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msanders
Community Member

Canvas Calendar Feeds Not Updating

Our school has found multiple applications for the calendar feeds (ics link) available on the Calendar page.  We've noticed that sometimes changes made to events in Canvas aren't reflected in the feed.  I spoke with Canvas Tech Support and my understanding is that they are making the information available so the problem has to be elsewhere.  Their suggestion was to have our users delete then re-add the link whenever something on the calendar changes.  That is impractical so I am continuing to look for the root cause and/or a way to fix this.

Does anyone happen to have any experience with calendar feeds not updating?

Thanks!

5 Replies
awilliams
Instructure
Instructure

 @msanders ‌, I want to see if I'm understanding this correctly. Users are copying their Canvas calendar feed and using that with another calendar services. Did I get that right? We're a small community college without a ton of calendar use. That being said, I'm not aware of any known issues with the calendar feed not communicating the updated information to the external calendar service. When you say, "We've noticed that sometimes changes made to events in Canvas aren't reflected in the feed" are you looking at the feed itself, or the results in the connected external calendar service? There is also a matter of timing and I recall coming across some posts here in the past about the time it takes to update. Here's an example: https://community.canvaslms.com/message/4503 

Thank you for the information!  The other links are helpful.  Do you have a recommended method for subscribing to a Canvas calendar in Outlook?  I think this may be related to the problems we are experiencing.

Here is one example of what we have tried to do.  I created a "winter sports user" in Canvas and enrolled that user as an observer in all of the winter sports courses. I then logged into Canvas as that user and copied the https://xyz123.ics link from the calendar page. I emailed the link to myself and a handful of other test users. Those users and I then subscribed to the "winter sports user" Canvas calendar in Outlook. We found multiple ways to subscribe/add an external calendar to Outlook. Regardless of how the ics file was added/subscribed, all users could initially see all of the events in the Outlook client calendar. However, if we later changed an event in Canvas, some users could see the updated event in Outlook, but other users continued to see the original event (even after 24+ hours).  If the users with the "static" calendars deleted the winter sports calendar link in Outlook then re-added it, then the updated event was displayed.    

I've tried repeating the test described above to see which method worked every time and couldn't find one. I am (clearly) new to using Internet Calendars so I feel like I'm just overlooking something obvious.  Any recommendations on how to subscribe to a Canvas ics file/link from Outlook (2016) and have the Outlook calendar dynamically update when events are changed in Canvas would be greatly appreciated!

I don't think you're overlooking anything obvious. I think there is just some weirdness in how Outlook handles internet calendar feeds. In my limited (3 year) experience with Outlook, I generally don't trust it with anything that didn't originate in Outlook.

I dug up a support article on the Microsoft forums that spans years without any resolution to the problem. Here's the most useful post from that thread:

I think this is being overcomplicated... Go to Tools > Account Settings > Internet Calendars, then change the settings for the internet calendar. There is a checkbox for "Update Limit." If you uncheck this box then the calendar will refresh everytime you hit Send/Receive. If you leave it checked, then it will use the publisher's recommendation for intervals to refresh. Google calendars don't have a published recommendation, so unless this box is unchecked the calendar will never refresh.

I use OWA with exchange, and it seems that if I add an internet calendar to my Outlook 2007 client, then it shows up in OWA as well. This could be an Exchange server setting, but I am not the Admin to assist with what setting that may be...

Let me know if that does anything good.

Okay, thanks. I believe the forum post you referenced also links to this post: View and subscribe to Internet Calendars - Outlook which explains static (snapshot) v. dynamic calendars in Outlook. This article was written for Outlook 2007.  I thought perhaps something might have changed since Outlook 2007 since some of our Canvas links seemed to update in Outlook 2016. This is still a mystery to me.

However, I tried replacing the "https" in the Canvas *.ics file with "webcal".  Then I added that link to Outlook through the "Open Calendar" menu option. So far it looks like it the calendar has been updating in Outlook. New and/or changed events are showing up in my Outlook within a few hours. I am going to expand the webcal testing to a handful of users so see if we can get consistent results.  

Thanks again for all the help!

ysmalls
Community Champion

I have had several calls regarding this.  It sometimes takes overnight for the calendar to update when using Goolge Calendar but recently I got a call that nothing is updating when using Tiny Calendar.  We are looking to possibly move to Outlook and the solution you have provided with come in very handy.

Thanks for all the info.