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Welcome to the Canvas Spotlight! Below you will find a list of tutorials that have been featured in Early Bird Spotlight articles. These tutorials cover a wide range of tools that will help you improve your experience and your students' experiences in your Canvas courses. Each tutorial presents ideas and best practices, as well as step-by-step written and video walkthroughs to help you implement these tools in your Canvas course.



The New and Improved 2021 Canvas Blueprint

The Canvas Blueprint is the basic structure provided for all online course shells, designed to promote consistency and quality at MSU Denver. Our new and improved 2021 Canvas Blueprint update incorporates feedback received over the last year from MSU Denver faculty, staff, and students. Click below to learn more!




Use Groups in Canvas

A great way to get peer-to-peer interaction in a course is by grouping up students for collaborative activities. Click below to read more!




Recording Voiceover PowerPoints with Yuja

A sound strategy for incorporating an instructor’s context and expertise into the course is to record a voiceover for a PowerPoint using MSUDenver's multimedia hosting platform, YuJa. Click below to see how to do it!




Back Up a Blackboard Course

Faculty who would like to back up their Blackboard course before moving to Canvas can do so with the Export/Archive Course feature in Blackboard. Learn how to do so below.




Formative Assessments

Formative assessments provide opportunities to monitor students’ learning and immediately provide feedback. Formative assessments are generally low stakes and provide learners with a chance to gauge their knowledge of the course content and use the provided feedback in order to correct their mistakes before moving on to another course topic.




Use MS Teams Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms is a Microsoft Teams feature that allows the meeting organizer to divide participants into multiple smaller groups. Breakout Rooms can be used in recurring meetings and meetings created using the “meet now” button in the calendar.




Use Unicheck

Unicheck checks the originality of student work by comparing your students’ assignment submissions to text on the internet and in Unicheck’s databases. You can use Unicheck to ensure academic integrity in your course in the same way you may have used SafeAssign in Blackboard. Unicheck is integrated with Canvas and can be easily activated on an assignment-by-assignment basis.




Video Discussions

Holding discussions in an online course can have a very different feel to it than having discussions in a face-to-face classroom. However, online discussions can still serve to help students master content, explore new ideas, and build a sense of community even when they may not be meeting with other people in a physical environment.




Use Speedgrader in Canvas

Speedgrader is a built-in Canvas tool that makes grading more efficient and organized. Instructors can use Speedgrader to view student work, assign grades with or without a rubric, provide feedback, and quickly progress to the next student in the course.




Grading Best Practices

The Canvas Gradebook is a powerful and helpful tool for both in-person and online courses. It’s also different from what you may be used to if you’ve previously worked with other learning management systems like Blackboard. This Canvas Spotlight explains some of the benefits of using the Canvas Gradebook and provides more detailed information on how to use and customize it.




Add Readings and Videos to the Course Summary

Items with due dates such as assignments, quizzes, and discussions automatically get added to the Course Summary and student To-Do List once a due date is set, but what about other elements of a course like readings and videos? Learn how to add these in our tutorial.




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