Gideon Williams

Calendars, calendars...and a thank you!

Blog Post created by Gideon Williams on Nov 15, 2016

Starting Canvas in our school, it was agreed that all homework should be put on the calendar for the course you teach to encourage students to get on to and explore the platform.

 

Staff could make entries either as:

  • An event - For tasks not related to Canvas eg complete a worksheet, drawing images or reading task
  • A Canvas feature - If you wished students scores to be stored on the gradebook eg a quiz, discussion, on/offline assignment etc

 

In addition, we asked all teachers to create a syllabus page on each course with information to parents and student about the course  and our expectations of Canvas in supporting the learning that would take place. The syllabus page is very handy for showing the course calendar and a list of every item (homework) added to the course.

 

Now for the tricky bit....!

 

As a school with a UK curriculum, we have upwards of 15 different courses that students (and some staff) are enrolled in. The global calendar is currently limited to 10 which means that students either have to:

  • Unselect one course then select another course to view the homework on the global calendar (not easy with younger ones and too easy to get lost in different shades of colour!)
  • Go to the main course then look at the syllabus page and list of events (the syllabus calender is quite small and often the homeworks get lost in the list below)

 

The challenge for staff is even greater because:

  • When adding a homework via the global calendar, it is too easy to forget to select your course when writing the event (leading to homework being given to different groups!)
  • If your course is not on the global calendar then you cannot add an event to it without re-selecting it (annoyingly upsetting work flow)
  • If you decide to add an event via your course you cannot do it because the calendar on the syllabus page only links to the events below it (I didn't tell staff that one - I was too scared :O)

 

I posted an idea to the Community in hope rather than expectation. This was to add a link to the course calendar in every course that could bring up the course calendar for students to view and staff to add to. You can see the post here - Add link to Course Calendar on Course Menu bar

 

I also asked Michael Kop, our outstanding technical support person in school who has done some amazing things with our Canvas such as integration with our MIS (SIMS), CSS styling and links with H5P for resizing their quizzes (amongst many others) if this was something he could have a think about..

 

15 minutes later he had done it.

 

Michael has written (in his words) some 'quick and dirty' javascript which places a link called Check Homework at the bottom of every course.

 

Here is what it looks like on a course:

When you click on the link it takes you to your course calendar eg

 

So to the code. Here it is below, kindly used and to be shared with permission of Michael:

 

You can edit the link text on the first line, and more importantly it will automatically pick up on the current tenant (url)...

 

var LinkText = "Check Homework"; //Edit between quotes to change the link text

 

var cururl = location.href;

if (cururl.indexOf("/courses/") >= 0)

{

var CanvasTenant = window.location.host.split('.')[0]

                var courseid = cururl.split('/')[4];

                var newsechtml = "<li class='section'><a href='https://" + CanvasTenant + ".instructure.com/calendar?include_contexts=course_" + courseid + "' class='settings' style='font-weight:bold;' tabindex='0'>" + LinkText + "</a></li>";

$('#section-tabs').append(newsechtml);

}

 

I hope it makes sense. Let me know if it works for you :O)

 

Thanks Michael, you are a superstar! We wouldn't have achieved half as much without your support, expertise and answering the phone long after you should have left the office.

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