The semester has started, and you are on your way to becoming a Canvas pro! In order to help you on this quest, we have put together a list of the three most common development mistakes instructors make while managing their course shells. Familiarize yourself with these development mistakes in order to avoid them!
#1 – Not Reviewing Due Dates
You’ve updated your syllabus and all should be well. So, why are your students emailing you about discrepancies with due dates?
Before the start of every term, it is recommended to carefully review and update all assignment dates/availability from the course “Assignments” tab, using the Bulk Update feature. Also, we suggest that you review the auto-populated “Course Summary” at the bottom of the syllabus as that will include dates from calendar events and nongraded items, too.
#2 – Not Updating Groups & Group Assignments
Your group assignments worked well last semester; what gives? Unfortunately, Canvas does not replicate groups during a course copy. I’m bummed about that too.
If you use groups in your course, you’ll need to (1) recreate the groups every semester (do this first!) and (2) reset the connection between groups and their associated assignment(s).
Whenever possible, wait until after the add/drop period to create your course groups (check the academic calendar for specific dates). This will minimize any changes to the groups after they’re created.
#3 – Broken Links Everywhere
There are many reasons links might break in your course, but here is the biggest culprit:
- You copied & pasted content from one course shell to another. Copied links and images may not work for your new students.
If you need to import a certain item from one course to another, do not copy and paste (it’s tempting, we know). Instead, use Canvas’ Direct Share in the course from which you want to copy. See the guides below.
- How do I copy an assignment to another course?
- How do I copy a discussion to another course?
- How do I copy an announcement to another course?
- How do I copy a page to another course?
- How do I copy a quiz to another course?
- Note, this is not recommended for quizzes using question groups with direct links to question banks.
When in doubt, just run the Link Validator. It will let you know if any links are pointing to deleted content, unpublished content, or content in a different course. It’s an awesome tool and you should be using it frequently!
Additionally, you can catch broken links quickly by enabling notifications for “Content Link Errors.” This will inform you via email when students are clicking on a broken link.
As a bonus, I’ll mention one final mistake to avoid: Not Asking for Help.
No question, issue, or concern is too small. If there’s anything you’re unsure of or need help with, don’t hesitate to reach out! You can submit a request for support at any time via canvas.FIU.edu.
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