Welcome to this brief tutorial on the basic
aspects of navigating Canvas. This is intended as a general guideline only,
and your professor may choose to use more Canvas tools, or fewer Canvas tools, than
what will be discussed in this tutorial. To access your specific course, navigate to
the top of the Canvas toolbar. Go to courses,
and scroll to your specific course, clicking on that link.
This will take you to the course’s “Home Page.” “Home Pages” will look different depending
on the individual design choices of your instructor. Here, we have an indication that this is the
“Home Page” with this little “Home Page” icon, and the professor has chosen to list his name,
and the semester for the course. This professor has also chosen to provide
access to the most recent “Announcement” available in the course,
and by clicking on that link, the student can then see the most recent “Announcement”
content. However, not all instructors will do this.
Some instructors will decide just to use a “Recent Activity” page that will indicate
new postings to discussion boards, and new announcements in a sort of list on the side
of the “Home Page.” Again, the “Home Page” will look different
depending on the design choices of your instructor. The “Syllabus” for the course can generally
be accessed in two different places. The syllabus can be accessed using the “Syllabus”
tool if your instructor has made that tool available to you.
By clicking on that tool, you are able to see two different aspects of the “Course Syllabus”
page. On the top of the page, notice that we have
a link provided to the particular syllabus for this course.
By clicking on that link, the student would then be taken to either a PDF format, or a
Microsoft Word format, of the course syllabus. There’s also a “Preview” option, and you can
view the document in a new window. Not all professors decide to post the syllabus
for the course in this section, so don’t always rely on it’s being here.
What you’ll see at the bottom of the page is a course schedule. The course schedule
tells you the due date of assignments, the day of the week the assignment is due,
it will provide a link to that particular assessment, and it will tell you the time
of day that the assignment is due. Generally, this information is generated on
the “Syllabus Page” by the due dates posted within the assignments themselves,
And any dates of events that are posted to the “Calendar.”
Your professor may or may not put items on the “Calendar.” If your professor decides
to do so, by clicking on “Calendar” at the top of the
page, you will see things like assignment due dates, quiz due dates, events such as
chat sessions with your professor, and maybe even office hours with your professor listed
on the calendar. Generally, the information posted on the “Calendar”
and the information in the schedule on the “Syllabus” page is in sync.
However, every once in a while there are discrepancies, just because of glitches in the Canvas system.
If this occurs, be sure to send your instructor a message to inquire about the correct due
date and time of an assignment or an event. The most important page on Canvas is the “Modules”
page, which you can access by clicking on “Modules”
on the left Canvas tool bar. When you click on that page, you’ll be taken
to the ‘Modules” page, which includes all the assignments for the
class, links to quizzes and practice quizzes,
and important content such as lectures. The course “Modules” page is basically the
equivalent of what would be happening inside the classroom
in terms of the professor delivering information to you.
When you get to the “Modules” page, you might notice that some portions of the page are
“grayed” out and you are not able to click on those links.
There might be a couple of different reasons for that.
This particular professor chose to require students to submit this first “Self Assessment”
quiz before any other content can be accessed in the course.
Why is that? Just as if you were in a normal classroom,
the professor would be delivering information to you in a particular order.
Sometimes professors need that same thing to happen in an online format.
We don’t want students jumping ahead of themselves, Because sometimes students are not prepared
to access content until they have mastered previous content in the course.
So, by forcing you to move through the modules sequentially, we are actually allowing you
to experience content in the order in which it is BEST experienced.
Once I submit this assignment, the next content item should become available
to me. Sometimes entire modules are locked.
When that happens, you’ll see a little “lock” icon next to the title of the module.
An instructor may choose to lock a module for two reasons.
First, sometimes the professor wants you to finish the previous module before you can
access the next module. Again, that is so you do not jump ahead of
yourself, and try to complete assignments that you’re
not prepared to complete. In other instances,
the professor has decided to “date” lock a module until a given date and time.
In this case, the professor has decided to lock the module until August 30th, at 8 am,
at which time, this module will unlock and become available to students.
Again, the course “Modules” page is the most important page in terms of accessing all the
necessary information in the course. Frequently, the syllabus for the course appears
in the modules page as well. The next tool is the “Announcements” tool.
