Taking Charge of Your Electronic College Resources

by Brett Schultz

How to customize Canvas and receive notifications, sign up for E2Campus, and add your Ravens Email to your phone’s e-mail app.

With mid-terms just passed, students may have come to realize that their success in school likely requires them to interact efficiently online with their classes. Computer technology makes interacting convenient, but often the customization options that expedite work are hidden or difficult to understand.

This handy guide will help you get the most out of your electronic resources for college, whether you’re a new student or if Orientation seems like so many credits ago.

Customizing Courses Displayed on the Canvas Dashboard

Most of the classes at RACC rely, in some way, on the Canvas Learning Management System. Canvas is an integrated way to interact with instructors and students, but it comes with some frustrations. When the semester starts, some students can’t find their enrolled courses on the Canvas Dashboard, or they only see older courses from the previous semester. Usually, the Dashboard will update automatically given time, but it is easy to the change courses that are displayed on the Dashboard.

Essentially, the process simply requires a student to identify course as “favorites.” Sign in as you normally would from a computer. Locate the “Courses” icon on the left side of the screen, and click it. A pop up menu will appear. On the menu there should be a link called “All Courses.” Click that link. There, you will be directed to a screen that displays the past, current, and future courses in which you have enrolled. On the left side of each course, there is a star. A full yellow star indicates the course is selected and will appear on the Dashboard. Make sure all the courses you would like to appear on the Dashboard and receive notifications from have this yellow star checked. To remove a course from the Dashboard, simply uncheck its yellow star, turning the star white.

Customizing the Dashboard Course Tile Name and Color

If you’re feeling a little decorative, you may want to alter the color or displayed name of a course on Canvas. Each course can be customized with a different color, or given any nickname you like. To make this change, start by clicking the small pencil icon in the upper right corner of a course tile. To change the name, type in the box that says “Nickname.” To change the color, select whichever color you like. If you want a custom color not listed as a default option, you can enter the hexadecimal value of any color you want. This is entered as a number (#) sign followed by six alphanumeric characters. The website Color-Hex.com can help you find a color and learn its hex value. Once you find a color, copy the code and enter it in the menu. If you’re satisfied with the color and name, click “Apply.”

Adding a Profile Picture to Canvas

You’ve come all this way customizing Canvas, why not add a truly personal touch? Adding a professional profile picture shows that you are a serious and friendly student. It will also make it much easier for your professor to take attendance in class and help your fellow students learn who you are.

To change your profile picture, click the “Account” icon on the top left corner of your screen. There, a pop up menu will appear with a “Settings” link. Click the link. A settings page will appear with a circle to the left of your name. Click the circle and a profile picture menu will appear.

You have three picture options: upload a file, take a picture, or add an avatar image. To “Upload a Picture” that is saved on your computer, simply find the file you want and click select. Then, click “Apply” in the menu. To take a picture, if your computer has a camera, click the “Take a Picture” box and follow the prompts by your webcam software, then click “Save.” The third option is “From Gravatar.” Canvas allows you to create a free avatar – a picture that represents you on the web – by using Gravatar. Gravatar is the name of a service that creates a universal avatar for your web profiles. If you have an email address registered with your Gravatar account, you can enter it in the Canvas Profile Picture Menu and it will add the Gravatar automatically. If you do not have a Gravatar account, go to Gravatar.com to create your free avatar. Click “Save” when finished importing your Gravatar image into the Canvas Profile Picture Menu.

Adding an Email Address or Phone Number to Canvas

You can add an email address or phone number to receive updates and notifications from Canvas. We recommend keeping your RACC email as the default email address to keep all assignments in one place, but you can change it to any email you’d like by clicking the star followed by your email address under the “Ways to Contact” menu on the Canvas “Settings” screen.

To access the Canvas settings screen to add an email address or phone number, click the “Account” icon on the top left corner of the screen from the Canvas website. A pop up menu will appear. On the menu, click “Settings.” This selection will take you to the Canvas settings page. There, you will be able to scroll down to the bottom and add an email address or phone number. You can also remove any email addresses or phone numbers by clicking the trash can.

