More courses transition including noncredit; DoIT Help Desk provides support (News Digest)

This news digest is part of a regular series of updates about UW-Madison’s transition to the Canvas learning management system (LMS).

Canvas use in summer jumps to 61%

Last year at this time, Canvas was just beginning to be introduced to UW-Madison. About 61% of courses offered this summer are now using Canvas as their preferred learning management system. To see term by term changes in the use of Canvas, D2L and Moodle, view the chart on the homepage.

How to learn Canvas this summer

Whether you want to receive a Canvas overview, get started with developing a course, know more about managing grades or stop in for office hours, there are variety of options to learn more about Canvas. See the full listing of training events to learn more, and to register.

Open office hours will also be available:

  • Monday, August 21, from 9-11am in Middleton, Room 302 (Refreshments will be provided.)

Additionally, a fully online, self-paced Canvas training course for instructors is available. To access the course, log into Canvas and click on “Canvas Training Course for Instructors.

Teaching Effectively in Canvas Program

Teaching Effectively in Canvas Program is designed for instructors and instructional staff to learn and apply proven strategies in Course Design, Assessment, Social Learning and Individual Learning. The program includes four in-person workshops, with multiple sessions of each workshop. Canvas consulting is available after each session. August sessions will be announced soon.

Noncredit courses begin transition to Canvas

The Canvas Transition Team is beginning to move noncredit, UW-Madison courses from D2L and Moodle to Canvas. This includes courses in the following areas:

  • Lifelong learning (enrichment or professional training) courses for external audiences
    Employee/Staff onboarding and training courses
  • Large‐scale training and compliance courses for employees
  • Large‐scale compliance courses for students

For questions about lifelong learning (enrichment or professional training) courses for external audiences to Canvas, please contact:

For questions about transitioning employee/staff onboarding and training courses, large-scale training and compliance courses for employees, and large-scale compliance courses for students, please contact:


DoIT Help Desk now providing full Canvas support

Starting July 1, all questions about Canvas and its use for UW-Madison courses are being handled by the DoIT Help Desk. Support was previously offered by Instructure (the vendor of Canvas). You can get your questions answered online through the campus knowledgebase, or directly from a Help Desk agent.

Other support resources are available through the Canvas Instructor Guide, and one-on-one consultations with learning technologists from DoIT Academic Technology, as well as some schools and colleges. You may also contact the designated Canvas consultant for your school or college.

Feedback on Canvas transition support to date

A number of units completed their Canvas transition over the spring 2017 semester. At the end of the semester, faculty and instructors were invited to participate in a survey evaluating their migration experience. The survey results showed overall positive feedback and outcomes, and the Canvas Transition Team identified a few areas of improvement, including frequency and clarity of direct communications.

The team will focus on improving in these areas in the upcoming semesters, while following the same general transition process as in the spring. Additional surveys and further conversations with faculty, staff, advisory and governance groups, and units across campus will continue to inform the work of the team.

Importing Scantron scores into Canvas

At the beginning of the fall 2017 semester, UW-Madison Testing and Evaluation will be able to provide Scantron test scores in an output file format that can be imported into the Canvas gradebook. Instructions for how to import scores are being developed and and will be ready for use prior to the start of the fall semester.

Canvas DocViewer update

An updated DocViewer was released on June 24. Canvas DocViewer automatically converts common documents types into web-viewable and interactive learning experiences. This feature replaces the current Box previewer and Crocodoc annotation tools in Canvas and provides improved performance.

For more details, see the Canvas release notes and an engaging discussion thread in the Canvas community.

Content authoring and quizzing gap recommendations

The Learn@UW-Madison Executive Committee is sponsoring working groups to address two main functional gap areas in Canvas, as compared to Moodle and D2L. The gaps involve quizzing capabilities and content authoring tool functionality. The groups made recommendations at the end of 2016 with the plan to continue their research into the spring semester of 2017. Read summaries of the groups’ updated recommendations for quizzing and content authoring.