Canvas Updates

Canvas Updates Week of September 15

Important Canvas User Notices

New Canvas 101 for Students Launched at MCC

The MCC Canvas 101 Student Orientation course has been updated! This self-enrolled, self-paced course was first made 2 years ago when MCCCD transitioned to Canvas. It is given out by faculty to orient students to Canvas. It is also published on our MCC eLearning web site, Center for Teaching & Learning Canvas Tutorials and other locations. It is highly recommended that you encourage those students new to Canvas to take this course. This will not only help them be more successful in navigating Canvas to access important course information/activities, it should also save instructional time otherwise spent on technical issues. The easiest way to share this course is to include the web link in your syllabus, welcome letter, getting started activities, etc..

Canvas 101: Student Orientation to Canvas Course –

Keep Your Browsers Current & Clean!

Many of the issues users face with Canvas relate to the web browser. Canvas supports the latest two versions of all the major browsers (Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Safari and Firefox). Although users may be able to access Canvas with older browser versions, they may experience a variety of issues including loss of functionality and worse, loss of work if the browser crashes.

In addition, it is important for browser health and for the usability of Canvas and Canvas features to regularly clear the browser cache. We recommend that users mark their calendar to do this maintenance at least a few times per month or whenever they experience issues like being unable to record video or audio using the Canvas media tools. Some Canvas features also require Flash and the Java plug-in.

A few words on security. Canvas is a secure environment and this can sometimes cause issues with certain multimedia features like embedded videos and tools working or displaying properly due to browser security. It is important to provide links to media and tools, as well as the embedded versions to ensure that students are able to see and interact with course material.

Learn more about Canvas and browser compatibility including security. **Bookmark this resource and give it to students it is extremely valuable!

Resources for Clearing Browser Cache

When in Doubt, Switch Browsers!

One of the first things a user should try when they are experiencing an issue in Canvas is to switch browsers. It may sound like a Help Desk cliche, but a little flexibility in browsing preferences can save a lot of time and frustration. Currently most users are preferring the functionality provided by Google Chrome or Firefox. Internet Explorer is supported, but not recommended.

Canvas Update Cycle

Canvas is on a 3-week update-release cycle. The next beta (preview) release is on 9/15, production notes will follow on 9/22 with the release and documentation to follow on 9/27. Follow the release schedule on the Canvas Updates Calendar.

Recent Changes

Big changes come in small packages! Many of the recent updates to Canvas have been tiny tweaks to functionality that will make your life and the learning of your students better and better! Review all the recent changes from the 9/6/2014 release.

Canvas Course List All-Stars

The Canvas Course list functionality has been changed to allow all users (students and faculty) to more easily manage their Canvas courses. The previous customize option (to control what courses appeared in the ‘quick list’ drop-down course menu) has been combined with the My Courses page. Now users can view all their courses and select which courses to display (using the new star icons to mark favorites) in the drop-down menu all within the same location.

Your course(s) marked as a ‘favorite’ will correspond to your Courses drop-down menu, Canvas Conversations Inbox menu and Calendar menus so it is worth taking the time to customize your course list each semester!

Canvas Course Menu and Page
Additionally the My Courses page includes more information about the status of a course including whether it is published or not. Note: Unpublished courses are listed in gray and include a tag which is visible to faculty and students. When students hover over an unpublished course they will see a message stating – “This course had not been published. Students should contact the course instructor for access.”
Learn More
How do I customize my Courses drop-down menu?

Course Import Gains Function Thru Losses

In the Course Import Tool, users can remove all dates from an imported course. This new setting is part of the Adjust Events and Due Dates options and when selected will remove ALL the date fields when copying a course over from one course to another. This wipe of dates can be helpful in building a new development course or in sharing a course template with other teachers.

New Course Import Options

Learn More
How do I import content from another Canvas course?

Totally New Ways to View Grades

Faculty can now move the Total column to the front of the Gradebook. This is great for quickly seeing an overview of student progress in the course without scrolling through all the assignments. This option can be found in the Total Column drop-down menu. The change in view is persistent to a given browser. The column can be moved back to the end of the Gradebook at any time. Note: This only applies to the Total column not the assignment group sub-total columns.

Gradebook Front Total Column

Ever wonder where your grades in Canvas go after you grade in My.Maricopa (SIS)? They don’t really disappear, but are tucked away because the students are concluded from the course. To access these grades Canvas gave faculty an option to ‘Show Concluded Enrollments’ within the Gradebook menu. Canvas has now also added the ability to download the grades for these Concluded Enrollments. In the Gradebook select the Gear Tool settings (upper-left) and make sure that the ‘Show Concluded Enrollments’ option is on. Then from the same menu select Download Scores (.csv).

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is still critical that you download grades from Canvas each semester for your records before you grade AND any time before you withdraw a student from a course. Withdrawn students are completely removed from the course and will not display as a concluded enrollment.

Learn More
How do I download scores from the Gradebook?

Canvas Peer Review Gets Discussed!

The Canvas Peer Review tool had several issues that made it problematic to implement within graded discussions. Canvas has done some major improvements to make the Peer Review tool a much stronger feature that will meet the needs of a variety of Peer Review activities in discussions without causing logistical headaches. The new and improved Peer Review feature in graded discussions includes:

  • Indicators to the student that a review needs to be done and a direct link within the discussion to take students to that review.
  • A specific additional due date, if used, for the review displays within the indicator message to remind students of the new deadline.
  • A notice within the Global Dashboard and Course Dashboard sidebars to let a user know when they have been assigned a review upon completing their own initial post to the board.
Discussion Peer Review NoticeLearn More
What is a Discussion Peer Review?

What’s Next? Get a Sneak Peak!

This week in Beta check out some of the new feature items that Canvas is looking at implementing in the near future. This beta includes some changes in the gradebook, notifications, conferencing as well as some big update to the the Global Navigation feature (removal of Assignments from the top bar). Review the Beta Release notes for 9/15/2014. If the testing goes well, these  features will become a part of production (live) Canvas environment as early as 9/27/2014.To access the beta environment, go to and log-in with your regular MEID and MEID password. Note: Any changes made in the beta environment will have NO impact on the live environment. Beta is for testing and review purposes only.

Did You Know?

Download a Course Roster in Canvas

Faculty can download a class roster directly from the Canvas Gradebook that includes student MEIDs. This is another option for generating a course roster to replace the functionality that was previously available in the now retired MyMCC Portal.Additionally, faculty may email an entire course from the Canvas Conversations Inbox, providing that the course is published within Canvas. This is just one of the many reasons to use Canvas regardless of your course format. Sending messages to student’s Maricopa mail account can be hit or miss, but in Canvas students can set-up their preferred method of contact making it easier to reach students with an important course message.Not a Canvas User? Interested in learning what Canvas can do for you and for student learning? Contact the MCC Center for Teaching & Learning at to set a Getting Started with Canvas in 10 Easy Steps appointment today! Canvas Gradebook Roster & Email Instructions – RecommendedMessaging Your Course via Canvas – Recommended

SIS (My.Maricopa) Roster Instructions

Emailing Your Course via Maricopa Gmail

Help Your Students Get Smart! Open Online Tutoring in Your Course!

Within every Canvas course you have the opportunity to link students to the FREE MCC Online Tutoring tool, Smarthinking within the course navigation.With Smarthinking, students (in all course formats) can:

  • Immediately connect and interact with a live tutor
  • Schedule a Personal Session with a tutor of their choice
  • Submit a question and receive a reply from a tutor
  • Submit a paper for a tutor to review

And all of these services are provided online! A wide variety of subject areas are offered by Smarthinking. Most subjects are offered 24/7, but some may have limited hours. Note: Tutoring services are limited to 20 hours per student, per semester. FREE tutoring services are also available on-campus.

To add this tremendous service to your course, go to the Course > open the Settings (on the left) > select the Navigation tab > drag/drop the Online Tutoring tool into the visible navigation. Canvas Guide Instructions for Adding, Hiding and Reordering  Course Navigation.

Not using Canvas, but want your students to benefit from Online Tutoring services? No problem! Provide this link to your students so they can access Smarthinking outside of your course.

Please note, the online tutoring services are limited to MCC students.

Canvas Training

CTL Logo

Canvas Training at MCC

The CTL is your partner as you implement innovative teaching, learning and workplace strategies. From general support, to consultation services, and/or tailored workshops, we are here to help you, your department, program or division reach your goals for student success.The CTL provides day-to-day support for faculty and staff on technology, teaching and productivity issues including Canvas. We offer our Canvas services through appointments, workshops and customized sessions for departments or functional groups. Stop by our offices, send us an email or give us a call. 

View our learning opportunity calendar.
Visit us on the web at
Email us at
Call us at (480) 461-7331


Online Resources, Tutorials & Guides for FacultyCanvas Logo

  • 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 for faculty wanting to learn Canvas basics.
  • Canvas Guides are available that cover all major features of Canvas by question topic. They are easy to navigate and mostly image-based walk thru demonstrations of how to use a particular feature.
  • MCCCD Canvas Help Area provides how-to documents, and support information to all Canvas users, students and faculty.

Join the Conversation, Now Accepting Conference Session Proposals for Canvas Conversations

Please plan to join us for the 3rd Annual Canvas Conversations event on Friday, November 7, 2014 from 9 am to 3 pm at Scottsdale Community College. This event is open to all Maricopa faculty and staff.This all day event will focus on all things Canvas. Opportunities for everyone – from beginner to advanced! Participate in:

  • Roundtables
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Show and tell
  • Dialog with colleagues

Registration will open soon! Check the MCLI web site for details!

Submit a Proposal to Present at the Conference
We know you are doing awesome work in Canvas; please consider sharing your ideas and expertise by submitting a proposal today! Proposals are due by 11:59 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014.

CanvasLive Webinars

CanvasLIVE is a free webinar series designed to give Canvas users additional training and a place for members of the Canvas community to share their knowledge. Each session includes a quick tutorial and overview on a Canvas tool or feature, followed by a focused demonstration and a short Q&A.  Sessions are archived so if you are not able to attend a live session you can still benefit from the presentation.