Skip to main contentSkip to footer

CETL Home About CETL Mission Statement Current Courses Pro-Tips Resources Committee / Meetings Contact Us

CETL Pro-Tips

A collection of the best suggestions from CETL Coordinators and COC Faculty for connecting and communicating with your students.

Have a suggestion for a CETL Pro-Tip? Email us:

Fall 2022 Pro-Tip

Do your students confide in you with context into their lives, or maybe request an extension on an assignment but you worry about remembering it later on in the semester?  Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a way to ‘make a note of it’ in a relevant place (like the grade book)? Well, good news, there is!

Here are two ideas to remember when a student asks for a special request or consideration or you just want to remember some detail about that student! 

For general semester notes, you can add a 'Notes' column to your gradebook.  The student does not have visibility to this Notes column.   

To open the Notes column, in the Gradebook go to View - -> Notes

Notes column in Canvas

Then, whenever you are in the gradebook, you will remember your note.   

Example of Notes column

For specific assignments requests, you can add a comment to SpeedGrader where you would normally give feedback, but DO NOT publish the comment.  Then when you go back and grade, you will see the unpublished comment and it will trigger a memory of your conversation.  

Comment in Speedgrader

You can then delete the comment and still remember to check and see how your student is feeling!  

Fall 2021 Pro-Tip

Do you have your students reflect on their learning at the end of the semester?  If you do, consider formatting that reflection in a "Letter to a Future Student."  Have your students write to your future students and give them advice about success in your class!  Here is an example:

Reflection is an important part of the learning process.  Reflection is also important for me as an instructor to understand and honor your experience this semester in our class. 

Please write a letter to a future student in one of my classes.  In this letter, please reflect on your experiences this semester.  Answer the following guiding questions, but please make the letter your own.  

  • What part of the class was the most interesting to you?  
  • How can this future student be successful in my class?
  • Where or when should this future student reach out for clarification or help?
  • What did you learn about ___________ that surprised you?  
  • Did you learn anything in this class that changed your perspective _______?

It has been an honor journeying with you this semester.  Please share your newly acquired knowledge with future students in my class.

Spring 2021 Pro-Tip

Quick Pro Tip - If you use Discussion Boards in your online classes, consider distancing the posts and the following suggestions.  

  • Initial posts due on Thursdays with two classmate responses by Sunday at 11:59 PM.*   [*Days and times are up to your own pacing and planning]

Thursday* nudge - message students who haven’t posted yet in the Gradebook with a nudge.  [For example, I notice you haven’t posted your initial discussion response.  Let me know if you have questions!]

Messaging Students in Dashboard