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Kung Fu Canvas

Posted by Employee Aug 18, 2016

Canvas has some AMAZING and AWESOME videos and guides!  They are great resources for looking up just about anything you want to know.  However, if someone is Canvas beginner it is hard to know which video(s) to watch first.


As an answer to that concern, I recently developed a course that starts at a logical place and takes the learner through videos and guides to lead them from step one, all the way up to becoming a Canvas whiz.  The course is called Kung Fu Canvas and is available in the Canvas Commons.  Just for fun, I also added badges to add some gamification to the course.  Just like in Kung Fu, learners can earn badges (like Kung Fu belts) as they learn skills.


All the details behind the design and content are below.



Kung Fu Canvas is a professional development course for institutions to use to train anyone teaching a course or building a course in Canvas. This can be used in a self paced course, or as a teaching tool in a face to face professional development class.

  • Become a Canvas Black Belt by learning and using all the cool tools and features of Canvas.
  • Earn your Canvas belts by watching video guides and practicing what you learn.
  • Kung-Fu Canvas belts are: yellow, orange, blue, green, brown and black.


Intended Audience

This course is intended for teachers and instructors in a K-12 or Higher Ed environment. It will also be beneficial for anyone who will be creating a course, for example, school and district administrators as well as course designers.


This course is designed to help teachers and instructors learn how to use Canvas effectively in brick and mortar classrooms AND online learning environments. If you are an online instructor, please note that while the course will refer to 'classrooms' the content applies to online environments as well.


Professional learners (teachers) in this course will watch videos, use Canvas documentation and participate in discussions to learn and apply that learning to their classroom.  Along the way, teachers can earn Kung Fu Canvas belts (badges) to demonstrate their accomplishments.


The content of this course compiles material from 3 primary sources: Canvas Video Guides, FastTrack videos and the Canvas Instructor Guides.  All of these resource are available at any time, in any sequence in the Canvas Community.  This course simply takes these resources and arranges them in a sequence that is easy to follow and apply in the K-12 classroom.

Time Needed 

The entire course should take 6-12 hours. Each belt (module) contains about 45 to 65 minutes worth of videos or reading. Plan on 1.5 to 2 hours per belt to watch the videos, try the things that are demonstrated in the videos and reply to discussion questions. Practicing the things you see in the videos is HIGHLY recommended.


Technical Requirements

Course Size

There are 2 versions of Kung Fu Canvas available.

    1. Kung Fu Canvas (with videos linked) - The super simple installable course.
      If an institution has a content filter that blocks Youtube or Vimeo this will NOT work properly.
      As these videos are streamed from Vimeo and Youtube they are also closed captioned.
    2. Kung Fu Canvas (video files included) - Use this course if the institution blocks Youtube or Vimeo.
      The videos in this course are NOT closed captioned.
      Because all the video files are included in the course, the course size will need to be increased to around 3000MB before importing the content. (Instructions)



Kung Fu Canvas contains instructions on how to set up Badgr or Credly as badging systems.  According to the Badgr web site (referenced Apr 2018), the free version of Badgr allows up to 5000 'students' in a single course for free.  This should allow you to use their LTI for faculty training at no cost (simply enroll the faculty as students in the course.)  Instructure has partnerships with both Badgr and Credly. I encourage institutions to research these options and choose the one that best fits your needs. 


In previous versions of Kung Fu Canvas, Canvabadges was also used as a badging tool.  As of April 2018, Canvabadges is no longer available in the EduAppCenter and is no longer recommended.   



