Unable to find a solution, I propose the following:
On Monday afternoon, the new wave of red ink will come washing over my Gradebook, and my students will see another set of completely incorrect Missing labels for the extra credit assignments that they chose not to do. When I found out about this problem, I explained in the announcements and apologized, and I'll need to do another apology in Monday's announcements as the problem is ongoing, and looks worse and worse as more and more of the incorrect labels accumulate.
So far, there has been no (useful) response from Instructure here at the Community. I wrote a long blog post about this two weeks ago, and there are at least five different feature requests about this problem. Maybe there are more; these are the ones I've seen:
When it comes to missing labels on assignments that are NOT missing, I would consider this a bug, and one that urgently needs fixing; it is not a feature request. I personally don't want any of these red labels, I don't consider grace period assignments late, and I think "missing" is an ambiguous and unhelpful designator. Those are just my personal opinions, but the bug is a bug; it's not a matter of opinion: an assignment that is optional is NOT missing, assignments that are turned in manually and graded are NOT missing, etc.
Since I have not received any useful response from anyone at Instructure here at the Community (there was good discussion and comments... but I need to know when the bug will be fixed), I submitted a Help ticket through the Canvas platform. Maybe I will at least be able to find out if the new Gradebook will give me back control so that I can stop the display of incorrect labels. It is really upsetting to have Canvas interfering this way in my communications with students, and I am very disappointed that there is (apparently) nothing I can do about it right now.
Here is the message of the ticket I submitted:
Missing labels in Gradebook are INCORRECT
My students are upset that extra credit assignments are labeled "MISSING" in the Gradebook. I am also upset. Please tell me what I can do about this now. If there is nothing I can do (which I suspect is the case), then please tell me if the new Gradebook will fix this problem, allowing me to TURN OFF the missing labels.
Extra credit assignments are NOT missing. My students should not have the Gradebook shouting at them like this that they have missing assignments that ARE NOT MISSING.
Thank you for your help.
I hope I will get some useful information this way. I will update this post if/when I get a response.
I'm willing to do a lot of work to make the Canvas space useful for my students (and it takes a LOT of work)... but there is no solution I can find for this problem, and it is a very serious problem. Anything having to do with grades and grading is a very serious problem.
This is an ugly bug.
Update 1. I already got a response from Canvas support. It is not very supportive. Empathy much? I'm not sure it is even worth bothering to explain to "Bill" why this response is not adequate. I guess I will write back with this question:
PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION: Will the new Gradebook fix this problem, allowing me to TURN OFF the missing labels?
Update 2. Well, this is VERY disappointing. The new Gradebook will be just as bad as the old one when it comes to interfering with how instructors choose to communicate with students about their course progress. Pinging Beth Mccoy: heads up that the new Gradebook will not solve this problem after all.
For what it's worth, the feature request that Bill is sending me to is this one:
There are others (see above). But my point here is this:
REPORTING A BUG is not the same as requesting a feature.
Update 3. Bill continues to insist that this is a feature, not a bug. I continue to disagree.
An assignment that is NOT required CANNOT be "missing" — look it up in the dictionary; something is missing when it is expected or supposed to be present:
My students are NOT expected or supposed to do the extra credit assignments; ergo, those assignments are NOT missing.
Even worse: the same label is being used correctly in the Gradebook (the required assignments that the students do not do are indeed "missing") while it is also being used incorrectly (the optional assignments are not missing). So, not only are you labeling assignments incorrectly, you are rendering the correct label useless because of the confusion between correct and incorrect use.
Those extra credit assignments DO have due dates, and I currently use the due date and available until date exactly as they are supposed to be used: the due date lets the students know when they should have completed the assignment (IF they are going to do it: their choice), and it also gives them a 12-hour grace period if they happen to miss that date for any reason. That is my approach to all assignments in the class, both the regular assignments and the extra credit options. That is the point of having the two dates: due date and available-until date. I am using the two dates properly, and I am very glad to have that option.
If you tell me that to fix your problem I must change my due dates, that is not acceptable. You need to fix your problem; my due dates are NOT the problem.
Update 4. Bill gave up and I got a much more empathetic response from Scott; it's clear this is not a priority for a fix by Canvas (i.e. it's a feature, not a bug), so I give up. I will manually change my dates. But apparently that does not work either, so I am awaiting further instructions.
Thank you, Scott, for a reply that acknowledges there is a problem here. The canned replies from Bill that I received earlier did not really acknowledge the extremely frustrating situation.
If "Canvas cannot determine whether that assignment/quiz is optional or not" (as you rightly admit), then Canvas should NOT be slapping labels on things where you DO NOT KNOW whether the assignment is missing or not. That is why I say this is a bug: you are putting missing labels where they do not belong and, yes, there is no easy solution to that problem in the absence of more information, which is why this feature needs to be rolled back to beta until you figure out what to do. I am not the only person at the Community who has proposed that it be rolled back to beta.
I know how feature requests work, and I know how long it takes them to be implemented; my class lasts one semester; every week that you fail to provide a fix for this problem is a week that my students are being poorly served by this software. I personally would prefer not to have a red missing label anywhere in my Gradebook, but if you are going to put it there, then put it where the assignment really IS missing. Not on extra credit assignments.
So, let's say I implement your solution-not-a-solution which is to remove my due dates, because that is apparently the only solution I control.
When I tried it, though, it did not work. I opened a Week 3 extra credit assignment, and I made the due date box blank. I assume you can see the logs, so I will not document this with screenshots. here is the item:
I click Edit. The current due date is:
Sep 10 at 11:59pm
I blank that out so the current due date is BLANK.
I hit Save.
And all that does is change the due date to:
Sep 11 at 11:59am
Which is the available until date!
And that is no help at all; the item still shows up as Missing in the Student View of the Gradebook, but now the (new) due date that is there is the available until date. I sure as heck did not put that new due date there; Canvas did.
So you tell me: I'll sacrifice my time to go in and manually change the due dates every week after the week is over (8 assignments times 3 classes per week: 15 minutes of my life I will not get back, times 15 weeks; 4 hours down the drain), but apparently that does not even work.
So, I need you to tell me how exactly to remove the due date in order to remove the Missing label for past quizzes, because that's what I will do. I am awaiting instructions.
Update 5. So, it turns out that what I was told at first is not correct: I cannot just manually remove the due date to remove the Missing label. At least, that seems to be the story now; at this point, I am not confident in anything that I am being told. I was prepared to suck it up and remove the due dates manually, week by week, but here's the email that tells me I have to remove BOTH the due date AND the available until date in order to remove the Missing label:
Screenshot links provided in the email:
And here's my response:
Update 6. I give up. I knew I was going to have to apologize to my students (again) on Monday, but I was hoping I could have some kind of weird fix OR a promise that it would get better with the new Gradebook. But it looks like there is no fix, and it will just be something broken that stays broken indefinitely. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Canvas has zero conception of STUDENT CHOICE and that they don't really care about my students' experience here... but I had hoped the Canvas difference would be apparent here.
It's not. Getting bad news quickly from Support does not meant the news is not bad.
From my fourth person in this Support conversation, James: