Frequently Asked Questions

Below are commonly asked questions about UNT's new online learning platform, Canvas.

If your question can't be answered here, please contact the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk at (940) 369-7394, clearhelp@unt.edu, or come and see us during our normal hours in the Support and Services Building 160L. 

General

How do I request a Canvas course shell for my organization?

If your organization would like a Canvas course established where students can interact, share resources, and receive reminders about upcoming events separate from their enrolled courses, you can request to create a Canvas course shell.

How do I restore a deleted item?

Instructors have the ability to access Canvas's "undelete" page, where they can restore assignments, discussions, quizzes, and other items that were accidentally deleted. To access this page, instructors should go to their course, and then insert "undelete" in the last portion of the URL at the top of their page. An example of this URL is https://unt.instructure.com/courses/12345/undelete.

Will Canvas be unavailable because of maintenance at a consistent time during the week?

Good news! No, because Canvas does not shut down for maintenance. Changes are made constantly so that the site can remain available. Because of this, new tools and system updates can appear at any time. For notes on changes in Canvas, see our Canvas Updates page.

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Getting Started: Moving from Blackboard to Canvas

How do I transfer my Blackboard Learn course into Canvas?

Visit our website's page for Canvas Migration; it explains different paths you can take to move to Canvas.

I want to offer a new course online. How do I get started?

If you want to create a new, fully online course or convert a face-to-face course to an online course, please complete the Request to Develop an Online Course form to get the process started.

How do I create a new face-to-face course in Canvas?

Fill out a Canvas Development Shell Request. You will be given a "development" course which you can fill with content and copy into a live course before the beginning of the semester.

How long will it take to migrate my Blackboard course to Canvas?

This depends! We have a long assembly line of all UNT courses being moved from Blackboard to Canvas. Time for this transition varies case-by-case. If you have questions about the status of your course's migration, contact Anna Marsden.

My course has been migrated to Canvas. How do I get my students into my migrated course?

Your migrated course is in a development shell that you'll use as a template for future semester offerings. Students are not enrolled in this development shell. A new, blank Canvas course shell will be automatically created in Canvas approximately 90 days before the semester starts for all courses with two or more enrolled students. Enrollments will process to the semester course offering shells. Once your new course is created, you can then import the content from your migrated development shell into the new semester course offering.

I left course content in Blackboard - can I still download it?

You can send an email with the course prefix and number, the specific content you need, and the reason you need it, to the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk who may be able to assist you: clearhelp@unt.edu or 940-369-7394.

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Access

Why can't students see my course?

Publish icon
Image 1

There could be several different reasons why students cannot see a course or a course's content:

  • Either the course or the course content is unpublished. To ensure your course is published, check that the "Published" button on your course's home page in the right Sidebar is green. To ensure your course's content is published, check that the modules, assignments, quizzes, etc. have a green checkmark next to them (Image 1).
  • The semester hasn't started yet. Although students are populated one week before the semester start date, students can only access the course content on the first class day unless the course settings have been adjusted to allow them to access it earlier.
  • The course is not displaying on the student's Dashboard. For the student to ensure a course can be easily found, they can navigate to All Courses from the Global Navigation bar and click the star to the left of a course to pin it to the Dashboard.

How can I give students access to my course before the semester start date?

  1. Navigate to the course.
    Start and end dates
    Image 2
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Settings.
  3. Click the Course Details tab.
  4. Scroll down and enter the desired "Starts" and "Ends" dates (Image 2).
  5. Click to checkmark the "Users can only participate in the course between these dates" box.
  6. Go to the home page and Publish the course.

How can I add a TA or other instructor to an active course?

  1. Navigate to the course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click People.
  3. Click the green +People button at the top right. A window called "Add People" will appear.
  4. Under "Add user(s) by," select "Login ID."
  5. In the text box of the same window, enter the TA's (or TF's, instructor's, etc.) EUID. If you do not know their EUID, select "SIS ID" and enter the person's eight-digit UNT ID number.
  6. Under "Role," select the role you want the new user to have.
  7. Click the green Next button at the bottom right of the window.
  8. The pop-window in Canvas will close, and the user will show in the People page as "Pending."
  9. This new user will need to log in to Canvas and accept their invitation to the course in order to see it.

I tried to add a user to my course but the +People button is grayed out. What do I do?

You will no longer have the ability to add users to your course after the end date has been reached. If you would like to add another instructor to your concluded course, you may email the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk with the following information:

  • Course name and section (ABCD 1234.001)
  • Semester (ex. Spring 2019)
  • EUID or SIS ID of instructor you would like to add

Note: The request must come from the instructor of note of the course.

A student needs to access course content to finish their incomplete but the semester is over. What do I do?

Once the end date of a course has been reached, students will no longer have access to a course's content. In order to give a student who needs access to a course's content to finish an incomplete in the course, email the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk with the following information:

  • Course name and section (ABCD 1234.001)
  • Semester (ex. Spring 2019)
  • EUID or SIS ID of the student you would like to extend course access for
  • Date and time of when they can have access until

Note: The request must come from the instructor of note of the course.

How can I verify that a student submitted a quiz or assignment when there's no submission in the gradebook?

While there isn't a log of submissions for each student, you can view a record of pages a student has accessed in a student's Access Report:

  1. Navigate to the course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click People.
  3. Locate the student.
  4. Click on the three bullet icon to the right of the student's name.
  5. Select User Details.
  6. Click Access Report on the far right.

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Accessibility

How do I check if my content is accessible on Canvas?

Canvas offers several options for ensuring accessibility, like the Accessibility Checker; this tool analyzes whether written content can be understood by students with visual and auditory impairments.

You may also schedule a consultation with an accessibility specialist by completing a form. Make sure you check the box next to "Accessibility" under the Consultation Categories box.

The CLEAR website is also a knowledgeable resource for anyone seeking to design an accessible course according to UNT's standards

I want to use a screen reader in Canvas. What browsers are supported?

According to the Canvas Community, Canvas officially supports the following screen reader and browser combinations:

Desktop

  • Windows: JAWS and NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome, IE11, or Edge browsers.

Mobile Apps

Official browser support means that these browsers are actively tested against Canvas code. Canvas may be able to be used in any other browser or screen reader not listed, but official support is not provided.

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Assignments

How do I create exceptions for due dates? In Blackboard, this was called "Adaptive Release."

Image 3

If a student (or several students) miss a due date or needs an extension, you can allow the student(s) to access an item with a new due date by following the steps below.

  1. Go to the page of any graded assignment and click on Edit.
  2. Scroll down to the "Assign" section of this page. At the base of the "Assign to" box (pictured right), click on +Add; a second "Assign to" box will appear (Image 3).
  3. In the "Assign to" section of this second box, choose the student(s) or sections who you want to give a different due date. Give them a due date, and choose when you want them to see the assignment by choosing an "Available from," and "Until" date.
  4. Do not change the first box. The due dates will not conflict. 
  5. You can create as many exceptions as you need by clicking on +Add and repeating the steps above.
  6. Remember to Save!

I want to embed a YouTube video but I don't want to include the preview image. How do I remove that?

By default, when Canvas embeds a video in the Rich Text Editor of an assignment (or other content), an inline preview of a video is added. If the video you would like to embed does not have a preview image already set or misrepresents the video, you have the option to remove this preview image. To disable inline previews for videos, follow these instructions:

  1. Navigate to the course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Assignments.
  3. Open the relevant assignment.
  4. Click the Edit button on the top right of the page.
  5. Make sure the cursor is on the relevant link.
  6. Click the link icon Link icon.
  7. Check the box next to "Disable inline previews for this link."
  8. Click the Update Link button.
  9. Scroll to the bottom of the assignment and click the green Save button.

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Communication

If I make an announcement in Canvas, will my students receive an e-mail notification about it?

That depends! Every Canvas user is responsible for setting up their Notification preferences. If a user does not go into their Canvas account and choose how they want notifications to be sent to their UNT e-mail (or any other contact method they list in Canvas), there are no guarantees for how they will be notified of changes or messages in Canvas. Faculty cannot view or change a student's method for receiving notifications, but they can advise their students to set up notifications early in the semester. Visit the Canvas Guides website for instructions on how to set up student notifications and similar instructions on how to set up instructor notifications

Canvas has a video explaining notifications. Graphics within Canvas have changed since the video was made, but the video's instructions still apply. Skip to the 2 minute, 30 seconds mark within the video for a Notifications tutorial. 

