Archives for April 2019

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

Faculty Guest Post: Reflections on Using Respondus 4.0 within Canvas (Part 2 in a Series)

By Dr. Michael Smith, Full Time Lecturer in Information Systems

I have keyed many questions into Canvas quizzes to create short quizzes, but that process would be tedious and slow for tests. Since I have many tests already created as Word documents, I sought a way to upload them into Canvas. However, Canvas cannot import directly from Word documents and I didn’t want to rekey so many questions, so I had to find a way to migrate questions from Word to Canvas, including images referenced in questions.   

Canvas accepts mass question uploads in several ways. A review of options and discussion on the topic led me to select the QTI .zip file upload method using the Respondus 4.0 exam authoring tool. Respondus 4.0 is the only program I have found that can convert questions in Word documents into QTI .zip files. The product is offered by the same company that makes the LockDown Browser. I spent $80 for a single-user license. A site license is also available. 

Before importing the questions into Respondus 4.0, they must be reformatted to indicate correct answers, among other possibilities, and saved as a .txt or .rtf file. The help system in Respondus 4.0 indicates how to accomplish these tasks for different kinds of questions.  

I find it useful to create titles for the questions, as that helps me group them later according to topic by sorting them in Respondus 4.0. Here is a sample MC question indicating title and correct answer. The title formatting is my own.  

TITLE:  GT History – mascots – Stumpy’s bear 
1.Which GT “mascot” was a gift from a defeated football rival? 
*a. Stumpy’s bear 
b. Sideways 
c. Burdell the Bulldog 
d. The original Ford Model A Ramblin’ Wreck 

Since I direct Canvas to scramble answers when it creates quizzes, I usually put the correct answer first just to make creating questions more regular. For the same reason, I must change answers such as “b and c” to answers that don’t depend on any specific answer order, since Canvas will order the answers when it generates the quiz for each student. If I didn’t scramble answers, I would not need to do these things. 

If a question refers to a graphic, that graphic must be uploaded into Respondus 4.0 and embedded in the question. If the same graphic is referenced in several questions, all can refer to the same image file. Respondus 4.0 provides an editor for doing fancy formatting of questions and placing images within them.  

Respondus 4.0 provides for the export of groups of questions into QTI .zip files, among other formats.   

In Canvas, the upload process is accessed through Settings | Import Course Content | Content Type = QTI .zip file. After having uploaded the questions into a bank linked to the appropriate Canvas course, I import them into a question group in a quiz.  

In my next post, I will write about managing questions in a quiz.