Tech Tips

Technology Training and Integration

Welcome to the Technology Training and Integration (TT&I) Group's TTI Tech Tips! Tech Tips are intended to announce new technology tools that are available to the community and to reintroduce and remind the community of the many technology tools that are currently supported and available to help us do our jobs. TTI Tech Tips will be updated weekly.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions via

Tech Tip #163:

Canvas: Tips & Tricks Series - "Undelete" Command

Did you accidentally delete something in your Canvas course? No problem! You can use the "undelete" command to restore the item. To learn more, check out the Canvas Mini Tutorials!

Tech Tip #162:

Canvas: Tips & Tricks Series - Course Statistics

Course Statistics give you a glimpse into which Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes are engaging students and what might be improved in the future. It will also help you to detect which students are not participating to the fullest or have started to fall behind. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides!

Tech Tip #161:

Canvas: Module Series - Locking a Module

You can choose to have a module unavailable until a given date by selecting Lock Until. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides!

Tech Tip #160:

Canvas: Module Series - Adding Requirements

When you add requirements to a module, students must complete all requirements within one module before moving to the next module. You can require students to complete all requirements in the module, or have them choose one item to fulfill a specific requirement. To learn more about adding requirements to a module, check out the Canvas Guides!

Tech Tip #159:

Canvas: Module Series - What are Modules?

Modules are a great way to organize your content to help control the flow of your course. Modules are used to organize course content by weeks, units, or a different organizational structure that works for your course. With Modules, you are essentially creating a one-directional linear flow of what you would like your students to do. To learn more about Modules, check out the Canvas Guides!

Tech Tip #158:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Question Groups

If you would like to randomize the questions in a Canvas quiz, you want to use question groups. Question groups allow you to place multiple questions within a group for students to answer. You can choose the number of questions that should be answered from the group and how many points to assign each question. Creating a question group randomizes the questions within the quiz. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more!

Tech Tip #157:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Quiz Settings

When creating a quiz in Canvas, you have a variety of options to choose from. You can choose to shuffle answers, set quiz restrictions, select availability and due dates, etc. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more!

Tech Tip #156:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Anonymous Grading

Would you like to grade assignments without knowing who submitted them? Canvas has the option to hide student names in the SpeedGrader for anonymous grading. Hiding student names is done on a per-assignment basis. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more!

Tech Tip #155:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Hide Total Grade

By default, the total course grade appears for students in their Canvas “Grades” area. The total course grade automatically re-calculates whenever an assignment grade is added or changed. Instructors may wish to hide the total course grade in their students’ grade summaries while finishing the grading for the semester. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn how to hide the total grade!

Tech Tip #154:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Moderated Grading

When creating an assignment in Canvas, instructors can choose to have multiple graders evaluate a student’s work and create draft or provisional grades before the grade is marked as final for the course. To learn more about Moderate Grading, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #153:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Drop the Lowest or Highest Grade

Canvas makes the process of dropping the lowest or highest grades easy! By using Assignment Groups you can add a Grading Rule and choose between Drop the Lowest, Drop the Highest or Never Drop. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #152:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Muting Assignments

By default, Canvas allows students to see assignment grades as soon as the assignment is graded. In some cases, instructors may wish to hold student grades until all assignments have been graded, and then release grades to all students at the same time. To hide student grades temporarily, an instructor can choose to mark an assignment as "muted". Students can still see and submit a muted assignment. Only the grade will be hidden. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #151:

Canvas: Assessment Series - Respondus LockDown Browser

Looking for a more restricted test taking environment when giving online exams? Respondus LockDown Browser is a custom browser that locks down the testing environment to help prevent cheating. Students are unable to print, copy, go to another URL or access other applications. This is particularly helpful for tests/exams in supervised classrooms or lab environments. To learn more please visit our documentation website.

Tech Tip #150:

Canvas: Notification Settings for Announcements

When you create an Announcement in Canvas, your students are automatically notified with an email of that Announcement. Would you like to receive this notification email as well? All you have to do is modify your Notification Settings and change the settings to ASAP under Announcement Created By You. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more!

Tech Tip #149:

Canvas: Link Validator

As an instructor, you can verify all external links throughout your course to ensure they are valid. You can check these links using the course link validator, which searches through course content and returns invalid or unresponsive external links in both published and unpublished content. To learn more check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #148:

Canvas: Cross-List Courses

Are you teaching more than one section of a course? Cross-listing is the process of combining the enrollment from two or more courses making it so you only have to post announcements, upload files and create assignments in one course. Cross-listing should be done before any content is added to the courses. To learn more about cross-listing check out the Canvas mini guide.

Tech Tip #147:

Canvas: Attendance (Roll Call)

Attendance (Roll Call) is a tool in Canvas used for taking attendance. Instructors keep track of course attendance by taking roll electronically. The Attendance tool creates an assignment in the Gradebook and calculates attendance as a percentage of the student's grade. Instructors can adjust the Roll Call settings to meet their needs. Please click here to learn more.

Tech Tip #146:

Canvas: Student Groups

Groups are like a smaller version of your course and are used as a collaborative tool where students can work together on group projects and assignments. To learn more about Student Groups, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #145:

Google Drive and Canvas

Google Drive and Google Docs are now available to all MSU faculty and staff! You will need to "opt-in" to enable Google Drive for your account by signing into the NetID account form via and selecting the option “Enable Google Drive for my NetID account”.

