The current digital age has opened the door to a wide variety of instructional modalities that allow teaching and learning to take place beyond the scope of the physical classroom. Removing the barriers of time and space offers instructors the opportunity to engage with their courses uniquely, without having to be tethered to a computer or physically present on campus. For teachers who are already using Canvas to host course content, the Canvas Teacher app provides a compact and efficient way to stay connected and manage day-to-day tasks with ease.
What is the Canvas Teacher App?
The Canvas Teacher app is a mobile application that can be installed on a smartphone or tablet, and it provides touch-screen functionality to view and interact with a course. You can use the app to post course announcements, monitor and participate in discussions, send and receive email communications, and even grade assignment submissions. This flexibility allows you to connect to your courses and students from anywhere, anytime.
Time and Task Management
Having the Canvas Teacher app means you can receive notifications about course activity straight to your preferred mobile device. You can respond to students and interact with course activities in real time, as opposed to having to wait until you can log onto a computer to see updates that may have come through while you were away. You can customize the type of notifications that get pushed out so that you only receive the notifications that are the most relevant or important.
If your students require a more individualized level of support, the Canvas Inbox messaging system provides a quick means of sending direct messages either to an individual or to a group. Canvas Inbox messages work much like email, and Canvas automatically creates contacts and distribution lists based on course enrollment. Simply select the intended recipients, type a message, add attachments, and click send. The Canvas app will push out a notification when a new message has been received, so you don’t have to worry about missing important communications from eager students.
Ease of Navigation
The Canvas app is designed to look very similar to the browser version of Canvas, so navigating through the app should be an easy transition for current Canvas users. Upon logging in, you’re taken to your Courses dashboard which displays a list of course cards. The to-do list and inbox icons are prominently displayed across the bottom of the screen for quick access. Selecting the menu icon in the top left corner reveals links to your account-level files, global Canvas Studio library, and account settings.
Just like in the browser version of Canvas, clicking on a course card will open the associated course. Once in a course, the course navigation menu will display as a list. Select an item from the list to open it and display all associated items therein. Touch the Back button in the top left corner to go back a step.
Affordances and Constraints
Once a course is set up, the Canvas app is great for monitoring and responding to student interactions within the course, and announcements and Canvas inbox messages can be created in a pinch. From a tablet device, coupling SpeedGrader with the use of a stylus can make grading uploaded files a quick and efficient process.
However, there are some notable limitations to what teachers can do from the Canvas app. Namely, building new course content is something that is best done from the full browser-version of Canvas. The extent of editing functionality within the Canvas teacher app is dependent upon the type of item to be edited. For example, while new assignments cannot be created in the app, settings to existing assignments can be updated. Items can be published or unpublished. Quiz details can be edited, though quiz questions cannot. Discussions can be monitored and replied to as well.
Watch the above video to learn more about the Canvas Teacher App, and if you have any questions, CIRT staff is available and happy to help.