FAQs by Instructors / TAs

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1    Canvas access and interface

  1. How can I login to Canvas?
  2. Why can’t I login to Canvas?
  3. How can I sign up for a course site?
  4. When will the course sites be created?
  5. What can I see and do after I login to Canvas?
  6. How do I view my courses?
  7. How do I customize my Course list?
  8. What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas?
  9. Which browsers does Canvas support?
  10. Will Canvas work on my mobile device?
  11. Why can't I find a past term course I taught in Canvas?
  12. Can I change my email notification preferences?

2   Setting up your Canvas course site

  1. What is the Course Home Page?
  2. How can I manage the Course Navigation menu (left sidebar)?
  3. How do I add TAs or other supporting staff and users to my course?
  4. What are the default term start and end day for courses in Canvas?
  5. What happens to the course after the course end-date?
  6. Can I change the start and end dates for my course?
  7. Can I hide my course from student after the course ended?
  8. Can I copy my contents from a previous Canvas course?
  9. Can I preview my course before publishing it?
  10. How do I publish a course?

3   Building up your Canvas course site

  1. What are the basic features of Canvas?
  2. How do I edit my course Syllabus?
  3. Can I let students who are not enrolled in my course view the Syllabus?
  4. What are Modules for instructors?
  5. How can I present my course materials to students (readings, ppts, videos, and links)?
  6. What can I do with the Assignments tool?
  7. How do I create an online assignment to students?
  8. How do I add a grading scheme to an assignment
  9. Can I assign an assignment to an individual student or course section?
  10. How do I create an assignment with Turnitin check in Canvas?
  11. How to grade an assignment linked to Turnitin?
  12. What is Discussion for Instructors?
  13. How do I create a Discussion as an instructor?
  14. What are Quizzes for instructors?
  15. How do I create a Quiz with individual Questions?
  16. Is there any limit on number of questions in each quiz?
  17. How do I create a Quiz with a Question Group to randomize quiz questions?
  18. How do I use Question Bank in my course?
  19. Can I share a Question Bank with other Canvas courses?
  20. What are Files for instructors?
  21. How do I use Files as an instructor?
  22. How do I handle multiple files / folders in Files?
  23. What are Conferences for instructors?
  24. What are Collaborations?

4   Creating and managing Groups on Canvas

  1. How can Canvas facilitate group work?
  2. How do I create a new Group Set?
  3. How do I view what students are doing in their groups?
  4. How do I assign an assignment to a course group?
  5. What are Students Groups on Canvas and how can I enable or disable student group creation?

5   Grading your students on Canvas

  1. What are Assignment Groups?
  2. How do I weight the final grade based on Assignment Groups?
  3. How do I use SpeedGrader?
  4. How do I get to SpeedGrader from an Assignment, Quiz, or Graded Discussion?
  5. How do I use the Gradebook?
  6. How do I hide the grades of an assignment from students in the Gradebook?
  7. How can I post the grades for a non-submission assignments?
  8. Can I export or import grades to Gradebook?
  9. How do I enable a grading scheme for my course?
  10. Can I hide the totals in my students' grade summaries?
  11. Can I exclude an assignment from the course's final grades?
  12. How do I view Analytics for my course or a specific student?

6   Communicating with your students in Canvas

  1. How to make an Announcement?
  2. Why can’t I receive an email notification for announcements I’ve made? 
  3. Can I preview my Announcement before releasing to students? 
  4. How to send message to someone in my course?
  5. What is the Calendar for instructors?

7   More tools on Canvas built by HKUST

  1. What can I do with More Tools?
  2. How can I access SFQ in Canvas?
  3. What can I do with Library Toolbox?
  4. What is the iPeer Setup tool in Canvas?

8   More help with Canvas

  1. Best practices with Canvas
  2. Search the Canvas Guides
  3. Report problems to our Helpdesk
  4. Where can students get help with Canvas?
  5. Copyright Information
  6. Terms of Service Agreement and Privacy Policy for Canvas

 

1    Canvas access and interface

1.1    How can I login to Canvas?

  1. Open a web browser and go to the URL https://canvas.ust.hk.
  2. Log in with your ITSC account name and password.
  3. Click the LOGIN button.

If you are experiencing difficulties logging in Canvas with your ITSC account, please contact ITSC’s helpdesk via email cchelp@ust.hk or telephone 2358-6200.


1.2    Why can’t I login to Canvas?

You may not be able to log in because your account has never been assigned to any courses in Canvas.  Please sign up for a course site before you can access to Canvas.  Find out how to sign up for a course site in the next point 1.3 How can I sign up for a course site?


1.3    How can I sign up for a course site?

If you want to sign up for a Canvas course site, please fill in the online application form or send an email to canvas@ust.hk. Please also see the next point regarding auto creation of course site for regular lecture courses 1.4 When will the course sites be created?


1.4    When will the course sites be created?

All the course sites of regular lecture courses will be auto created in Canvas every term once the class information is ready in the ARR record.

If you would like to have the course site ready before the auto creation, please send us a request through the online application form or send an email to canvas@ust.hk.


1.5    What can I see and do after I login to Canvas?

The landing page after log in is called the Dashboard. The User Dashboard is a summary page of what is happening in all your courses. It allows you to see recent activities across the different courses and figure out what to do next. You can return to your User Dashboard at any time by clicking on the Canvas logo in the top left of the page.

