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Canvas FAQs

We are constantly adding new FAQs regularly as we learn more and hear from you! If you have questions not addressed here, please email canvas@csulb.edu.

FAQs For Faculty

General

What is an LMS?
A Learning Management System (LMS) is a web-based platform used by faculty to deliver course materials and communicate with students. BeachBoard is an LMS. Other LMS platforms you may have heard of include Moodle and Blackboard.

What is Canvas?  
Canvas is an LMS developed by a company named Instructure. This platform allows faculty and instructors to build and manage courses online. 

Why is CSULB Moving to Canvas? 

  • Canvas is a well-established company and its LMS platform is used by more than 3,000 universities, school districts, and institutions around the world.
  • In California, many higher ed institutions including other CSUs, the UC System, and Community College campuses are using Canvas; instructors who teach at multiple schools will be familiar with it.
  • With CSU system-wide adoption, using Canvas provides an economy of scale for use at an enterprise level.   
  • Canvas is known for being customizable, adaptable, and reliable.
  • Canvas aligns with Beach 2030 to provide better access for students: A top-rated mobile app is available for both teachers and students.
  • The Canvas system offers better compatibility with integrated tools and provides advanced analytics. 
  • Enhanced assessment and accessibility features are available.

Is it mandatory for faculty to use Canvas?  
Not currently.  However, if you wish to use an LMS after Spring 2023, Canvas will be the only option. 

Will there be a chiclet on SSO for Canvas? 
Yes, there will be a Canvas chiclet on SSO/My Apps starting in early Summer 2022.

Is there a max student enrollment for a course in Canvas?
No, there is no max enrollment.

When will faculty and students have access to Canvas for the Fall 2022 semester?
Both students and faculty will have access to Canvas in early Summer 2022. Look for announcements in BeachBoard News and the ATS Twitter account.

Timeline and Migration

What is the timeline for implementing Canvas?

  • In Spring 2022, a pilot group of faculty will build their courses in Canvas and teach with it in Summer 2022.
  • In early Summer, Fall BeachBoard courses will be automatically migrated to Canvas by ATS. Instructors may begin teaching in Canvas in Fall 2022 if desired.
  • BeachBoard will continue to be available through Spring 2023.
  • All courses are expected to be in Canvas by Summer and Fall 2023 and BeachBoard will be decommissioned. 

How will my courses and materials be migrated from BeachBoard to Canvas?
CSULB is working with K16 Solutions, a third-party vendor, to migrate the last 2 years of BeachBoard courses into Canvas. All other courses will be archived and will remain available to instructors upon request. The first phase of the course migration process is expected to begin in the Summer of 2022.

No specific preparation is required of instructors prior to the migration. Once completed, instructors will be notified and will have ample time to adjust course content before teaching in the new system. Faculty training and support resources will be provided by Academic Technology Services throughout the transition.

All courses from the last two years will be migrated from BeachBoard to Canvas. Many will be archived, and you will need to request that they be added to Canvas by emailing canvas@csulb.edu.

For more information, please visit our Canvas Migration page.

If I already know Canvas, can I teach with it in Summer 2022?
Only those instructors who completed the ATS Canvas Essentials Faculty Professional Development Program are eligible to teach in Canvas in Summer 2022. 

In which semester can we teach in Canvas?
Fall 2022 is the first semester all instructors can teach in Canvas. BeachBoard will no longer be available starting in the Summer 2023 semester. Watch for announcements about how to access your Fall Canvas courses in early Summer 2022.

When will our Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 courses be migrated to Canvas? 

  • Summer 2022 courses will be migrated to Canvas by mid-April.
  • Fall 2022 courses will be migrated to Canvas in early Summer.

Will I need to rebuild everything over in Canvas? 

  • Content from 2 years' worth of courses will be fully copied from Beachboard to Canvas in the migration process.  
  • Quizzes, discussions, and files will be copied (excludes student submissions, grades, etc.).  
  • A total of 5 years of courses will be archived and available upon request.  

How long will I be able to use BeachBoard?
BeachBoard will continue to be available for use and supported until the end of the Spring 2023 semester.

When do we lose access to BeachBoard?
Faculty, students, and most staff will not be able to access BeachBoard (D2L) after Spring 2023.

