Canvas Features, Interface Improvements and More

Now that we have fully adopted the Canvas LMS to power Carmen, we can enjoy the benefit of constant improvements from the software company, Instructure. Just in time for fall, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) is introducing a new website with teaching and learning best practices, Instructure is rolling out some new features and improvements and you, the users of Canvas, have the power to influence future enhancements coming to CarmenCanvas.

This autumn semester, you may notice some of these new and improved features:

Teaching in CarmenCanvas Site

The new Teaching in CarmenCanvas site is where ODEE will be highlighting how faculty are using the LMS to improve their teaching and learning strategy. You can find best practices, faculty “show and tell” features, templates and models to use in your courses and links to useful community discussions. The content will refresh every semester to continue to inspire your course creation.

Canvas Teacher App

With the new Canvas Teacher App, you can use SpeedGrader to browse student submissions and provide feedback; communicate with students through course announcements, messages and discussions; update existing assignments to correct spelling errors, change due dates and adjust settings; and so much more! You can download Canvas Teacher for iOS and Android.

New Student Interfaces

When Turnitin is enabled for an assignment, students will now see a progress bar indicating steps for making a submission as well as a confirmation screen once their assignment has been submitted. Instructure also announced that a new student dashboard view option is in the works and may appear sometime this fall. The new dashboard organization would focus on assignment due dates. Additional functionality for assignment reminders may also become available soon.

Blueprint Courses

Think of blueprints like dynamic master courses—rather than just copying the course to create a new iteration, a course coordinator can make edits to the blueprint course and push those edits to all “child” courses built from the blueprint. Instructure has enabled this feature to help large universities like us manage their repeating courses more efficiently. If you are a course coordinator that would like to use this new feature, please contact

Grading and Quizzing

Instructure is in the process of releasing a new Canvas gradebook, and Ohio State has access to test the new functionality in beta. If you are interested in using the beta, please contact to see if this new feature would be a good fit for your course. Instructure also announced that they are working on a new and improved quizzing tool. We’ve participated in two beta releases and are anxiously awaiting our chance to test out the full feature set and allow our faculty to explore more advanced quizzing capabilities. Stay tuned!

Canvas Community

Did you know that the Canvas LMS is constantly improving based on feedback from its users? The Canvas Community may not be new this semester, but it is a new part of the Carmen experience at Ohio State. Before adopting Canvas, faculty did not have a way to communicate directly with the people building the technology that supports their teaching. And now faculty can even vote on ideas they want to make reality! According to Instructure, "In the past two years, 95% of releases have included features originally suggested and voted on by the Community." Learn more about what the Canvas Community has to offer.