Updates to the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Tool in Canvas

In August 2020, C21U released a new Canvas tool called Key Performance Indicator (KPI). The original KPI tool provides instructors with course-specific weekly snapshots of how students are performing. The purpose of the tool was to help instructors monitor the student learning experience and gain insight into how to enhance learning in future remote and hybrid courses. However, our initial group of testers made it clear that this tool will continue to remain useful as classes move back to an in-person format. 

Today, we’re announcing the release of the newest version of the tool (thanks to the work of Chris Yang, a C21U application developer). These new features will be deployed to Georgia Tech’s instance of Canvas on Tuesday, August 10. 

Here are a few enhancements: 

  • The tool is now real-time. Teachers will see updated weekly averages for student responses in their teacher dashboard as they’re submitted. This will allow teachers to adjust their teaching strategies continuously as the data in the KPI dashboard is refreshed. 
  • The original tool opened a new window and displayed the dashboard in Tableau, but now the revamped dashboard opens inside Canvas. This results in a more seamless experience for teachers. 
  • The dashboard only displays the current Canvas course, rather than all courses in which the teacher is enrolled. 
  • The dashboard uses color-coding and bar widths to display weekly averages at-a-glance – allowing teachers to quickly identify potential trouble spots.  

We plan to continue making enhancements to the tool, and welcome any feedback sent to canvas@gatech.edu. In the meantime, here are three tips for using the tool in your course: 

  1. Install the tool in your course by following the instructions at https://gatech.service-now.com/home?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0026922.  
  1. Remind your students on a regular basis to complete the weekly KPI survey. Our pilot testers found success by creating Canvas announcements, ungraded assignments, and mentioning the tool in live class sessions. 
  1. If you’d like to allow a TA to view your teacher dashboard, add him/her to your course as a KPI Reviewer by following the instructions at https://gatech.service-now.com/home?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0025969.  

Speed Up SpeedGrader!


SpeedGrader can be an efficient and powerful tool for viewing, annotating, commenting, and grading student work.  But a few tweaks can fine-tune it for faster instructor performance! 

Sort students by submission status 

Instead of scrolling through a long list, grouping students by Needs Grading, Graded, and No Submission makes it easier to get through a batch of assignments.   

SpeedGrader sorting options

See the Canvas Guide: 

Use keyboard shortcuts 

SpeedGrader has several built-in keyboard shortcuts for navigating.  Mousing around a screen takes time, and a toll on the wrist, so mastering a few simple keyboard shortcuts can make repetitive tasks go faster and hurt less. 

SpeedGrader keyboard shortcut list

See the Canvas Guide: 

What Do Students See When I Use SpeedGrader? 

In SpeedGrader, all content you add to a student’s assignment submission is immediately visible to that student. This content includes: 

Click to see how students access grades and feedback. 

What If I Don’t Want Students to See Their Grades Yet? 

If you don’t want students to see any of your grading-and-feedback content, you can mute the assignment, which is a Canvas feature that lets instructors, TAs, and graders hide all grades and feedback for an assignment from students until it is unmuted, making all of this content visible to students. Click for instructions on how to mute and unmute Canvas assignments. 

We do not recommend keeping the SpeedGrader view of a submission open for more than 60 minutes, as there have been issues in the past where graders have lost feedback because they have kept the tool open for more than 60 minutes. 

SpeedGrader Overview   

Updates to PostEm Assist with Remote and Hybrid Teaching

Last year, C21U built a new Canvas tool called Postem that allows teachers to upload and share a spreadsheet to provide individualized feedback to students. We recently deployed several new features that will make the tool even more useful during these times of remote and hybrid teaching. These features include: 

  1. Spreadsheet Templates: Teachers can now download a spreadsheet template that pre-fills a column with course roster information. This allows new PostEm users to get started much more quickly. 
  1. Redesigned Interface: Several changes to the interface make the tool much more user friendly, placing all tools for a given sheet on a single screen. 
  1. Replace Sheets: Teachers can now replace sheets, which will be helpful when using PostEm for attendance. This allows teachers to add columns to a sheet throughout the semester without cluttering the students’ list of sheets in the tool. 