Can faculty choose to teach one course in Canvas and others in BeachBoard? Can I switch between them? 
Yes, at least up until Summer 2023. You will need to let your students know which LMS (BeachBoard or Canvas) to access as the official course site.

If I start using Canvas before Summer 2023, must my students log in to both BeachBoard and Canvas to access my courses?
Until our BeachBoard is officially decommissioned in Summer 2023, you'll need to let your students know before classes begin which system to access. There will be a chiclet for Canvas on SSO/My Apps. 

Can faculty get a Canvas "sandbox"?
Yes. A sandbox is an empty course shell where you can try the features and familiarize yourself with the navigation and structure. Please complete our Interest Form .

Can I get a Development Course?
Yes. A development course is a staging area where you can build and modify your course content entirely and then copy it into your live course when released each semester. Complete the Development Course Request Form.

What is the difference between a sandbox and a development shell?
A sandbox course is where you can experiment with Canvas. Development shells are used for building course materials prior to copying content to your official courses in Canvas.

When will I receive a sandbox or development course after I have requested it?
Sandbox courses are created every Friday. If you submit a request on a Friday, please allow one week for your request to be completed. Please allow 48 hours for ATS to complete your development course request.

Can an instructor get multiple sandboxes?
Faculty only need one sandbox since its purpose is to learn how to navigate and explore features, not build courses. 

Can I use my sandbox to build my course and transfer the information to my official course?
Since a sandbox is meant to explore the functionality of Canvas, faculty are not expected to transfer materials used in the sandbox to an official course and ATS discourages using your sandbox to build a course. Development courses are for building your courses.  Development Course Request Form.

How can I do a course reset for the sandbox course?
If you have permission as the instructor, you can delete the contents in your sandbox by using the Reset Course Content tool in your Canvas Settings. However, resetting course content permanently removes all content and it cannot be recovered. Course details and class enrollments will remain intact within your course. Following the reset, your course will be unpublished and not be visible to students.

Will sandboxes and development courses eventually be deleted?
No, your sandbox will not be deleted and remain in your Canvas Dashboard.

Since BeachBoard and Canvas will both be available during the transition, will they have the same level of resources available, or will BeachBoard support slow down as more courses move to Canvas?
ATS will be supporting both BeachBoard and Canvas until Summer 2023. Virtual support, in-person, email, and phone support will still be available but focused on BeachBoard. We recommend that faculty rely on Canvas Support by clicking the "Help" button in the Canvas navigation bar. You will have access to Live Chat with Canvas Support, Canvas Support Hotline (562-247-3970), and Report a Problem by submitting a ticket to Canvas. Any issues that faculty cannot resolve will be escalated to our team accordingly.

If we teach on another campus, can we import our class into our Canvas course at CSULB?
Depending on the LMS, you can transfer course materials from another campus to Canvas at CSULB. While we do caution against migrating courses at this time, please be aware that some course materials and content may not copy over correctly.

Please note: ATS is working with a vendor company to migrate courses over, which will eliminate additional work for you. Migration will be completed in mid-May, therefore we suggest you wait until then to migrate your course content to your CSULB course.

How long will courses remain on Canvas in the future? 
We are not planning on deleting or archiving any courses. However, they will be read-only once the semester ends. You can adjust the term if modifications are needed. 

Will ATS be migrating our BeachBoard courses or is this something faculty will learn to do?  
ATS is working with a third-party vendor called K16 Solutions to migrate courses from BeachBoard into Canvas. This process is expected to start in the Summer of 2022.

There are ways to migrate your courses manually, but we recommend that you wait for the K-16 process to be completed to avoid the extra work involved.  

Do you recommend that I migrate my BeachBoard (D2L) courses to Canvas on my own?
We caution against migrating BeachBoard (D2L) courses at this time because certain components may not transfer smoothly. However, if you have a sandbox, you are welcome to experiment with the export/import process.

Will media files transfer from BeachBoard to Canvas?
Yes, media files will transfer from BeachBoard to Canvas.

Can quizzes be copied from BeachBoard to Canvas? 
Yes, quizzes can be copied from one LMS to the other, you will not have to rebuild it.

Will our grade settings and rubrics in BeachBoard be transferred to Canvas as well? 
Unfortunately, grade settings and rubrics in Canvas are different from BeachBoard (D2L) so they will not be transferred over. 

