A new year.

Hello 2021. Thank goodness you’re here.

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL, January 11th, 2021

A new year, a new term, a fresh start. 

Canvas is our new Usask learning management system (LMS). Over the last two years, USask has been on track to phase out the old system, Blackboard, and replace it with the much more efficient and user-friendly system, Canvas. 

We know change is difficult, so we’ve created the Canvas Tips for Students blog to help students get to know Canvas and learn some useful info to use this new learning management system. 

Remote learning isn’t easy, but Canvas has some pretty cool features that will help simplify learning at home. My favourite things about Canvas’ user-friendly interface so far, are:

Stay tuned in coming weeks for more Canvas Tips or browse our archived posts.  Happy Studying!

We acknowledge that the University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis. We pay our respect to the First Nations and Métis ancestors of this place and reaffirm our relationship with one another.

For more support options with Canvas, see the USask Student Canvas page.

Viewing Grades and Due Dates

Spooky season is here . . .  Midterm season that is! 

But don’t let that scare you…check out these tips for viewing and predicting your grades with Canvas. 

“Friendly Fall Face, near Broadway, Saskatoon” by Brette D. W. Kristoff, CC BY 2.0

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL, October 28th, 2020

Viewing Grades

From the Course Navigation menu on the left of your screen in any of your Canvas courses, select the Grades tab:

  • Use the Course search tab in the Grades menu to view grades in each of your courses. 

See the Canvas Grades guide for full explanation of all numbered items.

  • Various symbols appear in your Score [7] column.
    • These symbols represent the status of your submission (marked, in progress, incomplete, etc).  Click on the submission to view it, or review this guide to Canvas grading icons.

If a grade submission is marked as incomplete, don’t panic! 

  • Components of the assignment or quiz might need to be manually graded and will appear incomplete until then. 
  • Group work and labs might also appear incomplete in Canvas and your instructor may have to manually manage these assignments.

Late Submissions

Your instructor might have implemented an automatic late policy:

  • Assignments submitted after the due date will be automatically flagged as late.
    • Depending on how your instructor has set up the course, a
      late policy may be enforced resulting in a deduction of marks. Late assignments will display the red Late icon [1] in the Status column of your gradebook.
    •  Review the course syllabus and submission rubric for your instructors policies on late submissions. 
  • To view details for a late assignment, click on the name of the submission [2].

    “A Ghosty with Midterm Stress” by Brette D. W. Kristoff, CC by 2.0

  • If you have concerns about your grades, view any rubrics or checklists provided for the submission, and the course syllabus before contacting your instructor. A Q & A discussion board is a good place to ask classmates questions about grades and assignments before contacting the instructor directly.
  • Tip!  Due Dates and Available Until dates for submissions might be different. This might mean that your instructor allows for late submissions up until the Available Until date but a penalty may be deducted. 
    • The Submission details will show you the amount deducted for the late penalty and your final grades.


What-If Grades

You can use the What-If Grades feature in Canvas to predict hypothetical grades and changes to your overall average:

    • Use the What-If feature to In your Grades menu, select a course and assignment. Then, enter a hypothetical score:

  • Click the arrow to the left of the What-If grade or the Revert to Actual Score button on your grade page to undo the What-If.


In the right side-bar of your Grades page, you can also look at What-If scores that you’ve tried out before.



When calculating your overall grade, you can do so using only graded assignments, by clicking the box in the right side-bar, also on your Grades page.






For more support options with Canvas, see the USask Student Canvas page.

3 Canvas Tips to Stay Organized

Brette D. W. Kristoff, Graduate Student – Communications Specialist, GMCTL

October 1, 2020

Staying organized and on top of your coursework is easier with Canvas. Here are a few tips to help you use Canvas tools this term!

1. It’s important to keep all your deadlines together, in one place. This is the function of the Canvas Calendar—all your important Canvas course dates will be synced to your Calendar when your instructors update the course schedule to Canvas.

    • Visually, this will help you map out the flow of the term. Take note of all major deadlines and assignments (Any weeks where you have multiple things due? If so, prioritize, and plan ahead accordingly!)  

2. One time I couldn’t get my computer to turn on 3 minutes before a timed final exam. To avoid this stress, I recommend you give yourself some time (15 minutes at least!) to secure your web connection and platform access before any remote learning sessions, MEETS, or online exams (worst case, you’ll have more time to review your notes). 

Here’s a list of web browsers supported by Canvas. 

  • Tip: Unsupported browsers such as Internet Explorer will not run Canvas properly. Most other major Internet browsers will work just fine for most Canvas functions.
  • For troubleshooting tips and IT help, go here.

3. Try out the What-If Grades function on Canvas to predict your grades and averages: 

  •  Under your Grades tab, select the course and assignment and enter a hypothetical score to see the What-If result (sorry, this won’t change your actual grade – only instructors can do that). So feel free to plug in any numbers at first to get the feel for it! 
  • Canvas will show you how this new hypothetical score would affect your overall grades. This can be done with all upcoming or completed assignments or tests.
  • Predicting your grades like this will give you a better sense of your overall grade standing in each of your courses.

Click the arrow beside your What-If grade to revert to your original score.

Remote learning is an adjustment for everyone but Canvas is designed to streamline our student experience. What’s been your biggest adjustment in transitioning to remote learning?

For more support options with Canvas, see the USask Student Canvas page.