Topics Covered

Belt badge:Requirements to earn:
  • Setting up your account in Canvas
  • Basics features for teaching with Canvas
  • Using Content pages
  • Creating assignments
  • Understanding the gradebook
  • Using discussions
  • Using quizzes
  • Organizing your course
  • Grading with SpeedGrader
  • Communicating in Canvas
  • Using outcomes
  • Using rubrics
  • Using quiz banks
  • Using course analytics
  • Importing content into your course
  • Installing and using apps
  • Staying up-to-date through release notes

STRONG Suggestion after 10 months of feedback

Trying to complete all 6 belts in a short amount of time can be potentially overwhelming.  A good pacing guide would be to complete the first 4 belts in about 4 weeks (1 week per belt.)  If this is done before the semester starts, then have brown & black belt be for semester 2 or even year 2.  The goal is to empower faculty, not overwhelm them.  You may find that faculty will finish the green belt and not want to wait for brown & black... good! Let it be their choice to advance. You can be a VERY successful teacher in Canvas with the first 4 belts. On the other hand, I have also seen some teachers complete 1 belt per day and LOVE it!

Videos Used

The length of each video is in parenthesis. All Fastrack videos are 2 to 3 minutes each.


Yellow (basics)

Canvas Interface Overview (6:52)

User Settings & Profile Picture (5:04)

Notification preferences (4:28)

Canvas Help Resources (4:28)

Rich Content Editor (4:41)

Syllabus Overview (5:03) - includes link - “How to make a screenshot and upload it to Canvas”

Calendar Overview (6:13)

FastTrack Episode 4: Calendar - Time is of the Essence

Announcements Overview (3:47)

FastTrack Episode 1: Announcements - Extra Extra Read all About It!


Orange (assessments and grading)

Pages: Creation & Management (4:59)

Draft State Overview (3:55)

FastTrack Episode 6: Homepage - Make it a Website but Better!

FastTrack Episode 17: Pages - Fun Sized and Bite Sized

Gradebook Overview (7:54)

Course Expectations: Canvas Kaleidoscope (3:04)

Assignments Overview (5:29)

Assignment Creation (5:04)

FastTrack Episode 12: Student Submissions - Snap a Pic and Submit!

FastTrack Episode 16: Daily Assignments - Fast Fives, Bellwork, Daily Warm-up

FastTrack Episode 28: Pick a submission, any submission


Blue (Discussions and Quizzes)

Discussions Overview (8:44)

Discussion Creation (6:28)

FastTrack Episode 20: Discussions: Chat about it!

FastTrack Episode 30: Let's start a Journal!

FastTrack Episode 11: Student View - Do you know what they see?

Groups: Creation & Management (6:03)

Quiz Creation: Questions (7:08)

Quiz Creation: Settings (5:37)

How do I create a quiz with a question group to randomize quiz questions?

How do I reorder questions or question groups in a quiz?

FastTrack Episode 24: Cloze Note Quizzes


Green (Organization, speedgrading & communication)

Course Layout: Customization (4:07)

Modules: Creation & Management (5:11)

FastTrack Episode 9: Modules - The backbone of your Course

FastTrack Episode 18: Modules: Fun Formative Assessments

FastTrack Episode 27: Choose Your Own Learning Adventure

SpeedGrader Overview (5:06)

FastTrack Episode 14: SpeedGrader App - Grade on the Fly!

FastTrack Episode 13: Student Comments - Comments, Questions, Concerns

People Overview (4:29)

Files: Add Course Content (5:39)

Collaborations Overview (3:10)

Communication Overview (6:22)

Conferences Overview (5:59)

Chat Overview (2:55)


Brown (outcomes & quiz banks)

Courses: Creation & Management (5:43)

Fast track videos (choose 5 not already seen) (15:00)

Mastery Paths (5:11)

Outcomes Overview (8:02)

Rubrics Overview (10:51)

FastTrack Episode 31: Students Track Progress

Quiz Banks - No videos exist at this time... these are from the instructor guides

  How do I create a question bank in my course?

  How do I create a quiz by finding questions in a question bank?

  How do I create a quiz with a question group linked to a question Bank?

  How do I align an Outcome with a Question Bank?

  How do I move/copy a question from one question bank to another?

  How do I move multiple questions from one question bank to another?

  How do I import a question bank from one Canvas course to another?

FastTrack Episode 15: Commons - Help me, Help you



Course Analytics (7:21)

Course Settings (4:45)

Course Settings Part 2 (5:23)

Course Import Tool (6:23)

Canvas App Center - External LTI Tools (3:25)

FastTrack Episode 10: LTI's - Freebies We Love!

