New Member

Module-at-a-glance graphic

When working through a course as a student I often find myself popping back out to the module screen to see my progress and where I am in the module.  "Am I halfway through and should take a break?", or "Just two more pages and a quiz and I'm done, I'll push through." 

So I created this graphic to place at the top of each page to show the student's location within the big picture of the module itself. 


Colors show the types of items in the module and the transparent ones represent upcoming items while the bold blue ones are completed items.  Again, just a Module - at - a - glance kind of view without leaving the content page.   I created it in ppt and have attached it below for anyone that wants to take and play with it.   Comments and feedback appreciated. Smiley Happy

19 Replies
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @timothy_mckean ​, this looks pretty cool. Would you be willing to add it along with your very helpful use case description to the comments section of ? The feature idea is currently open for voting, but it doesn't look like it's going to achieve the vote threshold necessary to move forward to the next stage. Nevertheless, I think your feedback on how this feature might be designed would be helpful not only for proponents of the feature idea currently being voted upon, but also for future re-submissions of the same feature idea.

I would vote for this but when I click on your link "Progress tracking for students" I am taken to a private group. I have 250 teachers who wold vote for this today! I'm sure that would help us get this over the line. We teach language, literacy and numeracy skills to adults and this feature would be enormously helpful for them in tracking completions.

0 Kudos

 @sue_valdeck ‌, the linked idea was moved to Cold Storage‌ in August 2016 due to the low vote total it garnered during its voting period. If you'd like to view the idea, please request membership in the group—and if it's an idea you'd like to see go forward for a new round of consideration by the Canvas Community, you or anyone may resubmit it by writing a new feature idea (How do I create a new feature idea in the Canvas Community?‌)

Community Champion

I love where you are going with this  @timothy_mckean ! It would be very beneficial to the students to know where they are in the module. If the current vote does not make the threshold, I would do a re-submit of the idea.

Community Coach
Community Coach

This is something you create within Storyline (or similar eLearning platforms) and then embed within Canvas.  It won't show actual progress within the LMS, but it can be used within a lesson.  You would even be able to design a custom progress bar (example: 35 Beautiful Progress Bar Designs - Hongkiat ).  It would be interesting to have similar functionality within Canvas. In terms of real estate, one location could be at the bottom of the page between the Previous and Next buttons. 

New Member

Thanks for sharing.

New Member

This is essential. A progress bar so that students know where they are at inside a module is good instructional design and absolutely makes sense. It's not so much a special feature as much as a core component to good design. Seems like a fairly easy integration for the developers at Instructure with literally no down side. They already integrate the "next" button at the bottom of the page which tells you which page is coming up next in the module.  Just use a similar strategy but include a button/link to each page. If it is a page they can't access before completing a prior page, it could be unclickable until they completed the tasks needed to move forward. When a student is working through a module, they absolutely should know where they are at in terms of completion, without having to back out and go to the modules page.stefaniesanders

Thanks for tagging me,  @tarmentano ​! May I ask why? Smiley Happy

I thought you worked for Instructure as a Canvas Coach :smileylaugh:

I am a Canvas Coach,  @tarmentano --but the coaches aren't Instructure employees. You can read more about the coaches at Canvas Coaches  . So I'm not in a position to implement change, and I have but one vote. Smiley Happy

Community Contributor

So, from the comments -- I would still have to find a way to make this change as students proceeded, right? (Or, I as instructor would do it?)  

I love it --  I have been surprised at how visual maps motivate students (I tutor our students who use ALEKS which has shifted from a text "if you get N more right..." to a visual and it's much more positively received.) 

Community Contributor

This is lovely. There are two items of concern, design-wise: first, color is being used as an exclusive means of communicating quite a lot of information--content type, completion, current location. There are plenty of solutions for this, though the obvious would be use of additional shapes.

The second concern is a bit more difficult--exclusively graphical communication of data. An alt tag would be tough to construct in a useful way. Not quite sure what the solution is.

I do a similar sort of thing with a div and an unordered list (image below), but I really like the graphical quality of your solution.


New Member

Flying blind within a module is indeed a problem with the current interface and I appreciate the workaround presented. However, I would be hesitant to recommend that faculty adopt this approach due to how difficult it would be to maintain. Adding a new content item to a module after the initial build would necessitate that the images on every other content item in the module be updated. I would love Instructure to address this interface flaw.

Community Contributor

This is a great idea! 

I have a few suggestions...

(1) Replace the color/number scheme with existing Canvas icons (page, quiz, discussion, etc).

(2) Outline module requirements in red (or another contrasting color)

(3) Connect sequential module requirements with a red line

Here's the demo sketch-up...


As already stated, the space between the Previous and Next buttons would be an Awesome location for this feature.


Hi Wade, this looks great, are you able to share how you created this or a template we could use?

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Community Member

The module-at-a-glance idea sounds excellent.  I find the visual clarity it provides to be appealing : )

What I've been providing my students is an hyperlinked menu at the bottom of each page of the module.  The menu (an example is shown below) communicates what is in the module and enables the student to easily jump from one page in the module to any another. 

note: I grabbed the URL for each of the page links directly from the Module View (right clicking on the page name, and choosing 'Copy URL Address') so that subsequent changes to a page name will not break the hyperlink. 

I'd be interested in what others are doing to help their student with "intra-module" navigation.


Module Navigation and Description.png

Community Member

Is this posted somewhere as a feature request that we can vote on?

A competitor platform has implemented a similar feature as the left navigation. We use it for a few online courses and it is evaluated very positively.

Community Member

I agree that a progress bar is a necessary feature (for modules in particular). I've been looking into solutions and have yet to find something that will suffice. 

The Jquery progress bar won't work for modules because you can't place it at the top of every items webpage (i.e., can place it on a page page, but not in an assignment, etc. in the same way). Additionally, this seems to require manually updating the code for each page/item every time the module is revised. That's a non-starter for, say, Blueprint courses that are going to be populated and used by instructors who are neither able or willing to edit the HTML themselves. 

This module-at-a-glance idea is, imho, a huge improvement on a basic progress bar (especially with Wade's idea re: using the module item icons). Alas, it seems to suffer from the same drawbacks as the progress bar. 

Here's hoping Canvas implements this in the platform (with lots of customization features!) asap. (If only to catch up with EdX Smiley Wink)

Community Contributor

Excellent idea, @Timothy McKean. I love the idea, and I love the progression of inputs.

a)  I always love a progress indicator, as I'm going through material. Just to give me my bearings. "Do I have one more thing to do, or 17 more things to do?"

b)  Definitely, I like the idea of replacing colored circles with the existing Canvas icons. This addresses accessibility concerns.

c)  Also, for accessibility issues, should replace the "red circles to indicate 'required' items" with something color-neutral. Maybe, just a double-circle for "required" items. 

d)  This "progress bar" option should be optional on a per-module basis. Some modules are too long (or too short), the progress bar wouldn't be necessary... might even be confusing.