually graded essay and file-upload quiz question types. In quiz statistics, manually graded question types are shown in the same table format as other quiz types. A manually graded quiz type is marked as correct if it contains a student score greater than or equal to the question points possible. Grade breakdown responses are shown as the top 27%, middle 46%, and bottom 27%. The statistics also show submissions that have not yet been graded. However, if all scores are identical, a response category may show more than the percentage number of students (e.g., all students score 100%).
  • Group Submission Individual Comments View: SpeedGrader does not display individual comments made in group-submission assignments. Group-submission assignments are assignments where the instructor creates a group assignment and one submission counts for all group members. This change was made so instructors can always verify that comments are made for the entire group; SpeedGrader defaults the comments field so that it cannot be changed.
  • External Tools and Module Items: When being added as a module item, External Tools require a URL.

For a complete production release update, please see:

Canvas Production Release Notes: April 2, 2016

2016-04-02 New Feature Screencast from Canvas LMS on Vimeo.

Please click here to view the transcript for this video.