Our parents are keen to engage in Canvas particularly monitoring homework which we push out through the global calendar and course calendars. As a non US school we struggle with the limited course view on the calendar as many year groups have 15+ courses. I personally don't see why we cannot have more control over this and allow our users to make the choice of which courses are viewed.
So far we have adopted an 'over the shoulder' approach for parents as we review all the options available to us. This is by no means ideal.
Our preferred option is for parents to view as Observers via the browser. Any website worth its salt should be responsive in its design. I am also concerned about the steps and extras needed to use with the Parent App.
Issues we have come up against....
We are very fortunate to have written some scripts that allow a fair degree of integration of Canvas with our MIS (SIMS). We have had to do this ourselves as, at the moment, there is nothing in place from Capita. The scripts have reduced the time consuming manual aspects of creating and matching up parents to children and then creating separate accounts for parents.
The real problem is then ahead of us.
Many parents have 2 or more children attending school. It is not possible to view global calendars for individual children. Adding a filter feature would be fantastic. I don't know of any way of helping parents - other than imposing strict course naming by staff on courses. I am not sure why this was not considered earlier and would have other massive benefits eg for Learning Support or Teaching Assistants working with individual children.
We did not pursue the app as we felt the limited focus on the gradebook and grades was not how we wished to promote parental engagement with the platform so early in the launch. We also have our staff the option of using Canvas in their subjects in a range of different ways, some of which did not involve grading online.
The App does have this 'toggle' flexibility for parents with 2 or more students and there is now access to a calendar of sorts.
My biggest issue and headache is how we push this to parents. A colleague in a different school has been testing this out and reports back a number of concerns when parents are starting with the app - his comments are next to this:
- Parents need to know to click log in with Canvas and then log in. This is already a problem because it’s not intuitive
- Parents type in school
- Parents log in
- The message “There are no students associated with your account” appears. This is incorrect because we’ve set up parents as observers
- They must again type in the school This is unnecessary
- They need their child’s log in details. The parent and child or the child must send the parent log in details – again not ideal
So we are current in a position where neither option fit what we want to do. Am at a bit of a loss here and wonder if anyone can help....