To get started with PostEm, follow the instructions at https://canvas.gatech.edu/postem.  

Integrity Quizzes for Remote Courses

A recent town hall hosted by the Office of the Provost, Supporting Integrity in Education, brought campus leaders together to discuss the national and local landscape surrounding issues of academic integrity in remote and residential educational environments. 

One of the topics discussed by the College of Computing’s Thad Starner and David Joyner was the concept of incorporating an Integrity Quiz into remote courses. For instructors interested in creating their own integrity quiz, Starner has provided a sample quiz that has been used in his remote course(s), below.  

Thad Starner’s Sample Integrity Quiz for a Remote Course 

Sample Instructions 
Students can take this quiz as many times as they like (most get to 100%). It counts for 5% of their grade. All are YES/NO questions. Below is the class policy. As can be seen, a plagiarism quiz can be surprisingly subtle and explore very fine issues. The goal with the class policy is to be clear (for example, if you are looking at someone else’s code, you are cheating), have it emulate the situation our students will find themselves in upon graduation (with the major software companies), and have plagiarism hits found by the automatic software be obvious violations. This policy, clearly, is not appropriate for all classes. 

Sample Class Policy 
In general, we strongly encourage collaboration in this class. You are encouraged to discuss the course material, the exercises, the written assignments, and the projects with your classmates, both before and after assignments are due. 

However, collaboration should be at the “white board interaction” level. We draw the line at the following: 

  • You may not copy any code directly from anyone else. To this end, you are explicitly prohibited from looking at public GitHub repositories for the purposes of the assignments (including the book’s own python repositories & code implementations). If you are looking at someone else’s code, whether it be that of a fellow student or a public GitHub repository, you are cheating. This includes pseudocode shared on the web or by classmates; you may only use pseudocode provided by the book or the teaching staff. In this regard, we are emulating the rules of behavior in corporate environments like Google. Looking at other people’s code can and will be considered equivalent to plagiarism. You may use others’ ideas to inform your own designs, but your project must be your own work. 
  • You may not post your assignment code on a public platform such as GitHub. Please use a private repository (available free through Georgia Tech) if you wish to use git. 
  • You may not directly copy any text from anyone else’s written assignments. This includes paraphrasing. Again, you may use others’ ideas to inform your own writing, but your assignments must be your own work. 
  • You may not directly copy any text from anyone else’s written assignments. This includes paraphrasing. Again, you may use others’ ideas to inform your own writing, but your assignments must be your own work. 

The program has mechanisms in place to prevent plagiarism. We enlist the help of OMSCS students in detecting such cases and will act upon any evidence that we find. We have successfully caught instances of plagiarism each semester. Please don’t be the next person; we can assure you that the consequences for a poor grade are far, far less than the consequences for plagiarism. It is not worth the risk. Any instances of violation of this policy will be referred to the Dean of Students, initiating a lengthy resolution process. If you are unsure of whether a certain type of collaboration is acceptable, please ask first, preferably on Piazza. The full Georgia Tech honor code is available here (Links to an external site.)

Sample Plagiarism Quiz Instructions for Students 
This Quiz’s aim is to help students understand the Class Policies in depth. 
You are required to answer 85% of the quiz questions correctly in order to pass this class. 
This Quiz does count toward your grade. 

Sample Plagiarism Quiz Content 
A student makes five submissions to Bonnie. The TAs discover that the first submission has a 90% match with code from a student in a previous semester, the second submission has a 50% match, the third has a 20% match, and the fourth and fifth have a 1% match (at the level of random chance). Should the TAs refer the student to the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) for violating the course’s policy on plagiarism? 

