Canvas: Anonymous Grading Now Enabled

You can now allow anonymous grading and anonymous annotation of student submissions in Canvas assignments. Both options can be enabled from within the assignments’ Details tab.

Enable Anonymous Grading and Instructor Annotations in Canvas

Selecting the anonymous grading option hides student names from the graders when assignment submissions are accessed via Speedgrader. Opting for anonymous instructor annotations removes the names of the graders from all annotations made in DocViewer when marking student submissions via Speedgrader.

Anonymous grading and anonymous annotations in Speedgrader.

Canvas: Push Notifications, Feature Options

Implementation Date: January 16, 2021

In this Canvas Release, the changes below become part of the main Canvas environment. 

  • Push Notifications: The push notification has been simplified to push only certain types of notifications. Users can adjust notification preferences in their user profile or in the course notifications settings. Instructions for students and instructions for faculty. 
  • Feature Option Management: The buttons to manage feature flags have been changed to a dropdown menu and lock icon at the course and user levels. 

Read the Canvas Release Notes for more information on these changes.

Canvas: Media Icon Replaced with Studio

On December 22, 2020, the Canvas Media button in the Rich Content Editor will be removed to encourage the use of Studio for media needs. This change does not affect media previously created, uploaded, and/or shared using the Canvas Media button. In addition, all previously created content is still available through the Files link in the course menu. Future media needs can be accommodated through the use of Studio, accessible via the toolbar button or the left navigation menu within Canvas.

Studio provides several benefits including the ability to:

  1. Monitor student access to the video to identify if and how much they are watching.
  2. Add a quiz to the video.
  3. Add closed captions to your video using the closed caption generator, and quickly edit them to ensure you are meeting ADA guidelines.
  4. Download the closed captions to create a transcript. The transcript and a pdf of your lecture notes is a simple way for students without access to reliable internet to continue with their studies.
  5. Store videos without using up the allotted file space for the course.
  6. Enable students to control the speed of the video according to their individual learning needs.
  7. Properly buffer a video for a smooth viewing experience on slower internet connections.

For more information and detailed instructions for creating course media, visit the Studio page on the CELT website.

Canvas: Media organization, Student View Button

Implementation Date: December 19, 2020

In this Canvas Release, the changes below become part of the main Canvas environment.

  • Uploaded Media File Placement: Newly recorded media and uploaded media via the Upload/Record Media link is stored in the Course, Groups, or User Files folder, respectively. This makes it easier to reuse newly recorded media.
  • Individual Page Student View: The Student View button displays as an icon in the top-right corner of supported individual Canvas pages.

CyBox: Storage Limits are Coming (Inside Iowa State)

Iowa State’s new three-year contract with Box — a Cloud data storage service branded internally as CyBox — ends the era of unlimited storage for the academic community. In fact, Iowa State needs to reduce its current data storage in CyBox by about one-third before July 1, 2021, to avoid paying overage costs.

Read the Storage limits are coming to CyBox story in Inside Iowa State (December 3, 2020).

See the CyBox Instructional Tool page.

Technology Updates (December 2, 2020): Canvas, ISU AdminTools, Webex, Turnitin, Panopto, Piazza, FERPA

As we have in the past, the Learning Technologies Team will be doing system and vendor updates in between Fall Term and Winter Session to minimize impact during instruction.  The following updates will occur on Wednesday, December 2, 2020: 


The New Rich Content Editor (RCE) will be enabled in all courses. This introduces Autosave functionality and one-click access to Canvas Studio and CyBox directly on the toolbar. 

ISU AdminTools 

The existing course conclusion process will be updated to reduce clutter on the Courses interface, Dashboard, Calendar and Inbox while making it easier for instructors and support staff to copy past courses forward and manage incomplete students. All courses prior to Fall 2020 will be un-concluded and the enrollments within the course will remain concluded. This will not affect student access. Students will retain the same ready-only access in the course unless the instructor altered course settings. Moving forward, this new conclusion process will occur once each semester, approximately 3 weeks after grade submission. 


Webex Trainings can no longer be scheduled from within Canvas. Breakout sessions, polling, and other features have been added to Webex Meetings for greater functionality. See the announcement from September 15. Trainings can still be scheduled through the Webex web portal. 


Turnitin will see the addition of Originality and Draft Coach within Canvas.  See the Turnitin Guide for more information on using Turnitin or Achieving Academic Integrity in Canvas.  


The Panopto update resolves issues instructors have reported regarding being unable to access and re-use videos from previous courses. 


This will be the last month that the vendor will offer the Piazza tool for free.  Instructors using this tool for Spring 2021 can contact for more information regarding the anticipated fee of $379 per instructor per semester. Watch the Piazza teaching and learning page for more updates. 

FERPA Enforcement 

A reminder that instructors must have a valid FERPA certification to maintain access to Canvas beyond December 31, 2020. Check the status of your training or renew your certification by searching for “Understanding FERPA” inside Learn@ISU. 

January 8, 2021
FERPA Enforcement in Canvas has been delayed at this time.