It would save a ton of time to be able to revise files directly in Canvas, as opposed to downloading them, revising them, deleting the old file and uploading the new one.
Hey Janet Sedlar Welcometo the Canvas Community! Thank you so much for taking the time to join and let us know how things are going for you. I can understand where you are coming from. I am going to look around and see if there are any similar ideas like this already out there, but I wanted to tell you about a feature of Canvas that might save you some time if you don't already know about it. If you keep the file name exactly the same as it was originally, when you upload the revised version to the Files area of Canvas, it will ask you if you would like to "Replace" the existing file. If you choose yes, it will update any links and document previews to reflect the revised version.
I think what you are asking is quite possible by using the Google LTI. It's easy to embed the doc right into any page/discussion/document/assignment and make it a dynamic document so that any changes made to that Google doc (whether from within Canvas or just from Google doc itself) automatically updates! This is how we have our faculty post their Syllabi, etc.
@Voted! Janet, all of our faculty here at Wharton are seeking a clearer file replacement capability, one that is more evident and intuitive than the "use exact same filename" workaround Adam mentions (documented in How do I upload a file to a course? under the Replace Duplicate File heading).
I'll shortly link to this idea from some related pages and predecessor ideas elsewhere in the Community, in hopes that customers who suggested this feature in the past can find and upvote your newly submitted idea.
You might also be interested in these related ideas:
I down-voted this feature request because it's a huge dev and manage project that will exclude as many folks as it serves. File types are as varied as the disciplines. Editing Office files would be nice, but a more robust integration between Canvas and Google Drive could serve this same purpose -- how about a "Cloud File" option in the Files area?
My biggest frustration with the Files area/tool is the lack of a "Replace" option on the file item menu. Instead of waiting for the instructor to upload a file by the exact same name to the exact same place and THEN seeing the "Copy" prompt, "There is already a file named..." and clicking Replace. How about a Replace option along with "Rename, Move, Delete, Share" and just doing whatever is already happening if you stumble upon it?
Don't get me wrong, I don't love having to download (or find on my desktop), revise locally, and then Upload. If the Replace functionality flowed properly now, it would be a nice extension. But the design+dev energy needs to be applied farther up stream at present.
Diana Perpich, it was interesting to read your take on this feature idea. I believe you and I (and many of my institution's faculty) want the same thing:
How about a Replace option along with "Rename, Move, Delete, Share"
But others' definition of revising directly in Canvas might differ from that.
I used to have what seemed like about a million files, organized by folders, subfolders, sub-subfolders, sub-sub-subfolders ad infinum on my computer to house all the files I used for teaching online.
Then one day I said "no mas", and started converting all of my content to either native Canvas pages, or embedded GoogleDocs (for anything I need to update regularly).
Life is good! Life is dang good!
My solution for this has been to embed documents directly into Canvas from Google Drive. Our institution provides O365 to all students, faculty, and staff, but I have yet to get embedded files to work like they do in Google Drive (You can read more about that adventure here: Office365 LTI Phase 2). I embed the document in an iframe to allow the students to view them directly in Canvas, but they can still download them if they want a copy. If I need to change something, I click the blue Sign-In button at the upper-right of the iframe, and I can make changes directly in the iframe. This changes the document in Google Drive, which is really convenient if the doc is embedded in more than one course. The example below was an early test of this feature. I have since refined my use of Google Docs for embeds in that I now place any information that changes depending upon semester or course section directly on the Canvas Page and reserve the embedded doc for the information that generally does not change, which saves on the number of edits.
I really appreciate this approach, Jeffrey Brady. I use it on occasion and recommend it to some instructors, but I have to admit I've been hesitant lately because the cross-platform Authorization is still creating some serious headaches for us.
I know that the integration is a work in progress, but it still feels like one step forward, one step back at this point. At scale, at least.
I also find that lots of folks really, really appreciate the packaging that is a Canvas Course. It's contained. It's portable. And it's a snapshot of what happened that term. If I link to a file called SLS 1501 Syllabus in Fall 2018 and I want to tweak the syllabus for Winter 2019, I have to either create a new Drive doc anyway or risk the Fall students returning to the site to see an inaccurate syllabus. I think Instructure's idea of "Revising Documents Directly in Canvas" is called the Pages tool. Ha!
All this to say thanks for continuing the conversation and reminding me of a good option for consideration. In some scenarios, it's likely to be just the right magic.
Diana Perpich Thanks for letting me know about the issue you have experienced. Since I was going to start using Google Drive linked documents even more in my courses this fall semester, I will at least know, if students have an issue, what it might be.
Do you know if this is an issue only when using certain browsers? I only ask, because when I began to notice issues with Firefox earlier this year (I cannot log out of my Canvas account in Firefox to allow someone else to log-in on the same computer.) I switched back to using Chrome exclusively, and I keep both my personal and work accounts open simultaneously in two Chrome windows. I do this mainly so I can test things in the Free-for-Teachers account using my personal account as the student when I don't trust that I am actually seeing true functionality using the Test Student feature in Canvas. I have placed shortcuts on my desktop to each account in Chrome, so I don't have to worry about logging in each day.
I know that work-arounds are not always ideal, and this solution may not work if an individual is using a school computer that erases settings after logout, but at this point, it is the best solution I have found given that the technology does not allow me to work the way I would choose.
This happened last fall, and it took me by surprise, frankly (“Sure, I can come by your class and be available in case anyone has trouble.”); I was alone in the room and trying to document the various combinations of OS (almost all Macs), browsers (a surprising number of 1st year students with new off-to-college laptops use Safari as the native browser), Google credentials from high school, Google credentials from a few android phones, iCloud credentials, etc!
If I get invited back this fall, I’ll definitely take at least one other person and try to document what might be going on. Of course, 12 months later all those systems have been updated and things might behave completely differently!
diana perpich | learning + teaching | university of michigan library
Diana & Jeffrey,
I found teaching our students (and faculty) ALL of the benefits of logging into Google Chrome profiles and using that as a way to switch back and forth between their school and personal accounts, has helped eliminate 99% of the issues with accessing the embedded Google Doc Assignment feature. And then I drill into our faculty all of the magic that happens when they use the embedded Google Doc Assignment and it's pretty much sold at that point.
I also start the school year off with an email to faculty and to students stating "If you are experiencing this issue, a quick resolve which won't waste your time in class is to open Safari, or a new incognito Chrome browser, log into your school google account and then log into the Canvas course. Then after class time, we can get your main issue resolved (if it's even an issue still at that point)
I like the idea of having them open an incognito window and starting fresh, then troubleshooting later. We do more and more incognito troubleshooting these days. With all the negative news around Facebook and data-sharing, I find faculty much more interested in Incognito lately. I used to get the sense they thought I was asking them to do something dastardly or evoke black-magic. Now, they see the legitimate value of it (even if only for troubleshooting).
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