Did you know you can easily integrate Canvas with your Google Drive account so you can begin using Collaborations in your Canvas course? Collaborations allow students to work together on the same document at the same time. Collaborative documents are saved in real-time, meaning a change made by any of its users will be immediately visible to everyone.

To learn how to connect Google Drive to Canvas, please click here. To learn more about Canvas Collaborations, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #144:

Canvas: Excusing a Student from an Assignment

Canvas has the option to excuse a student from an assignment, discussion or quiz. Excused assignments are not calculated as part of the student's total grade. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #143:

Canvas: Quiz Settings to Maximize Security

By understanding and utilizing the quiz settings in Canvas, you can maximize your quiz security. To learn more about quiz settings, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #142:

Canvas: Surveys

Using Surveys in your Canvas course is a great way to receive feedback from your students or give them extra credit points by responding to a Survey. Surveys are similar to Quizzes. They can be graded or ungraded and have the option of keeping submissions anonymous. To learn more about Surveys, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #141:

Canvas: Polling in Conferences

Presenters can now create polls for participants during a conference. Presenters cannot participate in their own polls. Polls are anonymous, and participants are not required to complete a poll. Polls can be Yes/No, True/False, or letter responses up to six answer choices (A through F). To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #140:

Canvas: Differentiated Assignments

Differentiated Assignments is a Canvas feature that lets you create Assignments, Graded Discussions, and Quizzes for individual students, sections, or all students in your courses. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #139:

Canvas: Customizing Your Courses Menu

Would you like to shorten the list of courses that appear in your Courses drop-down menu? You can easily pick and choose which courses you want to appear by indicating your "favorites". Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more.

Tech Tip #138:

Closed Captions in NJVID

Are you concerned about your videos' accessibility? NJVID (New Jersey Digital Video Repository) now has an option to add closed captions to your videos. To learn more about NJVID and closed captioning, please visit our documentation page NJVID Digital Media Repository on the OIT website.

Tech Tip #137:

Canvas: Assigning Extra Credit

With the semester coming to an end and grades being finalized, we are often asked how to assign extra credit in Canvas. Instructors have a few options when it comes to extra credit. Check out the Canvas mini guide "Canvas: Assigning Extra Credit" to learn more.

Tech Tip #136:

Canvas: Managing Student Access to a Course

Want to control when your students can access your course in Canvas? Instructors can set restrictions so students cannot access a course before or after specified start and end dates.

Check out the Canvas mini guide, Manage Student Access to a Course, to learn more.

Tech Tip #135:

Canvas: Muting Assignments

Sometimes you may want to hide student grades until all assignments have been graded. To temporarily hide student grades, instructors can mark an assignment as "muted". A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or comments until the assignment is marked as "unmuted". Muted assignments will display a "mute" icon notifying students that the assignment has been muted.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more about modules.

Tech Tip #134:

Canvas: Working with Modules

Modules are used as a way to organize your course content. Modules can be organized by weeks, learning units, topics, etc. You can add files, discussions, assignments, quizzes, and other learning material under each module. You can also create prerequisite activities that students must complete before moving on in the course.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more about modules.

Tech Tip #133:

Polls for Canvas

Polls for Canvas is a mobile app for instructors to request student opinion in the classroom and collect responses with ease—users only need to download the Polls for Canvas app on their phones or tablets. Canvas Polls is only available for iOS or Android devices.

Check out the Polls for Canvas documentation to learn more.

Tech Tip #132:

Canvas: "How-to" Mini Guides

TT&I is happy to announce "How-to" Canvas mini guides. Although the Canvas Guides are a great resource, sometimes you just want a quick one or two page "how-to" guide.

Check out the Canvas Mini Guides. More to come......

Tech Tip #131:

Canvas: Drop the Lowest or Highest Grade

Canvas makes the process of  dropping the lowest or highest grades easy! By using Assignment Groups you can add a Grading Rule and choose between Drop the Lowest, Drop the Highest or Never Drop.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn how!

Tech Tip #130:

Canvas: Hiding Total Grade

In Canvas, the default setting is to show the total grade for each student in your students' grade summary. The total grades automatically re-calculate whenever you add or change an assignment grade. It may be helpful to hide the totals from the student view until you’ve finished your grading for the semester.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn how!

Tech Tip #129:

Canvas: Course Copy

Canvas makes it easy to copy or import content from one of your Canvas courses into another. You can choose to copy all the content (including assignments, modules, files, quizzes, pages, etc.) or you can select individual items to copy.

Check out our documentation to learn how!

Tech Tip #128:

Canvas: Attach Files to a Discussion

Want your students to have the ability to attach a file to a Discussion in your course? It's easy! Check out the Canvas Guides to learn how.

