Part 5: Spring 2017 Labs

63 Canvas Grade Schemes with Cathy Middlecamp — 03.10.2017

The March 10, 2017 Active Teaching Lab explored strategies for promoting and assessing discussions in Canvas. Cathy Middlecamp, and her TAs, Tom Bryan and Tim Lindstrom, discussed how they handles lab report grading each semester using Canvas for her 4-credit environmental science course.


  • Assessments: Frequent feedback, low-stakes testing, and lab work.
  • Each week students turn in their lab work (~15 pages per student). Graders agree to choose 5 of the 20 questions to grade each week. Students don’t know which five will be graded, so they complete them all.
  • Cathy’s team chose to do paper-based quizzes done in the lab, in order to limit access to online resources. Grades are entered into grade book manually. Lab assignments are also done on paper, but graders use the rubrics in Speed-Grader to grade the labs — a hybrid approach.
  • TAs create a different rubric for each assignment.
  • The calendar is a powerful feature in Canvas that can serve as the main navigation tool. Every quiz, assignment, exam is made visible in the calendar.
  • In assignments, TAs include sample quiz questions (to practice), and after the quiz, they add the answer key to the quiz details in Canvas so students can access all study materials easily within Canvas.
  • View the session’s activity sheet for additional support materials.

Active Teaching Labs are held every Friday from 8:45-9:45am (and every other Monday from 12:30pm-1:30pm, see events calendar for dates) in room 120, Middleton Building. Check out the upcoming labs or read the recaps from past labs — or see them all in one place in our new  Active Teaching Lab eJournal ( To stay informed about upcoming Labs, check back to this website or sign up for regular announcements by sending an email to

UW-Madison is transitioning to Canvas as a single, centrally supported LMS, and will discontinue support for D2L and Moodle by 2018. Visit for information and resources.

Watch Cathy’s Story:

Watch the discussion that followed:



Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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