New Semester

As we have a new semester that is just days away, now is a great time to be getting our ducks in a row in Canvas. Remember to import your content from previous courses (don’t forget to remove due dates), get those CoLD home pages ready to go, publish your courses, and adhere to the Secondary Canvas guidelines!

Each month, Canvas releases a new update to the product that includes bug fixes, new features, and updates. Both of these updates will help you as you prepare for the new semester. You can read the release notes here.

New Ways to Create

The primary method for creating and editing content in Canvas is through the use of the Rich Content Editor. This is where you write instructions, link to websites, upload files, or embed videos. Here’s what it currently looks like.

The New Rich Content Editor has a simplified look with some useful new features. Click this link for a detailed list of all the functions of the Rich Content Editor. For a video guide, click here. The biggest change you will notice is the Links, Files, and Images tabs on the right are now located within the Rich Content Editor toolbar.

Here are some highlights of features that you will find especially helpful:

  • There are now different types of text formatting. This will help you emphasize specific written directions for students.
  • You can upload images directly to the Rich Content Editor using a drag-and-drop interface. This is especially helpful if you have a lot of images that you want to include into individual quiz questions. 
  • You can upload videos (such as screencasts) directly to the Rich Content Editor. Students also will have additional options for playback with this media player such as increasing or decreasing the playback speed.

New Ways to Share

Canvas is a flexible program that gives you multiple ways to obtain your goal. Sometimes this can be overwhelming because there are so many ways to peel the orange. Below you will find a summary of the ways that you can share and move content (assignments, pages, quizzes, etc.) in Canvas, with a description of when these features come in handy.

Where to Store Content:

Current Courses: These are the courses that are automatically generated for you for the current term. These are your live courses that students access daily. You will always have access to your current courses and last year’s courses, as well as any Master or Sandbox courses that you have requested. Courses more than a school year old will be archived every June.

Master Courses: Master Courses are used by a PLC to place common assessments and assignments that everyone plans to use. They never are archived. If you have too much old content or need to clean house in your Master Course, contact a DLC.

Sandbox Courses: Sandbox Courses can be created for you by submitting a help desk ticket. You can have one Sandbox Course for every different course you teach. A Sandbox is a great place to store your personal course content long-term as they will never be archived.


Ways to Share Content:

Import Course Content: Most users go to Settings, Import Course Content, and then copy their previous courses. This is a great way to move your entire course to a new semester or year, or back up your course at the end of a semester to a Sandbox Course.

Canvas Commons: Canvas Commons is a repository of Canvas content items or course that you can share with our district or people outside of our district. We recommend only using this feature if you intend to share something outside of your PLC or school. Using Canvas Commons to share content can largely be phased out for most purposes because of the introduction of the Direct Share feature.

Direct Share: Direct Share is a new feature as of 1/18/20 that allows you to share an individual assignment, quiz, or discussion. “Send to” allows you to share content directly to colleagues who can then choose what course and Module they would like to place that content in. “Copy to” allows you to move content from one course to another course you are a teacher in. This features also lets you choose which course and Module where you would like to place the copy.

"Send to" is a great way to share with colleagues.

“Copy to” is perfect for quickly transferring content from one course to another.

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