The User Dashboard consists of four main elements:

  1. Global Navigation - provides you with a quick access to all of your Courses, Groups, Calendar, SFQ and Inbox. Global Navigation also appears on the left of every page in Canvas.
  2. The Dashboard - includes a course card for each of your favorite courses. Each card can include up to four tabs, which represent the four main Canvas features for student course activity: Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, and Files. These tabs mimic visibility and order in Course Navigation, so for instance, if an instructor hides the Announcements link, the Announcements tab will not display on the course activity.
    If the tabs are visible, Discussions and Announcements indicate the number of new activity items in the course.
  3. Sidebar - helps you see what needs your attention across all your courses. It can contain sections such as To Do, Coming Up, View Grades and SFQ.
  4. Help - access to a list of the guides for Canvas and ways you can seek further help.

1.6    How do I view my courses?

To access your courses, click on the Courses icon on the left Global Navigation menu of your Canvas page and select the course you want to see from drop-down list. So if you don’t see your course in the short menu click All Courses. Read more >>


1.7    How do I customize my Course list?

Mouse over Courses (or Courses & Groups) and you will see a drop-down list of maximum 12 most recent active courses. To modify the drop-down list, click the View All or Customize link. Use the star symbol next to a course to add or remove it from the Courses drop-down list. Read more >>


1.8    What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas?

Canvas is designed for maximum compatibility and minimal requirements. Read more about the details of the specifications >>


1.9    Which browsers does Canvas support?

Canvas supports the last two versions of every browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plug-in. See the complete list of browsers >>


1.10    Will Canvas work on my mobile device?

Yes. You can access Canvas on your mobile device through any mobile browser. You can also access it from the Canvas app (by Instructure). For the first time launching the Canvas app, you need to type “canvas.ust.hk” to search for the HKUST Canvas site and then log in with your HKUST ITSC account. Depending on your device, not all Canvas features may be available on the app. Read more >>  


1.11    Why can't I find a past term course I taught in Canvas?

After a course site has been concluded but is still available as a read-only archived course, it will be grouped under the section Past Enrollments inside the View All or Customize page. All users including instructors, TAs and students can only view course material and grades but cannot submit any assignments or do any changes to the course settings.


1.12    Can I change my email notification preferences?

Yes, you can change the default setting on Canvas. There are four options for each notification category – Right Away, Daily, Weekly, Never. It is a good idea to go through all the actions and customize the notifications based on your personal preferences. But before you make any changes, you need to be aware of the following:

  • These settings apply to all of your courses. You cannot change settings for individual courses.
  • Setting preferences inside the mobile app will override preferences in the browser version of Canvas, and some preferences are not supported.

Find out more about the default notification preferences >>

Learn how to change the default settings >>

Read more about setting preferences for Android phones or iOS devices >>


 

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2    Setting up your Canvas course site

2.1    What is the Course Home Page?

The Course Home Page, is the first page you see after you’ve selected a course site or clicked the Home link in their Course Navigation. As an instructor, you can customize several areas on this page to create a specific workflow for your students. The Home page contain four main areas:

  1. Course Navigation Menu – it is a series of links on the left side that help you and your students accessing different tools within your course. The course navigation menu can be collapsible by clicking on the Menu  icon.
  2. Breadcrumbs – it shows the tool you are in. You can click on the course code to return to Course Home Page.
  3. Content Area – This area will display the corresponding contents while students going through different components within the course. For the default display when first landing, it can be one of five different layouts depending on the instructor's preference (read more below the image).
  4. Sidebar - The top of the sidebar contains links for managing your course, this includes the Course Analytics tab. Below the course management tabs, you will see some Coming up events and due dates as well as To Do items if something is waiting for your action.

There are five options to choose from for your Home Page Content Area (3):

  • The default is Modules which help the students navigate through your course contents, we recommend you to select Modules for the home page, if you are using it.
  • Course Activity Stream which shows the recent activities in the course.
  • If you have created a specific page that you want to use as a welcome page, choose the Pages Front Page and select that page from a dropdown list. Note: you need to create the page first.
  • If you are using Canvas mainly for online assessments, select Assignments List.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Syllabus page as the home page.

Learn more about layout options are available in the Course Home Page >>

Learn more on how to change the Course Home Page >>


2.2    How can I manage the Course Navigation menu (left sidebar)?

By default, all menu links (Announcements, Discussions, Grades, People, etc.) are enabled for all courses. But we recommend you to rearrange and hide some of these links to simplify the interface for the students. Teachers and TAs can see and access these menu links even if the students cannot see them.

To reorder the Navigation links and hide some of them go to the course settings and then choose tab Navigation. Read more >>

Please note that:

  • The menu items cannot be renamed.
  • If the item does not contain any content, it will automatically be hidden from the student view and it will appear grey for teachers and TAs.
  • More Tools, PRS Setup and iPeer Setup are tools developed by UST that are available ONLY to instructors and TAs. Students cannot access these menus even they are enable on the Navigation menu.  PRS Setup and iPeer Setup are disable from the menu by default.

2.3 How do I add TAs or other supporting staff and users to my course?

Canvas automatically synchronizes the record of students and instructors for each course. However, other supporting staff such as TAs, IAs, PAs or auditing students need to be added to the course manually by the instructor.

