Tech Tip of the Week: Navigating Canvas Using the Sidebar

Today’s Tech Tip is all about navigating Canvas using the sidebar. On the sidebar you will find the following: Account, Dashboard, Courses, Calendar, Inbox, History, Commons, and Help. Below are descriptions for what you can find under each section and why you might use it while on Canvas.
  • Account: This is where you can access your profile, notifications, and settings. You can also logout of Canvas by clicking Account and then clicking Logout from the sidebar that appears on the right.
Screenshot of the sidebar on Canvas with Account selected
  • Dashboard: Think of this as the “home screen” of Canvas. If any of your instructors are using Canvas, this is where you will be able to see your course sites. 
  • Courses: This is another place where you can access your courses. If you click Courses, an additional sidebar will appear to the right with a list of all your courses and the links to each of their corresponding course pages.
Screenshot of sidebar on Canvas with Courses selected
  • Calendar: This is where you can view when assignments are due in a calendar view. All of your courses will have due dates listed within your course site, but the calendar option is a great way to view assignment due dates for all your Canvas courses on a calendar. Note that each course corresponds to a color, so it is easy to distinguish which assignments are for each course.
Screenshot of Canvas Calendar
  • Inbox: This is where you can view any messages your instructor or fellow classmates have sent you.
  • History: You can view what you have recently accessed on Canvas by clicking History.
Screenshot of Canvas sidebar with History selected
  • Commons: This may not be something you use frequently, but Commons is a learning repository that lets instructors find, import, and share resources. For more information on Canvas Commons, please see Canvas’s documentation here.
  • Help: You can access Canvas support links when you click here. 
Screenshot of Canvas sidebar with Help selected
Keep an eye out for next week’s Tech Tip which will be a video walk through of what a Canvas course site will look like! As always, if you have any questions or want to learn more about how to use Canvas before the fall semester, please reach out to the Help Desk!

Tech Tip of the Week: Setting the Time Zone in Zoom

If you have ever experienced Moodle showing the wrong time for class Zoom sessions, the first course of action will be to verify that your Zoom account reflects the correct time zone. To do this, please follow these steps:

1. Go to and log in with your NetID and password.

2. Click on Profile on the left side of the screen.

3. Once you are on your profile, find where it says Time Zone. Click Edit on the right side of the screen.

4. A drop down will appear where it lists your time zone. Select the correct
time zone and click Save.

5. Once you save, go to your class’s Moodle page and verify that the time of
class is now correct.

image of zoom profile with time zone boxed in green

If you would like to view our documentation on how to change your time zone in Zoom, please view this page on the iSchool wiki.

Hiding Your Video Feed From Yourself in Zoom

This week we are sharing how to hide your video feed from yourself when you are in Zoom!

To hide your self view, right click on your video/picture to get the menu display. From the menu, select Hide Self View. If you are in Speaker mode, you will have the same option, but you will first have to enter full-screen view, hover over your image, and choose the icon on the left that says Hide thumbnail video when you hover over it. A box will appear in its place that tells you who is speaking.

Screenshot of Zoom options and how to hide self view

To show your self view again, right click on any user’s display and from the menu select Show Self View. If you are in Speaker mode, go to the box that tells you who is speaking and click the middle icon.

Screenshot of Zoom settings and how to show self view

For more information on how to hide your self view in Zoom, please see their documentation here.

He’s Ready for His Close Up!

Our POTW is this dapper little dude! Bert is a strapping 10-year-old Miniature Dachshund who isn’t so mini. His daily jobs are protecting his house from bikes, squirrels, joggers, and the occasional rabbit. He also supports Abbie Mills while she does her homework by taking naps nearby in case she needs any assistance. In is free time, he loves playing fetch and tug, painting, and modeling. Bert is truly the best boy, and after he is done barking when you first meet, he really wants to be your friend. ❤️

Picture of a dog with a bow tie

Bonus content of Bert being the amazing artist he is!

