Gerald Q. Maguire

Canvas driven check for space in Physical Classrooms

Blog Post created by Gerald Q. Maguire on Oct 31, 2018

Recently two courses had actual enrollments that exceeded the physical capacity of the classrooms where they were scheduled. I am thinking about writing a tool that would use the student registration data for each Canvas course to compare against the seating capacity of the classrooms that have been assigned to this course.


The basic idea is to use the Canvas API to get the enrollment data, then get the scheduling information (from TimeEdit), then get the classroom data via a local API that gives information about each classroom (including seating capacity for classes and exams). Ideally, this should be able to notify the responsible teacher and the scheduling office when there are too many students for the planned classroom. [Yes, I am aware that many universities avoid this problem either with very good pre-registration systems or via setting caps on the number of students who can enroll in a course. Unfortunately, locally the first is unavailable - scheduling happens almost 6 months before the course, while the latter is possible - it is undesirable.]


Has anyone already used Canvas in this way?


The above is a potential tool that I am considering for a potential project "More tools for Canvas: Helping to simplify the life of students and teachers" - my goal is to devote ~50% of my time for a year (2019) to create tools to support e-learning activities at my university.


A first subproject in the above project is a tool to provide an interactive quiz to collect data for students planning to start a degree project, with the goals: (1) eliminate a paper form, (2) ask only the minimal set of questions necessary, (3) automatically enter this data into custom columns of a gradebook, (4) greatly simplify life for students, teachers, and administrators, and (5) as a part of a process to streamline the entire process from a student submitting a proposal for a topic to the student completing their thesis (with oral presentation and final approved thesis).