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Las Positas College

Faculty Notes & Tips


  1. Canvas provides 24x7 live chat support via the Help icon in Canvas, along with a Knowledge Base and email support on its LPC Self Service page.
  2. There is also a Search the Canvas Guides link from the Help icon. You might want to use these before seeking support. 
  3. The main Canvas page on the Online Learning site has resources for students that you can link to from within your courses.
  4. LPC's Tutorial Center has tutors who provide live help in a variety of subjects, including English, and Writing. While in Canvas, students can click the link in the course menu named LPC Tutoring/RAW. RAW stands for Reading and Writing, and they can get help writing papers for any subject. View more information on the Tutorial Center web site.

  5. The online tutoring system, NetTutor, is integrated into Canvas. It appears as a default item in each course’s navigation menu. If your students need NetTutor technical support, tell them to click the Customer Care link within NetTutor. 

  6. If you teach a hybrid course, read Hybrid Courses @ LPC. Note that the online portion of your class must include regular and substantive interaction between you and students and among students (where applicable).

Course preparation

  1. Students are automatically added to your classes. DO NOT manually add students into your classes. This can really mess things up. For instance, there are FERPA (privacy) issues when students who are not officially enrolled in a class can see, and interact with, students who are officially enrolled. Aside from the FERPA issues, the other reason not to do this is because if we have a crash with our automated system that feeds enrollments from Banner to Canvas, work done by students who were manually created gets wiped out permanently. 
  2. If you have students who want to add into your online course, follow these recommendations for adding students into DE classes.
  3. You will need to publish your course before students can access it and before you can email students.
  4. Use the Validate Links in Content tool in the Settings of your course to check for broken links.
  5. When moving from one semester to another, you can either copy a previous semester's course content or export the previous course and import it into the new course. You can do either of these by going to Settings and choosing Import Course Content. If you then select Copy a Canvas Course, you might have to check the box to "Include completed courses."
    1. Learn how to copy a course.
    2. Learn how to export a course.
    3. Learn how to import a course.

      Important Zoom note: If you try to copy TechConnect Zoom meetings from a previous course to a new one, the meetings won’t copy over. You’ll need to re-create the meetings in the new course. It doesn’t matter which copying options you choose. However, the meetings WILL copy to the students’ Calendar in Canvas. This is a Zoom glitch.

      Nevertheless, to avoid incorrect Zoom items in students’ Calendars, instead of choosing “All content” when copying your course, choose “Select specific content”. After hitting Import, you’ll be confronted with a screen asking what you want to import. Make sure everything is checked EXCEPT Calendar Events, then hit Select Content. This won’t put those incorrect Zoom items into students’ Calendars.

      Should you mistakenly copy old Zoom meetings into your new course, students in the new course will see these meeting links and will probably be confused. In this case, you will want to remove the meetings from the old course. 

      View instructions on removing old meeting links and copying courses correctly.
  6. Hide the navigation links in your course menu that you are not going to use. If you use Modules to present content, good links to hide include Assignments, Files, Pages, and Quizzes.
  7. Keep in mind that when you ask students to attach files to their discussion postings, the size of those files count against the students’ file storage quotas, which are set at 52.4 MB. When students exceed their quota, they are no longer allowed to upload files. To disallow students from attaching files to discussion, go to Settings, click More Options at the bottom, then uncheck the box that says: Let students attach files to discussions. Every once in a while, we get a user or two who exceed the user or course quotas set for them and their courses in Canvas. In response, the DE Committee developed the Canvas Course Storage Guidelines.
  8. It’s good practice to group your assignments in the Assignments area in Canvas, particularly if you weight grades or drop the lowest score.
  9. If you weight your grades and offer extra credit, do not set up an Assignment group called Extra Credit and give it a percentage of zero. Doing so will not calculate extra credit earned by students into their grade totals. Learn about extra credit options in Canvas.
  10. You can merge sections by following the instructions on the Merging Sections in Canvas page.
  11. Make sure you understand how Canvas assignment due dates and availability dates work. You have the option of allowing students to submit assignments late or not. If you don't allow late submissions, the simplest thing is to make your due dates and Availability Until dates the same. Learn more about due dates and availability dates.
  12. When setting your Notifications, make sure to turn on Submissions Comments. This ensures that students' comments about their submissions get to you.
  13. Since all DE courses must show evidence of regular and substantive interaction, you should use the Canvas Inbox for all of your email correspondences with students. The Canvas Inbox will automatically save the emails.


