How do I add a column to the gradebook for a paper quiz without creating an erroneous and unnecessary fake assignment?
Hi Catherine Peterson,
Adding a column to the gradebook always requires the creation of an Assignment (or Quiz or Discussion, if we're being technical), but I wouldn't say it has to be an erroneous or unnecessary Assignment.
If you set the Assignment as having a Submission Type of 'No Submission', then it won't ask students to turn anything in and it will be closer to a pure gradebook item. However, the benefit of having it as an Assignment also means that, if you want, you could give it a due date to alert students that this paper quiz is coming up and include materials in the body of the Assignment that will help students prepare for the quiz. These are optional, but in my opinion they fit the spirit of the Assignments tool, which is meant to help make the required assessments in the course more visible to students.
In Canvas, an "assignment" is essentially equivalent to a gradebook column. That is how columns are created and managed. You can set the assignment type as "On Paper" for submissions that will be on paper rather than through Canvas, but you can't create a column without an assignment.
Well that's annoying. So I have to clutter up the assignments list with pop quizzes? It seems like this is a recipe for students to miss actual assignments.
All right, is there any way to hide an assignment from the students' view while still being able to input the grade in the associated column? The only option I'm finding is making it unavailable as of the start of the course, because the "unpublished" (and therefore not visible) state prevents me from putting grades into the column. But the students can still see it when I publish it, even if it is "unavailable", which defeats the purpose of a pop-quiz.
Hi Catherine. I'm not aware of any way you can add points to a student's grade without them being able to see the assignment column associated with that grade. I understand the concern that an assignment list could get long with a large number of pop quizzes. Have you considered creating assignment groups (How do I add an assignment group in a course?)? Assignment groups can be weighted or not, but in the assignment list students will see the assignments in their associated groups. If you had different groups it might be easier for students to see what are pop quizzes versus other assignments. Assignment groups don't change the course summary on the Syllabus page though.
I did see the assignment groups, and that cleans it up for me, but still allows the students to see things (if the relevant column is published in the gradebook) that I don't want them to see in the assignments list, ever. Is there no way to permanently hide a published assignment?
Hiding some assignments completely and not others is difficult. There are a lot of places where you can choose to place assignments or not. For example, if you use modules you could add some assignments to a module and not others. You also could show or hide the Assignments or Syllabus tab. However, it sounds as though you have only some assignments you would like to hide and if there is a column in the gradebook, students can always click on the link in the column header to go to the assignment. The only thing that I can think you might try is creating one assignment for pop quizzes and use a rubric where each pop quiz is a row in the rubric. Maybe in this way you can have only one assignment for these quizzes but update the rubric each time with the day's score. Generally, in my view Canvas was created to minimize the clicks needed to teach a course. In previous systems I would need to create an assignment and a gradebook entry, and then link the two. This allowed the two to be separated, but created overall a lot more work for how I taught since I had to do the linking for all assignments (many) and then had to create a separate calendar event for each again. In Canvas, creating the assignment adds it to the calendar, gradebook, course summary, assignment list, etc., but it doesn't make it easy to have something in one place but not another.
That's what I was afraid of, Eric. I have to say, my campus just transferred from BlackBoard to Canvas, and the BlackBoard gradebook functionality was much easier. Creating an assignment automatically added a column to the gradebook, and I could add tests to the gradebook without having unnecessary placeholder assignments for them. This is going to clutter up the course, and my OCD detests clutter. Well, off to the features requests, I guess.
Well, it is great to have you part of the Canvas Community. I can't speak about BB, but I have been a part of two transitions from LMS 'X' to Canvas and while there is normally a feature here or there that folks miss, overall in both of our transitions instructors reported they liked Canvas very much. Hopefully that is your experience as well but keep us updated on the switch!
There are many folks here who have been part of a transition from Blackboard. Both Benjamin Rodriguez (Before You Migrate Courses From Blackboard to Canvas) and Nicholas Jones (Preparing Your Canvas: Starting a new LMS) blogged about it recently. If questions come up about specifics of such a move, I am sure that our former BB folks will be happy to provide insight from their experiences. I will keep my eyes open in case you post a feature idea for voting!
We also moved from Blackboard not so long ago, so I understand the frustration.
However, the thing that helped our faculty the most is to start seeing "Modules" as the place to organize everything that the students saw, and to hide the "Assignments", "Quizzes", "Discussions" areas from students and treat them as places for them (the faculty) to manage and organize all those things together in one place--more like the "Course Tools" section of the Blackboard control panel than the "Course Menu".
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