In your Canvas course, does an assignment need regrading to resolve an incomplete?  Do you ever wonder where the course goes once the semester has ended?

When a Canvas course is open and the semester is in session, the course appears in a list found on student and faculty dashboards. This list is shown in a catalog format with the name of the course and course number:


However, once a semester has officially ended, the Canvas course moves into the Past Enrollments section of Canvas.  

When a course is in the Past Enrollments section, students and faculty can no longer complete actions in the site (e.g. submitting assignments), since the term has officially ended. Student access automatically switches to read-only unless the instructor specifically requests otherwise.

Generally speaking, all graduated Penn students retain access to Canvas indefinitely post-graduation because Canvas uses PennKey authentication and PennKeys do not expire. 

However, there are a few factors that could affect students’ access to individual Canvas sites:

  1. Age of the site - Penn has a five-year retention policy for Canvas sites.
  2. Instructor preference - Faculty can ask Courseware Support to enable the "Restrict students from viewing course after end date" setting.  If instructors decide to turn on this setting, students will no longer have access to Canvas once a term is over. View the Canvas article linked here to learn more.

Other than these two scenarios above, graduated students still have read-only access to Canvas sites they were enrolled in as students.


No Wi-Fi? No Problem

Poor signal strength is never ideal. Whether you are traveling in airplane mode, surrounded by skyscrapers, or in a basement with spotty connection, your environmental conditions can make academic and professional tasks difficult to complete. However, there are certain applications that can function in the absence of Wi-Fi or cellular service, and Duo mobile is one of them. When using Two-Step in your classes at Penn, remember that there are ways to complete the verification process when service is weak.

Using Two-Step Verification without Wi-Fi or Cellular Service

Two-Step allows you to securely access your data, even if your Two-Step verification device isn’t connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network. Use the provided instructions below to utilize two of several available options.

Option 1: The Duo app on your device can generate six-digit verification codes without a real-time Wi-Fi or cellular connection.

To generate a code, open the Duo app on your mobile device and tap to expand the “University of Pennsylvania” dropdown. A six-digit code will display, as shown below. Enter this code on the Two-Step page in your browser.


Option 2: Print a list of 20 pre-generated passcodes to use for Two-Step Verification.

If you do not have the Duo app on your mobile device, you can pre-generate and print codes from the Two-Step website at After logging in to the website using PennKey, click Manage Settings as shown below.


You may be asked to confirm your PennKey password to access the Settings page. Next, scroll to the Devices section, and click Generate Codes. On the next page, click Print to print your list of codes for future use, as shown below.


To use your passcodes after printing:

1. Log in with your PennKey and password.

2. When prompted, enter a passcode in your browser.

3. Each code works one time and must be used in consecutive order (cross them out as you use them!)

If you lose your codes, you can log in to again, click “Manage settings,” and generate a new list. Note that you’ll need access to your primary or back up Two-Step device to generate a new set of codes.

For more information, visit the Two-Step Verification FAQ page:

Have you ever logged in to your Canvas course, navigated to a page containing lecture videos, and received this message?


If so, you're not alone! Although this is often a stressful error message to receive, especially if you're on a time crunch, there are a few quick ways to resolve this.

General Troubleshooting Tips

Since Panopto is a third-party tool, it needs access to your Canvas account so that you can access the platform to watch videos. There are a few things that may be preventing Panopto from finding and verifying your Canvas account, so you'll need to try the following:

  1. Sometimes Panopto can't find your Canvas account if you don't have an email address listed in Canvas. Please try following the steps at this link to either add an email address or confirm an existing one:
  2. Additionally, if you don't have cookies enabled in your browser, Panopto can't make the connection to Canvas to find your account. Please enable cookies using these instructions for your specific browser:

After completing both steps above, refresh the video page and try again. 

Accessing Panopto Videos in Canvas as a Student on a Mobile Device:

If you're attempting to watch your course lecture videos on an iOS device, make sure your Privacy and Security Settings for Safari are set correctly. 