A student posts her code to stack overflow asking for help debugging the code but receives no responses. Should she be reported to OSI? 

The CS6601 midterm exam points to an article on Wikipedia on Gibbs free energy. Part of the article includes code for how to implement Gibbs free energy for simulated annealing.  A student uses that code to solve the problem and accidentally includes the code with their answer to the midterm. Should the student be turned in to OSI? 

The Wikipedia article in question 3 links to other articles that have pseudocode for Metropolis-Hastings sampling. A student uses this code to solve another midterm question. Should the student be turned in to OSI? 

A student pays for code on one of the code-for-hire sites. The TA discovers it. Will the student be turned in to OSI? 

A student creates a private post to the TAs with her code.  During office hours she asks questions about her code even though there are other students attending the Hangout. Should she be reported to OSI? 

A student refers to a Python reference manual for how to use dictionaries. It includes sample code that provides an example dictionary for creating a look-up table for a train schedule.  The student understands the example and writes his own code to create a hashmap for opening moves for Assignment 1. Is using such reference material a violation of class policy? 

A student finds a function in scipy for doing expectation maximization. The documentation includes the code used to implement the function. Assignment #5 requires students to write their own expectation maximization function. The student bases her code on the scipy documentation. Should she be reported to OSI? 

Student A accidentally leaves her Github open. Unbeknownst to her, student B finds it and copies her code. A TA finds the match. Did student A violate the class policy? 

Student C pays for code from an online tutor.  The tutor advertises he helped students doing 6601. Will your professor pose as another student in the class and pay up to 10x the amount of money to get the code in order to discover the identity of student C?  (Give your answer imagining your professor is *very* determined.) 

A student discovers that Peter Norvig has been posting new pseudocode from edition 4 of the class textbook. He uses this new pseudocode, thinking it counts as part of “the book.” Just to be careful, the student cites his source. Should the student be referred to OSI? 

A student finds code from a Coursera AI course, uses it, and cites it as part of her assignment turn-in.  Did the student violate class policy? 

A student uses pseudocode from one of the “Further reading resources” given in the class videos and cites it. Did they violate the class policy? 

A student uploads his homework to a homework sharing site. A TA discovers it before anyone has downloaded it. Will the student be referred to OSI? 

A student has implemented breadth first search before for a robotics course. She has understood BFS for a while and coded it up for that class. For 6601, she pulled out the old robotics code and re-used it. Did the student violate the class policy? 

Suppose that the student in question 15 had actually grabbed the BFS code from stack overflow when doing the assignment for the robotics class.  She forgot she got the code from there, and the robotics course policy was such that it was allowable to get code from other sources (for example, perhaps their main teaching concern was not learning BFS but showing how sharing information between robots can significantly speed the solution.) She submits this BFS code to 6601, and it matches to original stack overflow post.  Is saying “I submitted this code to 74xx and it was accepted” an adequate defense? 

A student takes the course twice. He submits the same code from the first time he took the course, thinking he is OK because the first time he did the course he code everything from scratch. The anti-plagiarism software triggers a 67% match with the student’s previous submission. Will the student be referred to OSI? 

There are considerable resources that have been made to support the textbook. A student discovers a python code repository associated with the book that implements the algorithms for Assignment #2. Is looking at actual code implemented based on the book’s pseudocode (as opposed to the pseudocode itself) a violation of class policy? 

A student posts her code publicly on Piazza. Has she violated class policy? 

A student does a screen share of her code during Online Office Hours (Hangouts). Other students are also present. Did she violate class policy? 

A student plagiarizes in Assignment 1. The TAs catch him and report him to OSI. Upon realization, the student drops the course.  Will the student be added back to the course by OSI without warning? 

