Checking for Students Who Are Not Engaged in Canvas

Faculty are periodically asked to check their courses for students who are not engaged with the course and report these students in Navigate so that advisors can follow-up with the student. This page outlines the main tools that can be used to check a Canvas course for students who are not engaged.

Please note that these Canvas tools are imperfect, so CATL does not recommend that they be used for grading participation in your course.

New Analytics

Instructors can use the New Analytics tool in their Canvas course to view a sortable table of student participation data that includes the last participation date, page view count, and participation count for each student. A list of what Canvas counts as participations can be found in this guide. Here is how you can view this table in your course’s New Analytics page:

  1. Click the New Analytics button that is located on the right side of the course home page or click the New Analytics link in the course navigation menu.
    Screenshot of the New Analytics button
  2. In the New Analytics page, click the Students tab to view the table of student participation data.
  3. Click on any table column’s header to sort the list of students by that column’s data.
    Screenshot of the Canvas New Analytics student table screen highlighting the Students tab and the column headers that can be clicked for sorting the table.

Students who have not engaged with the course at all will have no or very few page views counted in this table.

Instructors can look more closely at individual students by clicking their names. Please reference this Canvas guide for more information on using New Analytics to view individual student participation statistics.

Please note that data in New Analytics refreshes once every 24 hours, so this page may not reflect recent activity in the course. The date and time the data was last refreshed are visible near the top of the page under the “Average Course Grade.”

Course Access Reports

If greater detail is needed, instructors can view a list of course pages that a student has accessed by viewing that student’s course access report. Here’s how to view the course access report for a student in your course:

  1. Open the People page of the Canvas course by clicking People in the course navigation menu.
  2. In the list of students, click on the student’s name.
  3. In the sidebar that appears on the right side of the page, click on the student’s name.
  4. Click the Access Report button located on the right side of the user details page.

Screenshot of the Access Report button in Canvas

If the access report is empty, the student has not accessed the Canvas course.

People Page

The list of students on the People page in your Canvas course contains some student participation data, including the last activity date and total activity time. Students with no date listed under the last activity column have likely never accessed the course.

The reported total activity time does not track time spent viewing the course on the Canvas mobile apps and is prone to other measurement errors, so it is often an inaccurate representation of a student’s actual engagement with a course.

One point of confusion for instructors with the People page is the presence of an “inactive” tag after a student’s name. This tag indicates that the student has dropped the course in SIS; it is not an indication of disengagement from an enrolled student.

End-of-Semester Resource Digest

With finals week on the horizon, CATL has put together a quick digest of resources related to grading and the gradebook in Canvas.

The Gradebook

If you haven’t done so already, a good first step at this stage of the semester is to set up your grading scheme so that letter grades match up with the grading system from A, AB, B, … to F provided by the Registrar’s office (Note: Canvas only supports “scored” grades and so your grade scheme should not include grades like WF, I, DR, or W).

If you prefer to enter grades manually (spreadsheet-style), you can do so in the grades area. To appear in the “grades” area, an item just needs to exist as an “Assignment” (something students “turn in”) or have points assigned to it (like graded discussions or quizzes). You can also create a “no submission” assignment if you want to manually add points (e.g. for participation, an overall project grade, or work submitted outside of Canvas).

You can also grade individual assignments, quizzes, or discussions using the SpeedGrader tool which allows you mark up documents, grade individual questions on quizzes (such as essays), and view a student’s discussion posts to provide feedback.

You may wish to change which grade items are visible to students while you are grading. You can hide grades either from the gradebook or within SpeedGrader. Just remember to reveal the grades again once all students have been graded.

If you would like to go “full manual” and work with the gradebook in Excel instead of Canvas, you can also export and then re-import grade information. Please review both the export and import documentation carefully before using this ‘advanced’ process.

Moderating Quizzes

As you are offering quizzes and exams in Canvas, you may need to give a student extra time to take the quiz or an additional attempt for various reasons. In addition to these options, Canvas allows you to give an extension (by date) to a particular student or students.

Finalizing Grades

One quirk of Canvas is that it does not count missing assignments against the final score automatically. Anything with a dash in the grade’s cell in the gradebook is not counted against the student. You will need to make sure a zero is entered anywhere it should be. More details on total grade calculations can be found in this guide.

You may also wish to exclude a certain item or items from the final grade (such as practice assignments or a number of separate assignments for which you’d like to use a no-submission item to assign a manual grade). If you use assignment groups (recommended), you can also set rule(s) to drop the lowest grades in a category. Assignment groups also allow you to weight your gradebook based on those groupings.

There are a few different ways of adding extra credit to the final grade.

Sending Grades from Canvas to SIS

Once you have set up your letter grading scheme so SIS can understand it, you can send final grades to SIS. Remember, first, to check that grades are accurate: that items have dropped that should, that zeroes are entered where needed, and that weights are calculated properly. 

Where to Get Help

As always, the CATL team is here and willing to help you design your course, set up your assignments, and work through the process of grading. Just fill out our handy consultation request.

You can also get 24/7/365 support from Canvas by clicking the Help button in the Canvas navigation (black bar on the left-hand side) and selecting from the options there including live chat or phone.

You may also wish to explore the Canvas guides on your own—this is the “manual” for Canvas to which many of the links above take you.

Links to Resources about Discussing “Thanksgiving”

During this fall semester, the need for Fall break is especially obvious, but the Thanksgiving holiday is not divorced from its history. Below are just a few resources we have come across in thinking through various topics around the holiday.

Racial Justice Resources for Thanksgiving from the POC Online Classroom blog.

Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance lesson plan/resource on “Thanksgiving Mourning”

Philip Deloria’s 2019 New York Times piece The Invention of Thanksgiving:
Massacres, myths, and the making of the great November holiday.

Colorado College’s Crown Faculty Center page on Teaching & Learning on Indigenous Land.

Plimoth Patuxet Museums’ online game for school-aged children and families looking at Wampanoag life prior to European settlement and the “First Thanksgiving.”

Modalities Guide

In order to help instructors plan for teaching in Fall 2020, CATL has a few guiding questions and suggestions based on models circulating in the educational development community, but contextualized to fit with what we have the capacity to do here at UW-Green Bay. This document assumes that a fully face-to-face course with no digital or online complement is not feasible in our context.
View the Guide Here

Resources for Transitioning Online (COVID-19)

All instructors, working with their departmental colleagues, should think creatively of ways to deliver curriculum in alternative modalities should the need arise. For example, can your course be moved online, are there alternative assignments you can use in place of things like labs, etc., or in the case where this is not possible, can we determine how to work with students to complete the semester in the event of an interruption? We hope this will not be the case and have no indication currently that we will need to do this, but we should be prepared. The Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL) has prepared collections of resources in regards to moving courses online and insuring that we are teaching as part of a safe and inclusive environment for all students.

https://www.uwgb.edu/remote/faculty-resources/