Part 8: Fall 2018 Labs

136 Canvas Outcomes Tool – 10.19.2018

The Canvas Outcomes tool connects to Canvas Rubrics to align assignment grading with big-picture learning outcomes. In the October 19, 2018 Active Teaching Lab, participants discussed how outcomes can guide teaching, keep students focused on what’s most important, and inform both instructors and students on learning progress. Attendees explored how to set up the Canvas Outcomes tool and shared some tips for its successful application. Laura Grossenbacher also shared how the College of Engineering has been using the Canvas/AEFIS integration to streamline data gathering. Follow along with her slides here


  • In Canvas, just as in good pedagogy, outcomes need to be established first before assignment rubrics can be aligned to them.
  • The creation of outcomes involves four decision points: 1) the outcomes, 2) how to map learning activities and assessments to reach them, 3) threshold for mastery, and 4) weighting.
  • Outcomes should align and build all the way across assignment-, section-, course-, and program-levels. The School of Pharmacy provides a working example of this flow. Using AEFIS, they have mapped all the courses to program outcomes and are now mapping course assignments.
  • Clear rubrics and outcomes can make the “rules for success” in a class more visible to students.
  • Granularity in rubrics shows data on the individual components that students need more work on.
  • Biting off more than you can chew is an easy pitfall when working with outcomes. Start slow and gradually grow your scope.

For more information on Outcomes in Canvas, visit the session’s activity sheet.


The Active Teaching Lab is a Faculty Engagement program with sessions held on Thursdays from 1:00-2:00pm (room 302) and Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (room 120) in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Dr.) during fall 2018. Check out upcoming Labs or read the recaps from past Labs. We build interdisciplinary conversations that are more emergent than a presenter and more dynamic than a panel — a conversation with colleagues sharing challenges, solutions, and experiments on topics selected by a variety of stakeholders.

Sign up for regular Lab announcements by sending an email to


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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