External App: NoteBowl

Yale is currently conducting a pilot of NoteBowl for Spring 2019 and Fall 2019.  The tool is available to all academic courses

NoteBowl is an alternative discussion board tool with advanced features and a more intuitive user interface.  NoteBowl provides the ability for instructors to create graded and ungraded course discussions where students can post text or audio comments asynchronously.  

NoteBowl is comprised of 2 distinct tools:

  1. Bulletin Tool
  2. NoteBowl Discussion Assignments

For more information about this tool, please visit the NoteBowl website and help articles.

Bulletin Tool

Features of the Bulletin Tool

The NoteBowl "Bulletin" tool is a space where course members can converse.  It can be similar to a water cooler conversation - or it can be used as a coordinated place where students can ask questions and other course members (instructors, teaching fellows, or other students) can reply.  

Some of the features that the Bulletin provides include:

  • Ability to "pin" posts so that they always appear at the top [A]
  • Ability for users to choose if their name will appear next to their post [B]:
    • Display name to all
    • Display name to only instructors
    • Do not display name at all
  • Ability to "like" posts
    • Instructors can use the "liking" feature to endorse responses that are correct or most appropriate.  A post liked by an Instructor will have a distinctive green check mark. [C]
Overview of Bulletin Features

Turn on Bulletin in Your Canvas Course

  1. Log into Canvas
  2. Navigate to the course site
  3. Once in your course, click on the "Settings" tool [1].
  4. On the "Settings" page, click the tab for "Navigation" [2].
  5. The "Navigation" tab is divided into 2 sections:
    1. The upper portion of the page displays items that appear in the course navigation menu.
    2. The lower portion of the page displays the tools that have been hidden from student view.
  6. Find the "Bulletin" item in the lower portion of the page and drag it to the upper portion. [3].
  7. Go to the bottom of the page and click the "Save" button [4].
  8. The "Bulletin" tool will now appear in your course navigation menu.
Turning on the Bulletin tool

How to post in the Bulletin Tool

  1. Go to the "Bulletin" tool in your course.
  2. In the box provided [1], enter your text.
    1. If desired, you can add an attachment or a recording to your post by clicking on the appropriate button just below the text box [2].
  3. Before you post, you can select how your name will appear next to your post.  Click the arrow [3] next to the "Post" button and select from the following options in the dropdown [4]:
    1. Post as yourself - with your name displayed.
    2. Post as anonymous - with your name hidden from everyone except for the instructor.
    3. Coming in January Post as totally anonymous - with your name hidden from everyone.
  4. When you are done with your post, click the "Post" button [5].

As you look through the posts in the Bulletin, you can click the "Comment" button on a post [6] to reply to it.  Posting a comment is very similar to creating a post.  If you read a post or a reply that you agree with or find interesting, you can click the "Like" button [7].  Posts/Comments that are liked by an instructor will have a green check mark next to the "Like" button [8]

Posting to the Bulletin Tool
Instructor-liked post

NoteBowl Discussion Assignments

NoteBowl Discussion Assignment Features

NoteBowl Discussion Assignments allow instructors to create asynchronous graded (or ungraded) focused discussions.  Unlike the Bulletin tool, NoteBowl Discussion Assignments can be tied to a column in the Canvas "Grades" area and can also be date/time restricted.  

For each NoteBowl Discussion Assignment created, the instructor can set a variety of different options including:

  • Allowing anonymous posts / comments
  • Requiring a minimum number of original posts
  • Requiring a minimum number of comments on other posts
  • Setting a required or recommended word count for posts/comments


Overview of discussion assignment settings

In addition, NoteBowl Discussion Assignment provide instructors with advanced grading tools including:

  • A submission overview - showing how many posts/comments a student has completed.
  • Indicators to show whether or not the student has completed the preset requirements for the assignment.
  • Ability to quickly jump to the posts/comments for a student.
  • Ability to add comments back to a student that are not visible in the discussion assignment.
Overview of discussion assignment statistics
  • Auto-grading students based on either:
    • submission criteria (completed all requirements, completed some requirements, did not submit)
    • grade criteria (do not have a grade yet or already have a grade)
Auto-Grading options

Set up a NoteBowl Discussion Assignment

1. In your course, click on the "Assignments" tool.

2. Click the "+ Assignment" button.

3. Set up your assignment with a Title, Instructions (if desired), and points (if desired).

4. Under the "Submission Type" section, select "External Tool" from the drop down menu [1].

5. Now, click the "Find" button [2].

Canvas Assigment External Tool submission type selection

6. In the pop-up, locate and click on "NoteBowl" [3] and then click the "Select" button [4].

7. Complete the process of creating your assignment.

Selecting the NoteBowl external tool