Summer 2020 GT Remote Teaching Academy

A committee representing GTPE, CTL, OIT, C21U, the Library, and the Summer Office put together a Summer 2020 GT Remote Teaching Academy to prepare instructors to teach this summer semester, including GT1000 and iGniTe courses. All instructors of record will be added to a Canvas course for the asynchronous activities of this academy. This will be made available on April 27th, 2020. The below synchronous sessions will also be available to all instructors. The synchronous sessions will be recorded and made available in the GT Remote Teaching Academy Canvas course. Instructors are strongly encouraged to benefit from the asynchronous training and at least three of the synchronous sessions of their choosing. 

Topics Covered and Planned Schedule  

Asynchronous Modules in Canvas: Instructors will see the course in Canvas (Available on April 27, 2020)

  • Design Fundamentals — design syllabus for summer remote teaching, backward design, learning objectives, alignment, course policies
  • Intro to Canvas — course navigation and tools overview
  • Engaging Students in Learning — faculty-student, student-student, and student-content interaction, building a community of learners
  • Creating Effective Content — asynchronous and synchronous content delivery considerations and technologies
  • Assessment of Student Learning — creating and administering assessments for remote delivery, identifying students at risk

One-Hour Synchronous Sessions: Register Here

Design Summer Syllabus for Remote Teaching

  • April 29, 2020 at 10am   
  • May 4, 2020 at 10am 

Course Engagement Best Practices

  • April 30, 2020 at 10am  
  • May 5, 2020 at 10am  

Effective Assessment of Student Learning

  • May 1, 2020 at 10am   
  • May 6, 2020 at 10am  

Canvas Course Navigation and Tools Overview

  • April 29, 2020 at 1pm  
  • May 4, 2020 at 1pm  

Choosing the Right Tool for Content Delivery

  • April 30, 2020 at 2pm  
  • May 5, 2020 at 1pm  

Assessment Technologies Overview

  • May 1, 2020 at 1pm  
  • May 6, 2020 at 1pm  

Making Documents Accessible

  • May 1, 2020 at 3PM
  • May 6, 2020 at 3PM

One-on-One Sessions (optional, upon request): 

Sign-up: https://ctl.gatech.edu/keep-teaching/consultation
30 mins sessions available starting April 24, 2020, with priority given to MayMester and Summer I instructors 

New Tools to Quickly Identify At-Risk Students in Canvas

Provost Bras recently made the following request of Georgia Tech faculty who suddenly find themselves in the role of remote teachers during the Coronavirus crisis:

“We encourage you to pay close attention to students who might not be engaging in class discussions, chats, or assignments. Look for signs of distress. Identify these students and proactively reach out to them.”

In order to help with this effort, the developers in C21U have added new features to the GaTech Roster tool, which is found in the left navigation bar of every course in Canvas. Two new columns have been added to the tool:

  1. Last Course Activity: A timestamp indicating the last time this student has interacted with your Canvas course.
  2. Total Activity: The total number of hours and minutes this student had interacted with your Canvas course.

Even better – these columns are sortable. For example, if you click the “Last Course Activity” column header, the students who have been inactive for the longest amount of time will float to the top of your table. These fields are also included in the exportable roster available in the GaTech Roster.

As Provost Bras recently said, “Students and families are under enormous stress and that some students are struggling. It’s critical that each of us recognize the extraordinary and trying times and respond with empathy, kindness, and flexibility.” Hopefully, these new features will allow you to quickly identify those students who might be at risk and send them a quick message to ensure that everything is OK.

If you’d like to learn more about the GaTech Roster tool, go to http://www.canvas.gatech.edu/blog/canvas/gatech-roster-tool/.

Upcoming Training Roundup: Week of June 10-14

Over the next few weeks, the Digital Learning Team will be highlighting upcoming online trainings for Canvas and beyond! Check out the list below to find out what’s available next week, June 10th through 14th.

