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DCAL and LDT Teams We are collaborating with our colleagues from across campus to bring you Teach Remotely at Dartmouth, full of resources for teaching in an online or blended environment.

Please check out this new site, and always feel free to contact us at if you'd like to talk.


While most of the changes in the newest update to the Canvas Gradebook are intuitive, the replacement of the “mute” option with the “Post Policies” feature is a bit tricky to navigate. The purpose of this change was to provide more opportunities for customization in the way instructors manage the release of their grades.

At Dartmouth, we largely see faculty taking one of the following three approaches to releasing their grades. Below are instructions for setting up the “Post Policies” to address each approach.

Instructor releases the grades immediately

This setting is the default in the new gradebook. If this is how you manage the release of your grades, simply do nothing and grades will show up for students as soon as they are entered.

Instructor releases grades for some assignments immediately while others are only posted once grading for the assignment is complete

We often see faculty who release quizzes and short homework assignments immediately but wait to release the grades for a test or a paper once all of the grading has been done. The best approach for this use case is to select the manual “Post Policy” for the assignment only. This short video illustrates how to set Post Policies to manual for an assignment.

Instructor always waits until the grading is completed before releasing the grades

Many instructors, especially those who rely on papers and projects for the bulk of the course’s  assessments, prefer to hold the grades until all of the scoring and comments have been recorded. In this case, faculty would want to set the “Post Policies” to manual for the course. This short video illustrates how to set Post Policies to manual for a course.

Dartmouth will switch over to the new Canvas gradebook for all courses in Arts and Sciences and Graduate Schools on January 2nd. 

The most significant features of the new gradebook involve improvements in gradebook organization and data sorting along with new opportunities for customization. In addition, a feature called “Post Policies” has been added to give faculty more control over how they release grades to students. While this feature adds some nice functionality for faculty, it is a bit more complex than the former mute/unmute feature.

We have provided some resources below to help with this transition. As always we would welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your course grading practices, to help you set up your gradebook or to refine your course. To make an appointment to go over the new gradebook specifically, please use the following Calendly link to find a time that works for you: 

For more general course help, please contact:  and one of our learning designers would be happy to set up an appointment with you.


Using the new gradebook

Instructure-created video on the new gradebook
Video created by Dartmouth Learning Design and Tech on the new Gradebook

Using the new “post policies feature” of the gradebook

Concise 1-page overview of the “post policies” feature (Canvas Community)


Instructors in a Canvas course site can easily add Dartmouth faculty, staff and students so that they can view materials, grade, or audit a course. 

To add people to a course

  • Click People in your Canvas course menu

  • Click the +People button
  • Add people by their full Dartmouth email or by their Dartmouth Login ID (NetID). You can add multiple people by having one per line. You can look up an email or NetID here:   *
  • Choose the role you would like to give the person/people you are adding.

When adding people to your course, the “role” you choose will determine the permissions they have. In Arts and Sciences courses, the main roles you will see are:

Student - This role allows for seeing all course materials and submitting assignments and quizzes. At Dartmouth, matriculated students are added through an import from Banner. Faculty should only add students under very special circumstances (ex. use this role if you have an undergraduate who is auditing your course and you would like to permit them to submit work for review even if they are not going to get an official grade)

Teacher - This role has permission to add and edit content on the Canvas site and to see all student work and grades submitted to the course. Use this role to add colleagues who who will be co-teaching the course with you.

TA - The TA role has almost as many permissions as a faculty member, including the ability to see the grade book and grade student work. The TA role does not have a few permission such as the ability to publish a course, add sections to a course or add and delete other TAs, Teachers or Course Designers.

Course Designer - This role is meant for people who will be helping to build the content of the course or for other professors who wish to copy your course materials into their own course. A course designer cannot see student information or grades but can edit pages, add files, links, create assignments, etc.

Observer - The observer role is meant for people who will just be viewing the content of your class. An observer can only see content but can’t change or interact with the content in any way.

  • Once you have chosen the role, you may complete the process of adding a user to your site. If you click on the People menu now, you should see the person you added in this list.

For more general information about adding people in Canvas and user roles and permissions, view the following articles from the Canvas Community - 

Adding People to Canvas

User Roles and Permission

*If you wish to add a guest who does not have a Dartmouth email account or Netid, you will need to request a Canvas guest account. Please review this article on the Dartmouth Services portal for more information.

** Note: If you would like to add a faculty member or TA to your course after the course has ended, please reach out to so that we may help.

Creating a great Canvas course site requires time, preparation, creativity and attention to detail. The Learning Design and Technology team created the "Canvy" awards as a way to recognize faculty for their efforts in creating great sites for their students. 

