Dropbox + Canvas = Streamlined Collaboration

Thanks to the integration between Dropbox and Canvas, students and faculty can safely access, edit, and submit their Dropbox content within Canvas! For both students and teachers, the use of Dropbox allows for seamless access to the correct and most up to date files.

How does this integration benefit teachers?

Teachers can embed any type of document from their Dropbox account (e.g. course materials, study resources, syllabi, etc.) into Canvas, either directly into pages using the Canvas Rich Content Editor (RCE) or directly into modules.

How does this integration benefit students?

Students can link their Dropbox files to course content, or in conjunction with coursework submissions. Students can also access, embed, or submit their Dropbox files as assignments within Canvas. This integration also improves the ease and efficacy of student collaboration, allowing students to collaborate on many types of files (Word Docs, PDFs, Photoshop files) within Dropbox. Once students have completed their assignments, they can upload and submit their final drafts from Dropbox within Canvas.

For more info on Dropbox, visit the link below:

Dropbox at GT – General Information

Faculty Guest Post: Reflections on Using LockDown Browser within Canvas (Part 1 in a Series)

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

I was eager to use Canvas’s quiz feature to give tests in class because it would help me reduce the drudge work associated with testing, including preparing multiple versions of tests by scrambling question and answers, copying tests, grading multiple versions of tests, and compiling item level data for required reporting and for improving questions, tests, and teaching materials and activities.

The LDB (LockDown Browser) makes the use of Canvas to administer high stakes tests practical, because it prevents access to unauthorized resources through testers’ laptops. I use the features of the product that are suitable for a proctored environment.

This post includes some information and reflections regarding my experience introducing high stakes testing using Canvas/LDB during the 2019 spring term.

I was fortunate in my room assignment because some rooms don’t have enough electrical outlets to be suitable for giving tests on laptops. Since the rooms I teach in do, and I now know to request rooms that have plenty of outlets, I put it on the students to bring a power cord and make sure the outlet they use supplies power in case their batteries are not sufficient.

In business we say, “Never let your first presentation be to the client”— that is, take a few practice swings before you step up to bat. I wanted the Canvas/LDB test process to be like “drinking a glass of water” for my students. To help students prepare, I created two GT trivia quizzes in Canvas, set them up to be accessible only through LDB, and used a few minutes of two days in class so the students could practice with the product. I also made those quizzes available outside class time so students could practice the process as many times as they wanted before tests and sent them several messages advising them to practice. Before the first real test, almost all students had used the product several times.

Live by technology—die by technology. I bring a handful of paper copies of the test in case something goes wrong. Given enough students, it’s inevitable. That said, so far this term, I’ve given six high stakes tests and have had only a handful of problems with Canvas/LDB. The most easily preventable problems have been students not having installed the LDB software before the test (despite my appeals) and students signing in with their email addresses instead of just their GT account. If it seems like more than a few minutes will be needed to resolve the problem, I just seat the student near the front of the class and give them a paper copy.

In my next post, I’ll write about the process of migrating my old tests from Word documents to online banks of questions suitable for random ordering within a test which also includes random ordering of answers.

Respondus 4.0 and LockDown Browser

What is Respondus 4.0?

Respondus is an exam authoring tool used to create and manage exams, which can then be printed to paper or published directly to Canvas. Whether you are a veteran of online testing or relatively new to it, Respondus will save you hours on each project.

For more info, visit the Digital Learning Team’s Respondus page here.

Download Respondus 4.0 from OIT Software Distribution here.

(Please note: Respondus 4.0 is currently only available for Windows.)

What is LockDown Browser?

LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Canvas. Used at over 1000 higher ed and K-12 institutions, LockDown Browser is the top choice of educators for securing online exams in classrooms or proctored environments.

How can I find out more or attend an online training?

Click the links below to access a variety of online training videos and webinars:

Video – LockDown Browser (Instructor Training)
Video – Respondus 4.0 (Create and Manage Content)
Instructor Training (Live Webinars) for LockDown Browser

TurningPoint Training Round-Up: February 20th, 2019

Are you a faculty member who is using TurningPoint this semester? Are you interested in learning more about its classroom capabilities? In this week’s training round-up, the Digital Learning Team highlights several training webinars for both TurningPoint Desktop and TurningPoint Web platforms, any of which can be accessed when it’s convenient for you!


