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mgudites
New Member

Getting around limitations of the GUI

**I hope I'm not breaking any rules here; I posted something similar (not exact) over in the "Developers" area, but I wanted to get the point of view from people who are probably closer to my area of expertise, in the Admins area.**

Our institution is new to Canvas (going live in a couple months), coming off of Blackboard. I'm shocked and really disappointed at how little can be accomplished via the GUI compared to Blackboard. It seems like just about every thing I ask our implementation team about doing, the answer is always "you'll need to figure out how to do it in the API." 

 

Batch apply/change the Grade Scheme? Do it via the API.

Batch course-copy material? Do it via the API.

Batch publish a bunch of courses? Do it via the API.

 

I've been sent to this page a number of times: Canvas LMS API DocumentationWe've got an awesome programmer on staff who I know can figure this out. However, he's a busy guy and has limited time to be able to spend on this, and I don't expect him to write a script for every menial little task I want to accomplish in Canvas. The documentation listed above doesn't really give any information on where to begin, and everything in Canvas's documentation is in programmer-speak...what do we need installed on a PC to make these calls, for example? It doesn't go over the basics. We've asked Canvas how to do these things, for some baseline instruction on how to setup a PC to run the scripts, only to be told "Instructure cannot tell you that, we're not a scripting company." I don't know how they can tell us "we can't tell you how to do this" when the software seems to rely on scripting for damn-near everything.

 

What do you all do to get around the limitations? All these things that came so easily in Blackboard, with Canvas they become a hindrance. Surely there are schools with Canvas who don't have an army of programmers at their disposal, but still have a need to accomplish tasks that the woefully inadequate GUI can't do. I find it completely ridiculous that we have to script everything. Seriously...like, I can't go into the "Courses" area, check some boxes and delete say, five courses at once. I can't select say, twenty courses that I want and publish them all at the same time. It's either script it, or, it's ten clicks to navigate and do anything in Canvas, one course at a time.

What do you all do?!

Labels (3)
1 Reply
Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

 @mgudites ‌, as you've already seen in your post in the Canvas Developers‌ group, our community members are very generously sharing their time and knowledge to help with this. Posting two separate "very similar" discussions opens up the distinct possibility that parallel/duplicative threads will form. 

So we're going to lock this discussion, and ask people to continue the conversation at How do we *USE* API?  We have shared that conversation into this group to get the attention of Canvas admins as well as developers. For future reference, anyone can post a discussion or question to a group and use the Share link that appears at the upper right of the question to share it with any other group of which they're a member. The beauty of that approach is that members of both groups will see the question, yet all responses will appear in a single thread.

If that question doesn't have quite the same nuance or detail as this one, please add those clarifications to the comments section. And anyone who has assistance to offer Matt should post their responses to https://community.canvaslms.com/message/138999-how-do-we-use-api . 

Thanks!