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Keeping Up with Canvas News

As with any online platform, Canvas regularly makes updates to its functionalities and user interface. Most of these changes are small, such as a moved button or renamed menu item, and wouldn’t be noticeable to most users. But some of the changes are more significant and require more information for your continued successful use of Canvas.

The Teaching & Learning Technologies team keeps track of changes big and small in Canvas. We then test updates and consider the impact of planned changes in Canvas to the Northwestern community. If the update is an optional feature, we will consider the optimal time to enable it to minimize disruption to instructors and students.

There are several ways we communicate about changes, outages, and updates in Canvas:

As an example, let’s consider how TLT will educate faculty about an upcoming change to quizzes in Canvas. Canvas will transition to a new quizzing interface called New Quizzes in the next 12-18 months. Our team has been testing various features of New Quizzes and carefully monitoring the transition timeline as it has been developed by Instructure. Once the timeline is confirmed, we will start publishing articles in the Canvas Minute about the tool and its new features.Additionally, we will offer workshops and continue to update our online resources in the Canvas Learning Center about New Quizzes. As we approach Instructure’s enforcement date for using New Quizzes, there will be announcements on the dashboard of Canvas to remind faculty of the change. 

Our goal is to make staying current on Canvas easy so you can stay focused on teaching. We know it can be challenging when an online platform changes. Whether you’re new to Canvas or you’ve been using it since it arrived at Northwestern in 2014, we want to keep you feeling confident and moving forward with Canvas. 

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