Canvas Tips & Tricks – Series 4

To help you maximize the new features in Canvas, the Instructional Consulting office will post a series of Canvas Tips & Tricks. These tips are to help you make use of all the great features of Canvas.

Tip 1: Canvas Mobile Application

You can access Canvas on your mobile device through the Canvas mobile app. While you are away from a computer, you can access and manage your courses seamlessly. The mobile app displays To-Do items, Notifications, and Messages, and access to course content. You can subscribe to your course calendar feed and view it as part of the calendar on your mobile device. Learn more about mobile applications in the Canvas Mobile Guide. Please note that not all Canvas features may be supported on your mobile device. View Canvas mobile features by version and device.

Here, we provide a quick guideline to install and login to the Canvas mobile application. (* Apple device was used for this guideline)
Go to the App Store and type in Canvas. Once download is complete, you will see the Canvas icon on your device.

Canvas app in the iOS app store

Type in “IU” or “” in a blank line and the device will search it for you. Then you will be prompted to type in your IU credentials. When you logged in, you will see a list of courses you are registered.
Logging in to Canvas App

You also might be interested in SpeedGrader™ App (iPad only, iOS 5.0+) that allows you to grade student submissions on the go. Learn more about SpeedGrader™ App.

Tip 2: Canvas Discussion Tool

Canvas allows you to increase your interaction with students in online courses, and can serve as an extension of face-to-face class discussions. In addition, Discussions can:

  • Help students start thinking about an upcoming Assignment or class discussion.
  • Follow-up on a conversation or questions that began in a face-to-face classroom.
  • Test student comprehension of important points made in class.
  • Debate contradictory ideas.
  • Brainstorm different approaches to a class problem.

The Discussion tool easily integrates with Gradebook, allowing you to grade individual, group, and peer-reviewed discussions.

Creating a New Discussion

Go to Course Navigation (the Menu items on the left-hand of the screen) and click Discussions.
Canvas Discussion Menu

Click on + Discussion to add a discussion topic
Start a new Canvas discussion

Manage your discussions with the following options:
Manage Canvas discussions

  1. Enter a title for your discussion topic.
  2. Use the Rich Content Editor to create your content (similar to Google Docs).
  3. Click the checkbox This is a Group Discussion to create a group discussion. Note: If you want to make the Group Discussion graded, click the Graded checkbox. Even though this is a group discussion, student submissions will be graded individually
  4. You also can indicate that Users must post before seeing replies, requiring students to post their own response to the discussion forum before seeing what their peers have written.

Click on Publish
Publish Canvas Discussion

You or your AI will see links to each discussion group. Click the group name to open the discussion and view student replies.
Group Canvas Discussions

The content above was adapted from the Canvas link below. Follow this link to learn more about the Discussion Tool:


Canvas Tips & Tricks – Series 3

To help you maximize the new features in Canvas, the Instructional Consulting office will post a series of Canvas Tips & Tricks. These tips are to help you make use of all the great features of Canvas.

Tip 1: Echo360 Video Tool

Echo360 is the lecture capture and personal capture tool. Echo360 captures audio, video, and computer content in classrooms or on personal computers, and distributes that content on the web or via direct download links.

Using Echo360 instructors can record their lecture and/or slides. It also provides a simple video editing tool. In addition, Echo360 offers a variety of analysis tools. functions. Students and instructors can have a direct access to Echo360 recordings from within Canvas.

Echo360 Video Capture at Indiana University

Echo360 Video Capture at Indiana University

Any user with an IU account can log into Echo360 to view recordings provided by instructors. To request an Echo360 Classroom Capture recording of a class you teach, fill out and submit the Request a Classroom Lecture Recording form

For more information on how to use Echo360, see the Echo360 Guide

Tip 2: Scheduler Tool

Scheduler is part of the calendar and allows you to create appointment groups (collection of individual appointments) that students can sign up for.

To access the Scheduler tool, open Calendar in global navigation.

Global Navigation Menu

Global Navigation Menu

Open Scheduler by clicking on ‘Scheduler’

Open Scheduler

Open Scheduler

Create an Appointment Group using the button on the right side of the screen.

Create an appointment group

Create an appointment group

Edit Appointment Group by adding information for your appointments.

Edit Appointment Group

Edit Appointment Group

For more information on how to use Scheduler, see the Canvas Scheduler Guide.

Tip 3: Anonymous Polling

An ungraded survey allows you to get opinions or other information from your students. You can use ungraded surveys for anonymous polling.

Ungraded Quiz can be used as an anonymous survey tool

An ungraded quiz can be used as an anonymous survey tool

For more information on how to use Quiz tool for survey, see the Canvas Survey Guide.

Canvas Tips & Tricks – Series 2

To help you maximize the new features in Canvas, the Instructional Consulting office will post a series of Canvas Tips & Tricks. These tips are to help you make use of all the great features of Canvas.

