UW Bothell Learning Technologies Blog Rotating Header Image


Canvas Tips to Start the Year Off Right!

Want help with learning technologies, digital media, assignment/course design, or hybrid/online learning? Go to our LT website to book time with us or ask us a question!



Did you know? You can send a private message to your professor or classmates through Canvas. All you need to do is click on Inbox in the top right hand corner of your Canvas window. Click on compose a new message, then select your course and the professor/classmate you want to communicate with. This tool is incredibly useful for asking your professor or classmates questions, or even talking to members in your group.



Did you know? You don’t always need to log in to MyUW in order to access Canvas. All you need to do is type in canvas.uw.edu and you will automatically be taken to the login page for Canvas. No need to navigate through your MyUW page to find the Canvas link.



Did you know?  You can change what courses and groups appear under the Courses and Groups tab on your Canvas Homepage. All you need to do is hover over the Courses and Groups tab, then click on View all or Customize


in the top right hand corner. From there you can star which courses you want to appear on the dropdown menu. This can save you the time of searching for your course every time you need to access it.


Did you know? You will always have access on Canvas to the courses you have taken, long after the course is completed. You can look at assignments you turned in, grades you received, files and readings you were assigned, and much more! You can use previous courses as a resource for courses you will take in the future.




There is a known issue in the Canvas system that sometimes causes a discrepancy between students who are enrolled through MyUW and those who show up as enrolled in your Canvas course. To resolve this issue, send an email to HELP@UW.EDU with the course title and quarter and request that they update your Canvas course enrollments.



Remember that you can build your course in Canvas before the quarter without the students seeing all of the changes. Once you are prepared for students to interact with your Canvas course site, you must make sure to publish it. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Canvas course and click Home
  2. At the top of the page under the heading THIS COURSE IS UNPUBLISHED click the link published.
  3. Finally, click the Publish Course button that shows up near the bottom of the page.


To reduce confusion for your students, we recommend that you remove links in the course navigation that you are not using. For example, you might remove the Outcomes, Conferences, and Collaborations links in the navigation, if those tools are not being used in your course. Here’s how to do this:

  1. Click Settings in your course navigation
  2. Click the Navigation tab in Settings, near the top of the page
  3. Now drag and drop items that are not needed below the line that reads Drag items here to hide them from students.
  4. Click Save at the bottom of the page.


Note: removing the links means that students will not see them. However, as an instructor, you will still see the grayed out links, and you are still able to access them.


Recently, UW implemented the Canvas Draft State feature. Draft State allows content in Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, Pages, and Modules to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. By default, any newly created content remains in an unpublished (draft state) that is not visible to students until you publish them. For more details on Draft State for the individual content areas, view the Canvas Lessons:


For more Canvas tutorials – check out the Learning Tech Canvas website!

Evaluating Web Page Accessibility

This month is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act, which is a federal legislation designed “to [eliminate] discrimination against people with disabilities.” Often times students with disabilities can be left out of online curriculum, which is why it is important to evaluate if your webpage is accessible. In an a recent article George Williams discussed how you can evaluate your webpage for accessibility, he noted the best way to engage in accessibility testing is with actual people. However there are also a number of helpful tools that can automatically check your site for the most important accessibility issues:

  • Wave Toolbar
    WAVE can help you evaluate the accessibility of your web content. WAVE is easy to use, you simply enter the web page address or browse to a file on your computer and select WAVE this page. WAVE will then provide you with a report section at the top of your page with embedded icons and error indicators. RED icons indicate accessibility errors and GREEN icons indicate accessibility features.
  • HTML_CodeSniffer
    HTML_CodeSniffer Is a client-side JavaScript application that checks an HTML document or source code for violations of a defined coding standard. It can be extended by developers to enforce custom coding standards by creating your own “sniffs”. This bookmarklet can work with almost any browser.
  • Tota11y
    Tota11y helps visualize how your site performs with assistive technologies. Testing for accessibility is often tedious and confusing, but tota11y aims to reduce this barrier by helping visualize accessibility violations. Your file will have a small button in the bottom of your corner document, once you click on the button you are able to see the accessibility problems your web page may have.
  • Pa11y
    Allows you to check the accessibility of web pages your own or others. If you are more interested in fixing issues rather than hunting them down you can use pa11y-dashboard.

You can also look at W3C web accessibility evaluation tools list. Over 40 tools listed are software programs or online services that can help determine if the webpage is accessible. All these tools will help evaluate webpage accessibility to ensure everyone can enjoy your webpage.

The Power of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is well known social media site widely used by colleges and students everywhere. In an article on The Chronicle of Higher Education regarding LinkedIn’s latest big move, people everywhere can get a better idea of how much it has grown and how useful it really is. LinkedIn announced that it would spend $1.5 billion to buy Lynda.com, a provider of consumer-focused online courses. This will be huge step for LinkedIn and can make it even better, but lets not forget what it already provides for its users.


LinkedIn already offers its users college rankings, university pages and multiple tools for all 350 members to crowd source tips and advice on where to go to college or what courses to take. What will happen once LinkedIn makes this purchase? Many say different things, but all are very positive.Some say that this is a sharp reminder to colleges that if they don’t push forward in helping students as well as the alumni with career transitions, there are others, such as LinkedIn, that will be there to help them fill that void.

The fact that people today are starting to think of credentials in a different way helps LinkedIn even more. For example, there’s a move to upgrade academic transcripts to make them a more valuable record for employers. In other words, put them into a machine. Mathew Pittinsky, a founder of both Blackboard and Parchment, even says that the more records that are “machine readable” the better.

LinkedIn happens to be sitting on a “gold mine of data” with a specific set of job skills that are needed for careers in specific cities. So colleges should engage with the company and get their students involved. LinkedIn isn’t here to take over colleges, it is here to work them and the ones under their roof. But to truly get a better understanding of what LinkedIn’s intentions are and what it is capable of, visit the site above and see what the future of LinkedIn has in store.

Simplicity for International Teaching


Comprehending a new language can be difficult, but luckily there is a tool that can help anyone pick it up.

The University of Washington Bothell has been building a large and diverse campus over the years and provides hundreds of types of courses to its students. English language classes are even offered to international students as well. But how are these classes being taught? Is there a more effective way?

The answer is yes! And the Voki app is the right tool to use for these situations. Voki allows the teachers and students to make avatars that can be used to help them with their education. Students are able to design their own Avatars to speak the language they are currently trying to learn. A set of instructions can also be provided to help students understand the meaning of the words and guidance on how they are pronounced. That is only the beginning of what Voki is capable of.

Voki is a great program and has multiple purposes, speaking another language is just one of them. The best thing about Voki is that it is great to use in front of a large class, when one on one with a student, or even by one’s self when alone studying. It is definitely a strong tool and can be used to help students everywhere comprehend things in a different and technical way.

To find out more about what Voki can do and how it can be used, click the link at the top of the page and find out something new and amazing you could have missed.

Back-to-School Apps for Instructors and Students

In the spirit of back-to-school season, onlinecolleges.net recently published lists of recommended smartphone apps for students and instructors. We’ve decided to share a few of their favorites–as well as some of ours–with you here: