Good Practices

Instructors can create course sites that are both usable and accessible to the widest range of students possible by organizing their course site with a landing page, modules, and a limited menu, plus following other core skills of accessible design.
ChallengeWorking in small groups on activities and assignments can be beneficial even for "routine" tasks, as students have the opportunity to learn from and help one another.
As a rule, do not share downloaded materials with others via peer-to-peer software like BitTorrent or other torrent applications.
Instructors often use classroom discussions to promote sharing and ideas about a subject matter. Sometimes, discussions can become rote and tedious, or engage only one or a few students and the instructor.
As faculty and instructors adapt to online and blended learning, it's important that students are prepared to be successful online learners.
The start of each semester brings anticipation and excitement.
Downloading or sharing software, entertainment, or images may violate United States copyright law. Many torrent applications default to continue sharing your downloads with other users.


If you are looking for a way to add an important link to the Canvas course menu, the Redirect Tool is the app to use.
Students: If an instructor has required you to use Respondus LockDown Browser for added security when taking a quiz, you must download and install Respondus LockDown Browser before you can start the t
Students: You may be asked to use an iClicker remote for a course.
This article is an overview for students to help you find and complete course work in Canvas. It covers the following topics:
Please use Respondus LockDown Browser Student Support resource section when having issues with
Turnitin is an originality-checking and plagiarism prevention service that checks your writing for citation mistakes or inappropriate copying.
Instructors give various kinds of feedback on assignments, quizzes and graded discussions in Canvas. Students can access this information through Grades in the course navigation menu for each course.
VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slideshow that holds images, documents, and videos. You can:
This information was gathered during a Canvas Investigation meeting attended by academic technologists held in March 2019.
This article pertains to course sites that have copied content from other course sites that use Turnitin for some assignments. The copied content needs to fixed when the error below presents itself.
There is a Canvas feature that allows you to check your content for accessibility.
You can associate a date with a Canvas page so that it shows up in a student's To Do list, Syllabus, and Calendar, just as Assignments do.
NameCoach is a user-recorded name pronunciation tool available in Canvas. The University is dedicated to providing a welcoming atmosphere and empowering individuals within its community.
You can update your Canvas profile to include your personal pronouns. Once you do, they will appear next to your name in a variety of locations throughout Canvas. 
You can add a rubric to an assignment that uses standard submission types and External Tools such as Turnitin.
For undergraduate courses, you may wish to use the University of Minnesota Letter Grade Scheme. Some colleges have their own grading schemes that are available in their courses.
Student membership in groups can be changed during a semester, but it can affect your gradebook in unexpected ways.
You can manage course and section enrollments in a single course site using the Canvas cross-list (merge) function. When to Cross-list Cross-listing is helpful when:
There are a few different ways you can organize your course content in Canvas. This article covers the benefits and limitations to organizing your course by Pages and by Modules. 
Using an early-term student survey is an effective way to make timely changes to your course.
If you need to edit a question in Canvas, you have to edit both the question as it is in a quiz and in its Question Bank. If the question is used in multiple quizzes, you must fix it in each quiz.
Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that ensures a student's desktop can only access a Canvas Quiz.
The Roll Call Attendance tool is an external app (LTI) that instructors can use in Canvas to keep track of student course attendance electronically. This tool can be used for online or face-to-face courses. 
Library Course Materials (LCMs) are dynamically created for all courses at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Rochester campuses.
As an instructor or course designer, you will sometimes want to view and test a course site from the student's perspective. You may want to know:
Many instructors wish to share content and activities from their class sites with colleagues.
Canvas uses a 'running total' method of scores for a current Total score. Only activities with scores are included in the Total score.
If the student has not started the exam If you use Canvas' Moderate Quiz to extend the time before
There are a few ways to find the Canvas course sites that you have access to. This article covers these areas:
Flip (formerly Flipgrid) is a student engagement and assessment tool that integrates with Canvas. Flip allows students to record and upload short videos.
The Cengage Learning tool allows instructors to efficiently incorporate activities from Cengage alongside their own content in Canvas and to select whether the grade for a graded item will automatically flow into the Can
VitalSource Bookshelf provides all students in a course with access to an eTextbook on or before the first day of class.
Group assignments offer the ability to grade groups of students, which typically saves time over grading individual students; this can be a real benefit to you and TAs alike.
Student Rating of Teaching is an option in Canvas courses that allows students to access current online evaluations for their courses.
You can import content into the your course sites from various places:
You can import scores to your Canvas gradebook from paper exams provided by the University Survey & Assessment Services (USAS)