Pushing Canvas Notifications to SMS and Email

Canvas is more powerful than most students know. The interface has a notification for just about any action that occurs, including (but not limited to) Due Dates, Grading, Discussions, Conversations, Schedules, and Announcements. These categories are broken down into more specific events. You can customize the types of events you want to be notified about, and how to be notified, such as through text (SMS) and/or email.

Here’s how to change which types of notifications you’ll receive and how. From the Canvas website, click your “Account” icon on the top left of your screen. There, a pop up menu will appear. Click the “Notifications” link. You will directed to a page that looks like Figure 1.

canvas
Fig. 1

As you can see, the menu is very simple and will display all email addresses and phone numbers. Currently, I have two email address columns because I have two email addresses registered, and only one SMS service. The “Push Notification” column is the master switch that will send all notifications to all devices listed for each event.

Signing Up for E2Campus

E2Campus is a campus-wide alert system that RACC uses to notify students of emergencies and cancellations. Here’s how to sign up for E2Campus alerts. When you sign into the myRACC portal, on the left there is a column titled “Launchpad.” If the Launchpad menu is not already expanded, click the “Launchpad” link to expand it. There you should see the “E2Campus” link. Click the “E2Campus” link. Once clicked, there should be two options: “Sign up for e2 Alerts” and “e2 User Login.” If you have never subscribed to E2Campus before, click the first option. You will be prompted to create an account and enter all emails and phone numbers you want to receive notifications. If you have used E2Campus in the past, click the login link to change your account notifications settings.

Adding your Raven Email to Your Phone’s Email App

For Android phones, open the email app. If you don’t have an email app on your phone, you can find one on the Google Play store. When you open the app, it should ask for you to enter an email account automatically, however you can add an account manually. To do this, find the email app settings button in one of the top corners of the screen (with some apps, you can enter the settings menu by holding the back button). The settings icon usually appears as three dots or a gear. Tap that button.

Somewhere on the page will be an “Add Account” button. Tap it. There you will be asked to enter the full email address. Press next or continue, if needed. Then, enter the password but do not click next. Instead, enter your password and select “Advanced Setup.” This may also be titled “Manual Setup.” The account type you should select is IMAP. Tap next or continue. Now you should be on the incoming settings page. The username should be the full Ravens email address, and your password should be entered here. The “IMAP Server” field may be filled in with “ravens.racc.edu.” You must change it to “outlook.office365.com.” The incoming “Port” number should be set to “993,” and the “Security Type” should be set to “SSL/TLS.” Tap next or continue. You should be on the outgoing settings page. Be sure the “SMTP Server” is “smtp.office365.com,” the outgoing “Port” number is “587,” and the “Security Type” is set to “STARTTLS.” Tap the next or continue button. You should arrive at a syncing and notification screen. Here, you can select which options work best for you. Last, you should be asked to give an account name. This is optional, but a good name would be “RACC Student Email.” You will need to enter your full name in the “Your Name” box. This will be displayed on your messages. Tap finish.

For iPhones, open the settings application. Tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars.” Tap “Add Account.” Now, select “Exchange” from the list of email services. Enter your full Ravens email address in the “Email” field. Enter your password and account description in the “Description” field. A good description would be “RACC Student Email.” Tap “Next.” Enter “mail.office365.com” in the “Server” field, your full email address in the “Username” field, and tap “Next.” In “Mailboxes,” select the new mailbox. If you named it “RACC Student Email,” it will be listed as “RACC Student Email.” Tap the email. Tap “Inbox.”

Technology can be confusing, but hopefully this guide helped to make things a little more transparent—and useful. Now you can devote all of your mental faculties to those less-than-transparent essay questions.

For any help with adding email accounts to your phone, be sure to email the RACC help desk at helpdesk@racc.edu or call 610-372-4721 ext. 5171 option 2 or visit the student help desk located in the Student Union Building.

As always, if you want to learn more about something tech-related, be sure to email FSJ@racc.edu.