October Canvas Updates

Over the weekend, you may have noticed a few updates to Canvas:

  • Sticky Navigation Menus: Now when you scroll down a Canvas page, the Course Navigation Menu remains visible.
  • SpeedGrader Submission Status: You can now change the submission status of an assignment (late, missing, excused) directly in SpeedGrader (previously, you could only do that in the Gradebook).
  • Gradebook Assignment Search: Now you can search the gradebook by student name and assignment name. More Gradebook search updates are coming later this month!
  • Accessibility Checker Notification: Have you ever noticed the little Accessibility icon at the bottom of the Rich Content Editor? It allows you to check how accessible your content is, and now, it will have a notification alert if it finds issues. Be sure to click on it and check its suggestions before publishing.
  • Microsoft Immersive Reader: This is a great tool embedded on many pages that allows people to have text read aloud to them (at faster or slower speeds), translate text, have access to a picture dictionary, and much more. Previously it was only on Canvas pages, but now it is also available in Assignments and the Syllabus. If you haven’t tried it out before, check it out, it is next to the Student View button in the upper, right corner.
  • Course Notification Settings: You can adjust your notifications by course.

notification settings image

To keep up-to-date on upcoming Canvas updates or to view more information about these updates, visit this website: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Canvas-Releases/tkb-p/canvas-release


Print Canvas New Quizzes

If you would like to have a paper copy of a Canvas quiz for certain students, you can easily do that in New Quizzes. Just click the 3 dots (or TimBits) in the upper, right corner to reveal more options.

option to print new quiz

After selecting the print option, you will be able to choose the preferred text size.

menu to select print size

One other enhancement with New Quizzes is that you can bypass the assignment details screen and get right into building question when you are designing a unit in modules. See below.

option to build a new quiz directly from modules

If you like these enhancements but mostly have Classic Quizzes in your course, you can begin the process of migrating them to New Quizzes with these directions.

New Nightly MiStar/Canvas Grade Auto-Syncing

Steps for setting up grade sync each night

If you would like your Canvas grades to automatically sync with your MiStar gradebook each night, that is now possible with just a few clicks.

  1. Make sure Grade Sync is enabled under Settings/Navigation
Showing grade sync enabled
Students do not have access to this page.

2. Once enabled and saved, you can navigate to the Grade Sync from the Course Navigation menu and toggle the option on.

Steps for setting up grade sync each night

If you need more information about the necessary set up for your Canvas Grades to sync with MiStar, take a look at the resources on the P-CCS Tech website.



Canvas Camp 2021 and Tech Coffee Chat #1 Recordings

Thanks to all who were able to join us during Canvas Camp 2021! We are happy to continue to support you with our Monday Morning Coffee Chats. Below you will find links to recordings from our August sessions.

Studio Q & A-This session covered a lot of the basics of Studio and looked at some more advanced features. The trainer also provided great ideas for how to use Studio as the teacher and how students can use it.

Canvas Q & A– In this session we talked a lot about copying course content. Toward the end, Cory gave a really great introduction to Groups.

Canvas Course Design Considerations– Here’s the session agenda. This training is great for all grade levels and also had a few good nuggets for elementary teachers.

TIS Face Off: Canvas Tips- Matt and Kaelyn face off about their favorite Canvas tips. Recording coming soon.

Last week we had our first Tech Coffee Chat centered around the Canvas Best Practice, Simplifying the Course Navigation Menu. Check out the recording and join us Monday, September 20 for tips on creating an informative, welcoming home page.


New Assignment Enhancements in Canvas

Canvas has made several adjustments and improvements to the student assignment experience. Take a look below.

image of assignment enhancements

If you choose “Text Entry” for the student turn-in option, student work will auto-save and they can submit directly on the page.

image of text entry

Scroll through the gallery below to see other assignment options.

If you feel these enhancements will not serve your students, you can toggle them off under Settings/Feature Previews.




2020-2021 Course Clean Up

Please make sure your 2020-2021 courses are closed. We have heard from a few students and parents that are still seeing their 2020-2021 courses. You’ll want to ensure your courses are closed or unpublished.

Navigate to https://pccsk12.instructure.com/courses or click on the “Courses” icon on the Course Navigation Menu and click “All Courses” You’ll see a list of your courses that are still published.

  • If you notice any from the 2020-2021 school year in your current enrollments you will need to take action.
  • If you see 20-21 published courses under Past Enrollments, that is as it should be and no action is required.

Image of published course list.You may be able to open the course and click “Unpublish.” If you are unable to do that, please submit a tech ticket.

Also keep in mind that any manually-created courses like a counseling group, club, or media center course should be closed out if they are no longer needed. Or students that have moved up to a new building level should be removed from the course.

These closed courses will still be accessible in a view-only format to students in “Past Enrollments.”


Introducing: TIS Monday Coffee Chats

In late August, the P-CCS Canvas Best Practices were published. https://tech.pccsk12.com/canvas-best-practices/

To help you carry out these practices, the Technology Integration Specialists plan to offer brief (20-25 minutes) sessions before school on Monday mornings. We will provide a rationale for the practice, a quick tutorial, and examples when appropriate. Be sure to bring your favorite morning beverage!

Start Times (feel free to attend at a time that works best for you):


  • September 13: Simplify Course Navigation
  • September 20: Create a Welcoming, Informative Home Page
  • September 27: Provide Clear Guidance for Absent Students
  • October 4: Post Assignments Online, via Canvas
  • October 11: Use Announcement Weekly
  • October 18: Use Modules to Organize and Distribute Content

Action Required: Publish Your Canvas Course(s)

click publish on the course card on the dashboard

Please note that each teacher must manually publish the course(s) they want to be visible to students.

Publishing your course only takes one click! From the Course Card on your Dashboard, click “Publish” (see screenshot below).
click publish on the course card on the dashboard

Alternatively, you can open the course home page and click the “Publish” button on the right side of the screen (see screenshot below).

As a reminder, your courses in MISTAR have been auto-populated in Canvas and auto-rostered with students. These are the course(s) you should publish and actively use with students. Any manually created courses should either be copied or cross-listed with your auto-populated courses. You can also cross-list multiple sections of the same course following the instructions provided in one of our previous posts.

Canvas Support Office Hours

We hope you had a relaxing and rejuvenating summer break. As you work on getting your Canvas course(s) up and running, we want to offer you support. On Wednesday afternoon (September 1) we will offer office hours via Zoom from 12:30-3:30 pm. Add to your calendar.

If you are looking for other forms of support, the Help option on the Course Navigation Menu has several great options. See the image below.

image displaying help options in Canvas

You can also schedule a one-on-one coaching session with a Canvas representative, also known as a Panda Pro. https://tech.pccsk12.com/panda-pros-coaching/




P-CCS Canvas Best Practices

As we enter our second year with Canvas as our district’s learning management system, it’s important to continue to have it serve as the digital centerpiece for our classrooms. In an effort to foster a more uniform experience for our students and families, staff are encouraged to construct and maintain their Canvas courses bearing in mind these P-CCS Canvas Best Practices.

If you have questions or would like assistance implementing any of these practices, please consider attending a “WorkLab” session on Thursday, August 26 during Canvas Camp or one of the Canvas Q & A sessions on either Thursday, August 26th or Monday, August 30th.

Finally, know your friendly, district Technology Integration Specialists will also plan sessions for each of these items during the first six weeks of school (and sessions will be recorded and posted) as embracing these best practices will help our students.