Gotcha with Commons - templates

Document created by Mark Wittervan on Aug 1, 2017
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This is a story of two parts, one a user error that was a pain to clean up and the other is what I think is a bug, what canvas support says is functioning as designed and what may be a problem between American and Australian English.



As a user, think before you hit the big green button.

As an Admin, don’t leave yourself enrolled in course, clean up.

As an Institution, test, retest and make sure it works the way you think it should.


Here at The University of Adelaide we are using templates to try and standardise where information and course content is kept across all our courses. As some course are new and some copied from past use, we use a cut down template when we create all our course and have check lists for our teaching staff to setup their course.  If the course is new, we ask staff to import a more in-depth template from commons.  In both templates, we have a pro-forma announcement with the ‘Delay posting’ option set for 2035 to stop the this announcement being posted once the course is published if it has not been edited (large slabs of pink instructional text needs to be removed)


So, to gotcha one. After receiving a report that the unedited announcement had been sent out in a new course for our semester 2 start, I attempted to bring in the content from commons to a test course. Being a time poor user, I did not read/look closely at screen and selected the ‘All’ check box, thinking it was all the content of the commons material

Image of commons import into course

What it really is asking is what courses do I want to import into. So be selecting all and hitting ‘Import into Course’ I added this content to all the course I am a teacher in. It would be nice to have a ‘Are you really sure’ conformation for this process if multiple courses are selected.


Now as a bad admin, I have left myself in quite a few courses [I have now removed myself]. First thing was to clean up all this content that should not have been added.  Not a simple exercise as I needed to delete each item individually. Unfortunately, no option to remove all recently added items, only a ‘undelete’ option if something is deleted.


And so, to gotcha two. Although the material uploaded to commons had the ‘Delay posting’ option set to 2035 for the announcement included in the content, any course that was already published automatically sent this un-edited announcement to students. To check that the commons content had the correct setting, I downloaded it as an imscc package and uploaded it to another course. The delayed posting was set to 2035, so is this a bug? After chatting with Canvas support for 45 minutes they said it was ‘expected behaviour’ and pointed to this documentation  Which starts, ‘Options/settings are retained in resource imports. All due dates will be removed.’


To me, the ‘Delay posting’ is an Option/setting as it is under options and should be retained, but apparently it is a due date and so will be removed.

 Options setting

What do you think, is this a translation issue between US and AU English, or is this a bug?  I would like to know your thoughts.

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