Tip 1: Course Analytics
Course Analytics provides statistics about student activity, assignments, and grades for your course, as well as individual students. As an instructor you can use this information to gain insight into the overall activity and performance of your students. You can also view statistics about how frequently individual student access your course materials in the Access Report area of Canvas.

Course Analytics in Canvas LMS

While Course Analytics offers many different statistics about your course, it can be challenging to interpret what they mean. If you are interested in learning more about the Course Analytics and Access Reports for your course, please stop by the Instructional Consulting Office. We would love to assist you with this aspect of Canvas.

Learn more about Course Analytics in the Canvas Instructor Guide.

Tip 2: Conferences

Conferences is a tool like Skype or Adobe Connect built right into Canvas. It can be used for real-time virtual class sessions, meetings, conferences, guest speakers, and more! You can share presentations or your desktop with your virtual audience of up to 50 people. Conferences can be recorded for later playback.

Learn more about Conferences in the Canvas Instructor Guide.

Conferences tool in Canvas

Tip 3: Pages

Pages in CanvasPages are where you can put content and educational resources that are part of your course but don’t necessarily belong in an assignment, or that you want to refer to in multiple assignments. This is a place where you can include text, video, and links to your files. You can even make links to other pages. Pages can also be used as a collaboration tool where you can create class wikis and set specific user access for each page. Canvas keeps the entire history of the page so you can see how it changes over time.

Learn more about Pages in the Canvas Instructor Guide.

If you have any questions or would like help setting up your Canvas course, feel free to visit Instructional Consulting Office (room 2002) or email us at

Canvas Tips & Tricks – Series 1

To help you maximize the new features in Canvas, Instructional Consulting office will post a series of Canvas Tips & Tricks. The first series includes three tips to get you going.  More tips are forthcoming.

Tip 1: Notifications:
Canvas will automatically notify students about activity in your course. Students can receive updates to announcements, discussion topics, grades, replies to email or other activities.  Students can select whether to receive notifications immediately, daily, weekly, or never, and they can choose to be notified via email, SMS text message, Facebook, Twitter, and other web services.

To set your personal notifications go to
Canvas Guide of Notification
Video guide of Notification Preferences


To get to the Notifications page, click Your Name at the top of the Canvas page.

Tip 2: Speed Grader:
You can use SpeedGrader to grade assignments and provide feedback through Canvas. Comments and editing marks can be applied directly to submitted documents without downloading. You also can save time and provide audio and video comments.

For more detailed instruction with this link
Canvas Guide of Speed Grader



Tip 3: Collaboration:
Students can collaborate on a group document in real time. Instructors can choose to have students use Google Docs or Etherpad. Etherpad is similar to Google Docs and built right into Canvas. Students can use Google Docs but must have a Google account. Otherwise, students can use Etherpad, which does not require signing-up for an account.

For more detailed instruction with this link
Canvas Guide of Collaboration


If you have any questions or would like help setting up your Canvas course, feel free to visit Instructional Consulting Office (room 2002) or email us at

Say ‘Hello’ to Canvas

You should know by now that IU has selected Canvas tCanvas newso be the successor to Oncourse. Canvas will be IU’s official learning management system going forward. There will be a two-year transition period and Oncourse will be retired summer 2016. While many features are similar to Oncourse, there are some things that you will need to do differently to manage your classes in Canvas, but our first impressions as an office are that Canvas is very good!  This post will highlight just a few of the new features we like, but we strongly urge anyone interested in learning more about Canvas to stop by the Office of Instructional Consulting for one-on-one consultation with one of our friendly consultants. Additionally, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) will be offering introductory Canvas workshops throughout the summer and fall, and we highly recommend attending a session.

Beginning summer 2014, the registrar is auto-populating courses into both Canvas and Oncourse. In other words, you can use Canvas starting right now for your summer classes if you wish! However, it may be best to familiarize yourself with the tool before switching. We highly encourage all instructors to log into Canvas and get familiar with it. To log in, go to and log in with your existing IU username and passphrase. Feel free to make changes, add tools, etc., as the site will not be visible to your students until you actually publish the site. This allows you to experiment, create practice sites, or even create new sites for research groups as a way to familiarize yourself with Canvas before teaching your first class. For a very brief video about some of the features of Canvas, from our IC QuickTips podcast, check out the following video:

As shown in the video, there are many similarities between Canvas and Oncourse.  Each course taught has its own ‘course’ page and each course can have a unique set of tools, similar to Oncourse. Syllabus, Assignments, Grades, Discussions (more on this in a bit), etc., are just some of the main tools that will likely be used for your classes and that are set up similarly to Oncourse. However, there are some new features you should know about in Canvas. One of the key features of Canvas is that there are several universal features available as part of the dashboard. Canvas BannerThe dashboard appears at the top of your screen and is the same for all courses. On the far right-hand side of the toolbar, you can access your profile information (for uploading a picture or bio information), an ‘Inbox’ where you can manage all incoming and outgoing messages sent to students, a ‘Settings’ tab for changing notification and other settings, a ‘Logout’ button, and finally a ‘Help’ tab. On the left-hand side, there is a series of drop-downs menu items.  The first is for your ‘Courses.’ The universal ‘Assignments,’ ‘Grades,’ and ‘Calendar’ menu items are among our favorite new features of Canvas.  From these drop-down menus, students and instructors can quickly see what assignments they have due for all of their classes, as well as a quick view of their grades.  For instructors, this will even help you track upcoming assignments that you will need to grade. Finally, the calendar can show all events from your many courses. As Canvas Callong as assignments are given a due date when they are created, they will automatically populate in the calendar. This is going to be very handy for students and instructors as well.

