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adham_muhseen
Community Member

Author and posted at in discussions from a content copy

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Hi All,

I noticed that in a discussion that has been copied into a course using the course import seems to have its "posted_at" and "author" attributes deleted.

Is there a reason for this? This also seems to happen for announcements.

Regards,

Adham

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
James
Community Champion

 @adham_muhseen ,

Yes, there are at least a couple of reasons for this.

When you are copying a course you are copying content, you are not copying the user information. Since no information about the user that created the discussion or announcement is contained in the copy, it would be impossible to associate a user, other than the one who did the import, with the content. This is not specific to Canvas, the IMS Common Cartridge format, which is a standard for content interchange between systems, doesn't contain user information either.

Some institutions rely on this loss of user information. Instructional designers may design the course, but if they do it inside the course itself, then it shows up as they are the one asking the question and the student is left wondering who that person is asking the question because it's not the teacher. The recommended work-around since you can't change the name of the author is to create the discussion (or course) in a sandbox and then import it into the real course without the name of the instructional designer.

Likewise, you may have a course created by another instructor that gets passed around. If I create a statistics course and share it with my colleague, we wouldn't want me identified as the person asking the questions or making the announcements. Perhaps someone creates a course and retires and the new person wants to continue using the course with the discussions; we wouldn't want the old instructor's name showing up everywhere.

It would be possible for Canvas to do an internal copy and maintain user information. In fact, this used to be the behavior. It was changed, in part, because of the issue of people who created the content not being in the course.

There is a feature idea open for voting that you might be interested in. If not, there is some discussion that follows that could provide additional insight into the issue. https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8670-allow-discussion-owner-to-be-changed 

What's lost by not carrying over the information may not be that big of a loss. Most students recognize when the instructor is asking a discussion question as it's the initial question and it's an assignment. They don't need the instructor's avatar or name next to it. However, if it is super-critical that the instructor's name be present, they can always recreate the discussion. There's a discussion from August 2018 about just that: How to make discussions and announcements indicate that I posted them. There was also a question from November 2015 about this: https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/7573 I think most people will find that recreating the discussion just to get their name and avatar there becomes not so important after a couple of discussions.

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3 Replies
James
Community Champion

 @adham_muhseen ,

Yes, there are at least a couple of reasons for this.

When you are copying a course you are copying content, you are not copying the user information. Since no information about the user that created the discussion or announcement is contained in the copy, it would be impossible to associate a user, other than the one who did the import, with the content. This is not specific to Canvas, the IMS Common Cartridge format, which is a standard for content interchange between systems, doesn't contain user information either.

Some institutions rely on this loss of user information. Instructional designers may design the course, but if they do it inside the course itself, then it shows up as they are the one asking the question and the student is left wondering who that person is asking the question because it's not the teacher. The recommended work-around since you can't change the name of the author is to create the discussion (or course) in a sandbox and then import it into the real course without the name of the instructional designer.

Likewise, you may have a course created by another instructor that gets passed around. If I create a statistics course and share it with my colleague, we wouldn't want me identified as the person asking the questions or making the announcements. Perhaps someone creates a course and retires and the new person wants to continue using the course with the discussions; we wouldn't want the old instructor's name showing up everywhere.

It would be possible for Canvas to do an internal copy and maintain user information. In fact, this used to be the behavior. It was changed, in part, because of the issue of people who created the content not being in the course.

There is a feature idea open for voting that you might be interested in. If not, there is some discussion that follows that could provide additional insight into the issue. https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8670-allow-discussion-owner-to-be-changed 

What's lost by not carrying over the information may not be that big of a loss. Most students recognize when the instructor is asking a discussion question as it's the initial question and it's an assignment. They don't need the instructor's avatar or name next to it. However, if it is super-critical that the instructor's name be present, they can always recreate the discussion. There's a discussion from August 2018 about just that: How to make discussions and announcements indicate that I posted them. There was also a question from November 2015 about this: https://community.canvaslms.com/thread/7573 I think most people will find that recreating the discussion just to get their name and avatar there becomes not so important after a couple of discussions.

View solution in original post

Hi James,

Thanks for your answer.

Would this also be the case for the "posted_at" field?

Regards,

Adham

James
Community Champion

I think the not posting the date was a related issue, not directly because of the lack of user information. There was a discussion about it where we discovered it didn't show to the students, but it did for admin-ish (teachers, admins) type users. When it was copied over from other courses, it originally showed the date it was created, so students were seeing dates in the past. The decision to hide the date from students was deliberate. There was a GitHub ticket opened about this in November 2015: Discussions don't have an initial timestamp visible · Issue #725, where Simon Williams from Instructure commented about the difficulty in determining which date to show and the product team deciding not to show the date to students.