Best Practices for Canvas
  • Cross-list Before Using Canvas
    Before adding grades, creating groups, or integrating with Panopto, cross-list your courses in Canvas is you plan to cross-list. Cross-listing after adding grades or integrating with Panopto can cause some unwanted behaviors, such as missing grades. Help: Flash Video or PDF Version.
  • Ungraded Assignments and Grading
    By default, Canvas only uses Assignments in the grading calculation IF there is a grade for that assignment. This allows students to have the most accurate representation of their current grade. However, if a student made a zero for an Assignment, you'll need to either record a zero for the student in the Gradebook or use the "Set Default Grade" functionality in the Gradebook and enter zero for the whole assignment. However, if a student doesn't have a grade for an assignment (excused absence), then it's better not default the grade to zero and put in the grades manually. Students also have this ability in their Grades area through the "What-If" tool.

    Please note: "Treat Ungraded as 0s" will NOT affect the grade for the student. It is only a display change for the gradebook. Students should uncheck the option "Calculate based only on graded assignments" to see their current grade if you do not put a zero for the assignment.
    Set Default as 0
    click to see the "default grade" screen

  • Gradebook Loading
    If you have a lot of students or assignments, the Gradebook may take a while to load. The Gradebook has no "loading..." display which can cause confusion. For example, if you upload grades from a spreadsheet, it may appear the grades didn't get recorded. Wait a few minutes and refresh the page to see if they show up.
  • Final Letter Grade
    Currently, Canvas does not allow alphanumeric columns in the Gradebook. However, it does support letter grades using the Grade Scheme (pictured towards top). Help is available online for setting the letter grades for the course and for individual assignments.
  • Extra Settings
    Canvas has many settings that can change the behavior of the course. However, they're slightly hidden. If you click "Settings" at the bottom left of your course, then click "Edit Course Details," you're able to change a few options. To see the remaining options, click "more options" at the bottom. Click the image below to see the possible options.

    more options
    click to see the "more options" screen

  • Hide Files (if You Prefer)
    By default, students are able to see any file upload to your Canvas course, even if it's not linked on a page or module. To prevent this, you can hide the Files link on the left. This is how you'll hide any of the links or reorder the navigation bar on the left.
  • Using a Rubric to Grade an Assignment
    When you add a rubric to an assignment, Canvas doesn't assume you want to use it for the actual grade. If you want the grade for that assignment to be determined by the rubric, be sure to check "Use this rubric for assignment grading."
  • Attendance and Grades
    If you use the Attendance tool to keep track of absences, please be aware that Canvas creates an Assignment called "Roll Call Attendance" out of 100 and places this Assignment in the first Assignment Group. If you use Assignment Groups to maintain your gradebook, be sure to move the attendance assignment to the proper assignment group.
  • Quiz Due Dates and Duration
    Student quizzes are automatically submitted at the due date (and until date, if used). For example: If a student has a 30 minute duration to take a quiz but starts it at 8:15 with a due date of 8:30, the student only gets 15 minutes before the quiz is automatically submitted.
  • Download the Gradebook at End of Semester
    As you finish a semester, we recommend downloading the Gradebook for your own safekeeping. Help: Flash Video or PDF Version

If you or your students have any best practices to share, or if you have any questions on how to implement any of the best practices,
please contact IMG at 844-5181.

More Help


Last Updated: Sep. 9th, 2013

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