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Canvas User Update Week of September 21

Important Notices

Deletion (Archiving) of Courses Begins October 2

Spring 2014 and older SIS courses (courses with a designated section number) will begin being deleted on October 2. Deletion (Archiving) will start with Summer 2012 and Fall 2012 MCC courses. All course materials and student information associated with those courses will be deleted. These courses will also no longer appear in your course menu, inbox or calendar list. Throughout the Fall additional deletion/archiving processes will be run for the Spring 2013-Spring 2014 semesters.

What does this mean for you?

Please create archives of the courses if you think you want to keep/reuse any of the content. The archive (export file) can be imported into another Canvas course at a later time. Note: A course export does not include student records.

Privacy/Security & LTIs

You or your students may have noticed a recent disclaimer in Canvas regarding learning tools, known as LTIs (Learning Tools Interoperatbility) in Canvas. LTIs are a specific type of  tool that may route users or their data to another resource (vendor). They include tools such as communication apps (e.g., “Chat”), to entire learning environments (e.g., Pearson MyLabs), and utilities such as plagiarism detection resources (e.g., TurnItIn). Although these tools are designed to enhance the learning experience, you should be aware that when you or your students use these links, you are potentially leaving the Canvas environment and the protections MCCCD has built-in to assure alignment with Maricopa’s Data Privacy and Security Standards and other legal compliance.

What does this mean for you?

At present, MCCCD has been unable to verify that the LTI software and systems conform to Maricopa standards for privacy and security. There is, therefore, some risk that individuals electing to use the products and services made available by these LTI vendors may place any student information shared with the vendor at a risk of disclosure that would concern MCCCD.

A District-wide committee is being established to address LTI concerns and one of the committee’s first activities may include building a web page that contains additional information about LTIs. Additional announcements will be made to include the address of the informative web page when it becomes available for your use.

For now, there are no specific recommendations. However, you may consider carefully reviewing any LTIs that you are using and informing students of the use of these tools in your course (e.g. syllabus).

Canvas Update Cycle

Canvas is on a 3-week update-release cycle. The next beta (preview) release is on 9/28, production notes will follow on 10/5 with the release and documentation to follow on 10/10. Follow the release schedule on the Canvas Updates Calendar.

View Prior Notices

What’s New in Canvas?

Recurring Calendar Events

Repeat Yourself! Repeat Yourself!

When creating a course event, the calendar feature now includes a recurring option similar to that of Google Calendar. Instructors can choose to create copies of the event to occur every day, week, or month. This course-level feature is pending an MCCCD release, but should be available soon.

Recurring Calendar Event Feature

Learn more about the Canvas Calendar.
Learn more about adding recurring events.

How can this feature be used?

  • To create course events that repeat throughout the semester.

What will it look like?

When an event is scheduled to recur it will create a copy for each instance or occurrence. Recurring events are not linked together. They are copies or independent events. If users need to modify an event, each event has to be adjusted individually.

Conference Polling

Big Blue Button just got bigger!

The Canvas Conferences feature, Big Blue Button, has been outfitted with a polling feature. Now a presenter in a web-based conference in Canvas can survey, assess and engage participants with a quick poll. Polling options include Yes/No, True/False, or letter responses (A through F).

Big Blue Button Polling Feature

Learn more about the Canvas Conferences feature.
Learn more about the polling options.

How can this feature be used?

  • To create an interactive poll during a web-based presentation in Canvas.

What will it look like?

Presenters (faculty or students designated as presenters) can create a poll at the bottom of the presentation window. Polls can also be created automatically from a slide in a presentation document that asks a poll type question. The feature will read the slide and include polling options that match the question! Polls are always anonymous and they are not required. Once a poll is started, presenters can see the participant responses as they are made in real time. The presenter an publish the results of a poll during the web conference.


Breaking up is easy to do!

Groups (student or instructor created) will now conclude when the course does. Groups in a concluded course will not appear in the Courses & Groups menu. Users will still be able access their previous and current groups in the Groups index page available in the Courses & Groups menu.

Group Feature Changes
Learn more about concluding courses in the End of Course FAQs.
Learn more about the Group feature in Canvas.

Other Updates of Note

Gradebook – Muted Assignments

When an instructor mutes an assignment, scores are muted from (or not calculated in) the student’s Total score. Previously muting also prevented instructors from seeing the actual total. The instructor’s Gradebook will now reflect the total score with the muted assignment value included. Learn more about assignment muting.

