Mute assignment as a option at assignment creation

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas
Please can we have this as it could save a lot of headache for teachers 


When you create an assignment can we have it to either


  1. Automatically set the assignment to be muted at point of creation
  2. Having muting an assignment as option in the creation list


It is too easy to forget to Mute an assignment and there are no queues at creation.

Comments from Instructure

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Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

I mute every assignment at the beginning of every semester, and it's one of those pesky tasks that is easy to forget, so this is a definite upvote for me. I'm finding in my training that "mute" and "muting" aren't self-explanatory terms. But  @scottdennis , unless I'm missing the intent of this feature idea, I think Publish/Unpublish would muddy the waters even more. I like turnermz​'s "Marking in progress" and "Reveal to students" nomenclature; how about a mashup of the terms, such as "Marking in progress"/"Reveal Grades to Students"? "Hide grades and comments"/"Release grades and comments"?

Community Participant

In our previous LMS, comments/scores/feedback was hidden until the instructor selected "Release."  If you've got too much invested in the metaphor of "Mute," you might consider an Announcement checkbox like this:

[ √ ] Mute score/feedback until later.

The prompt supplies a subtle, teachable moment.  Why yes, Virginia, you can un-mute it later.  BTW, do instructors understand whether muted scores figure into class averages or not?

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey stefaniesanders, Can you help me understand why you mute everything at the beginning of every semester? The intention of the "mute" feature was to allow an instructor to enter grades and distribute them all at once. I feel like muting everything on creation is using this feature to solve a different problem. I'm trying to understand what that problem is so we can solve it in a smarter way than using the "Mute" button. My gut tells me, some instructors want control over when grades are distributed and they're using the mute feature to accomplish this. Is that correct?

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hey Deactivated user, I'm happy to answer that! My courses are fully online and I usually have at least three weeks' worth of assignments available to students at any given time. Some students like to work ahead. and I like to encourage that. I have a large number of students in my writing intensive courses, and because grading these essays is time consuming, I have to be able to grade submissions as they come in so that I can keep up with the workload--but I don't release grades and comments until the day after the due date passes--hence the mute. (To be clear, I don't mute grades for quizzes, only for essays.) I mute all of the essay assignments at the beginning of the semester so that I don't forget to mute them when I start grading the first submissions; keep in mind that under the structure of my course, I might be grading two or three assignments at a time. I need to make sure that all students see their grades and comments at the same time, but I have to be able to grade behind the scenes so that I can finish grading and release grades and comments the morning after the due date of each assignment.

On the other hand, for those assignments in which I allow multiple submissions (meaning I will grade more than one attempt), such as essay outlines and long-form essays, I don't mute the assignment. This way students can get immediate feedback that they can implement in their subsequent attempts.

Also, can you clarify what you said:

The intention of the "mute" feature was to allow an instructor to enter grades and distribute them all at once.


My gut tells me, some instructors want control over when grades are distributed and they're using the mute feature to accomplish this.

It's been a long day. What's the difference? Smiley Happy

Community Champion

When this gets workshopped, I really hope the Product team will review" modifiedtitle="true" title="Include "Mute" in the Quiz Settings. especially the second paragraph.  @nicole_stahl  correctly notes that Mute is the only current way to control score display immediately after submission (and thus prevent certain forms of cheating). 

Since Assignments, Quizzes and graded Discussions share several common settings, I think the ideal implementation of this idea would work in all three places

Community Contributor

Just wanted to thank everyone for their support in this idea,

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thanks for the question Stefanie.

I probably didn't articulate my response well.

What I was trying to do is draw a distinction between "publishing" grades and "muting" assignments. The biggest problem I see here is accurate communication with the students. 

I see three use-cases:

1) Instructors want to enter grades for an assignment and have those grades immediately communicated to the students as they are entered. This is our current default in the gradebook. Instructors who normally operate this way, may sometimes want to use the "mute" feature (see #2).

2) Instructors want to enter grades for an assignment and release all of those grades when they have finished entering them. For these instructors, the "mute" clearly communicates to the students what is really happening. Grades are currently being entered for this assignment and will all be released when grading is finished.

3) Instructors always want to control the timing for the release of all grades. For those instructors who always want control over a bulk release of grades, using our "mute" feature upon creation of the assignment isn't communicating accurately with students, and isn't fully meeting the instructors needs. I would propose that we need something more along the lines of "publish" for instructors who always want to schedule the release of grades. Even if the release of the grades is~ when I'm done grading this assignment, or at 9am on the Monday after it's graded. The scheduled release is something that could be communicated to the students, as well. It would be better messaging than what they are currently given~ which is that the assignment is currently being graded, even if it isn't.

Does this make more sense? "Publishing" grades is something that my team and I have been discussing~ especially in relation to Speedgrader and the student notifications that are associated with grading. Timed release of grades will be part of the next phase of my gradebook research, so I'm very interested in how this "mute" feature is being used.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Yes, Deactivated user​, I like that, and thank you for clarifying the difference between "muting" and the proposed new function of "publishing" (although given that this term is already widely used in a different capacity elsewhere in Canvas, I hope the nomenclature will be reconsidered before the feature is implemented). I agree that students can be confused by the message they see when they hover over the little speaker icon in their Grades view.

There's a package deal here, and that is with regard to SpeedGrader comments. Currently when an assignment is muted, students don't see the comments the instructor enters in the SpeedGrader until the assignment is "unmuted." If I need to communicate with a student about a submission during this silent period, I send a message through the Canvas Inbox. I thought at one point there was a feature request for the ability to send a message (Inbox message, not a submission comment) directly from the SpeedGrader; is that one still out there?

Thanks again!

Community Participant

I would caution against using the term "publish" with Grades. Publishing

has a distinctly not-private feel to it. I think I referenced "Release" in

an earlier post. Our legacy LMS also uses "Return". As a former secondary

school teacher, I have always described the common practice of grading

papers, Saving them in stacks on the kitchen table, then Returning them to

students. Those term, "Save" and "Return," represent familiar milestones

in assessment workflow. Mute? meh.

learning and teaching | mlibrary

On Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 4:27 PM, <

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni


That's an interesting request regarding Speedgrader messaging before releasing grades. (I'm used to hearing complaints in the other direction~"Don't let the students see my comments until I unmute!". Other than the obvious cumbersomeness of opening a new tab, or navigating away from Speedgrader to get to the Inbox to send a message, is there something specific you are thinking about when you say you want to send a message from Speedgrader? I ask because we are working towards a better solution for messaging students from anywhere in Canvas... So I'm wondering if you had the capability to fire off a message to a student from anywhere in Canvas, would that get you what you are reaching for here, or are you looking for something specific when you say you want to be able to send messages from Speedgrader?