Note: When your students log in to Canvas for the first time, they will be reminded by the system to update their Notifications.

I am worried that students in my course are not receiving my Announcements. How can I fix this?

Image 4

You can tell students about the importance of setting up notifications. You can also opt to show recent Announcements on your course homepage:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Settings.
  3. Under the "Course Details" tab, scroll down and click on "more options" at the bottom of the page.
  4. Check the "Show recent announcements on Course home page" box (Image 4).
  5. Select the number of announcements shown on the home page.
  6. Click Update Course Details to save.

Does Canvas have default Notification settings?

Yes! Notification settings for every new Canvas user are the same. These settings can be found on page two of the Canvas Guides' document regarding Notifications

Publish button
Image 5

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Course Management

How do I publish my course?

Once your Canvas course has been created, in the Sidebar of the course's home page, click the Publish button (Image 5).

Note: You cannot unpublish a course after students submit assignments in the course.

How do I copy content from a previous Canvas course into a new one?

To copy content from one of your courses into another, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the course you would like to copy content into.
  2. If this is a new, blank course, click on "Add existing content" (Image 5) on the homepage.
    If this course already contains content, click Settings at the bottom of the Course Navigation Bar and then Import Course Content on the right side of the page. 
  3. For “Content Type,” select “Copy A Canvas Course.”
  4. Select the course you want to copy content from in the “Search for a course” field.
  5. In the “Content” section, you can copy all content or specified content from the selected course.
  6. Canvas also gives you the option to shift the dates on the assignments and quizzes in your previous course to accommodate the dates of the course you are copying the content to. If you would like details on how to do this, see the Canvas Community’s guide on date adjustments.
  7. When you have made your desired selections, click Import.
  8. If you chose to copy over only “Specific Content” you will now have the option to select the content you would like to copy over by clicking “Select Content.”
  9. Once the Course Copy is complete, the Course Copy status will show as “Completed."

Can I combine courses or course sections?

Yes! If you want to combine courses or course sections, send an e-mail from your UNT e-mail to clearhelp@unt.edu with the name(s) of your course(s) and sections along with a request to combine them.

How do I keep an attendance record through Canvas?

The Attendance tool in Canvas allows you to mark students as present, late, or absent from class! To access this, go to Attendance.

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Discussions

How do I enable students to attach files to discussions?

The default setting in Canvas will not allow students to attach files in new discussion topics, discussion replies, and discussions within course groups.There are two places you can enable this setting: either through the "Course Details" tab in Settings or through the Discussions page.

Through Settings:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Settings.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the "Course Details" tab.
  4. Click on "More options."
  5. Check the box next to "Let students attach files to discussions."

Through Discussions:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Discussions.
  3. Click the Settings icon Discussions settings icon.
  4. Check the box next to "Attach files to discussions."

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Files

Why can't my students see a file I have uploaded?

A student may not be able to view a file you have uploaded to an assignment or module because the assignment or module are not published, the file itself is not published in the Files link, the folder the file is in is not published, or it is possible that you have set the file to not be visible in student files. Check to make sure the green arrow appears next to the assignment or module, the file, and the file folder.

How do I upload a file to an assignment?

Files tab
Image 6

There are a couple of different ways to upload a file in a course and include it in an assignment. The recommended way utilizes the following instructions:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Assignments.
  3. Create a new assignment by clicking the green +Assignment button or edit an assignment you have already created by selecting the assignment name and then clicking the gray Edit button.
  4. On the right hand side, click the "Files" tab.
  5. Upload a new file by clicking on "+Upload a new file" or selecting a file you have already uploaded.
  6. If you uploaded a new file, make sure to select a folder to upload the file into then click Upload.
  7. The file will be added in the Rich Text Editor of the assignment as a link.
  8. Click the green Save button.