The Respondus 4.0 Campus-wide application is used to publish quizzes in your Canvas course.
You can use and customize the sample letter text below to inform your students you will be using Canvas.
The following information was gathered by University Academic Technologists in October 2019 and only applies to the current quiz tool in Canvas. New Quizzes is currently being developed by Canva
Sections in Canvas help subdivide students within a course and offer section-specific options such as
Instructors are not able to manually enroll or directly add students into Canvas course sites connected to PeopleSoft.
Before you can successfully submit your course grades to Faculty Center/PeopleSoft, there are some preliminary steps to prepare the final grades. This article covers: 
By default, students are enabled to create their own groups. 
Most items created in your Canvas course (files, assignments, pages, modules, etc.) must be published before they are visible to students.
Use this article when creating a new course site in Canvas. Course site types:
During a course site import, all group Assignments and Discussions will be assigned to a single group set called Project Groups.
When you import a Canvas course into another Canvas course shell, announcement posting dates do not update even if you shifted the course dates during the import process.
Everyone enrolled in a Canvas course site must be assigned a role. Each role has an associated set of permissions that give the user appropriate levels of access to Canvas functions in that site.
These tips and trick were gathered at a Canvas Investigation meeting of academic technologists in April 2019 and compiled by Annika Moe.
There is a whole host of course level settings you can choose. Check with your college to see if the template you used already has recommended course settings built into it.
You can change your Display Name in your Canvas account settings so your preferred name appears in discussions, messages, and comments.
This information relates to the current Canvas Classic Quiz tool, not New Quizzes, which is currently available but not yet standard Canvas functionality.
These University policies govern student records in relation to Canvas use:
There are a few options for displaying your Course Syllabus for students; this chart provides the options and the positive and negative implications of each option.
This article covers some common issues with managing what grades students can or cannot see in the gradebook:
What is TurningPoint? TurningPoint is an engagement and assessment solution that supports student interaction and participation in real-time using a clicker or mobile device.
Turnitin is an originality checking and plagiarism prevention service that checks student writing for citation mistakes or inappropriate copying.
When you make a group within a Canvas course, Canvas automatically generates a group workspace. Only course instructors and group members can access the space.
When instructors make a new quiz by clicking the +Quiz button on the Quizzes page, a window will appear prompting instructors to select either Classic Quizzes or New Quizzes.
Courses and sections work together in Canvas. The Course is where students:
When creating a course site from scratch, using a template can be a good way to get a course site up and running quickly and efficiently.
Instead of using generic group names with numbers or letters, use a naming convention with your course's unique course code, an abbreviation or some other easily distinguished group name.
The Final Grade Override option allows instructors to enter a final grade for students that is different from the grade Canvas automatically calculates in the Gradebook.
This article provides detailed instructions for:
When submitting grades to PeopleSoft through Faculty Center, grades of 'F' or 'N' must include a last date of participation. Please see
The Rich Content Editor (RCE) allows you to format text and embed media when creating many different pieces of a course site.
Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Designers, and eligible collegiate academic technologists can use the Section Enrollment (BETA) tool to add students already enrolled in an academic course site to manua
The Universal Design Online [content] Inspection Tool (UDOIT) helps faculty discover and repair accessibility issues in their online Canvas courses. This article covers:
As an instructor, you should assume your students will be accessing their course sites using the Canvas Student Mobile App.
A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slideshow that holds images, documents, and videos. It allows people to navigate between slides and leave audio, video, or text comments on each slide.
The Canvas Gradebook has Grade Posting Policy settings at both the course and assignment level as a way to control when students see graded work:
This article reviews how to set up RATE in Canvas and gives some troubleshooting guidance. 
This article covers how to add a Module List block using Design Tools. A Module List block creates a listing of course modules with links to each module that students can access from the course homepage.
This article covers how to add a Teacher & TA Details block to a course homepage using Design Tools.
This article covers how to change the order of various content blocks on a homepage page built with Design Tools.
This article covers how to customize a Design Tools homepage template.
This article covers how to choose a Design Tools homepage template to use in your course site.
This article shows how to make a page designed with Design Tools be the homepage in a Canvas course site.
This article covers how to prepare an image for use in a Design Tools homepage template.
The Due Date Modifier gives you a central location to change all assignment, quiz, and discussion due dates for a new semester. You can also set Available From and Until dates for all of these activities. 
Elevator has been approved for integration with Canvas. However, before the following procedure can be implemented, Elevator must first be enabled for your subaccount.


