Canvas Gradebook Highlights

The gradebook in Canvas might present a new conundrum as you are now getting graded work and figuring out how this gets back to Skyward. Here are some helpful hints in navigating the Canvas gradebook and managing the sync to SIS.

Initial Setup

When first getting accustomed to your Canvas Gradebook, you have a few customizable options such as setting up a grade posting policy; automatic or manual (do you like to grade everything, then post the grade?). It is important to note that if you are choosing manual posting of your grades, they must be posted first in order to transfer to Skyward. More on this in the Grade Sync section below. Other gradebook settings you can customize are the late work policies. Please note, the late work policy only works for online submissions! It will not be inherited for external tool assignments as those are often graded in a 3rd party app.

You will want to familiarize yourself with gradebook view, which can help in navigating sections, assignments, and more. You will be using the gradebook action “Sync to Skyward” to transfer your grades from Canvas to Skyward. This process can take time depending on the network traffic (sometimes up to 2-3 hours). To check the status of your sync, find the “Grade Sync” option in your course navigation. The Grade Sync will not only update your sync progress, but provides a place to view sync errors.

For more on using the gradebook, check out this resources from Canvas: How do I use the Gradebook? or How do I use the icons and colors in Gradebook?

Grading and SpeedGrader

Now that you have become acquainted with your gradebook, it’s time to start entering grades. Speedgrader will become your new best friend. SpeedGrader can be accessed in several different ways and depends on the assignment. You can always access it from the gradebook by clicking the 3 dots next to an assignment and launching SpeedGrader from there. You can also access it from an assignment in the upper right corner, from graded discussions by clicking the 3 more dots and choosing it from the sub-menu.

Once the SpeedGrader launches, you now have additional grading and organization options. You can sort by sections (if more than one in a course), by alpha order, or even by submission status. If you have an attached rubric clicking on the rubric will total the grade for you, or you can manually enter the score. Once entered, this will auto-save and the status will change from a yellow dot next to the student to a green check.

This is also a great place to add additional feedback. Several grade submission types will display the Canvas Doc Viewer and provides you the option to annotate directly on the students work. If the Doc Viewer is not loading an assignment as expected, please check out this post on helping students. In addition to Doc Viewer annotations, you will always have the option to include assignment comments (written), file attachment, media feedback (audio and/or video). A great hack is to use the voice to text option!

Add comments and even use the voice to text feature.

Some other options you might find useful in SpeedGrader is changing the setting options to view by submission status, quickly changing from posted or not, and of course, jumping back to the gradebook view. All of these are accessible in the upper left corner of SpeedGrader.

SpeedGrader has sorting options as well.

Find some more information on using SpeedGrader here: How do I use SpeedGrader?

Syncing Grades

Now that you have some graded assignments it is time to sync to Skyward. This is a great place to determine what grades you want to showcase as your students course grade. From Assignments, confirm that your Canvas Assignment Groups and Skyward Categories match, quickly confirm what assignments are set to sync and that they all have due dates set. These will interrupt the sync process to Skyward if not set properly.

Checklist for a Successful Sync:

  • Assignment has a due date
  • The assignment is set to Sync
  • If using Manual grading policy, the grades have been posted (there is no disabled crossed-out eye)
  • The assignment has a unique name from other assignments in Canvas (this is for new assignments rather than 1 assignment with multiple due dates/assignment sections)
  • Your assignment Group is set and matches an assignment Category in Skyward

We are ready to Sync. Using Actions and “Sync to Skyward” you can now choose the assignment(s) you want to sync and whether you want to do so by section or all sections. You can check your sync progress and any errors by accessing “Grade Sync” in your course navigation. If you do not see it, please go to Settings–>Navigation–>Enable “Grade Sync.”

You will also want to make sure Grades is visible to your students and families as well. While Canvas is for graded feedback and Skyward will remain the gradebook of record, we do want our students to be able to access their graded feedback in Canvas. We have been asked to hide the “grade totals” and you can do that by following the directions here.

  • Open Settings
  • Make sure you are on Course Details
  • Scroll all the way down and click “more options”
  • Check “Hide totals in student grades summary”
  • Update Course Details

Tips we have been gathering:

  • We have noticed that for assignments that have multiple due dates, syncing by section might help eliminate duplication (and the need to delete the “extra” * column from Skyward).
  • Deleting an assignment in Skyward will confuse Canvas as it will continue to search for it. Here is info on how to restore deleted assignments in Skyward (will need to enable Flash).
  • Manually creating an assignment in Skyward with the same name in Canvas will cause syncing errors.
  • If you upload an assignment and have 0, Missing, or No Count and want to preserve the changes you make in Skyward (which will reset if you sync from Canvas again) consider disabling sync to SIS for that assignment and make the changes in Canvas and manually in Skyward.
  • Consider syncing every couple of weeks rather than daily or weekly.

If you have more ideas to share, please email and I will update the tips!

Resources direct from Canvas

The Canvas Guides are a great resource to learn more. Use these links to learn more; Canvas Guide for Instructors and the section on gradebook or the multitude of resources on SpeedGrader.

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