Canvas New Quizzes Release and Deploy Notes – May 21

This update will contain the Canvas release and deploy that are specific to New Quizzes in Canvas for May 21. To review the release and deploy notes for the overall features of Canvas during this timeframe, you can review a separate post that contains that information.

If you’re looking for more information on New Quizzes, you can review the New Quizzes in Canvas webpage.

May 21

  • New Quizzes: Fill in the Blank Question Type Allows Rich Content Editor: In Quizzes, this feature allows instructors to add content as part of the question stem and make portions of the content fillable in the student response. This change allows instructors to create fill-in-the-blank questions with rich content such as scientific or mathematical formulas or a table. Additionally, instructors can format fill-in-the-blank questions to appear on separate, distinct lines.

You can read the full May 21 Canvas Release Notes on their website.

Feature Options in Canvas

Canvas frequently publishes updates as part of its release cycle. New Canvas updates are posted on the CELT website. If approved, Feature Options may be enabled at the account or course level in our Canvas instance. More information about the Canvas Updates Approval Process is also on the CELT website.

Each instructor can configure several Feature Options at the course level, so the instructor can choose whether to enable or disable the feature in their course. To learn more about enabling or disabling a Feature Option in a Canvas course (the image below is an example of the Feature Options), see the Canvas guide to managing new features for a course or follow the Preparing Your Canvas Course guide.

How to select Feature Options in Canvas course settings

For additional information or the status of a feature, please email us at

FALCON 2024 Request for Proposals

Pedagogy ABCs:
Teaching Excellence in the Twenty-First Century

September 27, 2024, Virtual

New instructors often are misguided in how to teach college students, relying on methods from their time as students. While the instructor has gained expert knowledge about the subject, that doesn’t necessarily translate to being an effective teacher. The lack of pedagogical training and knowledge is a problem many new instructors face. To succeed, though, all teaching faculty must understand pedagogical methods and stay abreast of emerging developments in pedagogy.   

Please consider submitting a session proposal that will engage and inspire your teaching colleagues. As a starting point, please consider how the following three listed topics are incorporated into higher education: 

  • Learning outcomes (i.e., the desired knowledge and skills students should be able to demonstrate as a result of completing a course, from drafting effective outcomes to aligning outcomes with assessments and learning activities) 
  • Assessments (i.e., the methods used to identify what students have learned in the course)  
  • Learning activities (i.e., the role that strategies like active learning, student engagement, and guided learning play in the learning process and how activities can be designed to support learning) 

Complete the form by August 15, 2024

Improve Your Students’ Canvas Experience: The New ISU Course Template is Now Available

The New ISU Course Template is now available for your Canvas courses! Whether starting from scratch or building on previous content, the template is designed to help you build easy-to-navigate courses in Canvas:

  • With a focus on clear way-finding, the template ensures that your students can navigate your Canvas course, allowing them to spend more time learning and less time figuring out where to find various course components.

  • The template provides opportunities for incremental course improvements. Use parts of the template or re-style your entire Canvas course: you can quickly plug in your course information or plan for future enhancements as you become more familiar with the design tools that come with the template.

  • The template proudly displays the Cyclone spirit, from course banners to institutional color palettes! A bonus deck of themed PowerPoint slides and customizable course and video cards will elevate the look and feel of your instructional materials.

  • Built on the Quality Matters (QM) Course Design Rubric, the template incorporates best practices for student-centered course design. The redesigned Start Here module packages student success resources and policies recommended by QM.

  • Complete with detailed guidance in the instructor toolkit, the template offers many basic and advanced customization options.

And the best part? CELT provides both group and individual support for template implementation, helping you to improve your course one step at a time. Start using the New ISU Course Template today and take your course to the next level!

Three Tips from CELT Instructional Designer, Suhan Yao

Suhan Yao is the CELT instructional designer who led the ISU Course Template redesign inspired by the recent updates to the Quality Matters (QM) Course Design Rubric.

