Laura Gibbs


Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Jan 3, 2019


James-the-API-Miracleworker has done it: he wrote a script to REMOVE missing and/or late labels. You can find all the details here, including very clear instructions for how to run the script:


I had never run a script from my browser developer console before, but it was so easy! I ran the script once for late labels, and once for missing labels. And IT WORKED. No more red labels. You can see the proof here: a screenshot of the same student record as in my original blog post... now with no labels.

This is absolutely amazing, James Jones!!!!! I will send a note to the Support desk to make sure they know about this for anyone else who writes in with the same problem I reported.

And again, THOUSANDS OF THANKS to James for removing the thousands of red labels from the Gradebook!!!!!

Canvas Community: it is the absolute best thing about Canvas!!!!!

I've really been struggling with how to write this blog post. My emotions are running pretty high. Canvas has screwed up my Gradebook, again, and this time there is no way to fix it.


When Canvas put those red MISSING and LATE labels in the old Gradebook, there was a campaign here at the Community to get rid of them. And that campaign worked. I felt good about that.


But apparently nobody at Instructure learned anything from that campaign. How can it be that we demonstrated the dangers of those labels in the old Gradebook, only to have them come around again in the new Gradebook? My school switched to the new Gradebook this semester, and there are the red labels, again, and I CANNOT GET RID OF THEM.

How bad is it? Here's what one of my students from last semester would see now that the new Gradebook is being applied. This is an actual screenshot from how last Fall's Gradebook looks in the new Gradebook system:


Gradebook screenshot

How would you feel if that is what you saw every time you looked at the Gradebook? You would feel totally discouraged, right? My entire grading system is about ENCOURAGING students, especially students who are struggling. And now Canvas has ruined it. My entire system for communicating with students about their grades is destroyed.


Of course, I can get rid of the labels... student by student, assignment by assignment. So, that's 3 classes times 210 microassignments per class times 30 students per class. That's 18,900 items I would have to manually adjust to disable the labels so that my students will not see them. Obviously, I cannot make 18,900 manual adjustments to the Gradebook. And, based on the way the course is designed, of those 18,900 items, approximately 11,000 of those items will have INCORRECT "missing" labels by the end of the semester, and approximately 6,000 of those items will have INCORRECT "late" labels.


That means I will owe my students approximately 17,000 APOLOGIES by the end of the semester.


Saturday disaster. Foolishly, I had assumed that we would be able to disable the status labels assignment by assignment, and I had blocked out all of last Saturday to do that: at 210 assignments in one course that I could then clone to my other courses, and 1-2 minutes per assignment to manually adjust it, I figured it would take 4-8 hours to do the adjustments. I had even picked out a good audiobook to listen to for 8 hours to relieve the tedium. But when I got to the Gradebook, I saw that we cannot disable labels for an assignment. I wrote to Support, and they confirmed it: every assignment will have missing and late status labels, no matter how completely inappropriate that might be.


In other words: Canvas makes it impossible to create a system where students choose what assignments to complete and what assignments not to complete. When they choose not to complete an assignment, they are going to see an ugly red-ink "MISSING" label in the Gradebook. Canvas also insists on punishing students who, for whatever reason, turn in an assignment during the grace period between the due-date and available-until-date, adding a "LATE" label that is totally inappropriate. The whole point of offering students the freedom to turn something in after the due date is now ruined by a punitive red-ink label telling them they did something wrong... when, in fact, they did something RIGHT: they turned in the assignment! They should be praised, not punished.


Stop punishing my students, Canvas! I cannot believe my students are going to have to look at a Gradebook full of labels telling them they are doing something wrong when they are DOING NOTHING WRONG. It's one thing when the LMS is full of features that I don't care about one way or the other. But now Canvas is harming my students and undermining my work as a teacher.


I had a new blog series planned for the new semester, and I don't know if I will post it here or not. I may go back to blogging somewhere else; every time I think about Canvas right now I just get angry because my students are going to be hurting, really hurting, every time they open the Gradebook and see those messages about their supposedly poor performance, when they are actually DOING FINE. They are NOT doing anything wrong when they choose not to do an assignment or when they use the grace period. That is what they are SUPPOSED to do, and Canvas is going to punish them for it every time.


Take a look at this screenshot again and think about how you would feel if this greeted you every time you used Canvas:


Gradebook screenshot


And this student is a great guy, someone who did wonderful work for the class... he just struggled with getting things turned in on time. And hey, everybody struggles with time management.

Do you think that this student doesn't know he struggles with time?

Do you think he needs to be shamed some more?

Do you think shame is a good motivator?







Total disaster.

I give up.