This method is recommended as opposed to uploading a file and copying and pasting the file's URL in an assignment. When this method is used, if the course is then copied for a later semester, the file will not be able to be accessed since the file is not located in the new semester's Canvas course. Files can also be uploaded from the Files link in Canvas and then selected from the "Files" tab of the Rich Content Editor when editing an assignment, quiz, etc.

Note: Always make sure that the file and file folder you upload is published if you would like students to view it.

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Grades

How do I weigh grades in Canvas? In Blackboard, this was called creating a weighted column.

Similar to Blackboard’s capability to weigh grades within the Grade Center, Canvas offers instructors a simple way to assign values to different assignment types within a course. To take advantage of this feature, follow the Canvas Community’s guide on weighting grades

Weighted grades in Canvas do not occupy a second column; it modifies the total column. These weights can be removed at any time, and added back just as easily.

How do I grade assignments (or, how do I use Speedgrader)?

Canvas Guides provides information on using Canvas's Speedgrader and how to use the Speedgrader's markup features.

Can I curve grades in Canvas?

Yes, but it's not recommended. Depending on the class's overall score, curving grades may send scores down or up at various rates. Curved grades can only be reverted to previous scores by accessing students' grade histories and then manually editing grades that were curved. If you are interested in curving grades through Excel, you can export grades from your gradebook into Excel, change and/or curve them, and then upload new scores

How do I hide grade distribution graphs from students?

By default, students can see a high, low, and median score grade distribution for graded assignments with 5 or more submissions (pictured below).

You can hide this feature from students by following these steps:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Settings.
  3. Go to the "Course Details" tab.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and select "more options."
  5. Check the box next to "Hide grade distribution graphs from students" (Image 7).
    Image 7
  6. Click Update Course Details at the bottom of the page.

Note: Instructors will still be able to view the grade distribution graphs after this option is disabled.

How do I hide the "Totals" column in students' Grades summaries?

Image 8

You have the ability to hide the "Total" column from students. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Settings.
  3. Click on "Course Details" tab at the top of the page.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of this page. Click "more options."
  5. Check the box for "Hide totals in student grades summary" (Image 8).
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page again, and click the green Update Course Details button.

Note: If you hide this column, students will not be able to use the "What If" feature on their "Grades" page. This option allows students to explore what grades they need to earn in upcoming assignments and assessments in order to receive the total course grade they desire.

I want to edit grades offline through Excel. How do I export and import grades in Canvas?

To export and import grades from a course in Canvas, see the Canvas Community's guide on how to download grades and how to upload grades.

What is the "Treat ungraded as zero" setting? How does it work?

"Treat Ungraded as 0" is a visual change and does not affect any grades. This setting shows the change in Gradebook calculations if ungraded assignments were given scores of zero. Enabling this setting has no effect outside of the Gradebook; students cannot see any difference in their grade pages. When the "Treat Ungraded as 0" setting is enabled, assignments that do not have a grade will be treated as if a student received a score of zero. You can disable this setting in the Gradebook at any time. 

Even when this setting is enabled, Canvas will not populate zeros in the Gradebook. Dashes will still display for each student submission. This feature affects the configuration of the Total Column in the Gradebook, which also applies to CSV Exports. The CSV file displays columns for the Current and Final scores: the Current score reflects the total while ignoring unsubmitted assignments (option disabled), and the Final score counts unsubmitted assignments as zero (option enabled).

Calculate based only on graded assignments checkbox
Image 9

On the students' end, if an instructor chooses to "Treat ungraded assignments as zero" in a courses gradebook, students have to manually uncheck a box to not "Calculate only based on graded assignments" (Image 9) to see the same grade total in the course that the instructor sees (to be on the same page as the instructor concerning the grade they are earning in a course). The default on the student side is a check in the box regardless of the setting chosen by the instructor. 

What does the dark blue shading in the assignment group columns mean?

If you have set up your assignments into groups and weighed them, you may have noticed that they appear as columns in the Gradebook. They have a dark blue shading to indicate that they cannot be deleted or hidden.

I want to add a letter grade. Why is it not reflecting in the Gradebook?

In Canvas, you cannot add a letter grade to a student's assignment in the Gradebook. You must use the grading scheme which can then convert the grade to a letter according to the percentages and can be seen in the final grade column.

How do I make the points I assign in a rubric automatically calculate in the Gradebook?

