[Syllabus] Add Syllabus Page History

We would really like to see the Syllabus page have page history so that instructors who spend hours on it, and then delete it accidentally, can get it back.  Other pages/modules have this feature, but not this page.


Here is text from our most recent support ticket on this:

I simply copied a table and added it to the end of the syllabus at the end of 'attendance' and clicked update.


I'm then taken back to the course main page, and the syllabus is gone. Is it possible to restore the course from an earlier period? This is a major problem and I suspect it may be a technical issue. I'd be the first to admit I screwed up, but it was a simple edit.


We have to explain to this stressed out instructor or admin (and many others before her) that all the time she spent with HTML and CSS making this the best syllabus ever is now a loss. No way to get it back.

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Community Coach
Community Coach

I just had to recover a "lost" syllabus for a teacher. Thankfully I was able to pull the majority of it from BETA but if I could have just pushed a button/selected to revert to previous version that would have been fantastic.

Community Champion

Another use case:  with the revision history available I would also be able to create a report using Canvas Data that would let me know which syllabi pages have/ have not been updated since the course was created.

Community Explorer

Page history for the syllabus tool is essential. The beta/test environment updates are infrequent enough that it cannot be relied upon for restoring content, particularly in the days/weeks leading up to the start of a new term. One of the great benefits of Canvas is how well it functions as both a CMS and an LMS. But no page history for what is arguably one of the most important pages in every course site is a problem (i.e., inconsistency between page/tool behaviors, lack of notification/communication that there is no page history for the syllabus tool, etc.). 

When I used Sakai, I sort of hacked a parallel CMS in Google Drive where instructors could edit/revise content and then move it into the LMS when it was finalized. (Sakai didn't have a draft mode for anything, at least at the time.) I've been using Canvas for a year now, and never felt the need to do the same thing — until now. 

Community Novice

Just had a faculty member call to report he had accidentally replaced the current, very detailed syllabus page in his course with a syllabus page that only had a link to a PDF file on it. He was importing content from another course and forgot to check "Select specific content," which resulted in erasing and replacing the syllabus with the one being imported. Thankfully, I was able to retrieve the detailed version from the beta server.

A syllabus page history with a restore function would be very helpful.

While we're suggesting upgrades to the syllabus tools in Canvas, it would also be very useful to give faculty a checkbox option to turn the Course Summary feature on or off.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @thomas_cunningh ‌, your second comment is the subject of a different feature idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6601-option-to-exclude-assignments-from-syllabus 

Community Novice

Thank you for pointing that out, Stephanie. I just submitted my vote there,


Community Explorer

The version history on the syllabus page would be extremely beneficial for institutional recording keeping. If a faculty member changes a syllabus at some point after the start of a course, it helps for an institution to have a record of changes.

Community Member

100% agree with all comments above -- please add this feature. It would encourage instructors to update and improve their Canvas syllabi and to try out new features that benefit learners. 

Community Contributor

Also want to add, here, that this is also critical for compliance and complaint investigations. I cannot easily tell if a syllabus said one thing at the start of a term, and then was changed midway through. If a student has a complaint, it may be important to look at this history. 

I mean that on top of all of the need to prevent all of the potential tragedy when you can overwrite the entirety of the syllabus with a single click and no feature that stops you and says, "Hey, you're getting ready to detonate this entire governing document. You cool with that?"

Community Explorer

With the pandemic, having syllabus page history is now more critical than ever. My faculty have had to change their syllabi because of factors outside their control. Without a page history, it is harder for them to illustrate those changes clearly to the students, or for students to keep track of those changes. That is significantly impacting both student grades and student satisfactions, and is even filtering up to our campus conflict resolution board.

As it is, my team has taken to advising our instructors to NOT use the Syllabus tool, but instead to hide the Syllabus link and just use a regular page in the modules. That's a workaround, but it only helps those faculty who come and ask our advice. If Instructure could just revise the Syllabus page so that it is a regular Page, these issues would go away.