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Canvas Release Notes for December

December 23rd, 2014 Christopher Connors

Before you all venture to food, friends and family for the Holiday break, we at ITG wanted to let you in on some Canvas functionality changes that will await you when you return to Canvas and campus. One of the major requests we have heard from all of you (faculty and staff) has been that the Files area of Canvas wasn’t very “21st Century”. Well, Instructure has heard you as well! Here is a great overview over the new look and feel of Files:

Files has been redesigned for a more improved user experience. The new files redesign allows users to view more details about their files, manage editing permissions, and preview files. In addition, Files is fully accessible for all keyboard users and screen readers.

Files is fully searchable by file name and offers quick access to add a folder or upload a file. The left panel shows all folders for quick navigation. Clicking the name of a folder displays all the contents of the folder in the right panel. For each file, users can view and sort files by name, the date the file was created and modified, the name of the person who modified the file (if modified by another user), and the size of the file. Files can also be published and unpublished within Files.


Note: Currently, files can only be published and unpublished within the Files page. If a file is placed in a Module, Modules only displays the state of the file; you cannot directly publish or unpublish files within the module itself.

Additionally, Files is built with responsive design to adjust for browser scaling. The folder navigation window, file displays, and even file names adjust to the width of the browser window.


Files can be uploaded and previewed without the use of Flash. Users can view a queue of uploaded files and their status. To upload a file, click the Upload button, or drag and drop a file from the computer desktop.

When a file is selected, Files displays the file toolbar at the top of the window. Users can download the file, edit the file name, share the file, delete the file, and move the file to another location. Users can also edit permissions for files, including setting the state of the file (published or unpublished), schedule availability dates for the files, or make files available to students who have the link. Users can also download, rename, move, or delete a file using the Settings icon for each individual file. Users can select and manage multiple files at one time.

To move a file, users can also drag and drop the file into different file folders. Files will display the icon for the file type that is being moved.


To view a file, click the file name. Files can also be previewed by clicking anywhere on the file information and clicking the View button in the toolbar. Files displays any file type that is compatible with the document previewer in Canvas. The preview displays the file and file information details, as well as a link to download the file.


The full release notes can be found on Instructure’s website and, as always, feel free to contact ITG by emailing or calling 617-824-8090 if you have any questions about the new Files or any other Canvas feature.

Email Spam Attacks – Be Careful!

November 26th, 2014 Francis Frain

Members of the Emerson Community may have received an email with the subject beginning with “Fax…” with either attached documents or links claiming to be a fax. Several weeks ago, there were similar emails like this that claimed to be voicemails.

Like all malicious spam, these attachments and/or links contain software that seeks to compromise your account and your computer, and must not be opened.

If you have already opened the attachments or followed the links, please change your password immediately at and contact the Help Desk.

This is a classification of spam known as “Snowshoe” that’s being reported from multiple businesses and institutions, and that spam prevention providers (including Emerson’s, powered by Sophos) are working to reliably filter.

Given this, it’s especially important that users take extra caution, both with their personal and business email, to not open any suspicious messages. Always err on the side of caution.

Again, if you need to change your password, you can do so at, and feel free to contact the IT Help Desk with any questions by phone at 617-824-8080 or online at

Have a nice day and a happy Thanksgiving!

IT Downtime During December Break (Dec. 28th)

November 24th, 2014 Francis Frain

Good afternoon,

IT is pleased to announce that we are moving all campus servers and core networking equipment to a large-scale IT facility at 1 Summer Street (the Markley Group) in Downtown Crossing. The Markley Group is a widely used and trusted data center – having our IT infrastructure housed at this high-end facility will increase the resilience of our critical campus technology.

Bose Corporation

To limit inconvenience, we have scheduled the move to be conducted during the holiday break in December. The operation will require that we bring down all IT services on Sunday, December 28th between 6am and noon.

The Emerson website,, will remain up, but all other IT services will be down. This includes, but is not limited to, email, Banner, eCommon, Canvas, Median, Cabinet, and Pages, as well as outside services that rely on Emerson usernames and passwords, such as Google Apps for Education, SchoolDude, and Course Evaluations.
Users who visit these services will see a notice explaining the downtime and when to check back. All email messages sent to Emerson users during the downtime will be queued and delivered when the mail system is back online.

For questions or concerns prior to the move, please email or call the Help Desk. For more on the Markley Group, please visit
We will send a notice when all services are back online.

Thanks very much for working with us!

New Canvas Features for November

November 8th, 2014 Christopher Connors

Canvas has been just as busy as you these past few weeks. While there have been lots of little changes in the admin-side of things, two very visible features will be arriving soon to assist you in how you moderate quizzes and review student activity in your course.

