Mute by Section

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

@THIS has been submitted before  Patricia Tentoni Iva Lovell

Situation:  Multiple sections of one course with varying due dates each week.

If I mute the assignment and grade each section as assignments come in each day, then unmute at the end of the week, students in the Monday section don't see their grades until Saturday.

I'd like to mute each section as I evaluate and unmute when those grades are complete.

Too much delay for students with sections early in the week before they receive feedback on their assignments.

Thank you for considering!

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through the .


Hi James and Mary Jae,

Your frustrations are valid and it is totally OK to give voice to them here as long as everyone involved remains civil (which you have done admirably).  James, assessment in general is pretty far outside my personal wheelhouse and I was not aware of the specification you made reference to.  I will, however, make sure that our product managers who are working on assessment projects know about it.  Thanks for the heads up.

Community Novice

The course development process could be made much easier for instructors if there were an option to Mute and Un-Mute All graded assessments within that course. They could develop the course, adding assignments, quizzes, discussions etc. and then click a single button to Mute all of the graded assessments instead of having to do them one by one. On the flip side, if a instructor has a lot of assessments (weekly readings with weekly assignments, discussions and quizzes pertaining to the readings, plus exams) it would make it very easy at the end of the semester / term to click a button to Un-Mute All Assessments and feel confident knowing that they could not have missed one of them on accident.


Community Team
Community Team
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas 

For more information, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2019-07-13) .

Community Team
Community Team
Community Contributor

Cool! I'm looking forward to trying this out, and I know we'll have some faculty very excited about this! Please thank the development team for this functionality,  @Renee_Carney !

Community Participant

Hopefully this works. I'm glad to see it, and maybe we can drill down to doing this by student in the near future (not 3 years like this took).

Community Contributor

I've just read the Canvas Release Notes (2019-07-13) and am extremely saddened and frustrated to read that 'Anonymous assignments must be posted or hidden for all students in the assignment and cannot be managed by section.'  i.e. this won't work for anonymous assignments - and will detrimentally affect large swathes of Canvas customers.


I am genuinely trying very hard to be calm and nice.  But that's really hard with this development decision. It doesn't reflect the extensive conversations that we have had with Product Management (e.g.  @soberoi ) or make sense? 

Unmuting the grades for students in Section A (which has been assigned one Due Date) at a different time to unmuting the grades in Section B (which has a different Due Date) is not connected to, and should not be prevented by, the anonymity status of those Sections?

This goes back to the discussions the UKHE User Group has had with Instructure about working with you on the User Stories you are using to develop from.  That development still seems to be happening behind closed doors, and it seems arbitrary decisions are being made that do not actually align with the business users' needs?



Hi James Trueman,

I understand your frustration about this limitation with Anonymous Assignments. However, it seems like including the ability to post grades by section (or by the other more granular options available with the new Post Policies) would compromise the integrity of double-blind grading.

For courses where the ability to release anonymously graded assignments by section is needed, have you considered using Blueprint courses (Canvas Release: Blueprint Courses)? You could keep content in sync via the Blueprint template, and have a different section in each associated course. This would allow you to take advantage of the anonymous grading feature as well as the posting grades by section.



Community Contributor

Hi  @lindalee ‌

Thanks for your comment - apologies this got a little long.

TL:DR - Instructure should have developed selective section unmute so that it could support anonymous assignments.

I may be missing something really important or really simple, but I am unclear why posting / unmuting grades by section would compromise the integrity of double-blind grading - or any other grading process?  When the assessment process has been completed (whether that's moderated, double marked or double-blind) and the grades are ready to be released - the requirement to ensure the anonymity of the students is over? What else are you thinking of?

The only thought I have is that by posting grades to the Gradebook / unmuting some sections (and thereby displaying the grades in the Gradebook), are there issues caused by the way Instructure has implemented anonymity via AMM (by showing student names in the Gradebook)? Am I missing something else?

If there are issues, it seems it is because of a poorly implemented solution to the requirements that the sector expressed (sorry Instructure).  My brief summary is:

  1. we needed students to be anonymous during the assessment cycle (i.e. until moderation or second marking is complete)
  2. we needed to be able to break students down into marking groups for an assignment. Sections seemed to be the only way to go and were described in various feature ideas as already being used for this purpose (and are defined by Instructure as '...a group of students that have been organized for administrative purposes' - perfect!). They also came with other features / benefits, such as:
    1. filter by section in Speedgrader / Gradebook,
    2. the ability to assign students to sections with differentiated due dates to accommodate extensions and re-assessments etc.,
    3. section override for differentiated due dates that extend beyond the course/term end date to allow students to access the assignment / course materials,
  3. we all needed to be able to selectively release the marks and feedback for students based on the section / due date associated with that section

This was all clearly specified to Instructure (in the context of extensive discussions about AMM), and the feedback received from Instructure indicated that it was understood and being implemented. 

I appreciate your suggestion to use Blueprinting, thank you.  But creating a bunch of separate Blueprint courses just so that we can selectively unmute assignment sections (i.e. within the same course) seems an extremely complex (and over-engineered) workaround to solve what is really a simple and fundamental academic workflow.  Like many institutions, our academic regulations require all assessment to be anonymous wherever practicable (which constitutes the majority of our assessments).  All of our assignments needed sections - e.g. for 1st submission 'marking groups', extensions, re-assessments, appeals etc., and I'm sure there are other uses of sections where selective unmute was needed for anonymous assignments.

Best wishes


Hi  @james_trueman ‌, 

I appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns associated with Post Policies here and the limitations with respect to Anonymous and Moderated Marking. I understand your and the larger communities frustration associated with this functionality not currently being present in this release. The ability to selectively release by section for assignments that are anonymous and/or moderated is still fully on Instructure's radar, however, we were unable to include it in the initial release of Post Policies. We aimed to get this functionality out there to the community at large as quickly as possible to help prepare institutions that will be returning to school in the fall and giving them the ability to test the functionality out. 

Unfortunately, the desired ability to include the ability to release by section for moderated and anonymous assignments was unable to make the cut for this release. The team is working to find an elegant solution to preserve anonymity among sections for those anonymous and moderated assignments. I assure you and the community at large that as we find a solution that will adequately address this problem, we will appropriately prioritise it for development.

There are no current timelines associated with this, however, when we have greater clarity into the situation, I'll be sure to keep you and the larger community informed.