Things I Wish I Would Have Known: Canvas Edition-Google Assignments

blog series

Introducing a new series, Things I Wish I Would Have Known: Canvas Edition. We will highlight things we wish we might have done differently when we started using Canvas and what you might consider updating in your course going forward. When back to school time hits it can be overwhelming to consider what updates to make in your Canvas course. Our hope with this series is that you will consider some changes you can make for next year and start implementing some of those new ideas now.

Three Big Reasons to Try Google Assignments in Canvas
  • If you used the predecessor to Google Assignments, Cloud Assignments, they are being deprecated in June 2024. Learn more about this in our earlier blog post. If you have any assignment that look like the one below, please be sure to take action.

screen of Google Cloud assignment

  • If you have Google Document that you ask students to make a copy of, you may be creating unknown barriers for students. Many students forget if they have already copied and started an assignment. If they did already start it, they may not be able to find it again. With Google Assignments, each student receives a labeled copy organized in a dedicated Drive folder, making it easy to keep track of submissions, and peak and their progress while they work.
    • In earlier years using Canvas, some teachers did not like it because:
      • You couldn’t use the Canvas Speedgrader, you had to use the Google grader–you now have the option to grade with Speedgrader.
      • People reported problems with it. In the early years of Canvas, there were a lot of problems talked about but these days I seldom hear of an issue.
  • One of the standout features of Assignments is the availability of originality reports. These reports scan student submissions against hundreds of billions of web pages and millions of books, helping you identify potential instances of plagiarism or missed citations. Each course is allotted five originality reports. When enabled students can even check over their originality report up to 3 times to help catch their errors. This feature would be an excellent reason to give Google Assignments a try before the end of the year.

Tutorial: Create a Google Assignment


March Canvas Updates

march Canvas updates

March 16, 2024 Canvas is releasing two welcome updates!

  • New Quizzes Item Analysis: Fill In the Blank Data now provides additional information on specific question types for instructors to evaluate student responses and provide appropriate intervention. Previously, if you had multiple blanks or dropdowns you would not get stats on all the blanks. Now you will be able to get data for each blank. See image below.

fill in the blank analytics

  • Multiple gradebook filter options can be applied at once.

gradebook filters

Video walkthrough:

Canvas Discussions Redesign Coming this Summer

canvas discussions redesign

This summer, Canvas is rolling out a redesign of the Discussions feature to provide a more modern, accessible, and user-friendly experience. While the core functionality of Discussions will remain intact, the new redesign brings a host of exciting enhancements.

What’s New in the Discussions Redesign?

  • Cleaner, more accessible UI with improved screen reader capabilities
  • Flexible viewing options including inline view and split view
  • Reply reporting with notifications for instructors
  • Quoting functionality to make referencing easier
  • Improved search with text highlighting
  • Support for full and partial anonymity in graded discussions—this functionality is currently turned off  for P-CCS until Canvas adds a moderation feature
  • Additional sorting and filtering options

The goal is to facilitate better peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration through a modernized discussion forum experience. Popular existing features like posting before seeing replies, marking posts read/unread, group discussions, peer reviews, and rubric support will continue to be available.

While some may be apprehensive about the changes, Canvas emphasizes that no current functionality is going away. The redesign aims to elevate the overall discussion experience by adding conveniences like quote replies, anonymous postings, and a more intuitive design.

So get ready to embrace the future of Canvas Discussions coming your way this summer! The refreshed interface and new capabilities will foster more engaging discourse for students and instructors alike.

Find more information here: 2024_Canvas-Discussions-Redesign_Data-Sheet.pdf – Google Drive

New Student & Family Canvas Orientation

location of Canvas orientation link

In an effort to better help new students and families understand how to use Canvas, we have created a Student and Family Canvas Orientation. We plan to link it in several places throughout our public-facing websites. For now, it is conveniently linked in the “Help” area in Canvas.

location of Canvas orientation link

There is a family module and student module. They contain walkthroughs in several formats (video, interactive tutorial, and linked guides).

family module
Orientation Module for Observers/Families
students orientation modules
Module for Students

Individuals don’t need to be be logged into view the course, so you can also share the link directly. Please feel free to spread the word to anyone who would benefit from this resource. We will update this blog post when we add the link in other places.


Canvas February Updates

There are several updates coming to Canvas on February 17.

  • Calendar: Did you know you can set up appointment groups for students to sign up to meet with you? Coming February 17, you can also allow Observers to sign up for Appointment Groups.

