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Brief Description and Possible Uses

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

Effective use of the Collaborations tool requires that learners have an account set up with Google Docs or EtherPad. Many students will already have a GoogleDocs account, but some may need instruction on how to get started. And though GoogleDocs 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.

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

Instructor Tutorials

Activating Collaborations

The first step for using collaboration tools in Canvas is to enable the Collaborations component in Canvas. Canvas components are enabled when they appear in blue.

Collaborations active.jpg

Collaborations inactive.jpg

If the Collaborations component is inactive in your section, click Settings, then the Navigation tab.

Settings navigation tab modified.jpg

Starting a Collaboration

Once the Collaborations component is enabled, click on that link. Then click Start a New Collaboration.

Start new collaboration.jpg

New text will appear. Select either Google Docs or Etherpad. Which one is selected depends on faculty needs and preferences of the class. More information about Google Docs and Etherpad can be found at their respective websites.

Each option will come with its own options as pictured below.

Google docs auth.jpg

Etherpad auth.jpg

Fill out the information as appropriate and click Start Collaborating.

For EtherPad documents, an access code will appear. Click Create pad.

Create pad.jpg

For Google Docs, you will need to authorize Canvas to access your Google Account. You can always revoke access by Canvas later.

Google grant access.jpg

Once access has been granted, collaboration can begin.

Google Docs Example

Google doc collaborative.jpg

EtherPad Example

Etherpad collaborative.jpg

All of the collaborations for a course can be viewed by clicking on the Collaborations link.

Current collaborations.jpg

Editing or Deleting a Collaboration

Collaborations can be edited or deleted by first visiting the Collaborations page.

To edit a collaboration, click the pencil icon.

Edit delete collab.jpg

Update collab.jpg

To delete a collaboration, click the trashbin icon. Google Docs will give you the option of deleting the link from Canvas.

Delete google docs.jpg

EtherPad will only ask if you are sure you want to delete the document. Note: Once a document is deleted it cannot be retrieved.

Delete etherpad.jpg

Training Materials

Collaborations overview


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