Start-of-Summer 2017 Canvas Checklist

a pier leading into an ocean

Here are a few tips to help you get started with Canvas for the Summer 2017 term.

1. Create a Course Site. If you haven’t requested your site yet, now’s the time. It’s easy! Use these instructions to request your Canvas site.

2. Get Help. Register for Canvas Office Hours & Workshops at the Weigle Information Commons to meet with experts who want to help you.

3. Learn about What’s New in Canvas and Other Tools:

  • Copied Turnitin Assignments: If you copy a Turnitin assignment from another course, you will have re-enable any optional settings you customized previously and will also have to open the assignment before students can submit to it.
  • Create Turnitin Assignments before Students Submit Their Work: Turnitin must be enabled for a Canvas assignment before students begin uploading their submissions. If students have already submitted an assignment, you will not be able to enable Turnitin retroactively and will instead need to create a separate Turnitin assignment and then have students re-submit to that assignment. For more information, please consult the directions for creating a Turnitin assignment in Canvas.
  • Student Context Cards: The Student Context Cards feature provides insights and context about a student and are meant to be a simplified overview of a student’s progress in a course. Learn more about Student Context Cards.
  • Documentation Request Form:  Want instructions or information on Canvas or related technologies? Submit a request to the Documentation Request Form.

4. Request Your Course Reserves. Planning to have the Penn Libraries’ Course Reserves Service add content to your Canvas site? Please review the Course Reserves Information.

5. Publish Your Site. Students are added to Canvas course sites automatically, but they can’t access course.

content until the site is published. Just click the Publish button when you are ready!pblsh_cnvs_st

Questions? Email us at

Here’s to a great term!

Submitting Grades for Spring 2017


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

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.

Please note: This video was made before the introduction of the new Canvas UI, which is why Canvas looks a little different in this video from how it looks currently. Nevertheless, the steps covered in the video can be used in the new Canvas UI despite Canvas’s different appearance.

Six Easy Steps for End-of-Term Grading in Canvas

This video demonstrates how to do the following:

  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

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 download all student submissions for an assignment in the Gradebook?

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

UPDATE: Slow Exports & Imports in Canvas

Our vendor’s Engineering and Operations team have implemented a fix to the way jobs process. This fix has been running and has improved the wait time considerably. This is a temporary fix that will help them improve Jobs long term. Our vendor will continue to monitor and provide updates as they become available.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue may cause. Please email if you have any questions.

Faculty Spotlight on Instructional Design: Genevieve Hollis, School of Nursing

Person in lab-coat sitting a computer.

The following interview is with a faculty member who received instructional design assistance from Courseware Support. If you would like instructional design assistance, please email

Genevieve Hollis

Genevieve Hollis

Genevieve Hollis (MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC, AOCN) is an Advanced Senior Lecturer-B in the Adult Oncology Specialty Minor/Post-Master’s Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, as well as a Nurse Practitioner at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. She is the Associate Course Director for Advanced Practice Nursing For Oncology Care (NURS 664). Professor Hollis participated in this interview on behalf of her and Professor Amy Moore (MSN, RN, ACNS-BC), Course Director for NURS 664, who also partook in the instructional design experience.

What prompted you to seek help from instructional designers? How were you connected with an instructional design team?

In Spring 2013, the Adult Oncology Specialty Minor/Post-Master’s Program decided to move the majority of its coursework online. Professor Hollis explains that the decision was due both to the varied focuses of students in this program, as well as the unique complexity of oncology-care education, saying that “oncology care is increasingly team-based and requires strong and knowledgeable partnerships between primary care, inpatient and outpatient specialized oncology, home care, and hospice providers.”

Seizing the opportunity to teach online, the NURS 664 faculty engaged in an intensive content-development period for a Fall 2013 course launch. While these faculty were devoted to developing a high-quality online learning experience, time constraints and limited experience with the technologies that were to be used proved challenging.

Consequently, Professor Hollis notes, “students evaluations were markedly lower than when the course was offered solely on campus.” This experience and the School of Nursing’s interest in expanding its online course offerings led to the formation of an online-teaching task force. The outcomes from this task force included the redesign of NURS 664 and the use of this redesign process as a real-time opportunity “to identify steps involved and resources needed to roll out online courses on a larger scale.” To achieve this end, the NURS 664 faculty were paired with instructional designers from Courseware Support at the Penn Libraries.

