Important Canvas updates for semester 1, 2020

Canvas has been updated with new features and improvements, these include a consolidated process for assignments involving Turnitina new gradebook, and a new optional alternative to the current quiz tool.

Turning off Turnitin Feedback Studio for marking

The old Turnitin Feedback Studio approach for marking has been switched off. This decision has been made to improve the student experience and to address ongoing technical issues with the integration between Turnitin Feedback Studio and Canvas gradebook. You can no longer create a Turnitin assignment using the ‘external tool’ selection in Canvas. Instead, assignments that need Turnitin similarity detection need to be created as a standard Canvas assignment.

For staff, this means there is one consistent approach to create, deliver, grade, and provide feedback on assignments across the University. For students, this means a consistent process for submitting and receiving grades and feedback for assignments. For everyone, this change provides a more robust and reliable system for assignment submission and markingThe table below compares the features available in SpeedGrader versus those in Turnitin Feedback Studio.

Assignment features  Turnitin Feedback Studio  Canvas standard assignments with Canvas SpeedGrader 
Group assignment – one submission per group  No Yes
Peer review – assign students to review others’ submissions No Yes
Moderated grading – multiple graders No Yes
Rubrics Yes Yes – see below
Markers use Turnitin QuickMarks library Yes No – see below
Students access marks & feedback through ‘Marks’ Yes Yes
Students access marks & feedback through ‘Assignments’ Yes Yes
Multiple assignment submissions No Yes
Re-submissions permitted after the due date No Yes


What does this mean for me?

It depends on which approach you currently use. Which of the following sets of screenshots looks like how you currently set up and mark assignments? Click the thumbnails to expand if necessary.

Do you use approach 1?

Or do you use approach 2?

If you currently use approach 1, this change will not impact you. You already use standard Canvas assignments and Canvas SpeedGrader for assignment creation, marking, and feedback.

If you currently use approach 2, you will be impacted by this change because you still use Turnitin Feedback Studio for assignment creation, marking, and feedback. For staff, there are three main implications:

  1. All marking of these assignments will now need to be completed in Canvas SpeedGrader (i.e. approach 1) rather than Turnitin Feedback Studio.
  2. Rubrics created in Turnitin Feedback Studio will need to be manually re-created in Canvas for use in Canvas SpeedGrader. Learn how to add a rubric to a Canvas assignment, and how to then use this rubric within Canvas SpeedGrader to mark.
  3. QuickMarks are not available in Canvas SpeedGrader. If you use QuickMarks, you will need to find an alternate approach to providing quick comments. One potential solution is to use the third-party tool Annotate PRO, which is a Chrome browser plug-in and allows pre-saved comments to be quickly inserted into Canvas SpeedGrader. See how this works.

To facilitate this change, SEAMS will no longer copy Turnitin assignments from previous versions of your Canvas site(s). These will need to be created again. You will, however, retain access to old assignments so you can copy and paste the text of the assignment if necessary, and access any Turnitin rubrics and QuickMarks to migrate these across.

Guides for setting up assignments and grading can be found in the Teaching Resources Hub, along with the links above. Also, check out this video that provides a 3 minute overview to Canvas SpeedGrader.


New Gradebook 

Canvas has implemented a new gradebook globally for 2020The new gradebook introduces new features that will make it easier to use by providing a clearer layout and improved workflows.

It’s critical that you understand the grade posting policy feature to ensure grades release when you expect them too. Check out the grade posting instructions.

Learn about the features and how they’re used in the guide, How do I use the New Gradebook?, and take a look at this brief overview video:


New Quizzes

Canvas has been developing a new quiz tool that will eventually replace the current quiz tool. The new quiz tool provides an updated modern interface and other new features not available in the regular Canvas quiz tool. Canvas are still developing New Quizzessome features may be missing, or incomplete but essential functions and features are complete. The tool is safe to use with your students if you’d like to try it. The old (current) quiz tool will remain available until all features are available in the new quiz tool.


Future upgrades

Canvas release new upgrades on the third Sunday of every month. Educational Innovation will post updates and keep you informed through our various communication channels such as YammerTeaching@Sydney, and notices in Canvas.

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