The rubric updates allowed CELT to provide tools for designing a better syllabus, options for clear communication, better engagement and improved course accessibility. Suhan offers three tips for using the enhanced template.

  • We included the essential syllabus sections, which are easy to edit. Explore the instructor toolkit ⁠to find quick advice and example wordings for each section. 

  • We removed the required and recommended syllabus statements from the Syllabus page. They now appear on a separate page called Syllabus Statements. Syllabus Statements are updated automatically: simply edit the page and save it without making any changes.

  • We even included the printing instructions at the top of the page, so you and your students can easily print or save the syllabus and syllabus statements to a PDF file.

  • If you make a mistake, you can always restore the Syllabus page to any previously saved version.

  • Take the guesswork out of assembling useful support resources for your students. Our one-stop-shop Support and Resources page in the Start Here module combines technology support, academic assistance, and well-being resources into a neat package and saves your time!

  • Are your students new to Canvas? The Support and Resources page links to a simple but full of practical and easy-to-understand Canvas Student Orientation course.

  • In the instructor toolkit, find simple instructions on how to add resources specific to your course!

  • After you import the new template into your sandbox course, head to the Files area to find a collection of new banner images in the ISU Course Template Images folder. These banners encompass the enthusiasm, pride, and support shown by students, alumni, and fans of the university.

  • Check out the ISU-Branded Templates in Files. We included ditable cover cards with detailed instructions to use as your course’s card on the dashboard or replace a Canvas Studio thumbnail.

  • We saved the best for last! Check out our deck of Cyclone-spirited PowerPoint slides in the ISU-Branded Templates in Files. Use them for your course presentations to match the look and feel of your Canvas course!

ISU Course Template and Support

Import the Template in Your New Canvas Course

CELT recommends importing the template into your sandbox course shell in Canvas first. This way you can experiment with the many features the template offers. Once comfortable, you can transfer your sandbox into the course shell where you plan to teach. To import the template into your sandbox:

  1. From the Help option on the Canvas Global Navigation, choose Global Course Administration.

  2. Once you authorize ISU AdminTools, opt to Request a New Course Shell.

  3. On the next page, select Organization for Course Type.

  4. Select Create from the new ISU Course Template.

  5. Submit the request.

Your sandbox course will be created, and the template will be added to the sandbox course. Be sure to read Toolkit: Explore and Customize the Template in the Instructor Resources unpublished module that comes with the template.

Use the Template with Your Previous Course Content

Once you create a Canvas sandbox and import the template, you can also import the content from your previous course. You can use the template’s features to style your previous content:

  1. Import the template into your sandbox course shell in Canvas.

  2. Import your previous content into the templated sandbox.

  3. Reset the homepage back to the template.

  4. Navigate to a page with the previous content.

  5. Click Edit on the top of the page with the previous content.

  6. Use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Shift+D (Windows) or Option+Shift+D (Mac). to call on the design tools that come with the template.

  7. In the tools that appear to the right, click on the “+” plus and search for Theme.

  8. This will insert the Heading 2 structure at the top of the page.

  9. Now, use the Paragraph on the Canvas Rich Content Editor to style your previous content with appropriate headers and paragraphs.

For more guidance, be sure to read the instructor toolkit that comes with the template.

Examples of the New ISU Canvas Template pages.

Synchronous Training

CELT offers group training sessions to help you use the new ISU Course Template.

Led by an experienced CELT Instructional Technologist, training occurs online. Each session is 40 minutes long with sufficient time for participants to ask questions.

Instructional Support for ISU Course Template

CELT instructional designers are available for one-on-one consultations to provide support for the implementation of the new ISU Course Template.

Send a message to or book an appointment

Weaving Art into STEM: CELT Workshop Highlights Visual Literacy

By Kelly McGowan, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching 

Meteorology students may not expect to spend a class session in an art museum — or that the rolling clouds in a painting would spark a rich discussion about their field of study — but that’s just what happened at Iowa State thanks to some creative thinking and collaboration by a professor and staff in University Museums.  

