Oh the Places You Can Go! Canvas Mobile App

IMG_7390~Written by Jackie Hughes, Coordinator of Instructional Technology

As human beings, sometimes we need to take a break and relax. Your laughing, I know.  Instructors teach all day and grade all night.

In Michigan, you need to get outside to kayak, camp, hike, boat or fish and enjoy the good weather while you can. However, you also have an obligation to give your students timely feedback.

What if you could get your grading done while you relax? You can do all this from the free Canvas mobile apps.

Grading from the Canvas Teacher App

IMG_7396The Canvas Teacher app is not only aesthetically pleasing but is incredibly functional.

One Sunday last fall, my husband and I needed to take advantage of the mild weather to get the tree stump burned down. This is an all-day process and I did not want to neglect my students who, according to Dee Fink, need immediate feedback if they are to be successful in my class.

As I sat next to our bonfire with my mobile device, I used the Canvas Instructor app to grade the student discussion boards with a rubric. I had the most fun. Tap here, tap there, write a comment, and submit.

It felt good to go sit by the fire, listen to the bird’s chirp and get my grading done.

Learning from the Canvas Student App

IMG_7391The Canvas Student App is a fun way to engage your students outside of the classroom.  Have you ever needed your students to go into public to make observations?  Perhaps you want your students to interview a professional or family member?  Assignments such as these can easily be completed from the Canvas Student App.

In Andrew Peterson’s Introduction to Esports online course, he builds community and engages his students by using the Discussion Board. Instead of lecturing his students to death about the computer hardware needed for gaming, he asks his students to tell about their systems and to go take a picture of their gaming setup. It allows the students to get a realistic idea of the grass-root setup people may have for their esports environment.

In this discussion board opportunity, students were not only expected to explain using word but to go to a place to get a picture that would help describe the space better than words could. This gave the students an opportunity to realistically consider the wide range of hardware components that are necessary to make esports work. As a community, they are genuinely excited to see how the most basic system will work for esports and they offer each other advice and support! It instantly set the culture for student interaction and social presence in this course.

“Just as there is a strong connection between the development of a sense of social presence and the formation of community online, so there is a strong connection between presence and coalescence… the formation [of the sense of community] can be sometimes instantaneous, especially if a group comes together with a strong interest.” (Palloff, Pratt, 2007, p.32)

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There are so many opportunities for teachers and students who are on the go to still engage with their courses using the Canvas Teacher App and the Canvas Student App.  Download them today!


Fink, L. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences an integrated approach to designing college courses (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Palloff, R., Pratt, K., & Palloff, R. (2007). Building online learning communities : Effective strategies for the virtual classroom (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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