To add user to your course you need to go to the People tool in the left menu of your homepage.

You can add user(s) by their Email Address, Login ID or SIS ID.

Select the type of searching [1] by selecting the radio button and enter the corresponding user information at the text field [2] with:

  • the full email address if you select “Email Address”,
  • the login ID (ITSC account) if you select “Login ID”,
  • the student ID if you select “SIS ID”

You can put multiple users at one time by placing a comma or line break in between.

Select the role option in the Role drop-down menu [3]. The main role in Canvas include Teacher, Course Admin, TA and Student. Course Admin role should only be assigned to departmental staff or IA who are involved with managing users and general course site maintenance.

Assign a section in the Section drop-down button [4]. You can also restrict the TA to grade students in their section by clicking the Can interact... checkbox [5].

Click the Next button [6]. Canvas will verify the account, click the Add Users button if confirmed.


2.4    What are the default term start and end day for courses in Canvas?

Canvas term start date Canvas term end Date
3 weeks before HKUST official term commence date 1 month after HKUST official term end date

Once a course site is created, Teachers, Course Admins and TAs can always access the course site. After the term start date is reached, students can see the course title in the list of courses they are enrolled in but they can only access the course site if the course is published by the Teachers.

The course site is NOT published automatically after the term has started.


2.5    What happens to the course after the course end-date?

After the Canvas course end date, the course will be concluded and the course content will become Read-only. All unpublished materials will be hidden from users. All users including Instructors, TAs and Students can only view course materials and grades but cannot do any changes to the course.

Please note that after the course end date, you will also not be able to access the course analytics page.


2.6    Can I change the start and end dates for my course?

Yes. You can overwrite the default start and end dates for your course from the course Settings before the course turn into Read-only, in other words, before it reaches the Canvas Term End Date. Find out how to change the dates >>


2.7   Can I hide my course from student after the course ended?

Yes. You can change student access settings to allow or restrict students from viewing your course before the start date or after the end date. Find out how to change the dates >>


2.8    Can I copy my contents from a previous Canvas course?

Yes. Canvas provides a way to copy a whole course or specific content from another Canvas course.  You can use this tool when you want to use or repurpose previously created content including course settings, syllabus, assignments, modules, files, pages, and discussions. You can also import and adjust events and due dates.

The function is under course Settings in the right side bar Import Content into this Course. Read more about how to copy a Canvas course >>

Please note that Draft State settings are retained in course imports. If an assignment is unpublished in a course, the assignment will also be unpublished in the content import.


2.9   Can I preview my course before publishing it?

You can view a course the same way that your students view your course through Student View. Enabling Student View creates a Test Student in your course. You can activate Student View in your Course Settings. With this Test Student, you can see the student's perspective on Canvas. You can preview the course, post and reply to discussions, submit assignments (except assignment using external tools e.g. Turnitin), view grades, pages and syllabus, view and try out quizzes, and etc. Read more about how to view your course using a Test Student >>


2.10   How do I publish a course?

You can publish your course in the Course Home Page sidebar when the course is ready to launch to students. Read more about how to publish a course >>

Please note that:

  • publishing a course will send out invitations right away to any users added to your course manually; or will be sent on the course start date if a specific date has been assigned to the course setting
  • Canvas by default has set Modules as the Course Home Page. If you are not using the Modules in your course, you have to select another layout for the Course Home Page. Find out more about different layouts option of course home page at 2.1 What is the Course Home Page?

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3    Building up your Canvas course site

3.1    What are the basic features of Canvas?

Canvas is a very comprehensive Learning Management System with a wide range of features. They are roughly grouped into four categories, features that are used:

  1. To deliver content –  Modules, Pages, Files, Syllabus, Conference, Collaborations
  2. To assess students – Assignment, Quizzes, Grades, Discussions
  3. To communicate with students – Announcements, Conversations, Discussions
  4. To monitor the online participation and progress – Course Analytics, Quiz Analytics, People

To facilitate learning and usability, we recommend you to use Modules. Using Modules, you can combine files, pages, videos, quizzes, assignments, and discussions into one sequence. Modules is something like a table of contents, which provides a clear learning path for your students to follow. Learn more about Modules >>


3.2    How do I edit my course Syllabus?

The Syllabus in Canvas makes it easy to communicate to your students exactly what will be required of them throughout the course in chronological order. It contains three main parts: the syllabus description [1], the syllabus table automatically managed by Canvas which will contain all the graded assignments and scheduled events in the course [2], and the sidebar with a calendar and weighted assignment groups [3].  You can also set the syllabus as your course home page.

To edit the Syllabus Description, click Edit.

 Learn more on how to edit the Syllabus >>


3.3    Can I let students who are not enrolled in my course view the Syllabus?

You can choose to make your syllabus public so that people who are not enrolled in your course can view more information about the course. A public syllabus can be viewed as part of a private course when you send a link to a student. Learn more on how to make your syllabus public >>


3.4    What are Modules for instructors?

Modules can be used to organize course materials such as files, pages, videos, quizzes, assignments, discussions, and others into a sequence. The Modules is something like the table of content for the course, which provides a clear learning path for your students to follow. Depending on the instructor, modules can be used to organize course content by weeks, lectures, or topics. You can see an image of a sample module with content pages, a discussion, a quiz and an assignment below.  Learn more about Modules >>


3.5    How can I present my course materials to students (readings, ppts, videos, and links)?

You can make use of the tool Pages to combine text, video, files, and links into a single page. This tool allows also to embed and view PowerPoint slides, pdf files, and images directly online. This is a good strategy if you have a number of different resources you want the students to cover on a single topic.

