#TechTipThursday: Rubrics and Assignment Feedback

Canvas has many helpful features when it comes to providing student feedback on assignments, along with the use of rubrics built in to an assignment’s page. This guides both the students in developing their assignment submissions, as well as the instructors in grading those submissions.

Rubrics in Canvas

To see rubrics in Canvas, either the student or the instructor simply has to click on an assignment’s title from whatever page it is accessible from; this can include the ‘modules’ tab, ‘assignments’ tab, or ‘grades’ tab within a Canvas course. Once you are viewing an assignment’s page, if a rubric has been included it will be directly below the assignment description.

This is the end of the student’s ability to interact with rubrics on Canvas. If the instructor has not created a rubric for an assignment in Canvas, none will appear.

For instructors, to create or edit a rubric on a Canvas assignment he simply has to go to the assignment’s page (not the ‘edit assignment’ page). Under the assignment title and description will be the rubric if one exists, which can be edited using the pencil in the upper right hand corner of the rubric table. Otherwise, he can select the ‘+ Rubric’ button to create a canvas rubric for the assignment.

When creating/editing a Canvas rubric, there are many options available, including adding and editing the title of criteria, adding descriptions for ratings, and altering the point value of criteria. There are also numerous checkboxes below the rubric table itself allowing the instructor to select the preferences to write freeform comments, use the rubric for assignment grading, hide the assessment score results, and more.

Assignment Feedback in Canvas

When students submit assignments in formats such as word documents in Canvas, instructors have the ability to annotate and comment on these submissions which leaves feedback students are able to see when grades are made available to them. When a student is notified that an assignment submission has been graded, he can click on the assignment from either the ‘assignments’ tab or ‘grades’ tab and then select ‘view feedback’.

Selecting this will open a preview of the document and show instructor feedback on the right side of the document.

For instructors, when in the assignment page one can select ‘SpeedGrader’ to open the submissions viewer and leave feedback and annotations on student submissions. Below is a visual example of what the SpeedGrader screen will appear like and the options available on it.

*This post was drafted by Kayla, an Instructional Technology Collaborator*

#TechTipThursday: Enabling closed captions in Panopto

Accessibility in education gives all students the ability to obtain educational content. This includes accessibility to recordings that may be added to online portions of a course. This is often done by adding captions. Panopto lecture capture makes it possible for faculty to quickly and easily add closed captions to Panopto recorded videos. There are two options for the type of closed captions available within Panopto. The first option is free and is the option for machine generated closed captions, which are demonstrated in this post. The second option is professional human generated closed captions, which are not free, with cost depending on the length of the video.

We at the DEC recommend using machine generated captions only for short videos, as these captions are not 100% accurate.

After recording a Panopto video, you will need to edit the video.

Once in the edit window, you will want to select the “Captions” option on the left.

From here, select the “Import captions” dropdown option, then “Import automatic captions”.

Selecting “Import automatic captions” will machine generate closed captions for the video. These captions may not be completely accurate. However, it is possible to go through and edit these captions to be correct.

In the video we used, you can see the machine generated captions above. As long as you speak clearly and the video is short, the captions should be fairly accurate.  

When wanting to correct captions, click on the captions needing edits, and type the correction.

After you are done editing, be sure to click the “Publish” button to save your captions.

Now when viewing the video the captions button will be presented.

*This post was drafted by Wesley, an Instructional Technology Collaborator*

Using Technology to Help Foster Classroom Connections

Building new connections and fostering valuable connections can be intimidating for both instructors and students, particularly those new to a university. Numerous studies have shown, when students have strong connections with instructors they reap positive benefits including better engagement in the classroom and higher self-confidence. As more faculty integrate technology, particularly Canvas, into all classroom environments, the opportunities to foster these relationships grows.

Canvas offers instructors a variety of tools to interact and connect with students. Canvas discussions allow participants to contribute ideas and feedback to specific questions or topics. Many faculty also create “Q&A” discussions as an open area for students to ask questions on course topics outside of the face-to-face setting. This can lead to enhanced student understanding of topics or areas where more focused instruction needs to take place. Faculty also create “After the Lecture” discussions where they add additional lecture resources or information and students can provide feedback and input on the topic discussed in class.

Canvas Conferences allow instructors and students to meet in an online meeting room for a more dynamic and direct connection. Conferences offer audio and video connection, which many students enjoy as a way to get to know their online instructors. Conferences allow for live-demo sessions, immediate Q&A sessions, or simple course reflection. Faculty often offer online office hours as a convenient opportunity to meet with off-campus students or for those students who cannot meet during regular office times. Other faculty offer “Last Minute Question Sessions” where students can pop-in and ask questions while studying for a big-test or exam and get immediate, clear feedback.

