Categories
Canvas Spotlight Timely Tutorials

Finalize Your Course for End of Semester

Last updated on May 6, 2024

Finalize Your Canvas Course and Prepare for the Next Semester

The end of the semester can be a time of both stress and relief. With looming deadlines followed by the satisfaction of another course reaching a successful end, there’s a lot to think about. While things can move fast, there are important steps to take to make sure you and your students end the course on the best note possible. 

These steps revolve primarily around grades and communicating information about grades to your students. While the official grades will be the ones you report to the university at the very end, making sure your Canvas course accurately reflects all of your students’ hard work is important to ensuring students know where they stand as they work through the last few weeks.

In this spotlight, we’ll cover how you can check to make sure that everything is in order, including the course end date, various assignment due dates, the grading scheme, and your closing message to your students.

For more information on transitioning your course to the next semester, please see our Copy a Canvas Course into the New Semester guide.

Best Practices

How do I plan for the end of my course?

  • Start planning for the course’s conclusion about a month before the end date. This will give you plenty of time to check all your settings, answer student questions, and wrap things up.
  • Prioritize making sure that information relating to student grades is completely accurate. This is the most important information you can convey to your students and it’s an area where miscommunication can easily happen.

What should I focus on?

  • Make sure that all of your assignments have due dates associated with them. Canvas won’t mark a missing assignment as a zero if there’s no due date, which can lead to significant overestimation of a student’s real grade.
  • Double check the end date for the course so that you know exactly when students will lose access. 
  • Turn on a course grading scheme if you’d like students to see the letter grade they have in the gradebook. This can be done easily in just a few minutes and can spare you questions about exactly what letter grade a student has earned.
  • Leave a closing announcement for your students. Thank them for all their hard work and wish them well to end things on a friendly and meaningful note. Review our Create an Announcement in Canvas tutorial if needed.

What should I plan for next?

  • If you have a student with an incomplete grade, you can extend the Course End Date to allow students to access course material and complete the necessary work. Please see our Open Access for Individual Student to Finalize Incomplete Grade tutorial.
  • If a student only needs to complete a few assignments, or you aren’t comfortable extending the End Date of your course, you can also use email to work with the student to complete the required assignments. Please review our Use Email to Finalize Incomplete Grade tutorial. 
  • The next semester will be here before you know it and having a great course you’ve already taught before will make everything much easier.
  • Plan to go through the course after the semester has ended to make changes and improvements to content you noticed throughout the semester. Remove duplicate items, evaluate organization, and apply any lessons you learned through teaching the course.

Staying Current

  • Due to the rapid pace higher education must adapt to AI, MSU Denver’s Provost states every course at MSU Denver should explicitly address the use of generative AI in the syllabus or other course information. Review the Generative AI Syllabus Language Considerations document to develop a section addressing Generative AI in your syllabus. Doing so will ensure that you always have a policy on Generative AI in your course that can be edited and updated between semesters and as technology changes our educational landscape. Make sure to check out the CTLD Ready Site’s Resources for Generative AI page to learn more about AI in education and its possible implications for your course. MSU Denver’s Generative Artificial Intelligence Taskforce will continue to make up-to-date recommendations for you to consider adding to your course at the end and beginning of semesters.

Let’s walk through it together

Check or Adjust End Date for the Course

  1. Click Settings in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click the Course Details tab along the top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down the page to Participation.
    • The course end date is displayed in the text box under End.
  4. Click on the Calendar icon in the text box under “End” and select a different day if you would like to change the end date.
    • Students will not be able to submit work or interact with the course after this date.
  5. Click Update Course Details in the bottom right-hand corner of the page to save your changes.
  6. Click Grades in the left-hand navigation menu to see the final letter grades each student has in the total column.

Enable or Add a Course Grading Scheme

  1. Click Settings in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click the Course Details tab along the top of the screen.
  3. Scroll down the page to Grading Scheme.
  4. Click the checkbox next to Enable Course Grading Scheme.
    • This will display the default grading scheme in the drop-down menu. If this is acceptable to you, skip to step 12.
  5. Click Manage All Grading Schemes.
  6. Click +Add Grading Scheme in the upper right corner to add a grading scheme.
  7. Enter a Name for the New Grading Scheme.
  8. Select a Grade by option, either by Percentage or Points.
    • The left-hand column of text boxes will display the various letter grades students can earn and the right-hand column of text boxes displays the minimum score students need for that grade.
    • You can add new grade options by clicking the + icon next to any letter grade.
    • You can delete grade options by clicking the trash can icon to the right of that name.
    • You can edit grade ranges by entering a new minimum value for each grade, which will automatically change the maximum value for the next lowest grade.
  9. Click Save in the bottom right corner when you are finished editing the grading scheme.
  10. Click Close in the bottom right corner of the Manage All Grading Schemes window.
  11. Select your Grading Scheme from the drop-down menu.
  12. Click Update Course Details in the bottom right-hand corner of the page to save your changes.
  13. Click Grades in the left-hand navigation menu to see the final letter grades each student has in the total column.

Check Due Dates for All Assignments

  1. Click Assignments in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click the More Options (3-Dots) icon in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  3. Click Edit Assignment Dates in the drop-down menu.
  4. Scroll down the page and check that each assignment has an associated Due Date.
    • If a student doesn’t submit work to an Assignment/Quiz/Graded Discussion with no due date, they won’t receive any penalty to their grade. Therefore all graded work needs a due date.
  5. Click Save in the top right-hand corner of the page if you made any changes.

Leave a Closing/Farewell Announcement for Your Students

  1. Click Announcements in the left-hand navigation menu.
  2. Click + Announcement in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  3. Enter a Title.
  4. Enter the Text of the announcement.
    • This could be a general goodbye or possibly instructions related to their final exam, grades, etc.
  5. Click the checkbox next to Delay Posting if you would like to schedule this announcement for the final day of class.
    • Click the Calendar icon in the text field below to select the date and time for the announcement to publish.
  6. Click Publish in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.