You can create the page directly though Modules or through the Pages tool. It can also be added to the Modules to build up the learning sequence for your course.

Pages can also be used as a collaboration tool where you can create class wikis and set specific user access for each page. Canvas keeps the entire history of the page so you can see how it changes over time.

Read more about how to create a new page >>
Learn more about Pages >>


3.6    What can I do with the Assignments tool?

Assignments is a tool which shows all graded assessments in your course, including assignments, graded quizzes, and graded discussions. It will also display the deadlines and the points awarded for each type of assessment.

This tool allows you to create new Assignments. You can also use it to create different groups of assignments and you can adjust the weight you give to each assignment group. Assignments can be assigne to everyone in the course or to different sections.

Please note that if you create an assignment with this tool, it does not appear automatically in your Modules sequence. So if you are using Modules to organize the content of your course, it is best to create the assignment directly through the tool Modules.

Learn more about Assignments >>


3.7    How do I create an online assignment to students?

There are two main ways you can create an assignment for students.

  1. Create an assignment placeholder, also known as shell, in your learning sequence Modules and then edit the placeholder to add instructions, type, settings and due dates. Learn more >> 
  2. If you are not using Modules to present the content to the students, then you can use the Assignment tool in the navigation of your course. Learn more about how to create a new assignment >> or how to add/edit assignment details >>

3.8    How do I add a grading scheme to an assignment?

When you choose to display grades as Letter Grades / GPA scale to an assignment, you will have the option to assign a grading scheme. Learn more about how to add a grading scheme >>


3.9    Can I assign an assignment to an individual student or course section?

When creating or editing an assignment, instructors can specify whether the assignment should be for everyone in the course, for specific sections, for specific group if groups are created, or for individual students. Availability date functionality is still available for each assignment.

When using differentiated assignments with the Gradebook, the assignment appears as a column for all students, but grade cells are grayed out for students who have not been included in the assignment. Grades cannot be assigned for students who have not been included in the assignment, and assignments that are not assigned to a student are not factored into overall grades.

On the student grades page, students can only view assignments that are assigned to them, either individually or as part of a course or section.

Learn more about how to assign an assignment to an individual student or section >>


3.10    How do I create an assignment with Turnitin check in Canvas?

To create an assignment with Turnitin check, first you create an assignment in Canvas as normal.

  1. Fill in the Title, Description, Points, Assignment Group and Grades Format settings.
  2. When reached the Submission Type, select External Tool (1), click on the Find button (2) to launch the available tool list. Select Turnitin (3) from the list and click Select.
  3. Continued with the availability dates settings of the assignment.
  4. Click Save when done.
  5. Once the assignment that is linked to Turnitin is created, it will bring you into the Turnitin Assignment Inbox page. This is where you can view the list of student names and their submissions.
  6. To continue with the assignment setup, click on the Settings tab.
  7. Type the assignment Instructions.
  8. Set the same Max Grade, Start date and Due date aligning with the Canvas assignment settings as before.
  9. Click Optional settings for further important settings for the submissions.
    1. Allow late submission? Select Yes if you allow late submission to this assignment.
    2. Compare submitted papers against the following sources: For optimal originality check select to compare the submitted papers to all four sources.
    3. Originality Report generation and resubmissions: Select the option that suits your needs.
      • Generate reports immediately (resubmissions are not allowed)
        Students only have one chance to submit their assignment and no resubmission are allowed.
      • Generate reports immediately (resubmissions are allowed until due date)Students can submit their assignment as many times as they want and reports will regenerate on every submission.
      • Generate reports on due date (resubmission are allowed until due date)
        Students are allowed resubmission but only one report will be generate when the due date is reached.
    4. Three exclude from comparison settings: We suggest users to keep all this settings as default – No. This means that the reports will include as many matches as possible.  The exclude settings can be turned on while reading the report.
    5. Submissions to this assignment will be stored in: In order to perform the originality check, the submissions are automatically uploaded to Turnitin but you need to choose if you want these submissions to be permanently saved for the originality check of future submissions or not.
      There are four options to choose from when deciding where to store the submissions of your students:
      • Standard paper repository – This is the global database. Assignments submitted here cannot be removed and will remain in the repository permanently.
      • Institution paper repository – This is the database accessible limited to HKUST users only on future originality checks within the institution. Assignments submitted here are also stored permanently and cannot be removed.
      • Student's choice of paper repository – not recommended as it requires student training
      • Do not store the submitted papers – An originality check is performed but the paper is not retained for future comparisons. Select this option if you want to check the originality of DRAFT papers that your students are going to improve and submit again for originality check. (Use this option also when testing the Turnitin feature.)
    6. Allow students to view Originality Reports? Select Yes if you would allow students to view their own Originality Report result.  Or select No if only allow Instructor / TAs to view the reports.
    7. Attach a rubric to this assignment? If you would like to grade this assignment with rubric, you will need to attach the rubrics here. The canvas rubric cannot be used inside Turnitin.
  10. Click Submit to save the settings.