PowerPoint Polling:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the direct integration with PowerPoint!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/27/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
3/5/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
3/12/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
3/19/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
3/20/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
3/27/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
Anywhere Polling:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using Anywhere Polling to poll over any application!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/21/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
2/28/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
3/6/2019 10:00am EST 1 hour
3/7/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
3/14/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
3/21/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour
3/28/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
Self-Paced Polling:
 This training class is designed to comprehensively teach all users how to build answer keys, as well as facilitate a self-paced polling test!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/26/2019 2:00pm EST 1 hour
3/13/2019 10:00am EDT 1 hour
3/26/2019 2:00pm EDT 1 hour


TurningPoint Web for Powerpoint:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the direct integration with PowerPoint!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/21/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
2/25/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
2/27/2019 11:00am EST 30 minutes
TurningPoint Web:
This training class is designed to get you up and running using the web platform for live polling and scheduling polling!
Date Start Time Duration Register
2/20/2019 2:00pm EST 30 minutes
2/21/2019 2:30pm EST 30 minutes
2/26/2019 1:30pm EST 30 minutes


New Feature Spotlight: Canvas Analytics Beta

By Matt Lisle, Director of Digital Learning Technologies at C21U

In October, Canvas quietly added a new feature called Analytics Beta. As the name implies, this is not a fully realized tool, but it does provide some helpful insights and tools for your Canvas courses. Here are three things you can do with Analytics Beta:

1) Spot an assignment that’s giving students trouble

In the screenshot below, you’ll see a chart that displays assignments and grades. Each assignment appears along the X-axis, and its average grade appears along the Y-axis. At a glance, you can see that the “Lab Grouping” assignment received abnormally low grades (when compared to other assignments’ grades in this course). The teacher can click on that assignment to reveal more details. In this case, the teacher might consider revisiting this content in an upcoming class session.

2) Send targeted messages to groups of students

Teachers can also easily intervene with students using the dashboard. In this case, the teacher clicks on the problematic “Lab Grouping” assignment to reveal more details. The detail card displays a grade distribution for the assignment. By selecting the 80% range, the teacher sees that eight students fall into this category. By clicking the envelope icon in the top right, the teacher can quickly send a customized message to those eight students. He or she might send a different message to the six students in the 20% range by following the same steps. This allows the teacher to send targeted messages about this assignment to six groups of students with just a few clicks.

3) Spot when a student is particularly struggling

Let’s suppose a student arrived at office hours to ask why his or her overall grade is so low. The teacher could quickly compare the student’s grades to the course averages by adding them to the filter at the top of the dashboard (in this case, the student’s actual name has been disguised with grey rectangles). The student’s scores appear as green squares, and the class scores appear as blue circles. The teacher can quickly spot that this student scored a 40% on the “Lab Basic queries” assignment, while the rest of the class scored an average of 82% on that same assignment.

If you’d like to start using this tool, follow the step-by-step instructions at https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-15581-canvas-release-analytics-beta-student-grade. Be sure to provide feedback to Instructure’s product team as you use the tool, as it’s under active development.

Canvas Training Round-Up: January 23rd, 2019

Are you a faculty member who is still getting the hang of Canvas? Or perhaps you’ve got the hang of Canvas, but are interested in learning more about its capabilities? We know spring semester is a busy time, and it may seem nigh impossible to fit in time for a training, but there’s good news: Instructure hosts a variety of live trainings, all of which can be accessed when it’s convenient for you!

Below you’ll find a round-up of a few upcoming training sessions which might be helpful as you finish up the first month of classes:

“Outcomes and Rubrics for Instructors” – Monday, January 28th, 2019, 10:30am – 11:30am (EST)

“Outcomes & Rubrics for Instructors” reviews best practices and classroom applications for utilizing outcomes and rubrics in Canvas assignments, discussions, quizzes. Instructors will learn also learn how to make use of the Learning Mastery Gradebook and the Canvas Magic Marker app.

Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to log in or create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

“Gradebook and Speedgrader (version 1.0)” – Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 4:30pm – 5:30pm (EST)

Explore the interface of the Canvas gradebook from the instructor and student perspectives. Users will experience the power of the Speedgrader and the various ways it can be used to provide timely and detailed feedback for students while making the grading process more efficient and enjoyable.
Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

Mobile Apps: The Teacher App” – Wednesday, January 30th, 2019, 12:00pm – 1:00pm (EST)
 *Prerequisite: Please have your updated mobile device (iPad or Android) and app store password for downloading apps in this session.
“Mobile Apps: The Teacher App” is designed to help teachers better understand the features of the Canvas Teacher App to easily facilitate a course on a mobile device. During this webinar you will learn the features and functionality of the Canvas Teacher App to improve communication, teach more efficiently, and grade more effectively with mobile SpeedGrader.
Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

“Creating Assessments with Quizzes.Next” – Thursday, January 31st, 2019, 11:30am – 12:30pm (EST)

 (Note: More information is available on Quizzes.Next on our blog, including how to enable the tool within your Canvas account. Click here to read the post!)

