In preparing for this blog post, I happened upon this Canvas article, What is the difference between a Canvas Assignment and a Canvas Activity?, which made me question whether I truly know the difference. I’ve been a Canvas admin for about four months now and I’m still learning new things so let me divulge.
In short or the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version, Assignments are [typically] gradable while Activities are participatory. Easy enough, right? But why does it matter? Well, interactions with these types of items in a course are tracked by Canvas and that information can be found in other parts of the course, for example, the Course Activity Stream. This tool can prove useful when wanting a summary of activities related to the course, especially those instructors who utilize announcements, discussions, the Canvas Inbox, and other tools.
Another useful tool/feature in Canvas is Course Analytics, which is viewable as the whole course or for an individual student. As someone who teaches online, this is another one of my favorite features about Canvas. It really helps you track what days students are most active and how grades are dispersed. However, if you want to know what individual content items a student has accessed, you might want to check out the Course Access Report. This report will show you up to the minute activity within a course. It will show you what items the student has visited along with the day last viewed. This especially comes in handy when trying to determine whether a student viewed content or not.
Whether or not you teach online or face-to-face, you might want to take the time to check out some of the analytic features of Canvas. This information could be useful to you!
Be sure to check back next week for another installment of Conquering Canvas!