  1. Bookmark the Canvas login page, so you don't have to rely on the LPC web site to get to it. That way, if the LPC site goes down, you can still get to Canvas. Tell your students to do the same.
  2. Chrome is the preferred browser for Canvas.
  3. The Canvas Teacher mobile app lets you manage your courses via an Android or iOS device. Learn more about the app.
  4. Canvas workshops are listed on the Workshops page. You can register for a workshop.
  5. Since Canvas is cloud-based, bug fixes, enhancements, and new features can be easily added. Our system will be updated with them on the third Saturday of each month. There’s a link on the Canvas Training page, under Other important resources, called Canvas release notes that will keep you updated.
  6. Apps from major textbook publishers are installed at the global level, so you won’t need to do this in your course.
  7. If you use a Canvas Page as your home page and want to display announcements on it, go to Settings (the Course Details tab), and click “more options” at the bottom. Choose to display announcements on your home page.
  8. When emailing your class from the Inbox, hover over each listed class to see the class name class expanded. This ensures you are emailing the correct class.
  9. The Attendance Roll Call app in Canvas gives you the ability to take attendance. You can enable it by going to Settings – Navigation and dragging Attendance from the hidden table below to the table above to activate it.
  10. There are two ways to give extra quiz attempts to students, via Student Quiz Results and via Moderate This Quiz. The latter, which is preferable, also allows you to give extra time to students for timed quizzes. This is helpful to DSPS students. Learn how to use both tools.

    Do not try to give an extra attempt by adding a student’s name under Assign To in the quiz settings while removing Everyone. The result is that only that one student’s score goes into the Gradebook, while the rest do not. 

  11. If you need to make an assignment available to just one student, edit the assignment, scroll to the bottom, click Add, then choose the student and set the due and availability dates. DO NOT REMOVE EVERYONE and add those student in its place. If you do this, the Gradebook will reflect only that one student's score and nobody else's. Add the student at the bottom while keeping Everyone at the top.
  12. For students who do not complete assignments by the deadline dates, manually give them zeroes in the gradebook. If you leave their grade cells blank, those missing assignments won't count against them. Canvas has a feature in the gradebook settings called Treat Ungraded as 0. If you enable it, you will get the students' true scores, but the students won't get it when they check their grades. In other words, the zeroes are only reflected in the totals in your view, not theirs.
  13. If you need to print anything in Canvas, do it from within Chrome; it seems to come out pretty good.
  14. If you want to verify a student's claims he that took an exam when Canvas shows that he never attempted it, go to the test, then hit Moderate Quiz. Canvas shows all of the students in the class. Those who hit Start Quiz will have their names linked, and once you click a link, there’s another link called View Log. That log will show everything the student did (or didn't do) with the exam. Because Canvas is in a cloud environment, all actions are recorded once the student hits the Start Quiz button.
  15. If you accidentally delete an item from your Canvas course, you can restore it by using the “undelete” command. Learn how to restore a deleted item.
  16. You might want to export your gradebook on a consistent basis, such as every week. Every week might seem like overkill, but you never know what can happen, and nobody wants to jeopardize student grades. One note: When students switch sections in the middle of a semester, their grades and assignments do not automatically move to the new section. Exporting the gradebook from the students’ old section helps mitigate this issue.
  17. You might also want to export your entire course each week, and download it somewhere for safekeeping. 
  18. If you let students use Canvas Studio for a discussion assignment and want to easily grade students in the SpeedGrader, tell students to disable comments on their videos. This way, students are forced to reply by clicking Reply and typing a response. Then, in the SpeedGrader, you will see all of a student’s posts when you grade that student. If comments on videos are enabled, you will have to hunt for comments while grading. But perhaps that is OK for you.
  19. If you want to learn how to pronounce students’ names, you can create a Page and turn it into a wiki by allowing students to edit so they can phonetically spell their names.
  20. If you plan to use the online proctoring tool Proctorio, you need to understand how it works. View a faculty web page on Proctorio. You should put information about Proctorio into your welcome letter and syllabus. Here are links to an example welcome letter and an example syllabus. Both contain student language about Proctorio. Feel free to use it.