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Community Contributor

Accidental unmuting

Have you or someone you know accidentally unmuted an assignment while marking in Speedgrader?

Several staff members at my institution have accidentally clicked on "unmute assignment" in Speedgrader, and then spent the rest of the day dealing with student confusion. Unmuting in the gradebook generates a confirmation popup, but Speedgrader does not require any such confirmation.

There was a feature request to fix this disparity, but it didn't go anywhere.

Is this just a localised problem for my staff, or for Canvas newbies? I have resorted to warning everyone that this innocuous button in the midst of their marking workflow is actually "release grades and feedback to every student, oh and by the way everyone will get an email telling them their grade is available."

This fails a few criteria of good UI design:

  • The text doesn't communicate the state well: it doesn't tell you that the assignment is muted, you must infer it from the fact that the action displays "unmute assignment"
  • It's inconsistent: a reasonable user who has unmuted in the gradebook would assume the same confirmation prompt here
  • It's an irrevocable action: you can re-mute, but those (now inaccurate) emails to students have already been sent
  • It's a global action (affects all students) on a page that is otherwise local (relating only to one student at a time)
13 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @d_ellis , we've been using Canvas since 2012 and to be honest, no, I've never had this happen to me personally. As for my faculty (I'm Director of Online Learning), I can't remember any Instructors complaining about or having problems with accidentally unmuting. That doesn't mean it hasn't happen, but that it must not have been a big enough or frequent enough mistake for faculty to have complained about it (and trust me, they let me know when they aren't happy about something!).

If you feel it is a big enough issue, my recommendation is to resubmit the idea as a new feature idea (make sure to link to the original idea and include the information you've included above - which is very useful/informative). If you do resubmit this idea, you can also try to gain support (and votes) in the Community and beyond by promoting this idea. Perhaps more people are having this issue than we realize!

Community Contributor

Thanks for the reply, Kona. I guess it's the "big enough issue" part that concerns me - this is a small tweak. I believe it's good UI for the reasons stated above. However, it's not exactly an exciting functional expansion of Canvas. That means it's unlikely to gather the necessary number of votes.

I can think of several tweaks that fall into this "unsexy, low impact, but useful" zone, for example expanding the HTML whitelist to include CSS3 elements.  @John_Lowe  described the systemic issue with the voting process well in this thread:

This type of small, admin-specific feature request just doesn't have the big "wow factor" that other big, flashy, requests do that often get the big vote counts from instructors and designers, so I really need your vote -- as a fellow Canvas admin -- on this feature that could provide options and flexibility for our institutions.  Please keep in mind that this request is about options and flexibility for our institutions, and not mandated change to current processes that may be working fine at your institution.

I could be wrong, and maybe a well-phrased feature request for a tweak would work. It would be interesting to analyse successful vs. unsuccessful ideas and compare that to the scope of change required to make them happen. But I suspect that small refinements to the UI just disappear, and it's unfortunate - these changes are the easiest to implement, and in sum add up to a much improved user experience.

Community Champion

 @d_ellis ​, you took the words right out of my mouth. Smiley Happy  Could I recommend that you also share this in the Canvas Admins group as well?  I think that group would benefit greatly by hearing your thoughts and joining in this discussion.

 @d_ellis ​, while I completely agree with you that many feature ideas fall into the "unsexy, low impact, but useful" category and therefore don't get love from the Community, I can't see that this is one of them. I've graded literally thousands of student submissions, all of them muted, with SpeedGrader, and not once did I accidentally "un-mute" an assignment. I am even having trouble envisioning what sort of workflow would lead one to unmute an assignment, given how the SpeedGrader interface is set up, so I took this screenshot:


In my grading workflow, I don't have occasion to be over at the top right of the SpeedGrader for any reason. But perhaps some of your teachers are overshooting the submission dropdown box? It's hard for me to conjecture without watching them grade.

I vote for the "unsexy" feature ideas all the time as long as the design features they spotlight are ones that impact my workflow. The reason I didn't give the archived idea my upvote is because this one didn't.

Oh,  @d_ellis ​, one other complicating factor just occurred to me: Are your faculty using the SpeedGrader app to mark papers?


as explained here: How do I view assignment submissions in the SpeedGrader app on my iPad?

After looking at that interface, I can readily see the possibility of accidentally "un-muting" an assignment by inadvertently toggling that mute icon. If that's what is tripping up your faculty, I recommend a new feature idea that specifies that the problem arises because of the ambiguity of the interface on the SpeedGrader apps.

Community Champion

Our faculty absolutely have this problem.  I and my colleagues supported the previous feature idea and will be sure to help publicize a resubmission.

Community Contributor

Hi again Stefanie

Sorry for the delay in replying. This issue came up with new users in the browser, rather than in the app.

It's not a mistake that I have made (and I wouldn't expect that this would be an issue for you either) because it seems to happen with staff who are not especially IT-confident or savvy. I am working with some staff for whom a right-click or a drag-and-drop are a challenge, for example! The Speedgrader redesign (Canvas Studio: Speedgrader™ Facelift) moves the button to a position next to the Gradebook link, so I don't know whether this will ameliorate the problem or not.

I suppose it's the inconsistency that's strange to me. In the Gradebook, there is a confirmation prompt when unmuting. In Speedgrader, there is not.

Community Participant

We have also voiced this as a big concern for our institute. We find it interesting that there is a warning prompt asking if you would like to definitely mute something, but not that other way! We would definitely support any feature requests to get this rectified.

Community Participant

This is now open for voting at so please go vote for it!