Building student and instructor connections provides students opportunities to gain experience developing and fostering professional relationships. These connections allow students to feel more engaged with their courses, as well as the university as a whole. To learn more about how you can use Canvas tools to connect with your students, contact the DEC today by calling x4332 or e-mail dec@longwood.edu.

#TechTipThursday: DIGILab goes mobile

As the spring semester brings changes, the offices of the Digital Education Collaborative have a new addition as well. The DIGILab has moved from Greenwood Library to Ruffner, with a focus on acting as a mobile makerspace for students, staff, and faculty.

Despite the change in location, the DIGILab still features the same tools and resources to provide kinesthetic and hands-on products for both learners and instructors.

The DIGILab’s supply of learning tools includes Spheros, robotic orbs that are programmed and controlled through an app. Controlling the Spheros teaches programming to users through the creation of tasks and routines carried out by the round robots.

For more artistically inclined Lancers, the DIGILab boasts a sewing machine and Silhouette. The Silhouette is a machine brings user’s designs to life, by cutting along materials such as paper, vinyl, and fabric before printing them. Meanwhile the sewing machine provides the opportunity to use a traditional household appliance to foster creative learning.

And last but not least, the DIGILab also houses a 3D printer, giving users a tangible form of their ideas and designs. Whether for a course, a club, or for personal use, the 3D printer gives Lancers the chance to bring their ideas to life. The printed objects can be a great way to do something as intricate as creating a model for your class, or as simple as showing off your fandom.

The 3D printer can create items ranging from functional…

…to fanatical

If you have any further questions, the DIGILab is open throughout the semester, from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM on Monday/Wednesday/Friday, and from 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Tuesday/Thursday. Appointments, questions, and comments can be sent to dec@longwood.edu.

Final Vlog for Fall 2018

#TechTipThursday: Using Respondus LockDown Browser

Longwood University offers Respondus LockDown Browser (and Monitor)  as a means to ensure the integrity of the online testing environment. Easily accessible for instructors via Canvas integration, students’ ability to navigate outside of the exam window can be prevented by requiring LockDown Browser. In today’s post, we are going to show you what student’s see once LockDown Browser has been enabled for an exam.

Instructors: If you want additional information on how to require LockDown Browser for your Canvas quizzes, contact us and we will give you the required materials. 

After LockDown Browser has been downloaded, locate the software on your computer to open it as you would any other application. Once there, the Canvas login screen will appear. Type in your credentials and find the quiz as you would normally. After this, you will begin to navigate the steps to enable LockDown Browser.

NOTE: If other applications are open and running on your computer, LockDown Browser will ask that you quit those before you can begin the steps shown in the video below. 

The video below will demonstrate the steps a student will navigate before being allowed to access the quiz/exam. Instructors have the ability to toggle some of these requirements on/off within the Canvas integration.

Instructors who would like to require Respondus LockDown Browser for their assessments, or students who have difficulty installing/running LockDown Browser, are encouraged to contact us directly.

*This post was drafted with assistance from TJ, an Instructional Technology Collaborator.



#TechTipThursday: Canvas LTIs for #edusocmedia

Today’s tip comes to you as a follow up to our earlier post on using social media as an educative tool. Now that you know how and why these tools can be used, we want to walk you through integrating these applications into your Canvas course.


To get started, choose a course in Canvas. In the left-hand navigation menu, choose settings >> apps. If you have an application in mind, you can search for it, by name, using the filter box (highlighted in blue in the second picture).

Choose ‘settings’

Choose ‘apps’ and search for app by name

Feel free to scroll through the entire list of apps to explore more of the options available to you. Examples of applications that can be found in the EduApp Center are Portfolium, ShareStream, and Twitter. Our focus today will be on integrating Twitter, but the steps are the same for most applications.

Select the tool that you would like to explore by clicking on the icon and choosing the ‘+ Add App’ button located directly under the application’s logo.

Choose ‘+ Add App’

Once you have the application installed, it is time to see how it works in the course! Navigate to your course’s assignments and walk through the steps to create a new assignment.  With the successful installation of Twitter, you will see the Twitter icon appear above the assignment text box. Once that has  been selected, a dialogue box will appear that will allow you to add a hashtag (#) or a handle (@), and how many tweets you would like displayed. Once you have embedded this, the tweets will appear in the assignment details.

Twitter icon

Choose hashtag or handle

Preview and embed

Tweets in assignment details

Certain applications, such as Portfolium, may require specific pieces of information that can only be obtained directly from the vendor.  If you would like help navigating the request process for this information or if you have questions duplicating the steps outlined in this post, please feel free to contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

*This post was drafted with assistance from Kayla, an Instructional Technology Collaborator 

Social Media in the Classroom

Social media is all around us; it is used by students and faculty alike. It helps us interact with others any place an internet connection is available. Social media connects people to shared personal information like never before. If you choose, you can connect with others one on one through email applications or you can connect to many at once using large platform social media. Social media isn’t only for sharing pictures of children and pets, it can be used for making personal connections with students, creating assignments, and can be used for research.

