Having students asking questions on Canvas via the "Add comment area" is very very very stupid. If students have a question, they need to email me. Having a hidden way to ask a question will only frustrate students.
Hi Timothy Bigelow
I am not sure what you mean by "Fix". I personally find nothing wrong with the various communication modalities available in Canvas. Sure, many of them could use improvement, and there are ideas posted in the community for that.
My students are not frustrated by the submissions comment tool, and use it frequently - and I have been teaching in Canvas for 5+ years, and submission comments are hardly hidden but many have asked that they be more easily accessible. Every teacher has their own preferences for how they wish to have student communicate with them, and I like that Canvas does have options. I prefer that my students communicate with me via the Inbox, discussions or submission comments; but really prefer they not use email. I also insist that no assignments be submitted by email.
So again, it is all about "preferences", and I cannot support an idea that might resule in less options to choose from.
There is no option to disable this in Canvas. Canvas just told me this.
Timothy A Bigelow
Iowa State University
Center for Nondestructive Evaluation
255D Applied Sciences Complex II
1915 Scholl Road
Ames, IA 50011
Hi Timothy Bigelow!
First, Welcome to the Canvas Community! Here you'll find many passionate Canvas Users who love to collaborate and improve the learning experience for students.
Second, I'm sorry that you are frustrated with the Comment feature in Canvas. When you say "add comment area" is that in Submission Comments? (How do I reply to submission comments in Conversations as a student? and How do I view assignment comments from my instructor?)
I've used submission comments as an instructor and as a student, and while it may take a couple of clicks in some cases to get to them, I absolutely love the context that these comments provide. I set my settings so I get an email whenever a student makes a submission comment ( How do I set my Canvas notification preferences as an instructor?), and from that email, I'm able to directly to that submission, see the comment alongside the assignment itself, and then provide my reply. It keeps the dialogue between teacher and student with the assignment, and I find that very valuable during learning and grading processes.
If you'd prefer to have your students use your institution's email, you can always add that to your syllabus or course page. However, there is not a way to disable submission comments for a course. I'd like to learn more about your frustrations. If you could add some more detail or a use-case to this thread, that would be great!
Something I always try to remind myself is that while I have my own communication preferences based on what makes sense to me, my students are usually in three or four other classes besides mine, and it's quite possible that each class will have a different communication protocol. That means it is always up to us to be really really really clear with students about what communication protocol we would like them to follow in our classes and, ideally, the reason why we are asking them to do things in a particular way.
Telling the students what you expect helps them keep straight the different expectations in their different classes.
And telling them why can help them see that it is just not a random requirement but something that will help us to communicate with them more effectively. My experience is that students really do want to help make things go smoothly, but it is not always obvious to them just why we are asking them to do things in a particular way.
I too have this same problem. Students see my comment on their assignment and do not think about how this system works. I do get helpful comments on first submissions that help me such as "I didn't have the text to look at." However, if I have already graded and commented on an assignment, there should be no comment box accessible to the student. Another possible fix is to give this information in the student video that shows them how to submit assignments. Of course, my telling them over and over doesn't help either.
To be clear: I respect and admire the mission of forcing instructors to allow students to post follow-up questions on assignments.
That said, I have 1200 students this semester across 4 courses. In 2 weeks, I've received over 600 submission comments. The vast majority are simple comments like "Here is my Homework 1" that need no response.
Needless to say, I can't click through 40 comments per day on the off chance that one needs a reply. So, I have to ignore them. But that means if a student does use that box, I ignore them in return.
I've posted announcements to students letting them know that submission comments are unmonitored and they will not receive replies, but I shouldn't have to do that: this feature is fundamentally incompatible with large classes, so it ought to have the option to be disabled.
Timothy, I hope you don't mind that I edited the title of your feature idea submission; with its former title ("Fixing problem with student communication"), our members were having difficulty finding it using customary search terms.
In my experience so far, our large enrollment courses (100 students +) are hit particularly hard with assignment submission comments. I believe instructors should, at the very least, be able to opt out of assignment submission comments at the course level for the following reasons:
Ultimately, instructors need a way to disable assignment submission comments. We can't force a communication channel on instructors who aren't going to use it, because it creates communication breakdowns between students and faculty.
I like this a lot. A very detailed explanation of why we should have the option to do this.
Just to clarify, you mean the "Add a Comment" area on the "Submission Details" page, correct?
As there is also a "comments" area on the actual submissions page as well (which places any comments made their in the SpeedGrader to the right of the submission in the gray-ish column above the "Add a Comment" box.
Also, do you as the teacher not plan to leave comments on the SpeedGrader page to the student? [which also uses the "Add a Comment" box]
Hi Susan Hicks (UCF-CDL), at least in my university's case, they are talking about the assignment comments section showing in both the Speedgrader and the pop up view from the main gradebook for the same assignment and student as well.
For large enrollment courses at our university (FSU), our instructors have stayed away from assignment comments and have instead either provided in-line comments in the Speedgrader, or used Turnitin's feedback studio (depending on whether or not the assignment is Turnitin). One of the reasons why they are staying away from assignment comments is that they know students have started to realize they have the ability to respond, often with inappropriate/snarky comments (particularly if their grade is low).
I can understand why instructors might want to use assignment submission comments, and as a result I would be willing to advocate for locking down the assignment submission comments so only for graders (instructors and TA's) can use them. One thing I'm hearing again and again is the student access to submission comments is causing nothing but miscommunication between students and instructors.
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