At the end of the Spring 2019 term, we asked students taking courses in Arts and Sciences to nominate course sites that supported their learning during the 2018-19 school year. In addition, we asked students to indicate what contributed most to effective site design. From the 225+ Canvy award nominations received, courses by the following faculty were chosen as this year’s winners:

  • Petra Bonfert-Taylor, Professor of Engineering
  • Stuart Finkel, Associate Professor of Russian Studies
  • Brenhin Keller, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences
  • Meredith Kelly, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences
  • Kathleen Powers, Assistant Professor of Government
  • Lauren Russell, Research Associate and Lecturer of Economics

While each faculty member has a unique spin on the design of the course sites, there were a few notable commonalities:

  • Faculty members posted the readings, videos and course materials on their sites in a timely manner for students to access and kept them up to date
  • The course sites are well structured and easy for students to navigate
  • Assignments were present in Canvas. Additionally, assignment directions were clear and easy to follow

Overall student feedback was summarized by this student’s comment:

“Everything was up and online on time or very close to on time and the course page was engaging and interesting. The home page has all the key information on it. It basically hit all the necessary pointers for a good course page‚ all resources easily accessible, visually not jarring, and easy to navigate…"

Thanks to all of the faculty who spend their time and energy to deliver great courses for Dartmouth’s students. Students both notice and appreciate your efforts. We invite you to take a look at a few of this year’s Canvy winners (see links below) and to contact the Learning Design and Technology team if you have questions about this or other topics related to course design at

Interested to check out a few examples? The following are a sampling of the award-winning sites!

GOV 50.08: Psychology and International Politics:

EARS.001: How the Earth Works:

ENGS.020: Introduction to Scientific Computing

As you prepare for next term's courses, you might want to begin working on your Canvas sites by copying content from an old course. If so, follow these steps to transfer content from one Canvas site to another:

  1. Navigate to your new site, and click Settings at the bottom of the navigation menu on the left.
  2. Click Import Content into this Course in the column on the right.

Canvas releases updates and performs bug fixes approximately every three weeks. Recently there have been two notable enhancements that could help you organize your workspace.

Drag-and-drop Dashboard Re-ordering
(faculty, staff, students)

Canvas has added the ability to re-order the tiles in the Canvas dashboard by dragging and dropping. Prior to this enhancement, the tiles were automatically arranged alphabetically and there was no opportunity to put the most recent courses at the top of the page. Now, not only can you remove tiles from the dashboard, you can place them in the order that makes the most sense for you. For more information on the dashboard view as well as the drag-and-drop feature go to:

New Gradebook - Beta

One of the most significant recent updates to Canvas is the new gradebook. While there are many new features in the gradebook, the most significant features involve improvements in organization and data sorting. In addition, new opportunities for customization make it easier for faculty to view the status of assignments and of particular student’s grades. This tool is still in development and we will continue to see improvements over the course of this term. It is available for faculty to enable in their individual courses. For more information and to compare functionality with the current gradebook, please take a look at this resource provided by one of the members of the Canvas community:

As always, we are happy to help with using new features or improving your comfort level with existing functionality. For information and assistance please email:

New Feature: Universal Design Online Content Inspection Tool (UDOIT)

UDOIT allows you to check for and resolve accessibility issues across your course. This tool is used at many institutions and was developed as an open-source tool by the University of Central Florida. Refer to our updated post on Creating Accessible Materials for information on developing accessible course materials. If you have any questions, email

In this video (above), Adam Nemeroff explains how to check Canvas sites for accessibility issues.

New Feature: Announcements

If you have a multi-section course, you are now able to choose to send announcements to either specific section(s) or an entire class. 

Choose the section(s) you want the announcement to go to.


By Adam Nemeroff and Erin DeSilva

Accessible materials create access to documents and materials so that they are usable by all students in your class. Most of these changes have the dual benefit of simultaneously helping students with specific accommodations, while also improving the experience for the other users in your class. The following is a guide for creating materials with these types of considerations in mind. In this guide, we include both general guidelines as well as specific steps to follow for specific tools and materials.

This guide from Auckland University gives a wonderful overview of these similar guidelines.

The University of Auckland describes how to create Inclusive Online Courses.
The University of Auckland describes how to create Inclusive Design for Online Accessibility. Here is a downloadable PDF.

Updated March 12, 2018 - An earlier version of this guide was published in 2016. We updated the guide recently to include updates to the Canvas and documents sections. For Canvas, we added specific directions for accessibility features in Canvas (using the accessibility checker and UDOIT). We also posted a screencast video explaining how to use these tools. For documents, we included more extensive directions on creating accessible document and converting them with SensusAccess, a new document conversion tool at the College.

...continue reading "Creating Accessible Materials"

We received this recent question from a professor:

"I find that exceptions for sick, injured, and other students are hard to keep track of, and that my grading gets slowed down by me digging through my email to remember if I gave a particular person an exception. With the flu I'm needing to excuse more people. Is there a way to encode exceptions and personal deadlines in Canvas so that it automatically takes these into account?

Answer: YES!

In any Canvas assignment, when you click Edit, you’ll see a box like this at the bottom:

Click the +Add button and you’ll be able to give any student in the drop down list a different due date. You’ll notice that the “Everyone” in the box above then changes to “Everyone else”.