  • New Quizzes updates include:
    • If you utilize Classic Quizzes for practice quizzes you’ll be able to migrate them to New Quizzes. When migrated, the settings for a practice quiz will automatically be enabled (worth 0 points and set to NOT display in the gradebook).

zero-point quiz settings enabled

    • New Quizzes has recently increased the speed of analytics for your quiz and now they are adding the option to export the data as a CSV.
    • There will also be answer frequency summary tables available for Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer, and True or False question types.

Go to Canvas’s Relase Notes for more information on these updates.

Canvas Module Requirements: Streamlining Learning for Educators

Canvas offers a valuable feature known as Module Requirements. Canvas Module Requirements allow teachers to set prerequisites for learning materials within a course. This means that learners must complete one step before moving on to the next. This feature is particularly beneficial in guiding students through a sequential learning journey. By structuring modules with prerequisites, educators can ensure that foundational concepts are mastered before introducing more advanced topics. In a world where remote and asynchronous learning are becoming increasingly prevalent, the ability to control the flow of information is crucial. Canvas Module Requirements provide teachers with the means to create a logical progression of content, fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Did you know? Canvas requirements are used in all of our asynchronous professional development. If you click on Module in the course you are taking, you can easily see what items you have completed and pick up where you left off in a course. When you go to Module you’ll see this:

modules with missing and completed requirments

Green checkmarks indicate it is complete and the circle indicates that it still needs to be completed. Hopefully this information helps you as we enter the February PD window. If you would like more information about setting these up in your own course, check out the instructor guides linked below.

Grading Periods for New Term

visual organizer of the grading periods transition

Secondary teachers are approaching the end of a new term (semester 1/quarter 2). Here’s what you need to be aware of in Canvas.

  • Teachers will have access to make edits, give feedback, and grade assignments in Canvas for 1st Semester until 11:59 pm on January 31, 2023. After that date, the grades will not be editable, you’ll need to follow your building’s process for updating a grade on record. Please note change due to snow days.
  • Students will continue to have access to submit assignments with due dates in the first semester UNLESS YOU HAVE AN AVAILABLE UNTIL DATE OF JAN. 30 (11:50 pm) OR EARLIER.  You can edit those dates in bulk by following the steps here. If you have a year-long course, please look over your assignments and consider what you want to remain available.

Semester 2 is set to “open” on January 30, please make sure any semester courses are published by then.  You can filter your grade book to view assignments with due dates in the Semester 2 grading period by following the steps here.

If you have questions, please submit a tech ticket.

Outdated Google Assignments Deprecated June 2024

Outdated Google Assignments

The older Google Apps LTI (integration) will no longer be available in Canvas after June 2024. P-CCS turned off the ability to create new assignments with the previous integration in 2021, so a very small number of people will be affected. If you have copied old Google Assignments over from year to year, you may need to convert them to the updated Google Assignment. 

What do you do with assignments created with the old integration?

  • Make a copy of the old assignment
  • On the right of the assignment, click More>Edit>More Options
  • Next to “Submission Type,” click the dropdown >External Tool.
  • Click “Find”, select “Google Assignments (LTI 1.3)”
  • Link your Google Workspace for Education Account (first time only)
  • Click Continue, attach the Drive Files needed
  • Choose your grading tool, make sure to update the due date and points
  • Click Create. 
  • On the Canvas page, click Select>Save.

Video directions

If you have assignments created with the old integration (this will apply to very few of our teachers), those assignments will NOT BE available after June 2024 UNLESS you update them with the steps outlined above.

What are Google Assignments?

Google Assignments allow you to automatically create a copy of docs/slides/sheets for each student to edit (similar functionality to Google Classroom, if you are familiar with that platform). That document automatically includes their name, is shared with the teacher, is organized in a folder in Drive, and is attached to the assignment for submission. It also allows the teacher to observe student progress and give feedback on their work along the way. 

Google and Canvas by Kaelyn Bullock

If you would like to learn how to create a Google Assignment, follow these steps.

Read Google’s guidance for more information about the integration. Please reach out to a TIS if you have questions. 

New Canvas Support Workflow

We want to inform you about a recent change to our district’s Canvas support process. In the past, you had the ability to reach out directly to Canvas support through phone or chat, but we’ve now transitioned to a different approach. If you encounter any issues or need assistance, please submit a support ticket from the Canvas Help Menu.

Canvas report a problem


We understand that this is a shift from the previous service level, and we appreciate your understanding. Additionally, we encourage you to explore the Canvas guides (instructor, student, and observer). There are also guides available for the mobile applications. You can utilize the new Panda Bot as valuable resources to help navigate Canvas effectively during this transition. Your satisfaction with the support we provide remains our priority.