Canvas & Grades of Zero / Blank

This page contains some thoughts, comments and suggestions...not rules or policies.  Other policies somewhere else may apply.



As with Angel, having a blank for a grade will have an impact on the accurate calculation of a student's grade.  This has been an item of importance for quite some time now.

Rather that make this page too lengthy, please refer to the following link of a discussion on grades in Canvas, and how it is currently handled:  http://blogs.mtu.edu/elearning/2012/11/13/canvas-gradebook-ungraded-or-zeros/

In Angel, a student would submit an assignment to the associated Dropox.  Only the students that submitted would be present.  You grade, and the grade reflects accurately in the Grade-book.  You would then have to go into the gradebook, and "do something" with those that did not submit....most likely enter a zero (the best approach).  Leaving the item blank gives an inaccurate presentation of the overall grade.  If a student later submits the missing assignment to the Dropbox, you grade it only to find out the grade was never updated in the gradebook.... again, an inaccurate reflection of the overall grade.  It was an annoying situation that was sometimes not corrected. Hence, at the end of the term, the Angel grade book sometimes had many a blank grade scattered throughout assignments (and left that way).

Leaving a grade as blank in Canvas causes the same inaccuracy in the total grade calculation, but with the use of the Grading tool (especially the Speed Grader), this problem should really go away as long as one is "on top" of the grading.

Basically:  the due date has passed.  You enter grades for submitted items in the SPeed Grader.  Those that did not submit, you enter a zero (most likely). All students are listed in the Grade tool, and it is quite clear whether they submitted or not. When / if the student submits, you are notified, and you go into the Canvas grade tool, and grade the item.  If the person never submits, the grade remains at zero.  The concept is the same, but it is way less cumbersome in Canvas (or not cumbersome at all). Technically, a non-submission is a zero, but some may not like to add the zero for whatever reason.  But, certainly entering a zero can "inspire" a student to submit once they see the impact on the overall grade as a result of the non-submission. Certainly a blak grade, based on the claculation, will not have this "inspiring" effect.

Basically, there should not be any blank grades in your gradebook.  Of course, you decide what to do with the Test Student.  But note, as of this writing, the grades for the Test Student has some impact on the overall average grade for the assignment / class. This is a long reported item of concern in Canvas.  Who knows, it may be fixed already.

Once again, refer to the link above for a discussion on the blank / zero grade issue.  What it boils down to, howver, be on top of the grading for the class, and there will not be an issue.


Using Tasks for the Week in a Module

In Angel, it was common for eah week / module to be started off with a Tasks for the Week item.  During the conversion, like anything else, these items were merely copied over leaving it up to the instructor to maintain. Ans it is an item that needs to be maintained.

I use:  Week XX At a Glance.  Don't ask, but it sorts nicely in "other places" and we will leave it at that.

Currently, this item basically contains a list of items that a student needs to accomplish...and really that is it.  The students appear to like this and hence the reason it was implemented in Angel, and now Canvas.  Yet, it is an item that needs to be monitored / maintained.

Canvas is "riddled", especially in the way we design modules, with enough information to provide what needs to be done for a week.  Hence, if the Week xx At a Glance list is not updated, it can cause some confusion.

Hence, as they stand now, there is probably no need to have this item as it is currently implemented.

There are no hard and fast rules (at this time), but here are two items of thought for consideration:


Example, and Only an Example, and not a real one:

Week (or Module) 01 At a Galnce

Maybe an audio / video

In this week, you will learn the ....... and gain a grasp of .... etc etc.

By the end of the week, by successfully completing the Reading / Assignments / Discussions, and other activities, you should be able to identify..... explain .... and know how to ....

For a complete list of items for the week, please refer to the details in this Canvas Module that details what you need to do to satisfy the desired learning outcomes.