Starting Winter...

Canvas logo

Canvas Guides

Changes often force us to adapt in ways we’ve never experienced, which can be a major driver of personal (and even professional) growth and development.

Improving Student Success

Canvas is a wonderful Learning Management System, but just like any technology it is only as good as you make it. As instructors, your development, participation, timely feedback and current grades makes the course useful and supports student success. 

We hope that you will utilize the Canvas tools to support your teaching and improve your students' learning.

Formative Assessment is Important

Formative assessments are ongoing and often. They are low stakes, repeatable, open book, and group work: quizzes, assignments, and discussions. They provide the opportunity for students to practice and learn their strength and weakness. They help instructors recognize their students' short comings and allow instructors to adjust, share additional resources, or work with students to improve before midterms. Formative assessments will improve a students ability to pass your course. 

Canvas provide tools to support formative assessments and feedback, such as:

  • Quiz: When instructors shuffle answers in the quiz or randomize questions from a Question Group, the multiple attempts provide more opportunities for students to practice and master. Question Banks are a place to house questions that can be added to quizzes across courses. Question Groups allow instructors to place multiple questions within a group for students to answer. Instructors can choose the number of questions that should be answered from the group and how many points to assign each question. Creating a question group randomizes questions within a quiz.
  • Assignment: a space where students, or a group of students, can submit files for instructor grading. Instructors can create rubrics to provide clear requirements and formative feedback. The assignment tool also supports peer reviews. The SpeedGrader allows instructors to quickly grade, and to provide written, audio, and video feedback for the assignment. If the course sections are merged, the instructor can provide unique due dates for each section.
  • Discussions: allow students to build on ideas and share information outside of class. Discussions allow students to provide peer feedback and support. It is better than answering course questions via email and it can help create a community. Learn more.
  • Grades: can be viewed by the student at any time. Students can see if their activities have been submitted/completed, and if it has been graded or they have received feedback. Instructors can curve, weight, and exclude grades. Grades can be viewed as a whole, as an activity or as a student. You can also view grades by sections (if they are merged). Options allow instructors to view history, hide student names (anonymous grading), set ungraded items to 0 pts, and show inactive. All graded activities will appear automatically in the Grades. 
    Within the SpeedGrader, instructors can "mute" the assignment feedback until all the assignments have been graded. The SpeedGrader also provides an easy tool for grading Discussions by displaying individual students' posts. Quizzes are also graded in the SpeedGrader

Early Alert Messages

Message students who...In addition to providing timely and helpful feedback to Assignments, Quizzes and Discussions, instructors should also reach out to students who are in danger of failing the course. Instructors can Message students who have not submitted or with a score less than. Reaching out to students helps them feel that you care about their education and success, provides supportive resources and improve student success. 

Student Support Resources

When you reach out to students, what resources are available for them?

Additional information coming soon.

Related Content

Canvas Guides

Canvas Guides

View the Canvas Guides

Upcoming Events


Canvas Workshops

Workshop Schedule

Accessibility in My Courses


Fixing your courses...



Learn more...