When you click on “Announcements” you’ll be able to see any important announcements
that the professor is providing to the students. You can click on an announcement, and the
information contained in that announcement will appear to you.
Sometimes an announcement icon will appear if you have not yet checked an announcement
and it is always your responsibility as the student to make sure that you check announcements
in a timely manner. You might wonder exactly when an instructor
has graded your assignment. That can be easily determined by using the
“Grades” tool in Canvas. Notice, on this particular example,
there is a little blue circle with the number “1” inside.
This is indicating to me that I have one assignment that has been graded,
that I have not yet looked at. So when I click on the “Grades” tool button,
It will take to the “Grades” page, where I will see a list of various assignments
that have been graded, and the assignment that I have not yet checked
the grade for has a little blue circle next to it.
I can see when that assignment was due, the score that I received,
and in this case, the instructor has provided me with feedback
in the form of a comment. When I click on that,
the comment from the instructor appears underneath the assignment.
Now that I have looked at my score for this assignment,
Canvas knows that I no longer need to be concerned with not keeping up-to-date with feedback
from the instructor. Notice that the little indicator of a grade
has disappeared. This is great.
What that means for you as a student is that you never need to ask the instructor whether
an assignment has been graded. You know that an assignment has been newly
graded when you get an icon indicating that you have to check your score.
And you can always go to the “Grade” page to find out what you got on past assignments.
The next button is the “Discussions” button. “Discussions” are extremely important, particularly
in online classes. It is through discussions and group assignments
that the professor can foster a learning community, just as though you were sitting in a classroom.
On the “Discussions” page you will see three different sections.
At the bottom, you’ll see “Closed for Comments.” That means you’re no longer able to participate
in this discussion by posting comments. Generally, that discussion is past date, or
it is no longer relevant to the content currently being discussed in the class, or it has already
been graded. The middle section is the general discussion
section. In this section, you will have discussion
boards that are currently open, as well as discussion
boards that have not yet been made available. For discussions that your instructor really
finds important in the “here and now,” you should go to “Pinned Discussions” at top
of the “Discussions” page. Here, your professor will post the discussion
that you should be working on currently in the class.
You can simply click on the discussion, and it will take you to your particular discussion
board. The next two tools I will show you
MAY or MAY NOT be used by your professor. The “Assignments” tool is sometimes used by
professors, and sometimes not. If it is used, you can click on it,
and you will see a list of assignments, both overdue and then past assignments.
When you click on an assignment, it can take you to the area that describes
the due date of the assignment, the point value of the assignment,
and the format in which your professor wants you to submit the assignment.
Underneath is a description of the assignment and any specific instructions for that assignment.
When you are ready to submit your assignment, go to “Submit Assignment” on the right-hand
side of the page. When you click on that,
you’ll be taken to the space in which you are able to submit your assignment.
Since the professor for this assignment wanted everything submitted in a “text entry
box,” I am able to “cut and paste” my text from
my word processing document, put it into this box,
and then use the various tools to format my assignment.
I can make comments, and, if made available to me,
I can submit file uploads and uploads to url’s. Then when I am ready to turn in my assignment,
I will click on “Submit Assignment,” and the assignment will be submitted to my instructor.
When I navigate away from this page, notice I get a little warning message saying
“hey, you’re about to leave this page, you didn’t enter anything…” This is to let you
know that you may have accidentally forgotten to submit your assignment.
Your instructor may not use the “Assignments” page.
Does that mean you do not have assignments for the course?
NO! Assignments are sometimes only available through
the “Modules” page. Why is that?
In certain cases the instructor wants to make sure that you look at the content of the modules
before you submit an assignment. You can still submit assignments the same
way. Click on the assignment, see the instructions,
and then hit “Submit Assignment” after you have pasted your assignment or done your file
uploads. The other button that may or may not be available
to you is the “People” tool button.
If your instructor decides to make this available to you,
when you click on it, you will get a list of not only the people
in the course, but also your professor for the course.
Again, some instructors may not make this available to you.
Why? They might try to protect the privacy of the
other students on the course. Thanks for listening to this tutorial on how
to use the basic, common aspects of Canvas.
And I wish you great success in your classes this semester.