Without the guaranteed ability of faculty to hand out assignments and receive paper assignments, it is critical that you build out your course in Canvas. This is not only the main way that students will stay connected with your course, and if students are not in St. Louis, the main way they will stay connected with the entire university.

Have a well-build set of Canvas pages is helpful for many things. There is no chance of losing emails reminders – all of your announcements are always there on the page. No uncertainty about the due dates of assignments – student always know where to go to find that out.

There are never any lost assignments — the dog won’t ever eat someone’s homework.. There will no longer be confusion about whether or when and assignment was either received or handed back. It is all documented. If you keep up with entering your grades within the gradebook, students will always know how they stand in the class (which, incidentally, highly correlates with positive course evaluations).

There is a much good information about how to use Canvas in the two training modules within your Canvas page, Welcome to Canvas and Foundations of Digital Pedagogy. Some of that is summarized here.

Make sure that all readings, PowerPoint slides, assignment directions and course materials are available on Canvas AND that you communicate where they are located in your Canvas course site. Consider setting up a weekly or topical structure via Modules to keep materials organized. This will ensure that students can easily find the materials needed for each class session.

Tip: Make sure that resources are available to students by ensuring that students can access the appropriate navigation items and that your files/modules are published. 

Delivering and Receiving Assignments Within Canvas. The Canvas Assignment tool is useful for providing students assignment instructions, as well as receiving student submissions. Grading can be done online using SpeedGrader, or you can download and print documents. In an online environment, providing clear, specific and detailed instructions is critical. Think about all the information that you might provide to students when explaining an assignment in-class and put that into a textual, audio or visual format. Be sure to provide due dates (day/date/time/time zone) for all assignments, in addition to being realistic about deadlines for students who may be displaced or have additional considerations.

A nice feature is of the Assignment tool is that if you build the due date into the Assignment page, the due date will go onto the student’s calendar for all their courses, so they will always know when things are due. Because in-person interactions may be restricted during this time, this reminder will be helpful for them.

Another nice feature of the Assignment tool is that you can build into the page how the grade is to be assigned (e.g., letter grade, points), and it builds this into your gradebook automatically. It also then allows you to use the SpeedGrader to assign the appropriate grades both to the student and into your gradebook.

How to use SpeedGrader to view and grade student assignment submissions