3.11    How to grade an Turnitin assignment in Canvas?

You can grade Turnitin assignments using SpeedGrader. Canvas copies submissions uploaded to Turnitin and displays the files in SpeedGrader. Turnitin provides an originality report and similarity index letting you know how much of the assignment is original. This report is displayed in SpeedGrader. Learn more on how to grade Turnitin assignment in SpeedGrader >>

You can also grade while reading the Originality Report. Grades given in Turnitin will be auto synchronized to the Canvas Gradebook but grades given in Canvas will not send back to Turnitin.

  1. To open the Originality Report, click on the percentage at the Assignment Inbox page.
  2. Grades can be inserted at the upper right of the window.
  3. You can also make use of the GradeMark to give comments on submissions.

Read more information on how to interpret the Originality report >>


3.12    What is Discussion for Instructors?

Canvas provides an integrated system for class discussions, allowing both instructors and students to start and contribute to as many discussion topics as desired. Discussions can also be created as an assignment for grading purposes (and seamlessly integrated with the Canvas Gradebook), or simply serve as a forum for topical and current events. Discussions can also be created within student groups. Learn more about Canvas Discussion >>


3.13    How do I create a Discussion as an instructor?

You can create discussions directly through Modules or using the Discussion tool in the navigation bar on the left. Read a step by step instruction on how to create a new Discussion in Canvas >>


3.14    What are Quizzes for instructors?

Quizzes in Canvas are assessments that can be used to challenge student understanding and assess comprehension of course material. There are four types of quizzes available to you: graded quiz, practice quiz, graded survey, and ungraded survey. Quizzes are automatically graded, unless they include open-ended questions.

Quizzes allow you to combine a number of different types of questions in one quiz. You can create the following types of quiz questions: Multiple Choice; True/False; Fill-in-the-Blank; Fill-in-Multiple-Blanks; Multiple Answers; Multiple Drop-down (can be used for Likert scale); Matching; Numerical Answer; Formula (simple formula and single variable); Essay (open ended question); File Upload. Learn more about Quizzes >>


3.15    How do I create a Quiz with individual Questions?

You can add a quiz through Modules or through the Quiz tool. You can combine many different types of quiz questions into one quiz. Learn more >>


3.16    Is there any limit on number of questions in each quiz?

Quizzes in Canvas does not have any limit on number of questions, but it does have a limit on the Quiz Statistics and SpeedGrader.  It will be recommending to keep the total number of questions of each quiz to be under 100.


3.17    How do I create a Quiz with a Question Group to randomize quiz questions?

If you want to randomly draw questions from a pool of questions and display different combination of questions to each student, you need to create a quiz with Question Groups. This is a good practice if you want to minimize sharing and copying of answers.

You can create a quiz using one or more question groups (question pools). You can choose the number of questions that should be picked from a group and how many points should be given. Creating a question group randomizes questions within a quiz.

Learn more about creating randomize quiz with Question Group >>


3.18    How do I use Question Bank in my course?

Question Banks are a collection of all of the quiz questions you’ve created in a course; a sort of database of questions. Question Banks store quiz questions so that you can reuse them across different courses. Learn more about how to create a Question Bank >>

By default, Question Banks are linked to the course where they were created. However, you can make it available in other courses by bookmarking it. Learn more about how to bookmark a question bank >>

 

Learn more about how to bookmark a question bank >>

Learn more on how to move/copy a question from one question bank to another >>

Learn more on how to move multiple questions from one bank to another >>

 


3.19   Can I share a Question Bank with other Canvas courses?

Yes. You can share a Question Bank with several courses with other Instructors/TAs by importing the Questions bank from one course to another.  Learn more on how to import a Question Bank >>


3.20   What are Files for instructors?

Files is the tool where you can upload course files, syllabus, readings, or other documents. It is also where you can find already uploaded files through Pages and Modules. Once you have uploaded the files, you can link them to Modules, Assignments, and Pages. You don’t need to upload them multiple times.

Files and folders are put in alphabetical order and cannot be rearranged. As an instructor, you can lock the folders so students cannot access your files. We don’t recommend you to use files for student access to readings because you cannot arrange them in a way that is easy to follow by students. Learn more about Files >>


3.21    How do I use Files as an instructor?

As an instructor, Files allows you to store files (handouts, readings, references, videos, etc.) within Canvas. You can upload one or multiple files, view all details about your files, preview files, publish and unpublished files, set usage rights, and restrict access to files. The files are shared between all instructors/TAs.

Learn more about how to use Files in Canvas from here>>

Learn more about how to move and organize my files from here >>


3.22    How do I handle multiple files / folders in Files?

To select multiple files or folders, press the Ctrl key (Windows) or the command key (Mac) on your keyboard while clicking the empty space of each file you want to select.

To select a sequential list of files or folders, click the first item you want to select, hold down the Shift key and click on the last item you want to select.

The item(s) will be highlighted with blue background when selected.

To select all files, click the or the CTRL + A keys (Windows) or command + A keys (Mac).