Tech Tip #127:

Canvas: Notification Preferences

Want to receive a quick email notifying you of activities in your Canvas Courses or Communities? Notification Preferences in Canvas allow users to select how and when they receive notification of the following activities:

  • Announcements
  • Conversations/Email
  • Course Activities
  • Discussions
  • Scheduling
  • Groups 

To learn more about Notification Preferences, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #126:

Canvas: Course Home Page

The Home Page is the first page students see upon entering a Canvas course. The default homepage layout is the Recent Activity Dashboard. By “recent activity,” Canvas means the most recent announcements, assignment notifications, messages (“Conversations”) you send to the entire class, and discussion posts. Other Home Page options include:

  • Pages Front Page
  • Course Modules
  • Assignments List
  • Syllabus

As an instructor, you decide what you want students to see and interact with on the Course Home Page. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #125:

Canvas: Respondus LockDown Browser

Would you like a restricted test taking environment for your students when giving an online quiz through Canvas? We are happy to inform you that the University has acquired a campus-wide license for Respondus LockDown Browser. LockDown Browser creates a restricted environment for quiz/test-taking. It prevents other windows from being opened while taking a quiz and students are not able to print, copy, go to another URL, or access other applications.

To learn more about Respondus LockDown Browser, please click here.

Tech Tip #124:

Canvas: Customizing Your Courses Menu

Would you like to shorten the list of courses that appear in your Courses drop-down menu? You can easily pick and choose which courses you want to appear by indicating your "favorites".

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more.

Tech Tip #123:

Canvas: Cross-Listing

Are you teaching multiple sections of the same course and the content is the same? Would you like an easier way to manage these sections? Cross-listing is the answer! Cross-listing combines section enrollment into one course. This makes it so that an instructor only needs to post announcements, upload files, and create new assignments in a single Canvas course.

To learn more about Cross-listing, please check out our Canvas documentation.

Tech Tip #122:

Canvas: Download Grades

Did you know that Canvas has a feature that allows you to download your gradebook as a .csv file so you can work on it in a spreadsheet program like Excel? With the end of the semester upon us you may want to check out the Canvas Guides to learn more.

Tech Tip #121:

Canvas: Viewing Quiz Statistics

Looking for more detailed information on the performance of your students on a given quiz or exam? Look no more - Quiz Statistics will give you a high level overview. Each question will have a graph of the distribution of answers and as you hover over each answer choice more information will be displayed.

To learn more about Quiz Statistics, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #120:

Canvas: ePortfolios

An ePortfolio is a place for students to showcase their work from a course or academic program. It allows them to electronically collect and reflect upon various “artifacts.” Artifacts may include essays, photos, PowerPoint presentations, websites, digital video projects, audio recordings—anything they've created as part of their learning experience here at MSU.

To learn more about ePortfolios in Canvas check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #119:

Canvas Conferences: You Don't Have to Cancel Your Class!

Winter is quickly approaching and inclement weather could come upon us at any time. Stressing about the possible loss of your class time? No need to worry! With Canvas, you don't have to cancel your class. You can conduct your class virtually with the use of Conferences.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more.

Tech Tip #118:

Canvas: Question Banks

Question Banks are a place to house questions that can be added to quizzes across your courses. They are useful when questions have a relationship with each other such as a topic, chapter, or difficulty level. Visit the Canvas Guides to learn more about Question Banks.

Tech Tip #117:

Canvas: Virtual Office Hours

Are you looking for a way to hold virtual office hours? Well look no more! Canvas offers two options:

  • Chat -the Chat tool in Canvas allows students and teachers to interact in real time. Chat makes it easy to communicate with your students in real time, all in one place.
  • Conferences - Conferences are primarily used for virtual lectures, virtual office hours, and student groups. They can also be used to demonstrate technologies or troubleshoot technology issues online.

Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more about Chat and Conferences.

Tech Tip #116:

Canvas: Receive a Copy of Created Conversations in Your Email

You asked and Canvas listened! You can now change your notification settings in Canvas to receive an email  whenever you send an Inbox message. Click on Settings in the top right corner of Canvas and click on Notifications. Under Conversations navigate to Conversations Created By Me and change the notification setting to ASAP.

To learn more check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #115:

Canvas: Student Analytics

Canvas allows you to view analytics for a student quickly and easily. Simply click on People in the course navigation and click the name of a student.  Click on Analytics located on the right sidebar. Student analytics include:

  •     activity for the student
  •     communication with that student
  •     assignments
  •     student's grades

Use the arrows in the top right corner to see different student's analytics or click on the drop-down arrow to select a specific student. To learn more check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #114:

Canvas: Receive Copies of Announcements in Your Email

Instructors can now receive copies of Announcements created in their Canvas courses in their email. To check your Notification settings in Canvas for this new feature, click on Settings in the top right corner, click on Notifications and look for Announcements Created By You. To the right you can change your notification settings to right away, daily, weekly or not at all.

Tech Tip #113:

Canvas: Curving Grades

Canvas allows you to curve grades for an assignment through the Gradebook. To learn more about curving grades, check out the Canvas Guides.

Note: Grade curving cannot be undone. Pre-curved grade histories will be available, but the curving action is irreversible.

Tech Tip #112:

Additional Canvas Support

TT&I is pleased to announce that we've added additional Canvas support for the campus community! In addition to our weekly Canvas workshops, we are now hosting Instructional Design Walk-In Support and Canvas Snap Sessions.

Instructional Design Walk-In Support - TT&I's Instructional Designers will be available for walk-in support and guidance related to designing instructional content, facilitating collaboration, and utilizing assessment instruments effectively in Canvas. No appointment necessary. Sessions are held in University Hall on the 5th floor, Room 5009.