There are many more features that we know that instructors and students will enjoy, such as the ability to record video or audio directly to discussion forums, and integrating third-party apps such as GoogleDocs or YouTube videos directly into your class, and we would love for you to stop by so that we can help you with your individual needs. We are here all summer long and would love to help out to make sure that this transition to Canvas goes smoothly. If you need any assistance or have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at or just stop by our office.

Justin Whiting

Office of Instructional Consulting

School of Education Classroom Renovation: Survey Results

It’s been several months since the School of Education completed its most recent classroom renovation project. Thirteen classrooms were recarpeted, repainted, refurnished, and equipped with new technology. The IC office has administered two surveys to collect feedback from instructors and students on their experience of the renovated classrooms. In both surveys, we asked questions about use, perception, and satisfaction. Overall, both instructors and students indicated their satisfaction with the renovated classrooms. One student’s comment: “Clean environments with maximum outlets for technology have been beneficial to all students.



Nearly all of the instructors we surveyed told us that they frequently used whiteboards and mobile podiums. Fewer had used the Smartboards and Apple TVs, but those who had told us that they appreciated the affordances of these technologies. About Apple TV, one instructor wrote: “It helped me display YouTube videos through Apple TV!” Instructors indicated high levels of satisfaction with whiteboards (89%), mobile podiums (79%), and chairs (79%) and tables with rollers (72%) (both of which are on rollers to allow instructors to easily reconfigure the classrooms).



One instructor provided the following comment on the new furniture: “In a limited amount of time, I was able to transform the room to suit many configurations. I even found myself creating new activities because I knew it would be efficient to move the classroom around. I REALLY like the mobility of the new furniture!”



Students indicated that they frequently used Smartboards and whiteboards. Like their instructors, students used Apple TV far less frequently. Students were quite satisfied with whiteboards (85%), the instructor stool (79%), and the chair with rollers (77%). One student evaluated the furniture thusly: “Group collaboration is made easier through the increased mobility of the seats!”



We in the IC office were pleased to see high levels of satisfaction regarding the renovated classrooms, but we would like to see technologies like Apple TV and Smartboard used more frequently. If you teach in one of the recently renovated classrooms and you’d like to try the Apple TV, the Smartboard, or any other classroom technology in your teaching, please send us an email at or stop by our office (room 2002).

Faculty showcase: Dr. Barbara Dennis

BDThe School of Education is piloting Apple TVs in 12 classrooms (1004, 1235, 2271, 2275, 3009, 3015, 3017, 3025, 3105, 3115, 3125, and 3275) this school year. Apple TV allows students and instructors to project their MacBook and iPad screens wirelessly with the classroom projector wirelessly. This semester, Dr. Barbara Dennis, who teaches inquiry methodology in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at Indiana University, has been among the most active users of this new technology.

Dr. Dennis started using the Apple TV by coincidence. She happened to attend a new-classroom open-house session at the beginning of the semester, as she was assigned to teach a class (Y612-Critical Qualitative Inquiry I) in one of the SoE’s newly renovated rooms. She decided to make full use of the opportunity to learn about the various types of new classroom technology in hopes of expanding her teaching repertoire.

Dr. Dennis says that Apple TV is particularly useful for displaying group members’ work. She uses a wide range of in-class activities in her teaching. One activity requires pairs of students to take photographs of buildings and explain various aspects of the photos to the rest of the class. Using the Apple TV and iPads, students were able to share and discuss their work without having to spend time figuring out the complex combinations of cables and adaptors normally required to connect to the classroom projector.

Teaching qualitative inquiry methodology often involves collecting and sharing a large volume of data. iPads make collection easier, and the online file-storage-and-sharing system Box ( makes it easier to store and protect sensitive files. Together, these technologies can also drastically reduce the use of paper, which Dr. Dennis says is one of her goals for technology use.

Dr. Dennis says that she has not faced significant challenges with the Apple TV or iPads, but there are always technical glitches, and Apple TVs only work with other Apple products, which she says is a limitation. For other faculty members and instructors who would like to try Apple TVs in the classroom, she offers the following simple advice: Learning takes time, and you need to embrace trial-and-error when exploring new technologies. It also helps, Dr. Dennis says, to have highly skilled students who can help you use these technologies and are open to innovation.

If you are interested in learning more about Apple TV, stop by the Office of Instructional Consulting (room 2002) or schedule an appointment (