Canvas User Updates Week of April 12

Summer Canvas Course Shells are Open

Important Notices

Summer Canvas Course Shells are Open

Summer 2014 course shells have been opened in Canvas. You will find links to all your summer courses on your Course List under Future Enrollments. TIP: Customize your course menu to include summer courses in your quick pick list.

The ongoing Daylight Savings Time (DST) issue that delayed summer course shells has been resolved and instructors will be able to copy courses from one semester to the next without having to worry about due dates/times changing when dates fall over DST. TIP: It is still best practice for faculty to review all of their due dates/times each semester.

Fall 2014 course shells will be created within the next few weeks.

Canvas Proactively Addresses ‘Heartbleed’

You may have heard recently of the ‘Heartbleed’ security vulnerability. Canvas IS NOT considered to be a high target threat, but nonetheless they have reported their security notice and are working proactively to address any potential security concerns. The MCCCD District IT is working with Canvas to ensure that Canvas and our student and instructional data remains safe and secure. There is no imminent threat to Canvas security.

What can you do to help with security?

Although we do not anticipate any issues with security, we can all take regular preventative steps to ensure that our data is safe. We recommend that you update your MEID password every few months and never, ever give your password to anyone under any conditions. MEID Password Maintenance Instructions.

Scheduled Maintenance Event April 16

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AMMountain Time, Canvas will perform a very brief (<10 minutes) scheduled maintenance event. The purpose of the event is to install upgrades to key databases supporting the Canvas application.

Canvas Connections Logo

Canvas Connections User Group

Don’t miss the next meeting Wednesday, April 16, 12 noon – 1:00pm, CTL Team Spot – AS Bldg

Discussion: Best Practices Using the New Draft State

This informal user-focused group will meet bi-monthly to discuss: Features, Best Practices, Upcoming Changes, Issues/Bugs, Teaching Strategies, Design and Feature Requests.

Users should bring their own lunch. Snacks and desserts may be provided.

Join Now!

Canvas Update Cycle

Canvas is on a 3-week update-release cycle. The next beta (preview) release is on 4/21, production notes will follow on 4/28 with the release and documentation to be published on 5/3. For information about Canvas updates follow the release page.

April 12th Production Release Notes

Here are some highlights of the new features, updates and changes for the April 12thCanvas Production Release. Note: Features are subject to change based on testing! Some features may be selectively released by MCCCD.

Discontinued Features & Support

As Canvas releases new features, they often keep the old systems in place to allow for users to transition.

On May 24, 2014 the following features and support will transition:

Draft State Becomes the ‘State of Affairs’ on July 5th

Canvas has recently released the highly anticipated Draft State feature that allows for content in Assignments, Quizzes, Modules, Pages, and Discussions to be in an unpublished (draft) state even if the course is published. Draft content will be invisible to students and excluded from grade calculations. Draft State was originally set to be a Course-level ‘opt-in’ feature (available on a course-to-course basis at the discretion of the instructor), but now will become a standard, permanent part of Canvas on July 5, 2014. 

Draft State Screenshot

Teaching this Summer? ‘Opt-in’ to Draft State

The Draft State feature will impact all of the major instructional user interfaces within Canvas and will have a small cosmetic impact on the student view of courses. Because this change is anticipated for the middle of the summer session, we highly recommend that you ‘opt-in’ to the draft state feature before your summer course starts to avoid any potential disruption, albeit small, for students.

Here is an overview guide to prepare you for the change: Canvas Feature Options: Draft State PDF. Please note that all Canvas User Guides have already been updated to reflect the new Draft State interface and functionality.

Note: DO NOT turn this feature on for your Spring 2014 courses.

Training on Draft State will be offered in May. Check the CTL calendar for details as these sessions develop.

User Profile Uploader Update

A new picture uploader for user profiles will make it easier for students and instructors to add pictures to their Canvas profiles. Users can continue to upload existing files from their computer or device OR can take a new picture (not supported by Safari or IE). Pictures can also be cropped and resized. Note: Canvas will no longer allow users to choose from previously uploaded profile pictures and new pictures will override the existing pictures.


Other Updates & Fixes

Review the April 12th full Production Release Notes for all of the changes and bug fixes for this release.

Accessing the Beta Environment

To access the MCCCD Beta environment and try out new features before implementing them in your course, type in the address bar of your browser and log-in with your MEID and Password. Remember this is a beta environment, so changes made will not be reflected in the live (production) environment.

Canvas Training

Mark Your Calendars for the 5th Annual MCC Camp Innovate

The MCC Center for Teaching & Learning’s 5th Annual Camp Innovate is just a little more than a month away. Please air out your tent and grab your gear to participate in this exciting week of sessions around the campfire of innovative teaching and learning; Monday, May 19 – Thursday, May 22. Stay-tuned  as this engaging week develops. Many sessions will be offered on Canvas and Canvas features including the new Draft State.

Canvas Webinars

Discussions: Design, Delivery and Assessment
Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 9am or 1pm MST; Register Here
How do you leverage discussions in your courses? What are some ways Canvas allows you to set-up, moderate and grade discussions? This session focuses on the functionality of the discussion feature and the considerations instructors may need to make when designing discussions in Canvas. Presenter(s): Biray Seitz, Instructure

Canvas Live Training Archives

Resources, Tutorials & Guides

The Instructor overview course video is designed for people who are new to Canvas and want to get started. The concepts are presented in the order that new users often have questions about.

Canvas 101 is an open enrollment course that will walk you through the basics of setting up a new course in Canvas. To enroll, simply click on the “Join this course” button on the Course Home Page. There is no facilitator, but it is a good series of self-paced exercises.

MCC Center for Teaching & Learning How-To Documents – Review our helpful how-to guides including Getting Started with Canvas in 10 Steps.

Did You Know? Universal Design & Accessibility in Canvas

This is a continuation of our ongoing review of features and best practice to keep the content within Canvas as accessible as the system!

Creating Accessible Documents

Whether you are uploading presentation or document files to Canvas, it is important to check file content for accessibility. Here are some resources to get you started.

MS Word
Creating Accessible MS Word Documents
(MS Word 2010, 2013 – Please note that some features, like the accessibility checker, are only available in Windows)

Running the MS Word Accessibility Checker
(MS Word 2010, 2013 -Windows only)

General Best Practices Word & Accessibility

MS PowerPoint
Creating Accessible MS PowerPoint Presentations
(MS PPT 2010, 2013 – Please note that some features, like the accessibility checker, are only available in Windows)

Running the MS PPT Accessibility Checker

Video Tutorial – PPT Accessibility Checker
(MS Word 2010, 2013 – Windows only)

General Best Practices PPT & Accessibility

PDF Documents
Overview of Best Practices Acrobat X

Using the Adobe Acrobat X Accessibility Checker
Creating an Accessible PDF from MS Word/PPT PC (Note: Make sure your original document or presentation is accessible before converting).

Review the instructions to Save as tagged PDF natively.
Creating an Accessible PDF from MS Word/PPT Mac (Note: Make sure your original document or presentation is accessible before converting).

Creating Accessible PDFs with Mac (using LibreOffice)

Creating Accessible PDFs with Mac (using Open Office)

Other General Accessibility Resources
WebAim Articles & Resources for Accessible Content

Archived Accessibility Training

The MCC Center for Teaching & Learning is hosting a series of Accessibility and Universal Design Webinars this semester in partnership with the Maricopa Center for Learning & Instruction (MCLI). Review the archived sessions.