Monday, 10/6 1-4pm
Wednesday, 10/15 1-4pm
Tuesday, 10/21 1-4pm
Thursday, 10/30 1-4pm
Wednesday, 11/5 1-4pm
Tuesday, 11/11 1-4pm
Wednesday, 11/19 1:30-4:30pm
Monday, 11/24 1-4pm
Monday, 12/1 1-4pm
Tuesday, 12/9 1-4pm
Thursday, 12/18 1-4pm

Canvas Snap Sessions - TT&I has added 1-on-1 Canvas support sessions to our training schedule. We hope this will help those of you who cannot commit to a 2-hour workshop, or have specific Canvas questions or needs. Get your questions ready and register now to meet with a Canvas expert. 

Tech Tip #111:

Canvas: Customize Course Navigation

Canvas gives you the option to customize the Navigation menu in your course so you can hide the tools you are not using or reorder them to better match how you are teaching the course. To learn more, check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #110:

Canvas: Customize Course Menu

Did you know you can hide those previous semester courses from the Courses menu in Canvas? Customizing your course menu is easy. Simply mark your current courses as "favorites" and all others will be hidden! Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more.

Tech Tip #109:

Canvas: Weighted Grades

Weighting grades in Canvas is easy! Simply create your Assignment Groups, turn on Weighting under Assignment Settings, and enter each groups' percentage weight. Check out the Canvas Guides to learn more about Creating Assignment Groups and Weighting Grades.

Tech Tip #108:

Canvas: 24/7 Support

Need assistance with Canvas? Canvas user support is made available 24/7 via the Canvas vendor for our faculty, staff and students. To get assistance, log into Canvas and click on HELP in the top right corner to choose Hotline or Live Chat. It's that easy!

Tech Tip #107:

Tech Tip: Goodbye Blackboard (16 more days)!

Tech Tip #106:

Tech Tip: Canvas: Turnitin

Turnitin is a plagiarism protection application. We are happy to report that Turnitin has been installed on Canvas and is ready for faculty and students to begin using!

To learn more about Turnitin, please visit the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #105:

Meet With a TT&I Canvas Guide

Technology Training & Integration (TT&I) would like to invite faculty to walk-in for Canvas assistance. Bring your Canvas questions and meet with a TT&I Canvas Guide, no appointments necessary.

3 dates left in August (University Hall Room 5011):

  • Wednesday, August 13th,10am - 2pm
  • Thursday, August 21st, 1pm - 4pm
  • Friday, August 29th, 10am - 2pm

Tech Tip #104:

Canvas: Conversations

How do you email your students in Canvas? The answer is through Conversations. Conversations is an email program directly within Canvas. You can communicate with other people in your course at any time. Conversations also compiles all messages sent throughout Canvas, including comments left on student assignments. Conversations is accessed via Inbox. To learn more about Conversations, please visit the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #103:

Canvas: Student Groups

Canvas makes it easy to divide your students into groups. Student groups have their own discussion boards, collaboration tools and calendar, making them ideal for working on group projects or other assignments. To learn more about groups, please check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #102:

Canvas: Help and Support for Students

With the Canvas transition quickly approaching, we've been asked the question "will students be trained in Canvas?" There are no training classes offered for students at this time but there are many resources available to them to ensure they have a successful transition to Canvas.

Tech Tip #101:

Canvas: Profile Picture

Uploading a profile picture in Canvas puts a face to the name! Profile pictures are visible in Announcements, Discussions, the Gradebook, etc. Personalize your course - add a profile picture.

To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #100:

Canvas: Mute Assignments

Wouldn't it be great if you could hold student grades until all students have been graded? Muting an assignment in Canvas allows you to temporarily hide student grades until everyone has been graded and then release grades to all students at the same time. A muted assignment displays a "mute" icon on the student grades page so students know the assignment is muted. A muted assignment will not send out grade change notifications or any of your comments until the assignment is unmuted.

To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #99:

Tech Tip: Canvas: Modules

Why Would I Use Modules?

  • Modules help keep course content organized not only for the instructor, but also for the students
  • Modules allow you to define content delivery
  • Modules help students navigate the course content

To learn more about Modules, please check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #98:

Canvas: Peer Review

Peer Review is a tool that allows communication between students and allows students to master the concepts of a course. A peer review assignment in Canvas enables students to comment on other student’s submitted assignments. Whenever students submit an assignment or post to a discussion that requires peer review, they will see a list of their assigned reviews. Clicking a name on the list will bring them directly to a review pane with their peer's draft or discussion postings. Instructors can access a peer review overview screen that indicates which students have completed assigned reviews.

To learn more about Peer Review please check out the Canvas Guides.

Tech Tip #97:

Canvas: Draft State

Canvas has a new feature called Draft State which allows content in assignments, quizzes, discussions, pages and modules to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished content is invisible to students and those items being graded will be excluded from grade calculations until instructors publish them.

Currently, Draft State is a course opt-in feature and needs to be manually turned on in each course. To turn on Draft State, click Settings in a Canvas course, click on Feature Options and click ON for Draft State. Please note that existing content in a course will remain published when Draft State is turned on.

This feature will be turned on across ALL Canvas instances on July 12 (this is a change from the original date of July 5).

