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

Deactivated user, I'd be happy with the ability to fire off a message to a student from anywhere in Canvas without having to navigate to the Inbox. Ideally the message would contain an artifact from the place from which I'm firing away (capturing a URL, for example) to provide the student with context for the message. If this is too much to ask, a "subject" line just like what we already have in Canvas messages would be fine.

I had phrased my earlier comment differently, and then carefully edited it, because in general I agree with those who don't want students to see comments until an assignment is unmuted. I was trying to think of a way to make exceptions--for example, if I'm grading an assignment a week before it's due, and a student has made a simple mistake of uploading the wrong file, I want to reward that student for her diligence in submitting early and give her plenty of opportunity to correct her oversight. I can't do that when an assignment is muted, so ideally, I'd like to be able to override the mute just for that one message so I can send the message directly from the SpeedGrader--but for now, navigating to the Inbox to send that message does the trick. I usually keep multiple tabs open while grading for that very reason. But being able to fire off a message to a student from anywhere (I love that turn of phrase, and plan to keep using it) would certainly do the trick.

Community Contributor

Deactivated user​, I mute all my assignments at the beginning of the semester also. There are several reasons for doing this:

1. Muting the assignment helps maintain the integrity of assignments that are open for a week or longer (students can't share answers)

2. Muting the assignment solves the problem of flawed computer grading. I can set up a short answer question with the most common correct answers, but there will always be times that the computer grades an answer wrong that should be right. I prefer to keep the grades muted until I have had a chance to review the accuracy of computer grading.

3. It would be difficult to remember to selectively mute the grades as the semester is ongoing, as in, "Oh, we're working on ch. 3 now so I'd better go mute all of the ch. 3 related assignments." Plus there are always going to be students who start working early. Better to mute the grades well before we get there.

4. If I don't mute the grades in advance, I sometimes forget to mute them until I've already graded a couple of answers, generating unnecessary notifications. And sometimes during the course of grading a class, I find I must adjust some of the first assignments I graded for consistency/fairness, which could be a problem if those students have already seen their grades.

5. Sometimes I want to tell a student some quick thing ("you uploaded the wrong file," "you need to reread the instructions and try again") before grades are unmuted. I just tell them from the Inbox, no big deal.

6. I agree that the term "mute" is a little confusing. Until very recently, I thought that "mute" simply hid those grades/comments that I manually entered and stopped the notifications. I thought this because that's what my tech support folks told me when I asked, and because that's what the mute message says.

mute warning.JPG

I only just learned that the "mute" setting also hides student responses and the computer-issued grades/comments, i.e., the things students see when you click "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses."

Now that I know this, I'm even more inclined to mute all assignments at the beginning of the semester, because I want to hide that information from students until the assignment has closed and I have checked all the grades. Before I knew that the mute setting hid that information, I did not click "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses" until after I had graded everything; then I would "unmute" AND go back to the edit screen to "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses" from the day of grading to the end of the semester. Now I know more about what mute does, I realize I can "Let Students See Their Quiz Responses" for whatever dates from the very beginning, and then when I am done grading, all I have to do is unmute.

Unfortunately, I don't have a better term to offer than "mute." I do think the "Mute Assignment" message box could be more informative, though.

Community Contributor

I can't express how much pain would be avoided if this feature is implemented. I will personally buy all the developers lunch if this makes it in.

Apologies if this was covered elsewhere, but it would be extremely helpful if the mute assignment state is remembered from the previous assignment's settings. I noticed this is the case for many other assignment settings and it would be a very nice convenience so that instructors don't have to remember to do it each time (which is a pain point in the current implementation).

Community Member

Christi, I am trying to follow this confusing conversation.  If I understand correctly, you have accurately pinpointed that instructors are using the "mute" function to do something that wasn't anticipated when Instructure invented it.   I think this is the heart of the problem.  Canvas presumes that, by default, students need to be able to see grades and comments from instructors as soon as they are entered -- and I think what you're hearing from faculty is that, by default, most of us instructors prefer to release grades and comments when we are ready to release them.  I, for one, would *never* want to have students see grades until I have gone through the work submitted by all of the students. 

I am curious what evidence you have that students think "mute" means "this assignment is currently being graded."  Even if they might have assumed that as new users (which I doubt, since I don't think "muted" is commonly understood syntax), after experience with Canvas, they must realize that's not how that function is being used (because so many of us mute all assignments as soon as possible to keep from inadvertently sharing them with students before we're done).

I agree with other users that "publish" would be a confusing term, especially if there continues to be a "mute" option.  But what is the difference in your mind between "unmute" and "publish"?

Community Champion

Deactivated user, does your team see automatically-graded Quizzes as fitting into any of these three use cases?

Community Novice

Deactivated user​, the idea of publishing/releasing sounds like a fine way to tackle this problem, so long as it happens at the point of creating the assignment or quiz. One issue I'm wondering if it might also help to resolve is removing the ability to mute/unmute from graders and TAs. By elevating the release of grades to an assignment configuration option, it seems to me that permissions might enable us to hide this option to some roles. Forgive me if there's a way to do this, and I missed it!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hello Community Friends,

This idea is under consideration.  We are looking at some implementation ideas.  More to come as we progress. :smileycool:


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Absolutely agree with the "publishing" term. We're thinking more along the lines of "post" grades. There wouldn't really be a big difference between publishing and muting. Just the language and the messaging to students.

"I am curious what evidence you have that students think "mute" means "this assignment is currently being graded." 

The evidence I have is the messaging that is conveyed to the students by canvas.

We are looking at adding a setting that will allow instructors to choose to have grades post automatically, or to manually release grades when an instructor chooses.

Community Participant

I STRONGLY  support the tick box because I am VERY frustrated at having to go through all the steps to UNMUTE an assignment when I never asked for it to be muted in the first place.  Especially for quizzes:  I want students to see certain results immediately without me having to constantly remember to go to Speed Grader or Grades to unmute something I never wanted muted.

Community Member

For the life of me, I don't understand why this is so hard to change - and why Canvas has been so resistant to it.  Over and over again this has been requested, and it can't be that hard to implement.