When file(s)/folder(s) are selected, the file toolbar will appear at the top of the window. Several actions will be available for managing the selected file(s)/folder(s):

  • Manage file(s)/folder(s) to restrict access
  • Download the file(s)/folder(s) (when selecting more than one file/folder, option appears to download as a zip file)
  • Move the file(s)/folder(s)
  • Delete the file(s)/folder(s)

3.23    What are Conferences for instructors?

Conferences are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups.   Conferences allows you to broadcast real-time audio, video, demo applications on your desktop, share presentation slides, or demo any online resources. Currently, the service is provided by a third party BigBlueButton.

The Conference tool is part of the group space for students so they can start their own conferences without the need of moderation by the instructor/TA.

Note: There is no limit on the number of conference you can run simultaneously and the number of people inside a conference. However, depending on bandwidth and location of the participants the experience can vary. We advise you to test it before use with large number of people.

Learn more about Conferences >>


3.24    What are Collaborations?

Canvas leverages on Google Docs to allow multiple users (up to 50 collaborators) to work together on the same document at the same time. Collaborative documents are saved in real-time, meaning a change made by any of its users will be immediately visible to everyone.

The Collaborations tool is part of the group space for students so they can start their own documents without the need of moderation by the instructor/TA.

Learn more about Collaborations >>

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4    Creating and managing Groups on Canvas

4.1    How can Canvas facilitate group work?

Canvas allows you to easily group students using one of the three methods:

  1. manually arranging students into groups;
  2. randomly assigning students into groups;
  3. and allowing student to sign-up into groups.

Canvas also allows you to create different sets of groups (e.g. Discussion groups, Project groups, Lab groups) within the same class. Once the groups are created, Canvas automatically creates a safe online space for each group to collaborate on Canvas with their own discussion board, file storage, and announcement board.

Once you have created groups in Canvas it is very easy to link those groups to assignments and discussions, thus allowing group online submissions.

Watch a video overview of Group Creation and Management >>
Read more about Groups in Canvas >>


4.2    How do I create a new Group Set?

Group sets hold the different groups within a course. For example, you can have one group set for Group Discussions, another for Group Lab exercises and a third for Group Project work. Once you have created a group set, you can manually create groups in the set or automatically create groups in the set.

Read more on how to create a group set >>
Explore other topics related to managing Groups on Canvas >>


4.3    How do I view what students are doing in their groups?

Once groups are created, the system will automatically create a group homepage for each group. The group homepage can only be accessed by the group members and the course staff (instructors and TAs). 

The tools Announcements, Pages, People, Discussions, Files, Conferences and Collaborations are available in the Group home page for group members to use.

See a step by step guide of how to view student activity within a Group >>


4.4    How do I assign an assignment to a course group?

Once you have your Group Set created, you can then create an assignment and assign to the group set. And each group within the group set that is assigned to the assignment can then submit to the assignment as group. Read more on how to assign an assignment to a course group >>


4.5    What are Students Groups on Canvas and how can I enable or disable student group creation?

By default, Canvas allows students to form their own Student Groups for study groups, discuss an assignment, etc. They can be part of more than one student group. These groups will be listed under the tab “Student Groups” and students will have the right to managing these groups on their own.

The Student Group feature may create confusion if you are planning to use groups created by the instructor/TAs. In this case we recommend you to disable the ability of students to create their own groups. You can deactivate this function on the course Settings. In the Settings page, click on the Course Details tab.  Click on more options near the bottom of the page. Uncheck the item “Let students organize their own groups”.


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5    Grading your students on Canvas

5.1    What are Assignment Groups?

Assignment Groups are used to organize assessments into groups and set different weight for each group. For example, a course usually has a number of different assessments such as online quizzes, group projects and exams. Each of these assessments contribute a different percentage to the final score. In Canvas, we use Assignment Groups to tell the system how to calculate the score so that each group has a different weight.

Learn more about how to add Assignment Groups >>


5.2    How do I weight the final grade based on Assignment Groups?

Assignment Groups allows you to assign different weight upon different groups to the final grade calculation. To set different weight for different assessments, you need to first organize them into Assignment Groups in the Assignment tool.

Once you have the groups, click the settings gear icon under the Assignment tool and tick the setting Weight final grade based on assignment groups. Then enter the percentage for each group and save.

Read more on how to assign the weighting to Assignment Groups >>


5.3    How do I use SpeedGrader?

SpeedGrader is a tool that makes online grading and feedback on assignments easier. You can find this tool whenever you are looking at an assignment, a quiz or a graded discussion. It is at the top right corner of the relevant screen.  You can use SpeedGrader to:

  • read, evaluate and download student’s submission
  • input student grade
  • provide feedback as a comment
  • provide feedback directly onto the online submissions (pdf, doc, PPT files)
  • input and use rubric to grade

Note: It is a good practice to Mute Assignment before starting to grade students. This way some students will not see their grade before others. See point 5.6 below for more details.  Learn more about SpeedGrader >>


5.4    How do I get to SpeedGrader from an Assignment, Quiz, or Graded Discussion?

You can access SpeedGrader when the assessment is 1) published and 2) gradable. To access the SpeedGrader go to the assignment, quiz, or graded discussion you want to view and click on the SpeedGrader tab in the right-hand side bar. Read more >>


5.5    How do I use the Gradebook?

The Gradebook helps instructors easily input and distribute grades for students. Grades for each assignment can be calculated as points, percentages, complete or incomplete, pass or fail, GPA scale, and letter grades. Assignments can be organized into groups for weighting as well. Learn more about Gradebook >>

The default view in the Gradebook is to view all students at a time, but you can also view students individually in the Gradebook Individual View. Read more >>


5.6    How do I hide the grades of an assignment from students in the Gradebook?

By default, Canvas allows students to see assignment grades as soon as the instructor has graded the assignment. In some cases, instructors may wish to hold student grades until all assignments have been graded, and then release grades to all students at the same time.