Students crave a connection with their instructors, they are not looking for the professor that stands at the front of the class and lectures, whether they realize it or not, they want a professor to be real and interact with them. This connection can be made in the classroom but it can be difficult to connect with each student on an individual level. Connections with an instructor can create a connection with the material. To create some of these connections a faculty member may want to create a Facebook Page or Group for their class. Every student would have to subscribe but once they do, information would be shared through Facebook. This can be used for announcements, interaction, and even some assignments like group presentations or marketing assignments. The faculty member can also choose to share a little about themselves in this private group and therefore make a more personal connection with their class. Twitter can be used in the classroom as a way to bring out the reluctant student with the use of hashtags; Google documents can be used for asynchronous and synchronous collaboration; and you as the instructor can be in the middle and watch the interaction in real time and create the personal connection by interjecting with the project as it is unfolding.

Besides the personal connection, you can also use social media to help students complete assignments or complete the assignment through a social media portal. For example, students can use Twitter or Instagram in a Marketing class. These platforms offer many insights and analytics that are available to each user to see their individual global reach. Students can create a marketing plan and post using these social media outlets, they could collect the data offered by the platform and submit this as part of their write-up. Because of the far-reaching aspect of the platforms, it is possible that students would see a reach they could not achieve without the use of social media. This type of real-world interaction could get them walking in the right direction for a career.

Assignments that completely live on social media are possible, but grading them and understanding the whole scope of the project can be a little difficult for the unaccustomed instructor. Because of this, social media can be a platform for research. There are countless experts in a field on social media at any time. Besides the bevy of celebrities, there are writers, politicians, business professionals, sports professionals, and more. As the instructor, you could use these professionals as a source of information for your students. You could require them to follow a writer or politician for a month or week to see how their daily schedules unfold. They could see what the life of a writer is like as they are working on their next project. Following a politician on social media could help the government student to see the pathway, in real time, of a member of congress’ writing of a law or bill. Many of these professionals share not only what they are doing, but how they came about such information. Students can make a personal connection with these professionals and can use this connection for networking or just for research. The possibilities are quite extensive.

There are many more uses for social media in the classroom that could not be touched on in such a short time. We would be happy to connect with you to brainstorm ideas of uses for social media or any other aspects. Social media is more than posts on Twitter and Facebook, likes and emoji’s, social media is a way to draw the student in and make a connection with them outside of the classroom. And, isn’t that connection something that we all crave?

#TechTipThursday: Changing Availability Dates in Canvas

Canvas courses become available to students only after two steps have been completed: (1) the course ‘unlocks’ based on the start dates for the specific term, the night before classes are set to begin, and (2) the course has been published. As an instructor, it may be beneficial for students to access to course materials in Canvas in advance of the course’s start date. Some internship and practicum experiences start before courses begin on campus; students may need access to Canvas during that time. This week, we have created a video for you that details how to make courses available in advance of the set start date.

If you have any questions, or difficulty duplicating the steps detailed in this post, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.



Benefits of e-Portfolios

An electronic portfolio, also known as an e-portfolio, is a digital collection of one’s learning or experiences over a period of time. Typically, e-portfolios include text, documents, images, multimedia, and articles, as well as personal interests, experiences, and achievements of the creator. When considering e-portfolios in education, there are many benefits for both faculty and students, let’s explore some of them now.

For students, e-portfolios offer an excellent platform to showcase their learning and growth throughout an academic program. Students can collect and showcase coursework, highlight projects or research they have been involved in, and monitor and reflect on their own learning. E-portfolios also offer another dynamic for the students, which is creating their online presence in a professional manner, which is often a new experience traditional higher-education students. E-portfolios provide a digital space for students to display their professional training, certificates, and overall growth in a specific field or program. One of the major benefits of e-portfolios for students is the ability to and use the site as a comprehensive digital resume to share with future employers.

For faculty, student e-portfolios offer a unique perspective into student learning. Long-term e-portfolios are becoming more popular in higher education, with students starting them early in their academic courses or programs and building on them throughout course or program completion. Faculty can explore student learning and progression of knowledge and mastery of content through the evidence presented. Examining student e-portfolios also provide faculty and departments opportunities to explore teaching methods and identify areas for improvement or gaps in content. Faculty can also create their own e-portfolios to showcase their professional interests, research and growth in their fields which can then be used as models to share with students.


Basken, P. (2008, April). Electronic portfolios may answer calls for more accountability. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Miller, R. & Morgaine, W. (2009). The Benefits of E-portfolios for Students and Faculty in Their Own Words. Association of American Colleges and Universities.