Students: Your instructor may not be using this feature in his/her sections.

The Collaborations tool in Canvas helps teachers or learners work together with the online collaborative document authoring tool Google Docs. Any Canvas user can create a collaboration and invite other users to join.

Effective use of the Collaborations tool requires that learners have an account set up with Google Docs. Many students will already have a Google account, but some may need instruction on how to get started. And although Google Docs is fairly easy to learn on your own, some learners may benefit from instructions on how to navigate and use the tool.

Finally, the concept of cloud-based tools and document storage may be foreign to some, and some learners may appreciate a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Description and Possible Uses

Say that you have been assigned to a group project by your instructor. You may find that sending emails back and forth and trying to find times to meet can be tedious. Keeping track of multiple versions of the same document may also be challenging.

Canvas uses technologies such as Google Docs to allow multiple users to work together on the same document at the same time. Collaborative documents are saved in real-time, meaning a change made by any of its users will be immediately visible to everyone.

Collaborations that use Google Docs require that all participating learners have created and linked their Google account to their Profile. Many of you will already have a Google Docs account, but if you don’t, you will need to get more information from Google’s website.

When Would I Use Collaborations?

  • Use Collaborations to copy and paste lecture notes that everyone can access.
  • An assigned class “secretary” can display notes taken during class for absent students to easily access.
  • Your instructor can share bullet-point lists or agendas for upcoming synchronous classes or meetings
  • You can start a group project with a classmate

There are several advantages to using Canvas's Collaborations tool to manage these:

  • Collaborators can be added from the class roll without collecting email addresses or usernames
  • Canvas centralizes and integrates the different collaborative projects and can retrieve these for assignment submissions, etc.
  • Projects can be tracked or managed within the Canvas system for grading and archival purposes

Information compiled by SUU Online™ © 2017

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