Q&A Week 2: Questions Answered

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ReFocus Online Q&A Week 2 - Round 1 (6-25-20)

Below are the synthesized questions and answers from the ReFocus Online Q&A that happened June 25th, 2020.

Canvas Quizzes

Canvas has created a guide that is an overview of the features difference between Classic and New Quizzes.

Yes. Students can upload media for open-ended quiz questions, like short response or essay prompt.

Yes. However, the only way to set prerequisites is by placing content (e.g. quizzes, assignments) in Modules. Then, you have two options; 

  • For quizzes and assignments within the same Module, you set requirements for how students work through the Module to satisfy completion. For example, you want students to complete a reading check quiz before moving on to the week’s reflection activity. You can set the Module to require quiz completion before the activity content will unlock for students. This Canvas Guide offers step-by-step directions to set Module requirements based on specific needs. 
  • For quizzes and assignments in different Modules, you must set module requirements (see above) and Module prerequisites. This option is usually best used if you open multiple modules at one time (e.g. weekly modules for a single unit that may cover multiple weeks) but do not want students to rush ahead and complete assignments out of a specific order. First, set Module requirements for each module. Next, set Module prerequisites for prior Module content that must be completed or reviewed before opening new Module content. 

Does this feel complicated? It can be! To keep it simple, we recommend using single/weekly Module openings with requirements (the first option above). If you have questions or need further guidance, we recommend a consultation! 

Peer Review and Feedback

The Week 2 webpage contains information about incorporating peer review into a Canvas assignment. The Canvas Guides include information about how to set up peer review as well as how to monitor the workflow and see comments.  

Peer reviews require some preparation in order to be successful: 

  • Use peer reviews for shorter drafts (5 pages or less, 5-10-minute video or audio clips). Shorter pieces of work are more manageable with different student schedules and encourage focus on specific, targeted criteria. 
  • Provide reviewers with criteria or guiding questions to focus their observations and comments. Criteria can be expressed through rubrics, questions, or ‘look for’ evidence tables. 
  • Use a ‘polish and praise’ approach. Encourage reviewers to share one positive element in the work and one element that would benefit from revision. 
  • Model how to review peer work. Record yourself doing a ‘think aloud’ reviewing a piece of work and framing comments. Break students into small groups to review a common paper and practice feedback; afterwards, the whole class can debrief and share their processes. 
  • Encourage reviewers to ask questions and share observations instead of suggestions about how to improve a paper. 
  • Teach students how to use peer feedback. Hold a class session to discuss common feedback and what potential next steps might look like. 
  • Consider having students respond to peer feedback using revision notes or appendices. 


Testing out ideas in Canvas before the semester starts is a great idea! An easy way is to create a small learning community of your UMW friends and colleagues (2-4 people) and add them to your course as students (and you go into their courses as a student). The learning community can rotate times/meetings to play with the sandbox features set up in each course. Having trouble getting a group together? Reach out to the Center for Teaching for assistance. 

Yes. Using this Canvas Guide, scroll down to ‘Manage Peer Reviews’ to see how to delete and reassign peer reviewers. 

Students will prioritize what we communicate is important. Feedback is best utilized on drafts, when work is still being designed and shaped. Once a student has submitted a ‘final’ assignment, the feedback may seem less useful unless we build in opportunities for students to reflect upon and act on assignment comments. Ideas include small group and individual debrief sessions, reflective writing exercises, or assignment planning activities that ask students to share how feedback on a prior class assignment will inform their work now. 

On their own, no. The feedback is limited to the modality in which it was delivered. To avoid accessibility challenges with feedback, survey your students about how they would like to receive feedback so that you do not offer inaccessible comments. Be aware that group feedback will often need to be made accessible to meet more student needs or if it was shared via a meeting or synchronous session where any group member was not in attendance. 

There is no stated limit, but one Canvas Community user did share that when they tried to cut and paste 150 paragraphs into the box an error message was received.


If you use anonymous grading, SpeedGrader will randomly assign students as you work through grading assignments. 

By default, Canvas organizes assignments (including quizzes) in due date order. To make it easier to see assignments by type, consider creating Assignment Groups. For example, you can create an assignment group called ‘Daily Assignments’; in Gradebook, Canvas will now order assignments chronologically by assignment group. 


Other Questions

You will need to decide where you want your videos to live based on how and with whom you want to share them. A few options are: 


YouTube is a great option for video storage. It is easy to access and share, and it does a decent first pass at speech-to-text auto captioning (though you will need to proof/edit the captions to ensure accuracy). Since it is an open-web platform, you will need to be careful about privacy settings to avoid sharing sensitive information online.

You can find more info on YouTube on our YouTube Tool page. 

Microsoft OneDrive 

Microsoft OneDrive is a quick and easy storage solution, particularly if you are only sharing with UMW students and/or employees. It does not auto-caption your videos, so you will need to caption them elsewhere to ensure your videos are accessible (Screencast-o-Matic is a great tool for this). All students and staff at UMW have access to OneDrive through their Microsoft 365 account (Outlook). 

You can find more info on OneDrive on our OneDrive tool page.  

Modules as a structure are accessible. However, we must check the accessibility of any content we place into modules. Pages, documents, and media files must all be designed or checked for accessibility.