Dr. Bill Gallus, professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences and newly appointed University Museums CELT Faculty Affiliate, has worked with the museums in various ways over nearly two decades. The faculty affiliate role, started in August 2023, aims to integrate visual literacy and learning with the use of University Museums works of art in curriculum. 

The class visit to the Brunnier Art Museum for a 2015 Ellen Wagener exhibit is just one example of how Gallus and University Museums Curator Adrienne Gennett hope instructors across campus can weave art into their courses. 

“What makes art, I think, so useful in the classroom,” Gallus said, “is it just opens up so many questions where you can really test how well the students have understood what they learned in your STEM course.” 

Wagener’s vast natural land and skyscapes were the perfect canvas for Gallus to pose questions about what was happening meteorologically in the art. What did it mean that the clouds did not have a smooth base? Could students guess what time of year was depicted? What things might the students question?

Fall, Cumulus, 2006 by Ellen Wagener (American, b. 1964). Pastel on paper. Purchased by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with partial funding from Charles Persinger. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2012.22
Fall, Cumulus, 2006 by Ellen Wagener (American, b. 1964). Pastel on paper. Purchased by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with partial funding from Charles Persinger. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. U2012.22


Art experiences promote critical thinking 

In deepening his involvement with the museums, Gallus learned about the visual literacy framework of data collection, interpretation, and evaluation. It struck him how closely those three steps mirrored “exactly how we conduct science.”  

That parallel allows for a meaningful connection between art-based activities and classes like his. 

Bringing an art experience into a STEM course can challenge students to think more broadly and critically, Gennett said, and help them understand that different interpretations and answers are valid. It can also help expand ways of thinking and encourage students to consider problems from a different angle. 

It’s valuable to give students a moment to consider multiple ways of thinking, she said, “to not necessarily have the correct answer, but to also understand it takes a lot of evaluation before you can come to an answer.”  

Gallus and Gennett said these lessons apply both in coursework and in life.


University Museums are ready to help 

Many students come to Iowa State having never visited an art museum before, Gennett said. This type of art integration can make an impression that lasts a lifetime. 

With 30,000 works of art in the permanent collection and Art on Campus Collection, she said there is bound to be a good fit for any field of study — and her team is ready to help faculty enhance their courses with art. 

“We work really hard to make it as easy as possible,” she said. That can include pulling art out of storage, bringing a work of art to a teaching space, providing tours, discussing art with students, and even helping faculty to create a lesson around works of art.  

Faculty can explore the online museum database for inspiration. Collections in the database group art together for their possible application to the life sciences or physical sciences, for example. 

“We can take a work of art and use it throughout the university,” she said, “in different courses, in different fields of study — and we can teach the valuable basic skills of visual literacy and communication.”

Bill Gallus, professor of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences and University Museums CELT Faculty Affiliate, and University Museums Curator Adrienne Gennett will host a workshop, “Visual Literacy Tools for Curriculum in STEM Fields,” at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21 at 2030 Morrill Hall.

Procedures set for using recording classrooms

The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching’s (CELT) media production team has a new website that provides faculty information about recording classrooms, available services, and how to request a room. Iowa State has five media recording classrooms, two in Curtiss Hall and three in Howe Hall, scheduled by media production staff. In addition to these classrooms, a few general university classrooms are equipped to record if there is demand. According to the CELT media classroom usage policy, there are three (3) one-month windows for submitting requests:

  • Fall term: April 1-May 1
  • Spring term: Sept. 1-Oct. 1
  • Summer session: Feb. 1-March 1

Media production manager Andrew Sevcik said the windows provide time for his staff to schedule classes in the rooms and for CELT to communicate with the room scheduling team. Production staff will take requests outside of the windows when needed. For additional information, visit the media production website or email

(Announcement first published in the March 30, 2023 edition of Inside Iowa State)