Respondus Online Trainings

Title: Instructor Training: LockDown Browser & Respondus Monitor
Date and time: Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at 3:00 PM EST
Register: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3805168249257676802

TurningPoint Online Trainings

Title: PowerPoint Polling (60 minutes)
Date and time: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 2:00 PM EST
Register: https://www.turningtechnologies.com/turningpoint/turningpoint-desktop/training-webinars/webinar-registration/?webinarKey=2315571887057576972&hide=&webinarTitle=PowerPoint%20Polling

Title: Anywhere Polling (60 minutes)
Date and time: Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 10:00 AM EST
Register: https://www.turningtechnologies.com/turningpoint/turningpoint-desktop/training-webinars/webinar-registration/?webinarKey=6367453654830724620&hide=&webinarTitle=Anywhere%20Polling

Upcoming Training Roundup: Week of June 3-7

Over the next few weeks, the Digital Learning Team will be highlighting upcoming online trainings for Canvas and beyond! Check out the list below to find out what’s available next week, June 3rd through 7th.

Canvas Online Trainings

Title: Group Work & Collaboration
Date and time: Monday, June 3, 2019, at 12:00 PM EST
Register at: https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/event/group-work-collaboration-june-3-2019  

Title: Quiz Basics
Date and time: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 8:30 AM EST
Register at: https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/event/quiz-basics-june-4-2019

Title: Home Pages
Date and time: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 5:30 PM EST
Register at: https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/event/home-pages-june-5-2019

Title: Content Pages
Date and time: Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 8:30 AM EST
Register at: https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/event/content-pages-june-6-2019

Title: Outcomes & Rubrics for Instructors
Date and time: Friday, June 7, 2019 at 9:00 AM EST
Register at: https://www.cysalesteam.com/instructure/even t/outcomes-rubrics-for-instructors-june-7-2019

Badgr Online Trainings

Title: Demo Days: Getting Started with Badgr
Date and time: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 11:00 EST
Register at: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ecyjhl72RDe_H3ij7B_b0g

Student Guest Post: My Experiences Using the Canvas Mobile App

By Danea Manson, 4th Year Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Student at Georgia Tech 

One of my favorite parts about the transition from T-Square to Canvas has been the mobile app. Grades, assignments, files, and announcements have never been so easily accessible. With the Canvas app, I have real-time access to my courses to ensure that I am always on top of my schedule. Additionally, the Canvas app allows me to learn across multiple devices, picking up where I left off. Some of the features that I find most useful are:

  1. To-Do List. Canvas automatically consolidates the due dates for my upcoming quizzes and assignments in all my courses into a single to-do list. Being able to view all my assignments in one place and in chronological order helps me plan for the week and allocate my time efficiently. 
  2. Messaging. Canvas’s messaging platform is fully functional within the mobile app, which allows me to communicate on the go with classmates, TAs, and instructors. 
  3. Submissions. Not only can I view all the course content from the mobile app, I can also actively participate in the course from my phone by submitting assignments, taking quizzes, and posting to the discussion board.  
  4. Push Notifications. I get notifications every time files are added to my course, an announcement is made by the instructors, and grades are updated.  
  5. Canvas Widget. With the Canvas widget, I can view my overall course grades at a glance without logging into the app just by swiping left to the Today View (iPhone).  

What I appreciate most about the Canvas app is that its interface is user-friendly; it’s intuitive and extremely easy to navigate. The Canvas app is so similar to the desktop view that the learning curve is minimal. 

New Feature Spotlight: CIOS Link in Canvas

As of this week, the Course Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS) is now accessible via Canvas! This integration aims to make the CIOS more convenient for students, and in turn increase response rates for the survey itself. 

A link to the CIOS will now appear at the bottom of the Course Navigation Menu within Canvas. This link leads to the CIOS site, where students will be able to complete their course surveys. For students using tablets or smartphones, the Canvas App provides the best display for completing the CIOS.

Students will also continue to receive the surveys via email, but the sooner they complete the survey, the sooner the reminder emails will cease. And everyone likes a cleaner inbox!

Questions? Please contact cioshelp@gatech.edu