Canvas Quick Video Tutorials: Instructor and Student

Atomic Learning LogoCan’t make it to one of our Canvas Open Labs? Need a quick answer to a quick question about how to use a Canvas feature? Well…do you have a minute or two? Literally, just one to two minutes!

Atomic Learning, available for free through USF, offers short video tutorials on several Canvas features including Assignments, Groupwork, Quizzes, Communication, and much more. If you have an hour, you can watch the whole series in sequence, or watch one of the specific tutorials, none of which are longer that 2.5 minutes.

Accessing these tutorials is quick and easy. Just visit the Atomic Learning: Canvas Instructor Training Page. Log in with your NetID and Password. Click the “+” icons next to your desired topic to view the available videos. Then click on the title of the video to view.

Atomic Learning Expand GroupAre you ready for even better news? Atomic Learning also has a series of Canvas Video Tutorials for Students. You can share the link and remind students that they will be asked to log in with their NetID and password. Or, if you have a specific tutorial you want them to view, click the “Share” button on the left side of the video viewer and send them the direct link.

Atomic Learning Video Share Link


Turning on Turnitin

Writing professors question plagiarism detection software | Inside Higher Ed.

Software to detect student plagiarism is faced with renewed criticism from the faculty members who may confront more plagiarism than do most of their colleagues – college writing professors.

Read more:
Inside Higher Ed – Ry Rivard

Texting in the Classroom

Tough Questions on Texting in the Classroom

It’s time we started exploring some of the tough questions on texting. The May issue of The Teaching Professor newsletter contains highlights from a survey of almost 300 marketing majors about their texting in class. The results confirm what I’m guessing many of us already suspect. A whopping 98% of the students reported that they had texted some time during the term in which the data was collected. They did so for an unimpressive set of reasons, the most popular being “I just wanted to communicate.” Fifty-six percent of the cohort said they were currently taking a class in which the teacher banned texting. Forty-nine percent said they texted anyway.

Read more at The Teaching Professional


There is a good chance that most of you reading this have used a rubric in your life. Whether you have used one as a faculty member or as a student, a rubric typically has the same universal structure. The rubric you have used probably looks something like this:

A traditional Rubric.

A traditional Rubric.

Why use a rubric though? What purpose does it serve? You may have asked yourself that same question.

Ultimately, a rubric is a powerful tool for assessment. They help students become more thoughtful judges of the quality of their own work and others work as well. Rubrics also dramatically reduce the amount of time teachers spend on evaluating student work. Finally, they are easy to use and explain.

Typically, there are four parts to a rubric. Those four parts include the following:

  1. Task Description – Involves a “performance” of some sort by the student. The task can take the form of either a specific assignment or overall behavior.
  2. Scale – Describes how well or poorly any given task has been performed.
  3. Dimensions – This is where you lay out the parts of the task simply and completely. They should actually represent the type of component skills students must combine in a successful scholarly work.
  4. Description of the Dimensions – A rubric should contain at the very least a description or the highest level of performance in that dimension. However, you should strive to also create descriptions for all levels of performance.

You should also consider these steps when creating your own rubric:

  • Identify the characteristics of what you are assessing.
  • Describe the best and worst work you could expect using these characteristics (this describes the top category).
  • Describe an unacceptable product.
  • Develop descriptions of intermediate-level products and assign them to those categories.
  • Ask for colleague feedback!

Finally, after everything has been said and done, your rubric might look something like this:

This is an example of a complete rubric

This is an example of a complete rubric. Take note of the different criteria.

Your rubric could easily look different. It could have more dimensions, it might have a different scale, or you might now allow for comments at all. Your rubric should be tailored towards the information you are grading. Whatever your rubric looks like though, make sure it is well structured and easy to follow. Remember, chances are students will study these rubrics closely, so make sure you have a well-crafted one!

Some information and pictures based off the following:

Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback, and Promote Student Learning by Stevens and Levi 2005; Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education by Allen 2004; and Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: shifting the focus from teaching to learning by Huba and Freed 2000

A Guide for Writing and Improving Achievement Tests

Looking for ways to develop or improve your assessments? This USF System document, prepared by Teresa Flateby, Ph.D., breaks down the fundamentals of achievement testing. In this document, she also provides strategies for creating different types of test items, evaluating existing test items, and creating aligned assessments that measure the student based on the cognitive domains set forth through your learning objectives.

A Guide for Writing and Improving Achievement Tests PDF

Respondus Lock Down Browser Now Available in Canvas

Respondus Lock Down Browser is now available for use with tests, quizzes, and exams in Canvas.

What is Lock Down Browser?

Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment within Blackboard, ANGEL, Desire2Learn, Canvas, Moodle, and Sakai. When students use Respondus LockDown Browser they are unable to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications. When an assessment is started, students are locked into it until they submit it for grading.

Features Include:

  • Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Assessments cannot be exited until submitted by users for grading
  • Task switching or access to other applications is prevented
  • Print, Print Screen and capturing functions are disabled
  • Copying and pasting anything to and from an assessment is prohibited
  • Screen capture, messaging, screen-sharing, virtual machine, and network monitoring applications are blocked from running
  • Right-click menu options and function keys are disabled
  • Browser menu and toolbar options are disabled, except for Back, Forward, Refresh and Stop

How do I enable this in Canvas?

Follow this tutorial to enable Lock Down browser in Canvas.

How do my students install Lock Down Browser?

Provide your students with this information and installation tutorial. One step in the directions indicates that the institution will provide a link for the download, direct students to this Respondus Download Link. If they get stuck at any point in the process, they can contact the USF IT Help Desk at 813-974-1222.

Accessibility Note: Lock Down Browser renders a test inaccessible to students with disabilities who use certain assistive technologies. If you have a student with a disability in your course, be sure to let them know about the use of this product so they will have that information as they work with Student Disability Services to arrange accommodations.

Accommodations: Extended Time on Tests in Canvas

One of the most common accommodations that students with disabilities need is extended time on quizzes and exams. Providing this accommodation in Canvas is relatively simple and does not require you to alter the testing time for all students.

Follow this process to implement this accommodation in your course:

1. Click “Quizzes” on the left course menu

2. Click on the name of the exam/quiz you want to update for this student

3. Click “Moderate This Quiz” on the right side of the screen

moderate quiz button

4. Click the checkbox next to the student’s name on the list that appears

5. A button will appear that says “Change Extensions for 1 selected students”, click that (it may appear at the bottom of your list of students)

6. In menu that pops up, type the extra amount of time that student should get in addition to your currently allotted time in the box labeled “Extra Time on Every Attempt.”

For example, if your exam is timed for 90 minutes, and the student’s accommodation allows for double time, you would type “90” in that box.

7. Click Save


Repeat this process for all timed exams and quizzes within the course.