[People] Sort Students in People List: Course

@people list is alphabetical by last names, which is not helpful. Please add sorting function by "First Name", "Section", "last Activity" and "Total Activity". All other tabular lists should be sort-able as well.

Add Group to the columns and Sort by group is needed as well. Jan 26, 2018 @kristine Hansen @dale Anne Davidson

Profile Picture Name Login ID SIS ID Section Role Last Activity Total Activity


The sorting function has been available in Proctorio Exam Results for a while.

When will the Canvas development team pay their attention to this as a production priority because an overall sorting function is required for ALL tabular lists in Canvas!!

Community Contributor

Hi Stefanie, maybe so.  Here is what I have looked at:

"How long are ideas open for vote?

Ideas are open for six months. Following six months, ideas in the top 10th percentile of vote will remain in the general forum. Ideas in the bottom 90th percentile will be archived and moved out of the general forum which makes room for new ideas."

So, "Ideas are open for six months."  I don't understand why this idea, which began on Jan 24, is still open for my voting?  When I count six months, my math says that the six months ended on July 24.  But my math might be wrong.  And the above paragraph doesn't say that items in the top 10 percentile will remain open for voting.

Also, the rationale that ideas that don't make it into the top 10 percentile be "moved out to make room for new ideas" doesn't seem to make sense to me.  What "room" is being consumed?  Hard disk space?  

Community Contributor

Kona, thanks for your reply.  Can instructors add these enhancements or just administrators?  I am an instructor.

Also, we need to get back to the real problem.  The People list, which is using a columnar table layout, should provide the ability to sort by column.  Schools should not have to add enhancements to their system to get functionality that should exist in the basic product.  (Or maybe Canvas should replace the People list with the code from the better enhancements.)

Community Champion

 @richard-jerz , most of the Canvancements that I've written are designed to be installed by the end-users who are fed-up enough that they are willing to do something about the situation when Canvas or their institution won't allow act. The Course Roster Enhancements is one of those. Things have changed since I wrote it, so ignore any instructions you see find Greasemonkey and just use Tampermonkey.

The PDF roster is also broken and I don't have any plans to fix it. The quick install for the Course Roster Enhancements can be found at the very bottom of the main post. Here's the direct link to the latest version on GitHub. The total installation time is less than 30 seconds for you to be enjoying sorting the roster (unless your institution uses a custom URL instead of something like uiowa.instructure.com).

Community Contributor

Hi James, I appreciate your reply, especially since you are the author of Canvancements!  I can't say that I have reached the point of being "fed up" but rather "puzzled" by Canvas not having what I would call "normal modern features" in their product (i.e., the ability to sort by column.)    Furthermore, it appears that Canvas would rather direct us to finding our own solutions, seemingly being a bit stubborn, than fixing their own product. (Sorry Kona, you might not be a Canvas representative but just an individual like myself.) However, I do have to be careful because I am not a "programmer" so to me everything looks simple, but my background is such that I know some things that sometimes seem simple are difficult.  It is cool that you have these skills.  I am sure that your work sets a great example for what Canvas should have.

Okay, enough about that.  I have got to dig into your documentation.  I am not a "server" guy either, so when people start saying things like GitHub, I start getting lost.  I don't know if my institution uses a custom URL, but your reference to uiowa.instructure.com is correct, so my guess is that it is "custom."  But I am willing to learn.

Thanks much for your post, James.

Community Champion

uiowa.instructure.com is not a custom URL. canvas.uiowa.edu would be. The script should run out of the box for places hosted on *.instructure.com.

Kona and I presented at the 2017 InstructureCon on some of the Canvancements. The video from the session Accomplish the Impossible is available. About 9:20 in is where I start demonstrating how (relatively) easy it is to install a Canvancement. The Roster Sorter is mentioned at 26:50 for about 15 seconds.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

I see what you're saying,  @richard-jerz ‌. We thought "...will remain in the general forum" implied "still open for voting," but we're probably too close to the process, so we'll look into getting the wording clarified.

Community Contributor

Okay Stefanie.  Here is one suggestion for the improved wording.

Following six months, ideas in the top 10th percentile of vote will remain in the general forum and remain open for voting.


While you are at it, you need to explain the timing of the six months.  For example, are feature requests reviewed by a calendar year, like every January 1 and July 1?  Or are they evaluated from the date of the original post (e.g., for this idea, July 24th?)  Yes, I see that archiving occur on the first Wednesday of each month, but if this idea remains in the top 10 percent, does it get re-evaluated every month after the initial six months?  Can it fall out of the upper 10 percent, or is it judged exclusively at its own six month period?