Will all BeachBoard organizations, sandboxes, and development shells be migrated over to Canvas?
Yes, we are planning to migrate all organizations on BeachBoard to Canvas. However, we will not be migrating all sandboxes and dev shells—only on a per request basis.

Canvas Features 

Will Canvas have the same features as BeachBoard (D2L)? 
Not all features will be available. Review the D2L Migration Guide from Canvas to see which features will be available. 

Will "Course Merge" be available in Canvas? 
Yes, you will be able to “cross-list” your courses. 

Is merging courses with multiple sections done on a per request basis or does the faculty have the ability to do so?
On a per request basis for now.

What is the difference between the Canvas "Dashboard" and "Courses?"
The “Dashboard” shows your current and favorite courses, whereas “Courses” shows all of the courses you have ever taught in Canvas.

How can I edit the items on the Global Navigation Menu?
To edit or change items on the Global Navigation Menu, select Settings and click on the Navigation tab. You will be able to drag and drop items to reorder them in the course navigation.

Are there examples of Homepages for courses? 
The equivalent of "Homepages" on BeachBoard (D2L) is "Pages" in Canvas. We recommend that you use Canvas Commons to look for various templates and copy them into your courses. 

How can I enable the front page option in Canvas?
You will need to create and publish a "Page" in order for the Front Page option to be available as a Home Page.

How are modules structured in Canvas?  What are the similarities and differences between Canvas and Beachboard?
Canvas has "Modules" pages that are similar to "Content" pages in BeachBoard (D2L). Faculty who have used the Classic Content Experience in BeachBoard will see similarities between Modules in Canvas and Table of Contents in BeachBoard (D2L). You can also hide/show modules, add materials, reorder, and set dates or prerequisite conditions for them.

Will we get course templates in Canvas?
ATS is working on creating Canvas "Layouts" and will announce them to the campus when available. 

When will Turnitin be added to Canvas? 
Turnitin has already been enabled for Canvas. When creating an assignment, edit the item and scroll down to “Plagiarism Review” to select Turnitin.

Can I use Google JamBoard in Canvas? 
Unfortunately, we will not be integrating Google JamBoard to Canvas at this time. However, an alternative to this would be Collaborations. 

Will I be able to use Respondus 4.0 (Quiz Import Tool) in Canvas?
Yes, you will be able to use Respondus 4.0 in Canvas. Just like in BeachBoard (D2L), you can import quizzes/exams into Respondus from a file and have them transferred into your courses. In addition, you can also export quizzes/exams from Respondus to a file.

Will GoReact be a part of Canvas?
At this time, GoReact will only be enabled for a select number of courses (ASLD, LING, and K16).

Will FlipGrid be in Canvas?
At this time, we will not be integrating FlipGrid to Canvas until Fall 2023.

Where can I find the accessibility checker in Canvas? 
The accessibility checker in Canvas is located within the Rich Content Editor. You can use the Accessibility Checker to design course content while considering accessibility attributes. If any accessibility issues are detected within the Rich Content Editor, the Accessibility Checker will display a number and highlight the specific content for you to review.

For more information, read How do I use the Accessibility Checker in the Rich Content Editor? 

Will book publisher content (Pearson, Mcgraw Hill, etc,.) also be made available like it is in BeachBoard and who do I contact to coordinate?
Yes, this service will continue to be provided by the Bookstore via the VitalSource platform and can contact D1DA@csulb.edu to coordinate this material into the Canvas course.

Will D1DA/publisher integrations be available in Canvas? 
Yes, it will be available in Canvas and the process will be like what is available on BeachBoard (D2L). Please reach out to D1DA@csulb.edu for additional information.

Will McGraw-Hill Connect be available in Canvas at some point?  
Yes, this should be available at some point in time. Please reach out to D1DA@csulb.edu for more information.

How can I learn more about the available tools and features on Canvas from the instructor's perspective?
Review the Instructor Guide to learn more about the different tools and features in Canvas.

Will our Canvas environment enable the New Quizzes experience?
You can enable the New Quizzes option by clicking on "Settings" and selecting the "Feature Options" tab to turn on New Quizzes.

Will there be QM templates for Canvas? Do we have to use the templates? Can we organize our content while addressing QM? 
We recommend that you search Canvas Commons for various templates and copy them into your courses. At this moment, we are currently working on creating Canvas Course Templates. Please check back at a later date for more information.

