[Syllabus] Print Syllabus with Table for Course Summary

Problem statement:

The problem to solve is poor alignment between actual course activity due dates and the due dates listed in the Course Summary on the syllabus page.

At my institution, faculty still tend to put their syllabus as a Word doc, a Google doc, or a PDF that they then attach to Canvas. This document often includes a table at the end listing all of the assignment due dates, etc. This is bad because PDFs are often highly inaccessible; said table is generally highly inaccessible; and the students now have to work harder to get to their assignments, when the Course Summary would take them directly there. They will then import a copy of their course from a previous term but forget to update assignment due dates, or forget to hide/reveal important assignments. This means that the Course Summary is often incomplete and inaccurate. Faculty do this because they fundamentally view the syllabus as a portable document that can be handed out, printed out, etc.

The Canvas Syllabus is fundamentally a digital text, and when it is printed, is hard to read, especially the Course Summary at the end. So they don't want to work there, they want to work in Word or Google. This means that they don't SEE the errors in their course websites. This, in turn, means that students need to work a lot harder to succeed because they are grappling with incorrect, incomplete guidance in many of their courses, and have to divide their attention between multiple documents to succeed.

Faculty "education" won't solve this problem because building the syllabus in Canvas does not solve the actual faculty need: a document that can be portable, that can be handed out to students on the first day or shared with department staff.


Proposed solution:

The Canvas Syllabus page should have a clear "Print this page" button at the top with the option of getting it in either Word, OpenOffice, or PDF. Using that button should format the Course Summary into an easy-to-read, accessible table. This will enable universities to say to faculty, "The Canvas Syllabus is a perfect equivalent to your existing syllabus documents, so please make your syllabus there." This in turn will help faculty be more aware of how their Course Summary displays available and due assignments and help increase the accuracy of information on the course website. THIS in turn will improve students' learning experience and success rates.


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