To hide student grades temporarily, an instructor can choose to mark an assignment as "mute". A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any new instructor comments until the assignment is unmuted. A muted assignment displays a "mute" icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted. Learn more on how to mute an assignment >>


5.7    How can I post the grades for a non-submission assignments?

To enter grades for non-submission assignments, e.g. paper based exams or assignments, you will first need to create a “No Submission” or “On Paper” assignment for manual grading. Learn more on how to create a no submission assignment >>


5.8    Can I export or import grades to Gradebook?

Yes. You can use a CSV file to upload changes to the Gradebook.

Learn more on how to download the scores from gradebook >>

Learn more on how to upload changes to Gradebook >>


5.9    How do I enable a grading scheme for my course?

A grading scheme is a set of criteria that measures varying levels of achievement in a course. Course-level grading schemes are grading schemes that can be defined at both the course level and the assignment level. Without a grading scheme, scores are not measured against any specific standard. You can create a new grading scheme specific to your course.

Learn more about how to use grading schemes in your course >>

Learn more on how to enable a grading scheme >>


5.10    Can I hide the totals in my students' grade summaries?

Instructors can hide totals in students' grade summaries. By default, totals are visible to students. For courses using weighted assignment groups, assignment group totals are also hidden from students.

Learn more on how to hide totals in student grades summary >>


5.11    Can I exclude an assignment from the course's final grades?

When creating an assignment, instructors have the option to choose if they want to count an assignment toward the final grade or not. This feature allows you to provide feedback for assignments without the assignment counting toward Gradebook calculations.

Learn more on how to exclude an assignment from the course's final grades >>


5.12    How do I view Analytics for my course or a specific student?

Canvas provide an onscreen analytics for both course level and individual student. The Course Analytics shows the overview of the course activity, assignment submissions, grades, and students performance. The Student Analytics shows the overall performance of individual student in the course. You can view analytics in both active and concluded courses.

Learn more on how do I view Course Analytics >>

Learn more on how do I view analytics for a student in a course >>


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6    Communicating with your students in Canvas

6.1    How to make an Announcement?

Announcements allow you to communicate with your students about course activities and post interesting course-related topics.  As soon as you have created an Announcement, Canvas will notifying students through email according to their Notification Preferences.

Step by step guide to making an announcement >>
More about announcements in general >>


6.2    Why can’t I receive an email notification for announcements I’ve made?

By default, Canvas will not send email notification to the Announcement creator.  To change the notification preference, you can simply go to your Account (1), then Notifications (2). Change the setting for Announcement Created By You (3) to Notify me right away.

 


6.3    Can I preview my Announcement before releasing to students?

No, there is no direct method to preview an announcement. However, there is a work around.

You can use the Delay posting setting to make the announcement posting date to later than today. Then click Save and you and other course staff will be able to view the announcement but it will not be released to students yet. When you are ready to post it to students, simply uncheck the Delay posting settings and Save the announcement. The announcement will be post right away. Read more about how to set the delay posting of announcement >>


6.4    How to send message to someone in my course?

Conversations (Inbox) is the messaging tool in Canvas. You can use it to communicate with your students easily. The Conversations tool is similar to email but it does not have as many functions as a normal email (no cc options, no spell-check). 

To access this tool, click the Inbox link in the top right corner of Canvas. Read the detailed instructions on how to compose and send a message >>  

If you want to get an instant email notification on your conversations with the students, make sure to change the setting for ‘Conversations Created By Me’ notifications setting to Notify me right away. Follow the steps below.

 


6.5    What is the Calendar for instructors?

The Calendar in Canvas will automatically syncs with other features, such as Assignments, Syllabus, and Grades, so if you create, change, or delete the due date of an Assignment on the Calendar, it will show up in all the others and vice versa. You can change dates easily by dragging and dropping assignments from one date to another. Find out more >>

You can also create events in the course calendar, read more >>


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7    More tools on Canvas built by HKUST

7.1    What can I do with More Tools?

This tool consists of three parts, Student Photos & Lists, Discussion Data and Appointment Group Lists. Teachers and TAs can access it from the left menu in your Canvas course site.

Student Photos and Lists allows you to see all the students enrolled in your course with their photos, names, login IDs, student IDs and section information. The list can also be filtered by section or group set [1].   The tool also allows you to export the lists as a spreadsheet file [2].  To ensure data privacy, the Student Photos & Lists tool is only made available for teachers and TAs, but not the students. Student photos will not be included in the exported spreadsheet file.

Discussion Data gives you an overview of students’ participation in the Discussions tool. It lists out the total number of posts [1] made by each student. You may drill down the details of the posts of each student by clicking on the student. If you prefer to view the data offline, you may export it into a spreadsheet file [2].

A certain amount of data will be gathered from the database before presenting on the screens, so it would take some time to load when More Tools, Student Photos and Lists, or Discussion Data is clicked. The loading time may vary depend on the class size and the total number of discussion posts.  Loading progress will be shown in percentage for your reference (see sample image below).

Appointment Group Lists shows an overview of all appointment groups created in the Scheduler with student information that are relevant to the course. A dropdown menu is also available for filtering out the details for a specific appointment group. You can also export the list with student information in csv format.


7.2    How can I access SFQ in Canvas?

As the Instructors, you can access to the HKUST SFQ through the Canvas.

For further enquiry about SFQ, please contact sfq.survey@ust.hk or call their hotline at 2358-8916 from 9:00 - 12:45am and 2:00 - 5:30pm, Mon - Fri.


7.3   What can I do with Library Toolbox?

This tool provides direct access to HKUST library resources. Using this tool the students can search the Library Catalogue and Primo Central directly from Canvas.

In addition to that, you as an instructor can choose to display links to reference sources, databases and library services that are relevant to your course. There is a simple default state of this tool, which you can modify to display the most appropriate resources for your course.

For further enquiry about Library Toolbox, please visit http://libguides.ust.hk/librarytoolbox, or contact the Librarian through the web form, email lbref@ust.hk or WhatsApp (9701-1055).


7.4    What is the iPeer Setup tool in Canvas?

iPeer is a web-based system that facilitates HKUST student peer- and self- evaluation of group projects. The iPeer Setup tool in Canvas facilitate instructors to create course in iPeer and also helps export the Canvas group list for iPeer. Please note that the iPeer Setup tool in Canvas is only visible for Instructors / TAs. To learn how to use iPeer you need to attend CEI regular workshops on iPeer. Check the workshop schedule at http://cei.ust.hk/event or email ipeer@ust.hk  

For further enquiry about iPeer, please contact ipeer@ust.hk or call their hotline at 2358-8036 from 9:00 - 12:45am and 2:00 - 5:30pm, Mon - Fri.


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8    More help with Canvas

You can get more help with Canvas by using the Help link from the top right menu in Canvas. The Help link consist a list of resources to help you with Canvas as follow:

8.1    Best practices with Canvas

CEI provides regular workshops about the use and best practices with Canvas. Check the schedule and sign up for a workshop >>

We recommend you to also explore the video tutorials created by Canvas via their YouTube channel >>


8.2    Search the Canvas Guides

If you could not locate your answer from this HKUST Instructor Guide, you may try look up the answer from the up-to-date Instructor guide with step-by-step instructions and snapshots maintained by Canvas. Go to the Online Canvas Instructor Guide >> 

You can also always search for an answer about a Canvas feature from the Help link in the top right corner, Search the Canvas Guides. This link will take you to Canvas Guides where you can search Canvas documentation for information about features inside of Canvas.


8.3    Report problems to our Helpdesk

If you are experiencing problems that have not been addressed by the above-mentioned channels of help or if you have any user account related enquiries, please feel free to contact our Helpdesk at canvas@ust.hk or call our hotline 2358-8036 from 9:00 - 12:45am and 2:00 - 5:30pm, Mon - Fri.


8.4    Where can students get help with Canvas?

Students will also see the Help menu directly through Canvas. Within the help menu there is a link Ask your instructor a question about Canvas. Students can send you a message directly through Canvas. The message will appear in your Inbox (it will be sent to all instructors and TAs in the course).

You can also direct them to the Canvas Student Guide, which provides help with frequently asked questions.  The link is accessible from the Help menu but you can also share it through your canvas course: http://cei.ust.hk/canvas/faqs-students


8.5    Copyright Information

Must be "Fair Dealing"

The Copyright Ordinance of Hong Kong allows instructors and students at non-profit education institutions like HKUST to use copyright works up to a "reasonable amount" for education purposes on the condition that such usage is considered fair dealing as provided in Section 41A of the Copyright Ordinance. The Fair Dealing tab of this guide provides more information.

Uploading content

When uploading the "reasonable amount" for the purposes of instruction onto an intranet (like Canvas) you must fulfill the following requirements.

  1. Acknowledge the source of the material properly;
  2. Adopt access controls, such as logins and passwords and disseminate material on a need-to-know basis (i.e. only accessible to a specific group of staff or students for a limited time); and
  3. Ensure that the maximum uploading period of the material does not exceed a consecutive period of 12 months.

E-Reserve or Coursepack

Maybe there is no need for copying or uploading. Consider having the Library make links to material that the university has already purchased via library subscriptions.

Or, you might want to need to license the material you wish to assign via a course pack.

Read the E-Reserve & Coursepack tab for details.

Questions?

Please contact HKUST's representative on the Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) Copyright Committee, Ms. Victoria F. Caplan (Extn. 6756; lbcaplan@ust.hk) if you have further questions.


8.6    Terms of Service Agreement and Privacy Policy for Canvas

By using the HKUST Learning Management System, Canvas, provided by Instructure Inc., users are agreeing to be bound by the terms and conditions. (see https://ilearn.ust.hk/canvas/canvas-user-agreement/index.html).

By using Canvas, your use of Canvas is also governed by Instructure’s Terms of Use (see https://www.instructure.com/policies/terms-of-use) and you are also consenting to collection and use of information by Instructure according to their Privacy Policy (see https://www.canvaslms.com/policies/privacy).

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