When a student submits a discussion post or assignment in Canvas, does it show an indicator for the faculty?  
Yes, but faculty are in control of their own "Notification" settings, which they access through the "Account" section. They just have to toggle those notifications on.

Is it possible to combine multiple courses into one?
There’s a cross-listed option in Canvas similar to BeachBoard course merge.  Students are not able to see across the sections in the ‘People’ tool, but there is an option to enable them to interact using the discussion board. 

Can you link external tools like Playposit to more than one LMS (D2L and Canvas) at a time?
Yes, you will be able to link the same bulb into two separate LMS's. They act like two separate bulbs, and both courses will show on your Course List in PlayPosit.

Does the student view record submissions for external tools such as Playposit? 
Yes, the student view creates a "test student" which is then acknowledged as a "student" by PlayPosit and pushes the grade to the test student in the Canvas gradebook.

The Student Experience

What will the student experience be like in Fall 2022 if some courses are on Canvas and some are still on BeachBoard?
Faculty will need to provide students with instructions on whether they will be using BeachBoard (D2L) or Canvas. Student training resources are available.

How will students know that their courses are in Canvas? 
If you choose to teach in Canvas, we recommend that you inform your students via email in which system you plan to teach for each class. Student training resources are available.

Do I need to activate/publish courses in Canvas in order for students to view them?
Yes, courses must be published in order for students to view them. Instructors can utilize the time when a course is initially not published to set up their course for the semester.

How will new and continuing students be introduced to Canvas? 
ATS will offer new and continuing CSULB students Canvas training before their courses begin in the new system. Student training resources are available.

Will ATS offer Canvas training for students to help with this transition to another LMS?
Yes, ATS is developing Canvas training materials for students that will be ready by Summer 2022. Additional details will be provided to the campus once available.

Training and Support

Will there be any training to help faculty with their courses to Canvas?
Yes. Faculty training and support resources will be provided by Academic Technology Services throughout the transition. Keep an eye on BeachBoard News and the ATS Twitter account for announcements.

Will you take suggestions on what can be improved in Canvas?
Please send feedback or comments to canvas@csulb.edu.

Assignments

Where do we add due dates to assignments?
In the Assignments page, locate the assignment you wish to edit then click on the assignment title and select the Edit button. Scroll down to “Assign” and adjust the due date and/or available from and until dates as needed. When your new due and availability dates have been selected, click the Save button at the bottom of the page.

How do I appropriately add extra credit assignments to the Gradebook?
There are multiple methods of adding extra credit to a Gradebook, and directions with screenshots are available in the following resource: How do I give extra credit in a course? 

  • If you would like to add extra credit to an assignment, you can simply award more points than the designated point value of an assignment. You can do this directly in the Gradebook; using a rubric with more points than the assignment value, or in the grade box in SpeedGrader.
  • To add extra credit to a quiz, use 'fudge points' in SpeedGrader.
  • If the extra credit is a separate grade, create an assignment worth 0 points and award any extra points to students on this assignment.
  • If you have weighted assignment groups AND have the extra credit assignments in their own assignment group (bringing the total weights over 100%), 0-point assignments will not work. In that specific case, please carefully read this additional resource: Extra credit using weighted assignment groups.

Is it possible to have a letter grade in Canvas without having any points? Including no evidence of points for any assignment?
Unfortunately, this is not possible in Canvas. Although you can assign letter grades to students, you will not be able to hide the total amount of "points" the students earned based on the letter grade received.

Calendars

Can I synch the chat and calendar between courses in Teams and Canvas? 
No. However, you can subscribe to the Calendar Feed in Canvas and import it to Microsoft Outlook. The calendar feed will contain events and assignments from all of your Canvas calendars, including reserved Scheduler appointment slots. Once you have subscribed to the calendar feed, you can remove the calendar feed at any time from Outlook.com by clicking the more options icon and selecting the remove option from the menu.  Visit Calendar Feed for more information. 

