Fall 2019 Start-of-Term Checklist for Faculty & TAS

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The following are a few tips to help faculty and TAs get started with Canvas for the Fall 2019 term at the University of Pennsylvania.

1. Create a Course Site. If you have not requested your site yet, now is the time. It is easy!

If you do not see a course you are teaching in Canvas when you log into the Course Request Form, please use the information below to request your site(s):

2. Get Help. Register for Canvas Office Hours at the Weigle Information Commons to meet with experts who want to help you.

3. Validate Links. As a faculty or TA, you can verify all external links throughout your course to ensure they are valid. You can check these links using the course link validator, which searches through course content and returns invalid or unresponsive external links in both published and unpublished content. However, please note that some links flagged as unresponsive are inaccessible by Canvas servers and will still work for students. The link validator also includes deleted links. Deleted links are links that are still in the course, but their linked content has been deleted (such as a course file or page).

4. Request Your Course Reserves. Planning to have the Penn Libraries’ Course Reserves Service add content to your Canvas site? Please review the Course Reserves InformationPlease Note: 

    • The Course Reserves btuton now appears as Course Materials @ Penn Libraries. The process for requesting and accessing content though the button is the same, but the name of the button has changed.
    • Users in the Observer role can now access Course Reserves materials in Canvas.
    • You will need to re-enable the Course Materials @ Penn Libraries button in Fall 2019 Canvas sites to access Course Reserves materials that were added to them. Instructions for how to re-enable the Course Materials @ Penn Libraries button.

5. Choose a Homepage Layout. Canvas provides several homepage-layout options. In new courses that do not contain copied content, the “Course Home” page defaults to the Modules layout, but teachers can choose any home page for the course. If no modules exist in a course when a Teacher attempts to publish their course, Canvas will prompt the them to either publish a module or choose a different home page layout.

6. Publish Your Site. Students are added to Canvas course sites automatically, but they can’t access course content until the site is published. Just click the Publish button when you are ready for students to access your site!

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7. Download the Canvas Mobile Apps.

  • Canvas Teacher App. Recommended for faculty, TAs, and staff who design or manage courses. iOS and Android versions available.
    • Important:
      • Student View is not available in the Teacher app. Please download the Student app if you want to see your site from your students’ perspective.
      • Your site must be published for it to be visible in the Student app.
  • Canvas Student App. Recommended for students and faculty, TAs, and staff who wish to see how their Canvas sites appear to students via the mobile app. iOS and Android versions available.

8. Information for Turnitin. If you are using Turnitin in your course, please note the following:

  • New Turnitin CPF: There is a new version of Turnitin available called the Canvas Plagiarism Framework (CPF). Both the CPF and the LTI (the older version of Turnitin) versions will be available for the Fall 2019 term. Learn more about how the CPF and LTI versions of Turnitin compare. Please consult the Turnitin page on Canvas at Penn for instructions and more information about the CPF and LTI versions of Turnitin.
  • Copied Turnitin LTI Assignments: If you copy a Turnitin LTI assignment from another course, you will have re-enable any optional settings you customized previously and will also have to open the assignment before students can submit to it.
  • Converting a Turnitin LTI Assignment into a CPF assignment: When working with a Turnitin assignment copied from a previous term, the faculty member for whom you are a TA might want to change the type of Turnitin assignment from an LTI to a CPF, the latter of which tends to be easier to manage (please see the link in the preceding bullet-point for more information). The LTI-to-CPF Turnitin instructions explain how to make this change.
  • Create Turnitin Assignments before Students Submit Their Work: Turnitin must be enabled for a Canvas assignment before students begin uploading their submissions. If students have already submitted an assignment, you will not be able to enable Turnitin retroactively and will instead need to create a separate Turnitin assignment and then have students re-submit to that assignment. For more information, please consult the directions for creating a Turnitin LTI assignment in Canvas.

Questions? Email us at canvas@pobox.upenn.edu.

Here’s to a great term!

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