Under the present system, it might appear that Canvas is intentionally being vague.  For example, we see that this particular idea has 199 Votes, but we have no clue what its current percentile rank is, when it is next going to be re-evaluated, and that it is an idea that is essentially reopening an idea that had been made x times in the past.  We have no easy way of finding the other identical idea requests, and therefore no easy way to solicit previous voters to vote for this idea.  I don't even see any indication that Canvas has seen this idea... no one from Canvas appears to take responsibility.  Also, it seems that all of this voting really does nothing except to flag Canvas about popular ideas, but it appears to me that Canvas only works on what they want to work on.  

Well, in my opinion, Canvas has this convoluted method of getting users like myself to help stimulate ideas, all for the sake of "making room," which has yet to be explained.  Very simply, if someone makes an idea request, it should always be alive for voting.  One posted idea takes up less "room" than forcing multiple reposts of an idea every six months, doesn't it?  (And I think we are talking hard disk space, which currently costs less than $30/TB.) As another suggestion, at some point in time, Canvas should tag the idea as "in progress." And there is no reason why Canvas would not want to tag an idea as "in progress" even if it only currently has 10 votes, the idea might really be a very good idea that is simple to add. 

Community Team
Community Team

 @richard-jerz ‌

I've been following this thread and hope I can add a little more insight to the greater good, but first I want to say a big thanks to Stefanie for working to clarify the documentation!

The practice of feature ideas, aka ideation, is often more complex than it appears on the surface.  Ideation for Canvas goes back further than this current community and has undergone many evolutions.  We never claim it to be perfect, and we're always looking to improve it (in fact I have a meeting next week with Product to see where we might tweak it again).  We have one primary goal that drives all of our other goals with ideation:  If any Canvas users has an idea to make Canvas more awesome, we want to hear from them directly.  The processes we set up to accomplish this goal are with the intentions of helping users and us manage all of the awesome ideas.  We genuinely care about our users and their ideas, and we genuinely care about making Canvas more awesome.

You've invested a lot of time and effort into better understanding the processes, so I'm hoping you will find some of the following history helpful!

Community Contributor

Hi Renee, thanks for your reply.

Yes, I understand the major goal, but the problem is with a process that doesn't support what Canvas is telling users.

First, the "make more room" (so far) appears to be totally incorrect and not logical.

Second, that an idea gets many votes, even to put it in the upper 10%, doesn't mean that an idea will be worked on.

Last, "Product Radar" (from you link to Product Radar) does not seem to have any direct link to either the number or votes or the upper 10%.  

So, if you really want people to be active in generating ideas, I still don't understand why Canvas moves ideas from the general forum, to archive, to cold storage, and maybe elsewhere, causing people who want to suggest an idea to recreate previous ideas, or to have to search multiple places.  Some people would find it much easier to vote for an existing idea instead of having to recreate it again themselves, knowing that it too will be moved into never-never land if it doesn't quickly get many more than 100 votes.  Why would one want to propose an idea under this Canvas process?  It's bad enough to have to recreate ideas, but even worse that votes from the previous same ideas don't get carried forward.  Why wouldn't one want to show that this particular idea has been posted x number of times, and now has 482 votes instead of 199?

Okay, yep, we have two issues being discussed in this one place, 1) the issue of sorting, and 2) the issue of how to promote idea generation.  Sorry to be off target.  Yes, I know that the "process" has been discussed elsewhere, and there might even be an "idea" item collecting these thoughts.  I was just seeing others here question the process, and thought that I would share some of my ideas to hopefully improve the process.  (My tone is not "mad", or "angry," or "yelling."  I am just trying to be as factual as possible in order to encourage Canvas to improve their system.)

Returning to this issue of sorting.  It appears that this is at least the second time that this idea has been submitted.  It currently has 199 votes.  It currently is still alive after six months since voting is still open, so it appears to be in the upper 10%.  The first post was reported to have 45 votes.  So everything is looking good.  Yet, as far as I can see it is not tagged as "Product Radar."  So can we conclude that Canvas doesn't agree with this idea?  Or what can we conclude?  

Community Novice

I agree that this should be a feature and should be a priority. But there is a crude work-around.

This is a web page and the roster is formatted in HTML as a table. Generally, you can copy/paste data formatted in an HTML table into a spreadsheet. Certainly works, most of the time*, to copy into a Google Sheet.

I just did this successfully. I'd make a video but there are student-privacy issue. Take your mouse, click just the the left of the Name column and highlight all the way down to the right of the last name in your roster. Ctl-C (or moral equivalent on a Mac) to copy. Go to an empty Google Sheet. Click on upper left cell. Ctl-V to Paste.

Once the data is in the spreadsheet, sort to your hearts content. It's the end of the second day of my  class and I'm looking for students who haven't even logged in yet . . . 

*I've seen this fail, sometimes, and squash all the data for all the columns into the first column in the spreadsheet. Then I tried again and, with the same contents on the clipboard, pasted and the data laid down nicely into multiple columns.