If you are using a rubric to grade an assignment and you would like the points assigned to be calculated in the Gradebook, you will need to checkmark the option in the rubric when you are adding it to the assignment. To do this:

  1. Navigate to your course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Assignments.
  3. Click on the assignment you would like to add the rubric to.
  4. Click the gray +Rubric button.
  5. Create or find the appropriate rubric.
  6. Checkmark the box next to "Use this rubric for assignment grading" to ensure that whatever grade is calculated from the points in the rubric in SpeedGrader will automatically be inputted into the Gradebook.
  7. Click the green Create Rubric button.

If you have already created or added the rubric to an assignment or discussion, you can edit the rubric by clicking the pencil icon that can be found in the top right of the rubric. 

Note: To add, view, and make changes to the rubric for discussion assignments, you will need to open the discussion assignment and click on the three vertical dots on the top right. In the dropdown, click "Add Rubric" if you have not already or "Show Rubric" if you already added one.

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Pages

How do I create a Wiki Page in Canvas?

When creating a page within Canvas, instructors have the option to open a page to be edited by students (see the Canvas Community's guide on how to create a page under "Edit Page Settings"). Students can then treat the page like a Wiki, and any changes can be undone by an instructor through the page history.

How do I revert page changes?

To view the previous version of a page and/or revert the page back to the way it was in the past, follow instructions on how to manage page history.

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Third Party Integrations

How do I enable Respondus Lockdown Browser for a quiz in Canvas?

To set up a quiz in Canvas that requires students to use LockDown Browser, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the quiz has been deployed in the Canvas course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, select LockDown Browser.
  3. A list of quizzes in the course will be displayed. Quizzes labeled with “Required” require students to use LockDown Browser. Quizzes labeled with “Not Required” do not require students to use LockDown Browser.
  4. To change the settings, click the arrow to the left of the quiz title and select the first option, Settings. From here you can eiher require or no longer require Lockdown Browser for your quiz.
  5. You may additionally require that LockDown Browser be used to view quiz feedback and results. Other options include creating an access code that students must enter to start the quiz. LockDown Browser will prompt students to enter the instructor-provided code before proceeding with the quiz.

Can I submit a Turnitin assignment on my student's behalf?

No, this capability is not available within Canvas.

What do the Similarity Report icon colors mean?

Similarity Report icons
Image 10

When the Plagarism Framework is enabled on an assignment and after a student has submitted the assignment, either a gray or colored icon will appear in the relevant box in the Gradebook (Image 10). The distinctions are as follows:

  • Gray icon [1]: Similarity Report has not been generated yet.
  • Color icon [2]: Similarity Report has returned a score; the color is based on the similarity percentage score:
    • If the colored square for your Similarity Report is Red, 75% - 100% of the text in your paper matches something already in the TurnItIn database.
    • If the colored square is Orange, 50% - 74% of the text in your paper matches something already in the Turnitin database.
    • If the colored square is Yellow, 25% - 49% of your paper or assignment matches something already in the Turnitin database.
    • If the colored square is Green it means that 0% - 24% of your paper or assignment matches something already in the Turnitin database.
    • And a Blue colored square means that less than 20 words in your paper or assignment matches something already in the Turnitin database.

I have never used Respondus before. Where can I find basic instructions?

You can find UNT specific basic Respondus documentation here and on the CLEAR page for Respondus.

My students are reporting that the quiz I created for LockDown Browser is not loading. What do I do?

LockDown Browser does not cache image or media files and, as a result, Canvas may have difficulty loading the quiz. This issue can be fixed by changing a setting in the Canvas quiz following these instructions:

  1. Navigate to the course.
  2. From the Course Navigation Bar, click Quizzes.
  3. Open the relevant quiz.
  4. Click the Edit button at the top right of the page.
  5. Make sure you are under the Details tab.
  6. In the middle of the page, check mark the box next to "Show one question at a time."
  7. Click the green Save button.

This fix will make it easier for Canvas to load the quiz since questions will display one at a time. The problem can worsen if WiFi is being used due to limited bandwidth. If the issue persists, please contact the CLEAR Faculty Helpdesk through email or 940-369-7394.

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