Global Announcements

Global Announcements in Canvas have a new face. A clear box and distinguishing color with icons make it easier for users to see important notifications on the dashboard.

Canvas Mobile

Review the latest improvements to the iOS and Android Canvas Apps.

Review the Release Notes for more updates & bug fixes.

Did You Know?

A New User Interface is Coming

Canvas will be introducing a new User Interface, product look and feel, beginning in August of 2016. The new interface will be a big change for both faculty and students.

This new interface will streamline navigation and refine the user experience. You can learn more about the new UI by watching this video and reading this Canvas Guide.

Get a Preview

Be prepared for an exciting change! You can see how the new UI will operate by visiting the MCCCD Canvas Beta environment. This environment is used to review upcoming changes. Note: This is not a live production environment, it is for review of features only.

Log-in with your MEID and MEID password and take a tour!

Why wait? I love it!

The interface has been launched in certain instances of Canvas, the Network and Free for Teachers, but is not available in MCCCD at this time.

Extensive testing and feedback is needed to make sure that the new UI will be a good fit for our teaching and learning environment and to address any specific issues that may cause disruptions. The expected date that the new UI will be available in MCCCD is August 2016.

I think something could be better!

Great! If you are interested in providing feedback to Canvas about the new UI, they have formed a community where people can share their accolades, concerns and ideas.

Join the New UI User Group to see what people are saying and start sharing your thoughts about the new UI.


New UI Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the Canvas Community site.

Watch the upcoming CanvasLive Webinar on September 23, Same U-New UI live or access the archive after the session at a more convenient time.

Contact the MCC Center for Teaching & Learning for more information about this or other Canvas issues.

Canvas Training

MCCCD Canvas Webinar Learning Series

Join the Maricopa Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTLs) for the fall Canvas Series. For nine weeks the CTLs will provide you with up-to-date informational sessions on tools, instructional techniques, and best practices for Canvas. Each campus will specialize in a topic important to Maricopa faculty. Sessions will be held online using Adobe Connect so you may attend from anywhere. Topics include:

  • Using Collaborative and Social Tools in Canvas (Register)
  • Alternative Ways to Use the Quiz Tool in Canvas (Register)
  • Using Groups in Canvas to Achieve Learning Goals (Register)
  • Practical Peer Review Tips in Canvas (Register)
  • Grading the Easy Way: Using Rubrics in Canvas (Register)
  • Embedding Google Docs and Using Google Apps in Canvas (Register)
  • Using Images to Enhance Content Delivery in Canvas (Register)
  • Module Release in Canvas (Register)

MCC Center for Teaching & Learning

Appointments, Workshops and Customized Sessions

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 team 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. Stop by our offices, send us an email or give us a call for support or to set-up an appointment. We are here for you!

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

Online Tutorials, Resources & Guides

  • Canvas Instructor Orientation 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.
  • Canvas Instructor Video Guides contain quick and informative video tutorials to get you started with Canvas.
  • Canvas Guides are available that cover all major features of Canvas. They can be searched by topic (e.g. Assignments, Discussions, etc.) or by user/type (e.g. Instructor, Mobile, etc.) and are formatted as easy to navigate and mostly image-based walk thru demonstrations of how to use a particular feature. Best practice tip? Share relevant Student Guides in your Canvas course to help students be more successful in using Canvas.
  • Canvas Live provides free webinar trainings on a variety of best practices with teaching and learning on Canvas topics. Join a live session or if you can’t make it sessions are archived for later viewing.
  • MCC Center for Teaching & Learning How-To Documents include a variety of helpful how-to guides such as the Getting Started with Canvas in 10 Steps resource.
  • [Student Resource] MCC Canvas101 is an open enrollment, self-paced course that introduces students to Canvas and walks them through the basics of setting user preferences, submitting assignments, replying to discussions, taking quizzes, viewing grades and more! Recommended for all students.

Canvas Help at MCC

Faculty & Employee Support

Contact the MCC Center for Teaching & Learning for all your Canvas questions. We are here to help!

When sending emails or leaving voice messages, please be as specific as possible about your request. Include your name (first and last), the course section number (if applicable) and a brief description of the issue within your inquiry. This will help us address your question faster!

Student Support

Students seeking assistance with Canvas should contact the MCC HelpCenter at:

Outside normal business hours students should contact the 24X7 assistance line at 1-888-994-4433.