Fast Track videos (choose 9 more not already seen) (27:00)

Subscribe to release notes



FastTrack Videos to choose from for brown & black belts

(4 of the 13 will be watched for the brown belt. 9 more will be watched for the black belt)

Episode 2: Video Announcements - Level Up your Announcements

Episode 3: Linking your Online Textbooks & Resources - The One Stop Shop

Episode 5: Worksheets - Quick Distribution of Worksheet/Handouts

Episode 7: Media Tool - Take Two! Video Tools

Episode 8: Featured Items - Student Spotlights, Features & Course Vignettes

Episode 19: Submissions: Google, Office365, OneNote

Episode 21: Lights, Camera, Action!

Episode 22: 911, Where are your Emergency sub plans?

Episode 23: Flip it, Flip it real good!

Episode 25: Gallery Stroll through Canvas

Episode 26: Power of Immediate Feedback

Episode 29: Me, reviewing you, reviewing me?

Episode 32: Show & Tell


Video Guides NOT used in Kung-Fu Canvas:

Canvas-PowerSchool Integration Overview

Canvas-Skyward Integration Overview

New Canvas User Interface (UI) Overview

SpeedGrader for Android

SpeedGrader for iOS



If you have any suggestions or find any errors, please let me know.

  • If there are mistakes, they are my fault. Let me know and I'll fix them ASAP.
  • The fabulous FastTrack videos were created by Leslie Stark, our amazing Product Engagement Specialist.
  • The awesome graphics were created by our incredible Instructional Designer, Rachel Robison.
  • The video guides and instructor guides were created by the tireless terrific Canvas Doc Team.


Updates 27 June 2017


Mastery Paths to Brown belt.



Welcome & Syllabus pages to be more inclusive of higher ed users.


Updated videos

  • Announcements Overview
  • Assignment Creation
  • Assignments Overview
  • Calendar Overview
  • Canvas Help Resources
  • Canvas Overview
  • Chat Overview
  • Collaborations Overview
  • Communication Overview
  • Conferences Overview
  • Course Expectations: Canvas Kaleidoscope
  • Course Import Tool
  • Course Layout: Customization
  • Course Settings Part 1
  • Course Settings Part 2
  • Courses: Creation & Management
  • Discussion Creation
  • Discussions Overview
  • Draft State Overview
  • Files: Add Course Content
  • Gradebook Overview
  • Groups: Creation & Management
  • Mastery Paths
  • Modules: Creation & Management
  • Notification Preferences
  • Outcomes Overview
  • Pages: Creation & Management
  • People Overview
  • Quiz Creation: Questions
  • Quiz Creation: Settings
  • Rich Content Editor
  • Rubrics Overview
  • SpeedGrader Overview
  • Syllabus Overview
  • User Settings & Profile Picture


Update 11 Apr 2018

Canvabadges have been completely removed as a badging system in the course.

Even though Canvas is very user-friendly, I am a strong proponent for mandatory Instructor Training and Student Orientation/Training for Canvas. This is regardless of the course modality - traditional, hybrid, or online - because I think everyone can benefit from starting out with the same level of knowledge! I've written about this in a few places, but overall by making it mandatory (and doing a couple of extra things!) we've been able to increase our student retention, student success, and Instructor/Student satisfaction with Canvas.


Because I truly believe in openness and that the only way to advance is to freely share our knowledge and work, I have shared our Canvas Instructor Training course and Canvas Student Orientation course to Canvas Commons. To find these courses in Commons you can search by my name (Kona Jones) or the name of the courses. In addition, if anyone does not have access to Commons please let me know and I'll be happy to provide a link to the course file(s).


Also, because I believe in previewing before downloading things in Commons (or uploading a file), below are the public versions of both courses:


We regularly update our courses based on changes to Canvas, as well as feedback from Students and Instructors. We also appreciate hearing from those who are using the content! We can't improve what we're doing if people don't provide feedback, so please shoot me a message, I'd love to chat with you!

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