Moderate Quiz Updates

The Moderate Quiz page has an updated design for a cleaner look. Additionally, the page also adds functionality for improving outstanding quiz verifications for large courses.

When a student views a timed quiz and time expires, Canvas auto-submits the quiz. However, if a student navigates away from the quiz page, the quiz submission remains outstanding. Previously instructors had to manually submit each outstanding quiz individually as indicated in the Time column as Time Up! Now, when instructors open the Moderate Quiz page, Canvas generates a warning message so instructors can manually check outstanding submissions for the entire quiz at one time.

Screen shoot of the new quiz moderation page.

User Access Report Additions

User access is now logged in the following areas of Canvas:

Course Home Page

At the course level, user access activity appears in a user’s Access Report. User access information also displays at the account level in user page views.


As always, don’t hesitate to call ITG at 617-824-8090 or email us at if you have any questions about this update or Canvas in general. For the full release notes from Instructure, visit this link.

IT Communications Playbook

October 30th, 2014 carlin_corrigan

playbookIT has a dedicated Communications Team that oversees all of our messages to the Emerson community. It’s helped coordinate and standardize all of our communication practices and we feel it has improved our connection with the college. This playbook is intended to outline how we work, why it works well, and how you can use these best practices to improve your departmental communications with the college.

You can read the playbook here on the IT website.

New Canvas Features – October

October 18th, 2014 Christopher Connors

New Canvas Features for October 2014

The latest updates from Instructure to Canvas include some very popular requests that we’ve been getting from faculty since Canvas was first introduced here at Emerson. We here at ITG wanted to take some time and highlight the two biggest, new features! As always, the full feature list can be found on Instructure’s website, or by going here.

New Grading Symbol For Quizzes in Gradebook

When students complete a quiz that includes a manually graded question, the Grades page displays a Quiz icon instead of the current score, indicating that the quiz score is not yet complete. When students hover over the icon, students can view a message indicating that grading is in progress.

Student Grading Screenshot

The Quiz icon displays in the Gradebook for instructors as well, indicating that some questions in the quiz need to be graded manually. When the instructor assigns a score for the manually graded question, the icon for both the instructor and the student will be replaced with the complete quiz grade.

Screenshot of New Quiz Symbol For Instructors

Note: For instructors, the Quiz icon in the Gradebook can also mean that a Quiz score has been deleted and a new score needs to be assigned.

CC Yourself in Conversations

The Number One requested feature from Emerson faculty has finally made it into Canvas Conversations.

Users can set a new notification preference that allows them to receive a copy of all conversations they created. When enabled by the user, this feature allows users to see what conversations have been sent and how they appear in their specified communication channels.

Note: When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, Canvas generates only one notification for the sent message. Notifications cannot be sent from the beta environment.

CC Conversations Screenshot

Reminder: In Conversations, sent messages appear in the Sent folder. When a message receives a reply, the message thread will appear in the Inbox. When a user creates a group message and clicks the Send Individual Messages checkbox, the Sent folder displays one message for each user, as replies are treated as individual messages.

As always, feel free to get in contact with us if you have any questions about integrating Canvas into your teaching. We can be reached via phone a 617-824-8090 or via email at

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October 1st, 2014 hana_carpenter

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! To show Emerson’s commitment to cybersecurity, we are partnering with the Department of Homeland Security, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), to promote the Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign. The campaign is an awareness effort designed to help Americans practice safer online habits, and to encourage everyone to view Internet safety as a shared responsibility.

In the spirit of this month of awareness, Emerson IT has chosen to focus on two major issues during October: phishing and online identity protection.

Phishing is any attempt to acquire confidential information from users by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. According to Kaspersky labs, between 2012 and 2013, 37.3 million Internet users around the world were subjected to a phishing attack†. The Emerson community has been the target of phishing attacks before, sometimes even by phishers claiming to be affiliated with the College. Alertness is the best protection against phishing! Emerson IT has written a guide for simple things to look for in any email to investigate its legitimacy.

Phishing attacks aren’t the only way that people can lose control of their information online. Sometimes what we share on social media in the process of building our online identities can work against us, too. More than a third of employers use, or plan to use, social media to research potential candidates, and this number can only be higher in tech-affiliated industries. Jobs in the entertainment and marketing industries are often obtained using social networking, and arguably the easiest way to make these connections is online. If you want to verify your online identity for professionalism, accuracy, and security, a simple start would be Googling yourself and checking the results. To learn how to change your privacy settings on popular websites, visit this page on the NCSA’s website. Take control of your personal information!

Awareness is a crucial precursor to action. Throughout the month of October, keep an eye on the @EmersonIT Twitter account and your ECMail inbox for more information on cybercrime and what you can do to prevent it.

The Evolution of Phishing Attacks 2011 – 2013

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