“Creating Assessments with Quizzes.Next” will prepare instructors to use the new assessment tool in Canvas. Users will learn how to create questions and customize settings. A variety of assessment question types will be explored, and participants will have the opportunity to view 21st century assessment interaction.

Register here(Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)

To check out additional upcoming trainings that might be of interest, click here for the full list! (Note: Please use your Georgia Tech email address to create an account and gain access to Georgia Tech’s enterprise license.)


The Final Countdown to Canvas at GT

In less than three weeks, T-Square course sites will no longer be supported by Georgia Tech. So, what does that mean for Spring courses? All new courses will live in Canvas!

If you are a faculty member or instructor and you have not yet migrated your course(s) from T-Square to Canvas, please reach out to the Georgia Tech Digital Learning Team as soon as possible to receive support as you prepare for the 2019 spring semester.

Faculty and instructors will still be able to access old courses and project sites in T-Square through the end of 2019. However, since all new courses will live within Canvas beginning in January of 2019, faculty and instructors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Canvas via training options provided by the Digital Learning Team.

There are several ways to reach out to the Digital Learning Team for help or to access training options for your spring course:

  • Do you need help designing and developing your course(s)?  
    • Visit the CTL website to set up a one-on-one instructional design consultation with the learning technology specialists in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).
  • Do you need technical support?
    • Georgia Tech has subscribed to 24/7 support provided by Canvas, which means that you can ask their experts questions via email, chat, or phone at any time.

The Digital Learning Team also provides updates about Canvas, training sessions and support via the Georgia Tech Canvas Blog and the OIT Twitter account (@GatechOIT). You can also subscribe to the Georgia Tech Canvas Newsletter to receive updates about new features, training opportunities, and other announcements.

Say Hello to the New Canvas Quizzes Tool, Quizzes.Next!

Want to use Quizzes within your Canvas course(s)? Say hello to the new Canvas Quizzes tool, Quizzes.Next!

What is Quizzes.Next?
Quizzes.Next is an assessment engine that integrates with Canvas as an LTI tool; it replaces Canvas’ classic Quizzes functionality. Currently, it must be manually enabled within individual courses.

Why would I want to use Quizzes.Next?
Quizzes.Next can be used to create assessments using a variety of question types. Quizzes.Next assessments display as assignments in the Assignments page, and can be easily duplicated. (To learn more about the benefits of Quizzes.Next, read the full Canvas Community document here.)

How do I enable Quizzes.Next? 
Quizzes.Next is currently available to all GT instructors. To enable Quizzes.Next for your Canvas course(s):

  1. Within Canvas, select the “Courses” button, then choose an individual course
  2. Go to the bottom of the course menu and select Settings
  3. On the top center menu, select Feature Options
  4. Enable Quizzes.Next by clicking on the sliding bar

That’s it! Now you’re prepped and ready to use Quizzes.Next within your Canvas course!

Have questions about Canvas? Contact the Digital Learning Team at canvas@gatech.edu. We’re here to help!

Guest Post: From “I Caught You!” to “I Taught You!”: Utilizing Turnitin To Improve Student Writing

By Dr. Vincent M. Spezzo; Center for Teaching and Learning

Starting this semester, the Georgia Tech community gained access to Turnitin within the Canvas system. At its core, Turnitin is a web-based program that checks submitted work for unoriginal content that has been published elsewhere on the web or submitted previously to the Turnitin database. While some instructors are satisfied to simply leave it there and just use this tool as a plagiarism checker and deterrent to catch students cheating, others have taken a different path and found that Turnitin can be a very powerful tool to help students develop better writing habits and submit more thoughtful work regardless of discipline.

Several research studies have been conducted over the years using Turnitin as a means to improve student writing (Baker, Thronton, & Adams, 2011; Davis, 2007; Graham-Matheson & Starr, 2013; Rolfe, 2011). Some found by giving students access to submit drafts to Turnitin and receive their own reports, students were able to become aware of their own unoriginal content and submitted final papers that contained large reductions in unoriginal content. In a lot of cases student unoriginal content seemed to be unintentional and often a surprise to students who were unaware they were not paraphrasing and citing correctly or realized just how much of their paper was comprised of direct quotes. Researchers pointed out that this seems particularly the case with international students who may come from a different academic culture where the copying and drawing upon previous authors tends to be a common practice rather than considered plagiarism.