If I set up my office hours on the calendar, is there a way to make it repeat every week? Or do I have to add office hours each week?
If you want to create the same event multiple times for a course in the Calendar, you can create a duplicate event. Duplicating events creates multiple copies of the event every day, week, or month. Click on the More Options button and select Duplicate. If you want to change the repeating event to daily or monthly, click the Week(s) drop-down menu and select your preferred time range. If you want to change the number of additional occurrences, enter the number in the text field. The calendar event supports up to 200 additional occurrences. For more information, please view this article: How do I add and duplicate an event in the Calendar as an Instructor

Grading

Can I grade PDFs and image files using SpeedGrader?
Yes, PDFs and image files are supported for SpeedGrader. For more information on which file types are supported, please view this article: What types of files can be previewed in Canvas

Quizzes

What are Fudge points in quizzes? How can you use fudge points as opposed to extra credit?
Fudge points allow you to manually add or remove points from a student's overall quiz score. Fudge points are a form of extra credit for quizzes specifically.

Does Canvas allow you to edit the quiz at the course level and also give you the option to apply these changes in the question library like in BeachBoard?
Depending on which quiz you are using, Classic Quizzes or New Quizzes, the answer varies. In Classic Quizzes, any changes you make to a question in the quiz will not be reflected in the question bank and the opposite is also true—changes to question bank questions will not be reflected in your course quizzes. If you are using New Quizzes, however, you will be able to simultaneously edit the question in the quiz and question bank.

Can we request the functionality to shuffle answers at the question level from Canvas? 
You can shuffle or randomize questions by using "question groups" in Classic Quizzes. Refer to the webpage How do I create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions?  

Alternatively, New Quizzes does not use question groups but has a Settings menu that allows instructors to shuffle or randomize questions across the entire quiz. More information can be found on the webpage How do I manage settings for a quiz in New Quizzes?

Can I shuffle quiz answers at the individual question level
Yes, but only in "New Quizzes," not in classic quizzes. With classic quizzes, "shuffle answers" can only be turned on or off at the Quiz level, for all questions in the quiz at once.

Is there a URL available now where students will download the Canvas-compatible Respondus Lockdown Browser App?
After clicking on the quiz/exam, students will receive a download URL for Respondus LockDown Browser that is unique to CSULB. From that link, the student can confirm system requirements and whether to install the Windows or Mac version of the application. Following the installation process, students will need to launch LockDown Browser and log into Canvas to take their test.

Is there a difference between LockDown Browser on Canvas and BeachBoard?
Similar to BeachBoard, students are required to install LockDown Browser to launch exams. The browser only needs to be installed once on a computer. The only difference between Canvas and BeachBoard is that students need to launch LockDown Browser first, log in to the course, then locate the exam and click to open. If a student tries to access quizzes/exams using a regular browser, they will encounter a message indicating that they must download LockDown Browser. For more information, please read this article: respondus lockdown browser the student experience

How do I migrate quizzes from "Classic" to "New Quizzes"? 
To migrate a quiz from Classic Quizzes to New Quizzes, click on the three vertical dots then select Migrate. While New Quizzes migration supports all question types, you should still review your quizzes before assigning them to students. By default, migrated quizzes are unpublished. For more information, please read this article: How do I Migrate a Canvas Quiz to New Quizzes 

Discussions

In Discussions, where are the metrics for student posts? In BB it was “View topic statistics” where I can quickly see who posted on a topic, replied, read, and how many times. Is this feature available? 
There is not a current view like this in Canvas just for the discussion board. However, they do have a Student Interactions Report that provides you with the last time they interacted with the course, their current score, final score, and a list of any ungraded assignments. View this Student Interactions Report guide to see how to access this information for your course: How do I view a summary of all of my interactions in a course

Mobile App

What are the features of the mobile app?
With the Canvas Student Mobile App, students can:

  • View grades and course content
  • Submit assignments
  • Keep track of coursework with a to-do list and calendar
  • Send and receive messages
  • Post to discussions
  • Watch videos
  • Take quizzes
  • Receive push notifications for new grades and course updates, and much more!

On the Canvas Mobile App, I noticed there are two instances -one for instructors, and one for students.  Is there a way to display both student and instructor courses in one app?
Canvas intentionally created three versions of their mobile app for different roles/groups: Teachers, Students, and Parents. There is currently no way to combine them into one. For more information on the different mobile features in each version, please view this article:  Canvas Mobile App.

FAQs For Students

General

Why are we moving to Canvas?