Click on the links below to access a brief video regarding Draft State as well as the online help guide.

Tech Tip #96:

Canvas: Rubrics

Canvas allows you to create assignment and course level rubrics based on assessment criteria. Rubrics can be added to assignments, quizzes and discussions and are useful when giving grades as you can provide feedback to the students.

Click here to access the Canvas Guides and learn more about rubrics.     

Tech Tip #95:

Canvas: Attendance (Roll Call)

The Attendance (Roll Call) feature in Canvas allows you to quickly and easily record attendance with a drag and-drop seating chart. When you take attendance using Roll Call, Canvas automatically adds a column to your Gradebook for Roll Call Attendance. By default, Roll Call Attendance is listed as an assignment worth 100 points.

Click here to access the Canvas Guides and learn more about Roll Call.

Tech Tip #94:

Canvas: Student View

The Student View is one of the best features that Canvas offers. Student View creates a "Test Student" user in each Canvas course. As the "Test Student", you can submit Assignments, post to Discussions, take a Quiz and view the course as a student. You can also Reset the Test Student to clear the "Test Student's" history and re-check content in the course.

To Access Student View:

  • Click Settings in the Course Navigation
  • Click Student View

To Leave Student View:

  • Click Leave Student View in the bottom right corner

Tech Tip #93:

Tech Tip: Canvas SpeedGrader

The SpeedGrader tool in Canvas makes it easy to evaluate individual student assignments and group assignments quickly. This tool is powered by using a technology called "Crocodoc". This technology allows teachers and peer reviewers to create annotations and provide feedback in writing or audio/video format when evaluating online submitted assignments. For more information on SpeedGrader check out the Canvas guides or watch a short video.

Tech Tip #91:

Canvas Draft State

Draft State allows content in your Canvas course to exist in an unpublished (draft) state. Unpublished content is invisible to students and those items being graded will be excluded from grade calculations until they become published. Draft State is a course opt-in feature and needs to be turned on in each course. To turn on Draft State, click Settings in a Canvas course, click on Feature Options and click ON for Draft State.

To learn more about Draft State please click here to watch a short video. 

Tech Tip #90:

Canvas Updates

On 5/24/14, the Gradebook, Calendar and Conversations tool in Canvas will updated and the new versions will be active by default. Please click the links below for more information about these tools.

Also, Internet Explorer 9 will no longer be supported by Canvas from 5/24/14. After that date, Internet Explorer 10 will be the oldest version of IE supported. For more information regarding supported browsers and technical requirements for Canvas please click here.

Tech Tip #89:

Canvas Scheduler

Did you know that the Calendar feature in Canvas has a scheduling tool? Scheduler allows you to easily create office hours, set up time slots that your students can sign up for, assign presentation times, etc. Visit the Canvas Guides to learn more!

Happy Scheduling!!

Tech Tip #88:

Canvas Support

Canvas is Coming! As you begin using Canvas, we would like to inform you of the Canvas Support that is available. After you log into Canvas at click on HELP in the top right corner and choose your preferred method of support - the Canvas Support Hotline or Chat with Canvas Support. It's that easy!

Tech Tip #87:

Big Blue Button

What is Big Blue Button you ask? Big Blue Button is integrated with Canvas through Conferences and makes it easy to conduct synchronous (real-time) lectures for all of the students in your Canvas course. Conferences allow you to broadcast real-time audio, video, demo applications on your desktop, share presentation slides, demo any online resource, and facilitate class interactions. Learn more about Big Blue Button via the following resources:

Tech Tip #86:

Canvas Guides

Looking for Canvas tutorials? Canvas Guides is an online documentation site providing easily accessible documents and tutorials that can answer all of your Canvas questions. Please take advantage of this informative resource.

Tech Tip #85:

Record/Upload Media in Canvas

Want to enhance your course content and engage your student? One way to do this is by incorporating video and/or audio into your curriculum and Canvas makes it easy! Simply click on the Record/Upload Media icon on the Rich Content Editor toolbar to get started. For more information, please consult Canvas' tutorial: How do I record a video using the Rich Content Editor?

Tech Tip #84:


CanvasLIVE is a free webinar series designed to give Canvas users additional training and an outlet to share their knowledge with the community. Each session includes a brief tutorial on a Canvas tool or feature, a focused demonstration and a short Q&A with Canvas experts. Check out the upcoming sessions on the CanvasLIVE Schedule.

Tech Tip #83:

Canvas - Granting Students Extra Attempts and Extra Time on a Quiz

With Canvas, you now have the option to grant extra time or attempts on a quiz to an individual or several students. To learn more about creating quizzes in Canvas please register for the Designing Assessments in Canvas workshop.

Tech Tip #82:

Canvas Faculty Orientation Course

TTI would like to remind you to check out the self-paced Canvas Faculty Orientation Course. This course was designed in the Canvas environment to assist faculty with familiarizing themselves with all of the tools that Canvas has to offer and prepare for the transition from Blackboard to Canvas effective Fall 2014.

Tech Tip #81:

Analog Sunset: What's That?

Do you know what "Analog Sunset" means? Beginning January 1, 2014, PC vendors will stop producing devices with a VGA jack to connect to a monitor, flat panel or projector as Apple did years ago. All new PC computers will be built with either a HDMI or display port jack. There will be more changes to come as the market place advances from an analog world to a digital world. To learn more, please visit our Analog Sunset page.