What were you hoping to get out of the instructional design process?

Motivated to make the most of revamping their course, Professor Hollis says the NURS 664 faculty sought the following from the instructional design process:

  • “An overall, more polished, high quality course format that promoted student engagement, learning, and satisfaction
  • A structured, efficient process for enhancing faculty command of online pedagogy
  • A structured, efficient process for exploring online teaching strategies/technologies that matched course objectives
  • Increased faculty comfort with managing and trouble-shooting online teaching technologies
  • Increased students comfort with online learning and their ability to trouble-shoot technology
  • Help establishing a framework and identifying associated necessary resources to be used in the revision of other online courses, transitioning other on-campus courses to an online format, and developing new courses directly in an online format”

What did you find surprising about the process?

Professor Hollis was surprised to find how much of her and her colleagues’ previous attempts at online teaching–“through trial and error/baptism by fire”–yielded valuable insights that were confirmed through their work with instructional designers. Additionally, Professor Hollis was happy to find that “exciting opportunities existed with online learning for students to be more responsible for their own learning.”

As for working with instructional designers from Courseware Support, Professor Hollis was pleased with “the knowledge, competency, and professionalism of the instructional designers,” specifically in how they “elicited faculty concerns; listened well; and took a concept, made a suggestion, mocked up an example, beta tested, and presented to faculty.” She adds that the instructional designers were “confident, self-directed problem solvers.”

Nurse standing next to patient receiving an MRI.

If you were starting over with the instructional design process, what would you do differently?

“I would develop a strategic plan with clear priorities for revisions over time,” Professor Hollis says, noting that the “initial priorities eventually morphed into high-impact items such as chunking content, ‘look and feel,’ organization, and navigational aids.”

Thinking to future iterations of NURS 664, Professor Hollis says that “future priorities will be webinar structure, inter-activeness of PowerPoints, quality of videos, and increased inter-activeness of homework through gaming.”

What is one piece of advice you can give to anyone who is thinking about re-designing their course?

Professor Hollis advises anyone interested in a course redesign project to “develop a partnership with instructional designers and take time to understand each others roles,” adding that “faculty are the course content experts, and the instructional designers are the technological experts.”

Want to help from an instructional designer?

Please email!

Intermittent Issues Affecting Canvas Tools

Instructure, the makers of Canvas, report that users have been experiencing intermittent issues in Canvas with the following:

  • logging into Canvas
  • using Turnitin
  • using the Canvas Media tool to view/record/upload content
  • document-previewing in SpeedGrader
  • importing/copying content between sites

Updates on these issues will be posted to Canvas at Penn and on Instructure’s status page:

We apologize for the inconvenience these issues may cause. Instructure is working to resolve these issues as soon as possible. Please direct questions to Updates will continue to be posted as they are received.

UPDATE: Canvas Recovery Progressing (Limited Functionality)

Instructure, the makers of Canvas, have sent the following update:

“Canvas performance and service recovery continues to progress quickly. Although many users should now be able to access Canvas, there may still be areas of impaired functionality as we work through remaining issues.”

Please note: Although recovery is underway, users report that they still cannot perform actions like uploading files or submitting assignments.

We apologize for any inconvenience this issue has caused. Please direct questions to Updates will continue to be posted as they are received.

UPDATE: Canvas Service Disruption Continues (AWS Outage)

Instructure, the makers of Canvas, have sent the following update:

“AWS is still working through their recovery process. Unfortunately, the number of Amazon services that have been impacted has grown in the time it took to find the root cause, and it will be a significant effort on their side to recover all of the services. They are understandably starting with the most critical ones. Since Canvas depends on so many of their services, a full recovery may still take some time.

On our side, our DevOps team has moved on to other ideas about how to get from a ‘service disruption’ state to a ‘degraded performance’ state in Canvas. We are also discussing the plans for addressing similar circumstances in the future, though our options are limited due to the perniciousness of this incident; but we are considering all options at this time.”

We apologize for the inconvenience this issue may cause. Please direct questions to