Content chunking, for instructional design, is the strategy of breaking up content into shorter, bite-size pieces that are more manageable and easier to remember.
In a recent study, researchers identified the design factors that were most valued by participants in terms of promoting an engaging online learning experience.
This guide consists of introductory comments, worksheets, and action questions in each of the three major phases of Integrated Course Design.
Instructors’ Advice to their PeersA sample of University of Minnesota instructors, including tenured, tenure-track, fixed-term, and P&A staff, shared their experiences and insights about teaching and
The challenge addressed in this article is how to achieve a win-win balance between quality and workload for students and instructors participating in asynchronous online discussions.
Instructors and students alike can benefit from the power and flexibility offered by push notifications.
We recommend the following steps for those who are just getting started with Canvas at the University of Minnesota.
How to Access Courses in CanvasCanvas can be accessed through the MyU portal under Key Links or on the Academics tab, or by going directly to 
If you have permission to publish your course, these directions show you how to publish your course in the Course Home Page sidebar.
Leaving an Assignment unpublished allows it to remain in a draft state. Unpublished assignments are invisible to students and excluded from grade calculations.
You can remove students from Scheduler Appointments in the course calendar if necessary.
A paper from ScienceDirect on Using online collaboration applications for group assignments. You may be prompted to log into the UofM Library system to gain access to this research paper.
Chunking is a concept embedded in the world of instructional and information design.
This online book shares the stories of those who are using the principles of Integrated Course Design; you will learn "how different people are applying these ideas in multiple contexts and what happens when they do."
The purpose of this page is to promote the design and administration of online exams that inhibit cheating and prevent the unauthorized distribution of exam materials by use of effective practices in the following are
This study explores the affordances and limitations of an online virtual classroom.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the pivot to Emergency Remote Teaching, instr
Learning Tools, also known as learning apps, external tools, third-party apps, or LTI apps, can be added on to Canvas to extend the core functionality and features of the system.
Get support information for common issues educators and students have when using Flip, a cloud-based, video student engagement and assessment tool.
Find support materials for educators who use Flip, a cloud-based, video student engagement and assessment tool.
Find support materials for students who use Flip, a cloud-based, video student engagement and assessment tool.
This article, from Carnegie Mellon's Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation, describes the differences between formative and summative assessments.
Group discussion in online statistics courses
Chunking is a concept that originates from the field of cognitive psychology.
The key is to design tasks that are truly collaborative, meaning the students will benefit more from doing the activity as a group than doing it alone.
To be effective, online curricula illustrating communication behaviors need face-to-face interaction, individual role play with feedback and discussion.
This resource opens to a slide presentation give at an Educause Conference. The presenter is from Virginia Tech. 
The University protects the rights of students with respect to their education records.
Find resources for educators who enable in Canvas the online homework, tutorial, and assessment learning materials designed to accompany textbooks published by Pearson Education.
The use of discussion forums as a vehicle for learning is based on the pedagogical tenets of collaborative learning theory, which call for collaboration between participants, experimentation, and open inquiry.
This source provides samples of branching scenarios for different professions.
This comprehensive checklist is organized to support your upcoming semester preparation. Work through these topics to confirm your Canvas course site is ready and shared with students.
Strategies for effective group work in the Online Class.
We discuss a teaching approach that we believe promotes deep learning and diminishes the powerful voice of the teacher, thereby allowing students and the teacher to reason actively and inquire together in the cl
A resource for students who are assigned group work for their courses.
The article discusses the use of asynchronous and synchronous online discussion in education.
This study focuses on learner experiences in a real-time communication mediated by the Breeze web-based collaboration system. It also combined conference mediums. 
The College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) created this checklist to help instructors create effective online courses.
Learn how to set up a branching scenario properly, no matter what tool you decide to develop it in.
This self-paced course contains a series of short videos designed to help instructors learn how to use Canvas.
In this paper two collaborative activities are explored, namely a simple Case Study (moderate level of structuredness) and the Case Study joint with the Jigsaw (higher level of structuredness).
When should you go to the trouble of designing a branching scenario? See some examples.

Self-Help Guides

This self-help guide walks you through the process of planning, creating, and using methods of assessment and evaluation in Canvas.
This self-help guide helps you use tools available within Canvas to communicate with your students.
This self-help guide takes you through the basic process of building a Canvas course site from the ground up, starting with creating and linking content, building assessments, and choosing final course settings.
This self-help guide is a starting point for faculty and staff who need to develop a course in Canvas.
This self-help guide is for instructors and students alike. It guides instructors on how to set up and facilitate Groups in their Canvas courses. It also informs students on how to collaborate within Groups.
This guide walks through how to create and customize a Canvas course homepage using a Design Tools template.