To check this, access your mobile device's Settings by clicking the gray gear icon, and then scroll to Safari.  Once in the Safari settings, make sure Prevent Cross-Site Tracking and Block All Cookies are toggled off and not green as shown here:


If none of the solutions suggested in this article work for you, reach out to the ITS Service Desk.


The Fall 2018 semester is in full swing, and it has brought with it many new people, projects, and processes. As usual, faculty, staff, and students utilize the Canvas LMS to supplement online, traditional, and even hybrid courses. To gain a better understanding of all Canvas has to offer this school year and successfully aid learning acquisition, take a quick peek at the items below:

1. For students, the List View Dashboard includes Peer Review assignments, and the Alerts tab displays both new and dismissed alerts.

How does this help me?

For students who are enrolled in a course that has either discussion boards or assignments that require peer reviews, they no longer have to click on the actual course to see the students whom they are assigned to peer review; they can view the peer review assignments on their dashboard just as they can see any ordinary assignments that are coming up.

On the Alerts or "To Do" tab, even if a student has dismissed a reminder to complete an assignment or take a quiz, the dismissed item will still show on the dashboard.

2. Course directors can now duplicate modules.

How does this help me?

In courses where students are required to complete the same activities each week, it can get tedious for professors to type the exact same headers, content, etc. into each module. If a director chooses to duplicate a module, all content is copied over to the next module with just the click of a button.

Note: You can duplicate individual assignments, graded discussions, and pages in a module within a course. When a module is copied, the word Copy is added to the end of the item name.  Currently, external links, headers, and files cannot be duplicated. 

3. Canvas offers anonymous and moderated grading.

How does this help me?

If instructors are at all worried about bringing unconscious biases into grading, there is now a way to grade a particular assignment with the students' names hidden in SpeedGrader. Additionally, moderated grading allows multiple reviewers to grade a students work and create draft or provisional grades for an assignment. As many nursing courses have multiple TAs and additional faculty members, this is a very useful feature.

4. Announcements can now be sent to a specific course section, aiding faculty who teach multiple sections in the same course.

How does this help me?

Managing various sections in Canvas can get confusing, and sometimes announcements intended for one section accidentally get sent to another--it's an easy mistake to make. Now that instructors can branch the announcements, the ease of course management increases.

5. There are new Canvas Teacher App updates.

How does this help me?

The Canvas Teacher app allows instructors to manage certain aspects of their course, communicate with students, and grade assignments from a mobile device. Updates include section-specific announcements, external tool access, and user file uploads.

a. Section-specific announcements - If instructors are teaching multiple sections, they now have the ability to send announcements out to one particular section or multiple sections  in a course.


b. External tool access - If an assignment uses an external tool, such as Turnitin, the mobile app now enables instructors to access the tool in a mobile browser.


c. User file uploads - Instructors now have the ability to upload files to their Canvas accounts directly within the mobile application.


To test out these new features and more, download the Canvas Teacher app on Android and iOS devices.

Retrieved from

For most students, having the ability to re-watch course lectures after the fact is incredibly beneficial. If content is difficult to understand or loaded with complex medical terminology, students can pause the lecture at different points to meet their learning needs. With this concept in mind, faculty can create and manage their video content using Panopto, a video platform that integrates with Canvas.

If you plan on using Panopto to record a lecture, you'll first have to request a recording.  To do this, access the Academic Event Recording Scheduling Form here: You'll be asked to provide instructor and full course information.

Some classrooms at Penn have special capabilities that allow you to have your class sessions automatically recorded. The Auditorium and Rooms 203, 213, and 218 use Panopto: 

In the Fagin Hall Auditorium and 218, you can record with audio and slide options only, as these rooms don't enable video.

In 203 and 213, you can record video and audio along with slides.

Wondering how to reserve these rooms? 

Email your requests.

Once the video recording occurs, your recordings will automatically be posted in your Class Recordings tab in Canvas:


If you want to record in rooms other than the four mentioned above, contact The service desk can help you utilize other recording options, such as BlueJeans or the Panopto Desktop Recorder.