This passive usage of simply letting students run drafts through Turnitin not only resulted in better final papers due to a decrease in unoriginal content, but it also largely resulted in a positive experience for students. Graham-Matheson and Starr (2013) had students comment on their survey that “The draft facility (of Turnitin) enables you to double check that all information is appropriately referenced and not plagiarized.” and another who stated “It teaches me how to avoid it (plagiarism). It encourages me to read more and support my ideas with empirical evidence.” Similar positive comments were found in the various studies that allowed students access to run drafts and read their reports. This seems to show that the simple act of allowing for draft runs can largely impact how students view and use the Turnitin tool.

While providing students with the ability to submit a draft to Turnitin and see their unoriginality report seems to be a useful method on its own, some researchers went even further and actively utilized Turnitin to provide a learning opportunity for students. In her research, Mary Davis (2007) found positive results when using Turnitin in an academic writing class as a means of refining student writing. In her usage, Mary not only provided students with their Turnitin report, but held a session with students where they could openly discuss the report, what it meant, and why certain things were flagged as unoriginal content before beginning to rework their draft into a final submission. Mary found that while students were able to see where their submissions were flagged as unoriginal they sometimes were left confused as to why it was flagged. Through utilizing Turnitin in this way, Mary was able to positively impact student’s ability to cite correctly, diversify their sources, and paraphrase appropriately; all of which leads to helping students become better writers. As a result of this study, Mary advocates for the usage of Turnitin not just as a self-referenced report for students, but also as a possible tool for tutors. In this way, tutors can have students bring their reports with them and expedite the review process and allow students and tutors to make the most out of sessions.

As the research seems to indicate, there is great value and a positive impact on student learning to be found in going beyond the basic usage of Turnitin as a checker of unoriginal content. Just the act of allowing students to run drafts and see their reports seems to make for a more positive learning experience and increases student writing abilities. Going beyond that and engaging students with their reports so that they can truly understand what it is they are doing wrong and have their confusion about writing cleared up is certainly a method that can enable student to improve their writing even further. All of this is just with the basic usage of Turnitin’s unoriginality report; which is actually just one part of several tools Turnitin users have available to them. There are other additional tools inside of Turnitin, such as a grammar and style checker and an instructor feedback system, which can also be used to further educate students about their writing. In the end, educating students to recognize the unoriginal issues with their paper, as opposed to just catching them plagiarizing, is a much more effective method of using Turnitin and has been shown to lead to positive learning opportunities, increase student satisfaction, and create better overall student writing.


If you’re interested to learn more about using Turnitin at GaTech, please visit the GaTech Turnitin webpage to find resources, such as instructor guides and getting started documents, as well as information about upcoming workshops.


Baker, R.K., Thronton, B., & Adams, M. (2011). An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Turnitin.Com as a Tool for Reducing Plagiarism in Graduate Student Term Papers. College and Teaching Methods & Styles Journal 4, 9. Doi: https://doi.org/10.19030/ctms.v4i9.5564

Davis, M. (2007). The role of Turnitin within the formative process of academic writing: a tool for learning and unlearning. Brookes eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 2. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281848114_The_role_of_Turnitin_within_the_formative_process_of_academic_writing_a_tool_for_learning_and_unlearning

Graham-Matheson, L., & Starr, S. (2013). Is it cheating – or learning the craft of writing? Using Turnitin to help students avoid plagiarism. Research in Learning Technology, 21. doi: https://doi.org/10.3402/rlt.v21i0.17218

Rolfe, V. (2011). Can Turnitin Be Used to Provide Instant Formative Feedback? British Journal of Edcuational Technology, 42, 4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01091.x

Canvas + Turnitin: Integrations, Training, & more!

Did you know that Turnitin offers two integrations for Canvas?

Turnitin  provides instructors with the tools they need to detect plagiarism, engage students in the writing process, and provide personalized feedback on assignments. Georgia Tech’s site license for Turnitin consists of two Canvas integrations – the Canvas Plagiarism Framework and the Turnitin External Tool (LTI). Both of these tools can be used when creating assignments in Canvas.

Want to learn more about Canvas and Turnitin? Check out our Turnitin page here! You’ll find helpful info about your integration options, as well as a link to register for our upcoming Turnitin training, with both remote and in-person options available, Monday, November 12, 2018, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM!