NLP #2: Continuing to Learn to Use Canvas

If you don’t recall, I am learning to use my school’s new online management website Canvas by Instructure.  This is project for my Master’s in Education Technology course, where I am to only use YouTube and online help forums to learn how to use Canvas.  By the end of the project, I hope to have my classes all set up and ready to go for the fall!

My first goal for this week was to set up my class page. Now, since it is the middle of July, I do not have a syllabus or assignments to upload quite yet.  So, I set up my class page following the instructions given in this YouTube video to add a nice welcome message and a picture for students to see when they first log on.

Welcome Page After

Welcome Page After

Welcome Page Before

Welcome Page Before

Then, I decided to play around with the calendar since that is also addressed in that same YouTube video.  I learned a nice feature Canvas has. When I upload an assignment in the course calendar, Canvas automatically adds that assignment to the “Assignment” page, the “To-do” page, and to student’s notification page (if they have it set up that way). Here, I set up a fake  “Pop Quiz” to the calendar by just double clicking on the day.  I can add more directions, pictures, and links directly from that assignment in the calendar, which will be copied to the “Assingnment” page.

Pop Quiz Automatically Added to Assignments Page

Pop Quiz Automatically Added to Assignments Page

Calendar View with Pop Quiz

Calendar View with Pop Quiz

Finally, I noticed that I had a “Course” for each section I am teaching in the fall that was shown on the drop down menu from the top.  I am teaching two sections of Spanish 1 and four sections of Spanish 2, so I saw six different courses in my menu! I was overwhelmed by the thought of adding an assignment to each individual class. I thought there must be a way to edit all Spanish 1 classes at once or all Spanish 2 classes at once. It seems ridiculous to edit each section!  This was the hardest thing for me so far.  It was challenging to find specific help for this topic.  Many help videos on YouTube are just setting up one course, but my administrators had already enrolled all six of these courses to me.  So, I did some research. I went to the online Canvas help forum. There are many links provided on this website. I searched “Combing sections” and was directed to this link. Thanks to a friendly post from Glen, I had the instructions to combine all like courses into one “Master” course. (I will have two master courses: one for Spanish 1 and one for Spanish 2.)  Watch this short video below to see how I did it!  You must have your master class in mind (mine was Spanish 2, first hour). Then, start from the section you want to transfer to the master course (I used Spanish 2, 7th hour). The video starts once I am at the home page for 7th hour.

Overall, I have made good progress!  I now feel more comfortable after seeing different YouTube videos highlight the calendar feature and the assignments page.  I feel like I know what to do to add assignments into each section now.  The biggest challenge I have faced has been that not every school sets up Canvas in the same way.  Canvas has great tools to customize your page so it is easy for you and your students to use, which is great!  It is, however, a little challenging to get help from YouTube posts when their school has set their system up slightly different from mine.  I had to do a little playing around, but the YouTube videos and help forum were very useful!  The YouTube videos were a great overview and helpful to watch and imitate.  The help forums were nice when I needed more specific information. When trying to combine classes, I became frustrated!  I had to think of another way to find this information I needed. I was ready to give up when I found that post on the help forum! I’m grateful to have found that!

For the next step, I plan to convert some old material from our old online classroom management system, make an assignment complete with a video or link to a website, and investigate “Modules” more.


You can click on the links embedded in the text or find the useful YouTube video and help forum using these links:

One thought on “NLP #2: Continuing to Learn to Use Canvas

  1. Pingback: NLP Post #3: Using Canvas | Kelsey Glynn

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