Supporting Student Success Using Canvas with attendance, assignments, and gradebook

Taking attendance and entering grades into Canvas not only provides a transparent grading process for students, it also provides academic advisors with the data they need to support student success. Data is mined from Canvas using Starfish, a retention solution software.

If you are not already using Canvas for grading and attendance, here is a quick guide to help you get started. Faculty who have never used Canvas can enroll in a self-paced online course to learn the basics.

Taking Attendance in Canvas

The WSU instance of Canvas includes an Attendance item in the left hand sidebar of your course. When clicked, an application called Roll Call will appear.

You will use this application to take roll via a list of students, or by using a custom seating chart. Once you have taken roll for the first time, an assignment will appear in your gradebook entitled, Roll Call Attendance. The settings in Roll Call and in the gradebook assignment can be modified. Visit the following online guides for more information.

Adding Assignments to Canvas

Canvas requires instructors to add assignments to their courses in order to use the gradebook feature. Each time you add an assignment, an new column is added to the gradebook. Assignment settings can be adjusted to allow students to submit online or in-person. A variety of other options are available to support your teaching strategies. Visit the following online guides for more information.

Using the Canvas Gradebook

The red box above surrounds the cells used to grade an assignment in the Canvas gradebook. The icons indicate students have submitted an assignment online and it is ready to be viewed and graded.

A gradebook speadsheet is automatically created when you add assignments to your course. Students will submit their assignments online or in-person. The instructor will then access the gradebook to view who has submitted their assignment, or to enter grades. Visit the following online guides for more information.


(1) Student submission, (2) scoring, (3) assignment rubric - if applicable, (4) assignment comments from student and instructor, (5) add a comment field. Note: You can record a video or audio file, and/or attach a file, using the options under the add a comment field.

Instructors can use Speedgrader, an application accessed from the Canvas gradebook or assignments area, to quickly grade online submissions. Instructors can also use the Canvas Teacher app on their mobile device to grade submissions. Visit the following online guides for more information.

Canvas and Instructional Design Support

WSU Online provides support to all faculty. We can help you design a course, implement new teaching strategies, or use technology to enhance the teaching and learning experience. Please visit our website or contact us via phone or email.

Let's collaborate to leverage your teaching potential.

Created By
RC Callahan

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