  • Canvas is a well-established company and its LMS platform is used by more than 3,000 universities, school districts, and institutions around the world.
  • In California, many higher ed institutions including other CSUs, the UC System, and Community College campuses are using Canvas; instructors who teach at multiple schools will be familiar with it.
  • With CSU system-wide adoption, using Canvas provides an economy of scale for use at an enterprise level.   
  • Canvas is known for being customizable, adaptable, and reliable.
  • Canvas aligns with Beach 2030 to provide better access for students: A top-rated mobile app is available for both teachers and students.
  • The Canvas system offers better compatibility with integrated tools and provides advanced analytics. 
  • Enhanced assessment and accessibility features are available.

How will I be notified when my Canvas account is ready? 

Before Summer 2023, students will be notified by their instructors if they have a course in Canvas. Not all instructors will choose to teach in Canvas before the official transition date of Summer 2023. It's also possible that you will have courses in BeachBoard and Canvas in the same semester. Once the Canvas migration has been completed in Summer 2023, all students will be able to access their Canvas accounts through the SSO/MyApps dashboard.

Timeline

When will I be able to access Canvas?
Students will be able to access the Canvas tile on SSO/My Apps in early Summer 2022. However, not all instructors will be teaching on Canvas before the official transition date of Summer 2023.

BeachBoard will still be available for faculty and students until it is officially decommissioned. Instructors will notify students whether they will be teaching on BeachBoard and/or Canvas.

Training and Support

Will there be training sessions? How can I learn more?
ATS is developing training to prepare students for using Canvas.  These materials will be available in Summer 2022.  In the meantime, students can access the Canvas Student Guides to get started.

Canvas Login

Will Canvas Login be available as SSO/MyApps Tile?
Canvas will be available to access in early Summer 2022. Until 2023, there will be one tile in SSO/MyApps for both BeachBoard and Canvas. When you select it, you will be taken to a landing page where you can choose which system to access.

Do I have to authenticate the login to Canvas?​
Yes, students must be authenticated to access Canvas.

Course Content

Where will we find our courses in Canvas? 
After landing on your Canvas Dashboard, you will see "tiles" for the courses you are enrolled in.

Where will I find the course content?
In Canvas, the content is organized under “Modules” You can select Modules from the Course Navigation on the left side panel.

Assignments

How do I submit assignments?
For assignments, you will see a "Submit Assignment" button on your assignment page. Submission options will show up below the instructions once you click the Submit Assignment button. One option may be to upload a file. You can upload a file from your computer, or you may also see the option to submit a file from your Microsoft Office 365 drive. 

Languages

Does Canvas support languages other than English?
Canvas supports a wide variety of languages. More information on this can be found here: Canvas Language Support

Calendar

Where do I find calendar and deadline information?
Calendars in Canvas can be turned on or off for both your personal and Course calendars. The Calendar is a great way to view everything you can do for all your courses in one place.

  1. To open the Canvas Calendar, select 'Calendar' from the Global Navigation menu.
  2. In the sidebar, click the color box next to the name of the calendar to turn a calendar on or off. When the color box next to the name of a calendar is empty, the calendar is off. Both events and assignments will be hidden.

Quizzes

How do I take a quiz?
Navigate to Quizzes in the left navigation bar then select the name of the quiz/exam. You can click on it to view additional details and instructions before starting it.

Discussions

How will I communicate with my instructor in Canvas? 
Students can access the Inbox located on the navigation panel in Canvas. It is an internal messaging system that allows students and instructors to communicate with each other through the platform. Your instructor may provide other means to communicate when the class begins.

Is there a discussion area? 
There are several areas where you can open a discussion. Please note that some of these areas may not be turned on by your instructor. The most common locations to view a discussion are from the Calendar, Modules, or Discussion Index page.

  1. Begin by clicking the title of the Discussion Topic.
  2. Discussions will have a due date and availability date. The due date is when the discussion must be completed before you are marked as late. The availability date is the start and end date of when you can participate in the discussion.

Mobile App

What are the features of the mobile app?
With the Canvas Student Mobile App, you can:

  • View grades and course content
  • Submit assignments
  • Keep track of coursework with to-do list and calendar
  • Send and receive messages
  • Post to discussions
  • Watch videos
  • Take quizzes
  • Receive push notifications for new grades and course updates, and much more!