CarmenCanvas Updates for Summer 2020

Summer semester may look a bit different this year, but CarmenCanvas is still upgrading and innovating to improve the online teaching and learning experience. Find out what’s new in the LMS and get a quick refresher on the typical start-of-term happenings.

At the start of each term, there are a few important things to remember:

  • Enrollments process overnight—if students are adding or dropping classes, they may not appear in your Carmen course right away.
  • Reach out to your students early to set course expectations—let them know when the course will be available to them on Carmen, and tell them how you plan to conduct your classes this term. Will the course meet in real-time during scheduled class times? When will recordings of live class sessions be made available? How can students stay in contact with you? Be open and transparent as you answer these questions for your students.

After you connect with your students and work on building your course, you may notice a few improvements to the LMS this term.

New Rich Content Editor

Canvas has improved the Rich Content Editor—aka the textbox you see everywhere you enter content in your courses. From creating pages to writing assignment instructions, you can opt in to use this more streamlined tool, designed with simplicity and accessibility in mind. Learn more about the new Rich Content Editor and see how it compares to the older version.

Bulk Due Dates

Instructors have been asking for this feature, and Canvas listened! You will now be able to edit due dates and available date ranges for all your graded items in one place. No need to go into your assignments individually to set or revise due dates. Learn more about this new due date functionality in the Canvas Community.

Changes to Notifications

Canvas has also updated notification settings to allow students to control their preferences on a class-by-class basis. It is important to note that students control these settings and have the ability to turn off notifications for your course if they feel they are getting too many notifications or irrelevant updates.

Canvas has also disabled SMS notifications for everything except announcements and grading. The Canvas Teacher and Canvas Student mobile apps provide a much richer mobile experience than SMS, so Canvas has limited SMS features.

Submission Limits

Another new feature from Canvas rolling out just in time for summer is the ability to set limits on assignment submissions. You can now designate the number of attempts each student has available to them for a given assignment. After that number is reached, students will no longer see a resubmit button. This does not affect the number of files they can submit—students will still be able to upload multiple files in one submission attempt.

Submission Celebrations

Canvas added a fun feature to reward students and generate excitement for on-time assignment submissions. Students will now see virtual confetti every time they submit or resubmit an assignment before the due date. Students can opt out of the confetti display by disabling “Celebration Animations” from their user settings page.


If you plan to use Zoom to connect with students in your summer course, you should familiarize yourself with the latest Zoom security updates. Default settings have been changed in CarmenZoom to utilize meeting passwords and modify some features that create security risks. These updated settings were carefully chosen to ensure your security while maintaining the usability of the tool. You can learn more about Zoom meeting security in the ODEE Resource Center.

Helpful Resources

If you need help building your summer course and making the most out of online teaching tools, check out the following support resources:

  • Carmen Common Sense – Not sure where to start this semester? Carmen Common Sense is a Top 10 list of ways you can improve student success in your Carmen courses.
  • Keep Teaching – This site can help you plan your course strategically and offers guidance for a wide range of class types and activities. You can also find the latest workshop offerings from the Office of Distance Education and eLearning.
  • Affordable Learning Exchange - The Affordable Learning Exchange is ready to help you evaluate free and low-cost options to help your students afford course materials in this uncertain time. There are a range of options available for hundreds of disciplines that can replace expensive publisher content in whole or in part. You can contact the ALX team for a consult at