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Disappearing Graphics

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I have jpg images which display just fine, then for no apparent reason they disappear, only showing the file name.  Is this a bug? Am I doing something wrong?


146 Replies
Community Member

I, too, have had this problem intermittently over the last year and half or so, however, it is only the students who have it (I use a Mac, by the way).  I put images in tons of quiz questions, and then this problem shows up occasionally.  When I suggest different browsers to the students, it doesn't work.  I have never heard, nor suggested, the cache issue.  For me, it has always happened with quiz questions that were created in an earlier Canvas course that I then imported into the new course, so the files don't actually exist in the current course.  My fix has been to re-upload the image directly into that course, delete the image from the quiz question, and then re-add it from the file that now exists in the course.  While this works for my issues, it undermines the whole value of importing content into the course if I have to go back and remake it.

Community Participant

As numerous individuals have commented, many of us have tried multiple browsers, different computers, cache clearing etc... These efforts only provide a temporary fix. Clearly, this issue goes well beyond one individual, one computer or one browser. We cannot ask our learners to continually clear cache or add third-party add-ons to browsers. This seems to be a prolonged systemic problem within the Canvas LMS that needs to addressed globally.

Hi  @mfreedman3 

Part of me wants to side with Instructure on this, and just because the major browsers seem to update about every 49 seconds, and I don't know how an app programmer could ever keep up.

However, I also note that I (and many other folks) use a great many web-apps, and I don't think I have ever had to switch browsers to keep any of those other web apps working. And, out of all the many apps I use, there are only a few that are not totally browser agnostic. So somewhere in the world of web-app development, there is a coding formula that keeps the app current with any browser with any current revision - yes, I recognize that some apps will not perform well on some outdated browsers.

I hate telling my users that if Canvas starts performing poorly on one browser, they should try another one. I also hate telling my users that they really should avoid IE and Edge, despite being listed as supported browsers, because Canvas really does perform very poorly on both of them. I have users who will ask me what I mean when I say "browser", so the thought of switching browsers is a true inconvenience for them.

I am not a coder, so I have no understanding of what it takes to make things work as expected on a browser, but I still trust Instructure's Canvas engineers to work it out. I am, however, becoming a tad bit uneasy about Canvas Support. I have experienced a couple brush-offs and incorrect answers recently, I know our entire state CTC system had to sic our guard-dog CSMs on them recently to get an issue fixed, and I hear other similar stories in here. I suspect that may be an effect of the very rapid growth of Canvas over the last couple years. Perhaps training issues, or perhaps just not a sufficient access to engineers, I don't know, but I hope that improves, as it has always been one of the very best things about working with Instructure.


Community Participant

Kelly, thanks for your comments.

I see this as a management issue. When Instructure was smaller, as with any

start-up, they were hungrier, more customer focused. As organizations grow,

it is natural to systematize processes and add layers; and for lower level

employees to hide in their silos. It is up to the management to sustain the

customer-focus value, to grab ahold of any quality issue and chase it down.

It doesn't matter to me where the fix is - if it's pilot error, great.

Re-educate the users. But Canvas needs to own this, directly respond to the

users, and not let it fester in the community.


On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 8:39 AM, Kelley L. Meeusen <>

Please know, I wasn't suggesting different browsers, computers, or a cache clear as a fix, and I don't think support was either.  It is a first step in troubleshooting and identifying a root of a problem.  As Stefanie and others have said, this problem can present for so many different reasons that it's important to narrow down.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I guess every company has its buggaboo (persistent challenges if you don't speak "Kelley"), and for Canvas it seems to be browsers.

I started using IE when it first came out in 1995. I started teaching online not long after that, and continued to use IE without issue. Over the years I switched LMSs several times and through all those transitions/migrations I continued to use IE. Then in 2012 I/we/our CTC system switched to Canvas. I promptly had to switch to Firefox, because I heard Canvas performance was consistent on it, but was clearly not performing well on IE. Canvas still seems to perform fairly consistently on Firefox and equally so on Chrome (thank God), but it is hit or miss with other browsers. Lately (I hate it when old people say "lately", because that could mean any time in the last decade or two) Canvas has been periodically hinky (another Kelley term) in Firefox, and awhile back it was almost useless to attempt to use Canvas in Chrome.

I think I am going to simply chalk it up to this whole silly age of information technology infancy thing. Go with the flow. Stay flexible, and all that stuff!

He who remains flexible shall not be bent out of shape! Besides, at my age if I don't stay flexible, I could break a hip, or my mind or something!


Community Team
Community Team


Ok, I took a look at your ticket, and I dove deeper in conversation with one of our support managers - who also looked at your ticket.

Before looking at the tickets she had many anecdotal cases similar to what people have posted in this thread, including: 

there's _usually_ a good reason for this happening. One I saw the other day was linking directly to pictures hosted on another site that required a login, and thus the images were not accessible for viewing anywhere else. The same is true for images hosted somewhere with site settings keeping them from being allowed to be viewed anywhere else.

We've also seen that for users who have somehow (because of settings on their computer image used for all school computers) viewed the page using old stored info on the machine - i.e. their machine sent the wrong time in its communication with the web browser and it couldn't pull up the correct, updated info.
_sometimes_ there's a bug ... but I haven't seen a recent one
need examples! links!

And her last sentence there is exactly what we need!  Your ticket keeps referring the support individuals back to this thread, which is good for context, but there is no solid example (link to a course) in this thread or in the ticket.  In order to take the next steps in troubleshooting our support friends need to have access to examples.  

Community Participant

(hope the emoji comes through)

This is the sorry state of our tech marketplace:

1) Interoperability challenges - there are so many moving parts it is

inevitable that there be compatibility issues.

2) Development pushes out patches and releases as quickly as possible in

accordance with Agile methodology: meaning they rely on the customer for

feedback - no QA test lab can do it all.

3) There are all kinds of emotional barriers to escalation. The presumption

is that the tech guys know their stuff. So they drop the first line fix

(clear the cache) on the user, who just goes along. Heck, it must be pilot

error. "I must be an idiot." If I couldn't pull together so social proof

from this thread - other users citing their own experience - that's where

this issue would die: an unresolved minor issue.

Therefore: organizations need to be ever so vigilant in reaching across

barriers to nip little niggling issues in the bud before trust between user

and support is broken. This is how tech companies die. They stay in

their bubbles. Goodwill is squandered.


On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 9:26 AM, <

Community Participant

The initial ticket included a screenshot of the missing graphic.

See also the post from Kimberly Smith @ Jun 21, 2018 10:04 PM


All, please post screenshots of missing graphics here as you find them...

On Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 9:33 AM, Renee Carney <>

We saw those, Michael, but a screenshot doesn't help us troubleshoot this issue - so doing an all call for more screenshots will not help us solve this.  We need a link to the course with the problem element, and we need to know who was having the problem and if possible what tech they were using.  The ideal way to submit this ticket is to go to (or have the user go to) the problem element and use the help menu to 'submit a ticket' from that location.  It gives our support team invaluable information.