Plagiarism is a topic that faculty, staff, and students are all very familiar with, and instructors strive to prevent it from occurring in both the classroom and online environment. 

For this reason, a variety of tools exist that work to both catch and avert cheating and any deceptive behavior among students. One of these tools is the Turnitin LTI application. Turnitin has been active at Penn since 2016, and it is conveniently integrated with Canvas so that faculty members may view student submission originality reports as soon as a file is uploaded.

For those instructors who have used Turnitin prior to the Fall 2018 semester, the default Turnitin settings did not match normal Canvas assignment settings. Now, the submissions match what people are used to in Canvas, and the instructor can easily identify a Plagiarism Review section under Submission Type in the assignment settings (as long as the Submission Type is marked as Online):


For more information, visit the Canvas at Penn site pages that explain Turnitin CPF for Faculty/TA/Staff and Turnitin CPF for Students.

Need to request a Canvas course site? This article can help!

As an instructor, if you've ever contacted the Service Desk with questions about requesting a Canvas course, you have likely received this link as a resource:

The link contains instructions on how to fill out a course request form. You can access the form here:

To successfully fill out this form, keep these three steps in mind:

1. Locate your course. When you first access the course request form and login with your credentials, your homepage will show the sites you have requested and any existing Canvas sites. The courses for which you can request Canvas sites will be listed in the Courses section of the homepage.  To request a Canvas site, click on a course’s section number under Courses as shown below:


2. Customize your request and add sections as needed. Next, you can change the course site title, copy content from an existing course site, include multiple sections, add additional information, and request library services:

Image source:

Important note: When including multiple sections (e.g. a large Intro to Nursing course), double-check to make sure you're selecting the right sections, and be sure to select all of them. If you don’t see particular sections automatically listed for you, use the comments area to list any missing sections. 

Adding all sections to your Canvas site is the quickest and easiest way to ensure that everyone who needs access to the Canvas site gets enrolled in it automatically. If you're unsure what sections are included in a course, OAA can confirm this through the email listed here:

3.  Review enrollment and request additional services. After the site is created and enrollment is added:

And that's it! Completing three simple steps will get you started on the right foot for the upcoming semester.

The Office of Academic Affairs asks for your support to help SON improve the quality of our course enrollment data, by following the best practices outlined below:

  • Begin all requests for new course faculty with your respective Department.  The Department Chairs and Managers notify the School Registrar which courses are being offered and which faculty are teaching each semester.  Faculty must have contracts and be in payroll to be able to add them to the Student Records System (SRS).  After entry to SRS, faculty will automatically feed into Canvas within one hour and will have access to Courses in Touch the next business day. 
  • Submit requests for TA additions to Canvas websites by emailing Nursing Registration at The School Registrar will add new TAs to your course section in our Student Records System (SRS). After entry in SRS, new enrollments will automatically feed into Canvas within one hour.
  • Submit any course faculty or TA removal requests to the email address above, so that SRS can be updated.
  • Submit all requests for Canvas course observers, designers, staff, and other special additions to the email address above. The Registration team will advise on the best method to add these individuals to your course site, and will collaborate directly with ITS staff as needed to fulfill your request.

These four small steps will help OAA and the Nursing School Registrar:

  • Ensure that Nursing academic course data is up-to-date every semester in SRS, which is the central source of academic course data for the University.
  • Provide students with accurate information about who is teaching their course.
  • Ensure compliance with federal FERPA laws regarding protection of and access to student academic records. 
  • Ensure the accuracy of end-of-semester course evaluations and course reporting.
  • Ensure that all faculty have access to Courses InTouch and other essential tools to manage their courses.
  • Guarantee continuity of course faculty/TA enrollments from semester to semester, and ensure that onboarding and off-boarding of enrollments reach all relevant Penn systems.

Nursing Information Technology Services and the Penn Libraries' Courseware Support team fully support OAA in this effort, and we ask that you join us in advancing this important data initiative.

Please reach out to Nursing Registration at with any questions.