Tech Tip #80:

Canvas Orientation Course

Are you interested in taking a look at Canvas but can't find the time to attend one of our Canvas training classes? Take a look at the self-paced Canvas Faculty Orientation course. Explore the Canvas environment and learn about the new and exciting tools Canvas has to offer - all at your convenience. 

Tech Tip #79:

Importing Course Content into Canvas

Have you been archiving your Blackboard courses as recommended? Are you wondering what to do next with the archive given the switch to Canvas is quickly approaching? We recommend that you come to our Importing Blackboard Course Content into Canvas workshop. This workshop will guide you through the process of importing your archived Bb course content into Canvas.  Therefore it is beneficial to bring your archived files with you to training.  If you need assistance with archiving your Bb course, please visit our documentation page Archiving a Course in Blackboard.

For additional information on Canvas and importing content, please visit our new Canvas information site.

Tech Tip #78:

Excel - Data Validation

Tech Tip #77:

Canvas Early Adopter

Are you interested in using a dynamic and global calendar to manage all of your courses? Are you looking for a video/audio-enhanced technology to facilitate interactions with your students?  Are you seeking a quicker, more effective method to grade and comment on your students’ assignments? Canvas can help you!

Why wait until Fall 2014 to start officially using Canvas!  Sign up to be a Canvas Early Adopter and start using Canvas for your Winter, Spring and/or Summer 2014 courses.  Please fill out the online form  to get started!

Tech Tip #76:

Tech Tip #75:

What's this Canvas Thing I Keep Hearing About?

Are you hearing the buzz around campus about Canvas and wondering what it is and how it affects you?

Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) that will be replacing our current Blackboard LMS starting the Fall of 2014.  If you are currently using Blackboard for your courses or a community you will want to attend one of our Canvas training classes now being offered.  Please view our training schedule to register. Happy Canvas'ing! 

Tech Tip #74:

New and Improved Documentation Site!

TTI is excited to announce our new and improved documentation site.  It has been redesigned with a more user-friendly navigation in which we've sorted the documentation into categories.  As you delve into these categories you will see that we have included some video tutorials along with the documentation for a more interactive learning experience.

Please take a look!

Tech Tip #73:

Creating a Distribution List in Thunderbird

Creating a distribution list is helpful when sending the same message to multiple people on a regular basis. Just address the email to the list name that you have created, and everyone included on the list will receive your message, eliminating the worry of possibly forgetting someone!

To create a distribution list:

  • Click on Tools
  • Click on Address Book
  • Click on New List
  • Make sure Add to: is the Personal Address Book
  • Type a name for the list under List Name
  • Type the email addresses
  • Click OK

To send an message to the new group, simply type the List Name in either the TO, CC or BCC field.

NOTE: To avoid exposing every email address to everyone on the list, type the List Name in the Bcc: field – NOT the To: field. 

Tech Tip #72:

Google Forms

Google forms is a useful tool to help you plan an event, send a survey or collect other information quickly and easily - and it's free!  To learn more about creating a google form click here.

Please note that google forms is not a university supported application and you will need a personal google account in order to access it.

Tech Tip #71:

Enhancing Teaching and Learning with Emerging Technologies

Looking for new technologies to enhance your teaching and learning? TTI has created a list of tools that highlight key resources, including both University supported and outside tools, to support online teaching and learning. Please visit our Technology Training & Development Services website and click on Technology Toolkit.

Tech Tip #69:

The Mac Interface

Have you recently switched over from a PC to a Mac and find the switch to be a bit challenging?  Apple has a great resource that can help!  Please click here to get a tour of the Mac interface and get your questions answered.

Tech Tip #68:

Resource Calendars in Google Calendar

Did you know that you can have a separate calendar in Gcal for your department or for a conference room?  These types of calendars are referred to as "resource calendars".  To request a "resource calendar" please click here to access the Gcal Resource Calendar Center (GRCC).  You can also use this site to manage existing "resource calendars".

Tech Tip #67:

Google Search Tips

What did we do before Google? With a simple Google search we can find anything and everything quickly and easily. But did you know that you can refine that search so your results are more accurate and efficient? Please click here to learn how.

Tech Tip #66:

Repeating Rows and Columns in Excel

When your Excel spreadsheet spans over multiple pages, you run into the problem of only having the headings print on the first page. Print Titles enables you to print specific row and column headings on each page to ensure that the data is labeled correctly.

  • On the Page Layout tab, click Print Titles in the Page Setup group
  • Click on the Sheet tab
  • Under Print titles, type the rows to repeat at top and/or the columns to repeat at left

(If you are repeating multiple rows/columns, Excel will list the range as follows, adding the colon and the $ (for example; $1:$3)

  • You can also click the Collapse Dialog button  at the right of the rows to repeat at top and columns to repeat at left, and then select the rows or columns that you want to repeat. After you finish selecting the rows or columns, click the Collapse Dialog button again to return to the dialog box.

Tech Tip #63:

Put an End to Boring Presentations!

Want to add some pizazze to your PowerPoint presentations and find that the existing Design Themes in PowerPoint 2010 aren't exciting enough? There are additional themes available through templates. Follow these steps and take a look at the backgrounds available and start adding that "POW" that your presentations may be missing!