Tech Tip of the Week: Graduation!

Hello 2021 iSchool Graduates! Congratulations in advance! We know you will do amazing things with what you’ve learned at the iSchool! This Tech Tip is just for you! 

Do you know what happens to your University email once you graduate? 

Your student status will be removed one year after you leave the University. You can continue to use all of your services until your student status is removed. This means that before it is removed, you will want to make sure to set up email forwarding, back up important files, documents, and projects outside of Office 365 and Box, and keep your NetID current by maintaining an updated password when prompted. Once your student status is removed, you will lose access to the following: 
      • University Exchange (Outlook) Mailbox
      • Microsoft Office 365
      • Online courses (Moodle/
      • U of I Box
      • Linkedin Learning

Do you know how to access transcripts of the official and unofficial variety?

If you’re a current student/are graduating this spring:
      • Order an official PDF or paper transcript by accessing the Registration and Records tab in the Student Self-Service.
Don’t have an active NetID?
Both of these options are for electronic transcripts. If you need a paper one, consult the Registrar Transcript page again for more detailed information.
Being able to easily access your transcripts is a great incentive to keep your NetID and password updated regularly!
While we at the Help Desk can point you in the general right direction, any specific transcript questions should go to the Transcript/Records office (217) 333-9778.

For more information about Convocation please see the School of Information Sciences page about Convocation 2021.

Bouncing Ears, Soft Snores, and So Much More!

Our POTW is Shiloh, an 11 year old Mini Australian Shepherd who was adopted at 3 years old from an Aussie rescue! He lives in San Diego, California, with his favorite human, Olivia. When he isn’t enjoying long walks on the beach and barking at waves, he can be found eating, sniffing, barking at the dog next door, and sleeping and snoring. While he isn’t the biggest fan of other dogs, has a tendency to tear apart toys, and steal socks, he is such a beautiful boy with ears that bounce when he walks. How could you resist bouncing ears?! I know I can’t!
Have a great weekend, iSchoolers, and enjoy a nice walk (even if it can’t be on the beach)!

Picture of a dog on the beach and a note that says pet of the week and the dog's name Shiloh

Tech Tip of the Week: Zoom Green Screen

Did you know there is a green screen feature in Zoom?

You may be familiar with using virtual backgrounds, but if you have a green screen, Zoom has a feature that helps you use it to your advantage. Selecting the green screen box when you choose to set a virtual background helps Zoom distinguish between you and your background. It is helpful to have a solid color background that doesn’t match with what you are wearing, and there is a feature where you can custom set your green screen color, meaning you can use any solid color fabric you have. It also does not need to be fully covering your background to work.

To properly use your green screen, follow the same steps you would use to set a virtual background. Instructions on how to use virtual backgrounds can be found on the iSchool wiki. From there, make sure to check the box next to “I have a green screen.”

If you would like to manually pick the color of your background, click the little oval that appears and select the color that you would like to have as your background.

It is important to note that glitches can happen, and mastering green screen can take some practice. For more information please see Zoom’s documentation on virtual backgrounds.

All Hail Queen Zanie!

Pet of the Week goes out to Zanie! She is the true queen of Professor Ocepek’s house, and she could not let her furry roommate, Jake, take all the POTW spotlight. She is described as possibly the most opinionated cat that has every lived, and there’s even a rule in Zanie’s house all about her: if she is sitting on you, you do not have to get up unless there is an emergency. What a powerful pet! 👑

Picture of a cat laying on pillows

Say Cheese!

POTW goes out to Bagheera, the furry friend rounding out Jen’s trio of pets! No need to be afraid of her wide open mouth, she just loves to show her pearly whites. When she isn’t busy dazzling everyone with her smile, Bagheera loves to lounge on any available mattress she can find, and really…can we blame her? Have a restful weekend, iSchoolers!

A picture of a black and grey cat with it's mouth open, laying on some mattresses