We often hear about “phishing” attacks in the news or in University security alerts. These attacks frequently use email messages to fool recipients into installing malicious applications (malware) or visiting fake websites through links or attachments. Phishing emails are just one of several social engineering techniques used by cyber attackers and criminals to exploit people’s inclination to trust. Other social engineering techniques to watch out for include...

Phone scam – If you receive a phone call requesting to verify your bank account, PIN, or a username and password, be wary. The caller may provide partial information to gain trust. When receiving such a call, refrain from providing sensitive information. Instead, call the entity’s officially published number to verify the legitimacy of the call.

USB flash drive – This often occurs when an infected USB flash drive is left in a place that is easily accessible to others. The victims insert this flash drive into their computers, resulting in the installation of malware. If you find a USB drive on a counter or the floor, hand it over to the ITS Service Desk in Fagin Hall Suite #202.

Scareware - This technique involves convincing the victims into thinking their computers are infected with malware or other issues. The victims are lured to “fix” the issue by clicking on a pop-up window button or on a webpage link. Malware is then installed once the victims click on the button or the link. If you have clicked a suspicious pop-up window button, please contact the ITS Service Desk ( as soon as possible.

Security tip provided by the University of Pennsylvania Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.



For both instructors and students, understanding the design elements used and the reasoning behind the particular course structure chosen is crucial for becoming well-versed in online learning. Whether you are a novice to the online environment or someone who has worked with some of the more complex features within Penn’s Canvas learning management system (LMS), here are some online learning best practices:

Introduction to the Course


As an instructor, developing a quick introductory course video makes the class more inviting. Students are often reluctant to speak out online as it can seem a bit abnormal, but introducing the course creatively in the role of instructor can positively affect the class dynamic.

To do this, schedule a recording session with Erin Marshall, ITS’s Online Learning and Instructional Design Manager.

As a student, getting familiar with the course format before class even begins will allow for a smooth transition into the online environment. Students should always check what they currently have access to in the course, such as modules, pages, and discussion boards.

Since each course design is unique to the instructor’s needs, students should be aware of the differences in Canvas sites across all courses—whether traditional, hybrid, or entirely online.


Design Aesthetics


If the course material is broken into sections and edited often to remove any redundancies, course quality will improve, and students will be more likely to utilize everything the course has to offer. 

For example, vamping up the course content with media elements and other unique features increases student motivation and attention. Depending on the topic, visuals are a great way to convey information.

Although students are not able to edit specific design elements within their courses, they can edit their profile to include a biography and personalized links. In Settings, they can add a profile picture that will appear on every post and help the professor to put a face to the name.

Overall Organization


When organizing your course in Canvas, keep the module formatting consistent. For example, say a module for one week contains three pages:

1. Work that should be completed before class

2. Content that was discussed during class

3. Work that should be completed after class

If the other course modules follow this same page format, students will likely feel more at ease.

Students also have the ability to stay organized in Canvas, particularly within their files. This is where images such as the profile picture are stored. There is also a folder for additional images, conversation attachments, submissions, and unfiled items. 

For best practice, students should create folders for any items that are stored within the files section. Another way for students to stay organized in Canvas is to only show active courses in which they are currently enrolled on the dashboard.



Keep the conversation going using discussion boards and synchronous course sessions where students can lead class conversation. Especially if the course is entirely online, communication should be open and ongoing. As an instructor, it is important to make students feel comfortable reaching out with questions.

As a student, make discussion happen. Whether or not an instructor provides an ongoing discussion board, when a question arises, send out a message to others in the class either through Canvas or another form of communication.

If one person has the question, chances are others are wondering something similar, and this could help to break the communication barrier that often exists between the instructor and students. Similarly, instructors should work to provide consistent feedback to students in a way that furthers their growth in the course.

Get Creative

Most importantly­­--use the technology! A big part of mastering online learning is using all Canvas has to offer. Sending out periodic announcements, organizing your course content into modules, starting class discussions, and thinking of creative ideas that work to explain the content effectively while also bringing the students together can take an online course to the next level.