  • Click on the File tab
  • Click on New
  • Under Templates double-click on PowerPoint presentations and slides
  • Double-click on Design slides (backgrounds)

Tech Tip #62:

Blackboard's Performance Dashboard

Need an easy way to read a student's discussion board posts?  Want to see the last time a student accessed your course?  The Performance Dashboard provides valuable information regarding a student's activity. Use it at the beginning of the semester to check that all students have successfully accessed the course. As the semester progresses, use it to quickly see if students are accessing the course regularly, reviewing course content, and contributing to the Discussion Board. Please click this document to learn more.

Tech Tip #61: 

Microsoft Office: Save Time Using the Format Painter

The Format Painter feature in Microsoft Office 2010 allows you to copy formatting that is applied to one area in the document and apply it to other areas. It's like a copy and paste but for formatting! Format Painter is very helpful in documents that have a variety of different styles as it eliminates the need to manually make the formatting changes.

How to Use the Format Painter

  1. Select the area of the document with the formatting you wish to copy.
  2. Click the Format Painter Tool once from the Clipboard on the Home Tab. This will turn the Format Painter ON.
  3. Move your cursor to the area you wish to apply the new formatting to and click and drag over that area.
  4. If you want to apply the same formatting more than once, select the area with the formatting you want and double-click the Format Painter button. You will then be able to apply the formatting to multiple areas within the file.
  5. When you are done making all of your formatting selections, click on the Format Painter again to turn it OFF.

Tech Tip #60: 

Getting Weather Forecasts in Your Calendar

Do you want a quick way to stay up-to-date on the local weather? Google Calendar's Weather feature displays the weather forecast directly in your calendar. Once the Weather feature is enabled, you'll be able to view the four-day forecast, including the expected highs and lows for each day.

To view weather forecasts in Google Calendar:

  1. Click the gear icon at the top of your Google Calendar page
  2. Click Settings
  3. Click General
  4. In the Location section, enter your desired location information (e.g.,Montclair, NJ)
  5. In the Show weather based on my location section, click either °C or °F
  6. Click Save

Once you've enabled the Weather feature, a Weather Calendar will be added to your calendar list under Other Calendars. You will also see weather icons in the upper left corner of today and the following three days. Each icon serves as a visual representation of the forecast for that particular day. For more detailed weather information, click the weather icon or point to it with your mouse.

Tech Tip #56: 

Hiding Cells in Excel

Have you ever wanted to hide one cell or a group of cells in your Excel worksheet without having to hide the entire row(s) or column(s)? The solution is easy. Simply use a custom format for the cells whose content you wish to hide.

  • Right-click on the cell or group of cells
  • Click on Format Cells
  • On the Number tab click Custom at the bottom of the Category list
  • In the Type box, enter three semicolons ;;;
  • Click OK

The information in the cell(s) is now hidden and will not print. You can, however, see the information in the Formula Bar, and it can be overwritten if you enter anything else in the cell.

To unhide, follow the steps above but choose General from the Category list.

Tech Tip #55: 

Gartner Campus Portal

Looking for the latest trends in business and information technology? Gartner Research delivers the technology-related insight necessary to make the right decisions. It's what you need to know, what you need to do, where you need to look, and who you should be paying attention to. Part of MSU's Gartner Research subscription includes the use of a "campus portal" which is available to all MSU faculty, staff and students.

Tech Tip #54: 

A New Set of TTI Web Resources 

The TTI group has developed a new set of web resources to more effectively assist the University community. Please check it out at and take the time to look at the following resources:

Tech Tip #53: 

NJVid: New Jersey Digital Video Repository

Do you have instructional videos you want to share with your students but don't know how?  This week's tech tip is to remind you of NJVid: New Jersey Digital Video Repository.  NJVid can seamlessly streamline videos and provide access to you and your students on computers, tablets and mobile devices through the Internet. To learn more about NJVid please click here

Our Blackboard Learning Management System is not a video service, therefore we highly recommend you use NJVid for your video storage and streaming needs - not Blackboard. 

Tech Tip #52: 

Web 2.0 Workshop Series

Have you heard the term Web 2.0 and not sure what it is or how it could help you? Or are you overwhelmed by the amount of Web 2.0 tools that are available on the Internet and don't know where to begin? TTI has developed a series of Web 2.0 Workshops where we have chosen a few Web 2.0 tools that we feel would be beneficial to teaching and learning. These workshops are offered numerous times throughout the month. Please view our training calendar and register for one of these Web 2.0 workshops and see what Web 2.0 can do for you!

Tech Tip #51: 

Quota Slider

As you know, all faculty, staff and students at MSU have space allocated to them on the Active Directory server. Not only do you have a private (home) directory but you also have your own personal web space where you can publish your web files (MSUWEB). These two directories have a combined capacity size of 3GB for faculty/staff and 500MB for students

What you may not know is that faculty/staff can adjust their personal storage allocation between their personal (home) directory and their MSUWEB directory by visiting the Quota Slider at You may adjust this allocation as often as you like as long as you have free space to allocate between the two directories.

Tech Tip #50: 

Poll Everywhere

Are you looking for a quick and easy way to poll your students? Poll Everywhere is your answer! With Poll Everywhere you can gather live responses in any venue: conferences, presentations, classrooms, etc. without using any annoying audience response hardware. It works with texting, the web and even Twitter, and it's free for an audience size of up to 40.

