Time Management Strategies for Teaching Online in Canvas

Filed in Canvas, HowTo, online, remote, resources by on September 18, 2020

Yesterday I ran a Zoom session to discuss some strategies for saving time working in your Canvas site. Faculty at WPI have so much to balance this year with Covid-19. We have in-person students, remote students, hybrid classes, and recording, recording, recording.. why not let Canvas take care of some of more repetitive tasks for you?

I created an infographic to introduce some of these concepts, automation tools in Canvas, and other time saving strategies you can employ in your courses.

If any of these ideas pique your interest, scroll down below to find more information and links to resources that will help you make it happen.

Set Zoom Office Hour sign up slots in Calendar


Funnel frequently asked questions into Discussions – taught this course before? Think about questions that have been asked multiple times in the past, create a FAQ page, and create a discussion board to collect the new questions.


Use your Canvas notifications settings to work for you. Set notifications to collect all discussions into a “Daily Digest.” You’ll know there’s something new to check on the discussion board, and you won’t get bogged down by email or wondering if something new is sitting unanswered. You can also now set individual class notifications that override the global settings.


Set a routine and realistic feedback time for grading and email response – build this into your syllabus page to help students understand when they will receive communication from you. Encourage them to use Discussion boards for general questions.


Delay posting announcements and assignment reminders w/timely reminders for students.


Schedule Posting of Module Content – Control the pace of student progress by scheduling publishing dates and/or establishing pre-requisites.


Create Pages and add them to Student To-Do List – Condense links to readings and documents and add to Student To-Do list. This method is faster than adding individual links in Modules, cleans up your Modules page, and helps create transparency for students of when “ungraded” things are due.


Message Students WhoYou can use the Gradebook to send messages to your students. Message subjects are filtered based on specific assignment categories:

  • Haven’t submitted yet—students who haven’t submitted the assignment, even if they have been manually awarded a grade.
  • Haven’t been graded—students whose assignments have not yet been graded (submitted or unsubmitted).
  • Scored less than [point value]—students who earned a grade on their assignment less than X number of points.
  • Scored more than [point value]—students who earned a grade on their assignment more than X number of points.

Use built-in dictation tool to record comments into SpeedGrader and save frequently used text annotation comments in Microsoft Word document for a quick copy/paste.


Use Office365 tools for master copies of your documents. You can integrate these into Canvas, and when you make a change in the O365 document it will automatically update in Canvas!


Bulk editing tools in Canvas – Assignment Date Shifts


Copying tools available in Canvas – Duplicate (Available in Modules, Assignments and Pages)

Module: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-duplicate-a-module/ta-p/676

Module Item: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-duplicate-a-module-item/ta-p/1144

Page: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-duplicate-a-page-in-a-course/ta-p/630

Assignment: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-duplicate-an-assignment/ta-p/636


Automated Grading Policies – Late, Missing, Drop Lowest/Highest, Never Drop

Late Policy: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-apply-a-Late-Submission-policy-in-the-Gradebook/ta-p/965

Missing Policy: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-apply-a-Missing-Submission-policy-in-the-Gradebook/ta-p/963

Weighting Final Grade with Drop Highest/Lowest Policy: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Instructor-Guide/How-do-I-weight-the-final-course-grade-based-on-assignment/ta-p/746


Grading automation for working w/TAshttps://wp.wpi.edu/canvas/2020/09/01/grading-efficiency-and-consistency-tools-with-tas-graders/


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