To learn more about Poll Everywhere visit

Please note that Poll Everywhere is not a University supported application. For additional information visit

Tech Tip #48: 

Dividing a Column in Excel

Have you ever received an Excel spreadsheet where the first and last names were in the same cell and you wanted them in separate cells? Excel 2010 has a very simple solution!

  • Insert a blank column to the right of the column that contains the first and last names
  • Highlight the cells that contain the names
  • Click on the Data tab
  • Click on Text to Columns
  • Make sure Delimited is selected
  • Click Next
  • If the names are entered with a space between them, check off Space
  • Click Next
  • Click Finish

Tech Tip #47: 

Increased Email quotas

Have you ever received notification that your mail is over quota? Or are you concerned by the amount of emails you have and are waiting to receive such a notification? We have good news! Mail quotas for both Faculty, Staff and Generic email accounts have increased to better serve you.

  • Faculty and Staff email accounts increased from 1GB to 3GB
  • Generic email accounts increased from 500MB to 1500MB

Tech Tip #45:

Saving a Microsoft Office Document as a PDF File

PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a great way to make sure your documents are viewed with the correct layout and fonts – even when the recipient doesn’t have the program you used to create the document. It also secures the document so others cannot modify and redistribute your work. Some other benefits of saving to PDF format include:

  • Compatible across platforms – PDF files can be opened on basically any system 
  • Compact and small – PDF files are smaller in size without losing any quality 
  • PDF files are easy and quick to create in Microsoft Office 
  • PDF files are viewable within most web-browsers 
  • Software to view PDF files is completely FREE! 

Saving a File to PDF in Office 2010:

  • Click on the File tab 
  • Click on Save and Send 
  • Click on Create Adobe PDF under File Types 
  • Click on the Create Adobe PDF button 
  • Type a file name and choose a location 
  • Click OK

Tech Tip #44:

Word 2010 - Making Repetitive Tasks Quicker Using Autotext

Have you ever been working in Microsoft Word and found that you often use the same content throughout multiple documents? Autotext can help save you both time and additional typing! AutoText is reusable content that you can store and access again and again.

Creating Autotext:

  • Select the text or content you plan on frequently using
  • Click on the Insert tab
  • Click on Quick Parts located in the Text group
  • Highlight Autotext and click on Save Selection to Autotext Gallery
  • Type a name for the Autotext entry and click on OK

*You can create a new category if you intend on having many different Autotext entries

Inserting Autotext:

  • Click on Quick Parts
  • Click on the Autotext entry from the list

Tech Tip #43:

Voice Mail Tips

Do you want to leave a message for a coworker but want to skip over their voice mail greeting? You can bypass the greeting by pressing [1] when the greeting starts.

For additional voice mail tips check out the Modular Messaging System Reference Guide.

Tech Tip #42:

Web 2.0 Tools

Are you looking for a particular Web 2.0 technology that allows you to create, collaborate, edit and share user-generated content online? Do you feel lost in the overwhelmingly growing number of Web 2.0 tools? TTI has chosen a few that we feel can be beneficial to teaching and learning. Check out our Web 2.0 Workshop Series!

Tech Tip #41:

Scanning 101

Although scanner software varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, there are a few basic rules to follow when scanning and distributing scanned documents for courses or for business. For a list of details and tips, please visit our full Scanning 101 document.

Tech Tip #40:

Grouping Messages in Mozilla Thunderbird

Do you get overwhelmed by the amount of emails you receive everyday?  Do you find it difficult to concentrate on the most recent messages, even when your Inbox is sorted by date?  Grouping your messages can help ease your frustration!

Mozilla Thunderbird can group and collapse messages according to the sort order. For example, if you are sorting by date, you'll have a group for emails received today,  yesterday,  last week, and so on.

To group messages in Mozilla Thunderbird by date:

  • Click View
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Date
  • Click View again
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Grouped by sort

*Please note: not all sort order options support grouping.

To return your folder to an un-grouped state:

  • Click View
  • Select Sort by
  • Select Unthreaded

Tech Tip #39:

Private Group Training

Did you know that in addition to our Training & Events schedule, TTI also offers private group training for departments or groups upon request?  The benefit to this is that the training content can be tailored to your groups' specific needs.

To schedule group training or for more information, please contact Susan Graham at ext. 5449.

Tech Tip #38:

Convert Your PowerPoint 2010 Presentation to Video

In PowerPoint 2010, you can now save your presentation as a Windows Media Video (.wmv) file, and distribute it confidently, knowing that your animated, narrated, multimedia presentation will play without a glitch!

When recording your presentation as a video:

  • You can record and time voice narration and laser pointer movements in your video.
  • You can include animations and transitions in your movie.
  • Viewers do not need to have PowerPoint installed on their computers to watch it.
  • If your presentation contains an embedded video, the video will play without your needing to control it.

Depending on the content of your presentation, creating a video may take some time. Lengthy presentations and presentations with animations, transitions, and media content will likely take longer to create.

To convert your presentation to video:

  1. Click on File
  2. Click on Save & Send
  3. Under File Types click on Create a Video
  4. Click Create Video