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Community Participant

Calendar Items vs. Actual Assignments

I'm not sure if this is a bug, a feature, or just something that needs some tweaking, but currently, calendar items don't seem to be completely connected to the actual assignments or quizzes they indicate. Specifically, there have been times when I have changed a due date for an assignment or quiz in its respective area of Canvas, and in the calendar, the icon representing the actual event reflects that change. However, the separate calendar item icon does not, and still shows the old due date.

I like to use calendar items so that students can see when major upcoming assignments or quizzes will be due without making those items available at the beginning of the semester, but more than once, students have seen two different due dates for a given assignment in the calendar due to this disconnect, because I didn't think to go into the calendar and make sure its date reflected the changed due date. It seems odd that I can change the due date for an assignment by moving the calendar item in the calendar (or, for that matter, actually delete an assignment by deleting the calendar item), but I can't change the due date in the calendar item by changing it in Assignments. And once I turn the assignment on, I end up with two different icons in the calendar for the same Assignment.

I just now tried an experiment: First, I went into an upcoming calendar item and changed the start time on the day the assignment is due. Then I went into Assignments and looked at the list of assignments; there, Canvas now indicates that the assignment is not available until the same day that it's due. However, when I click to edit the assignment, it still shows that it was available beginning on the date I created it a month ago. Finally, I went back into the assignment itself and changed the due date to a day later. Now, in the calendar, the assignment icon has moved to the correct date, but the corresponding calendar item has not.

One final observation is that, when there is both an assignment icon and a calendar item icon for the same assignment, once the closing date for that assignment has passed, the assignment icon is both "grayed" out and crossed through, but the corresponding calendar item is not. If they both represent the same assignment, shouldn't they both reflect the status of that assignment?

So, aside from actual problems with calendar items, I need to ask: What's the best way to have these problems corrected? Is it enough that I've called attention to them in the Community, do I need to call Tech Support and report this as a bug, or is this something I need to propose as a votable item?

Many thanks for your help!

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5 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

 @ghalsell , without knowing for sure, I think this is a function of the difference between "available" and "due" dates. I tried to test this out, and here are the steps I followed:

(1) Created an assignment "placeholder" on the Calendar. This only allows me to enter a due date, so I set it for October 26 (the time defaults to 11:59 pm). I did not publish this placeholder.

(2) Navigated to the course and found the assignment in my Assignments list.

(3) Clicked on the assignment to edit the settings, noting that no Available from or until dates appear (which is correct, as I did not and could not not enter any from the calendar).

(4) Changed the due date to October 27, without changing anything else.

(5) Navigated back to the Calendar. The assignment placeholder now appears on October 27.

And just in case the publication status of the assignment was a factor, I repeated the same steps, but this time I published the placeholder before proceeding with steps 2-5. In this scenario, the date moved on the calendar as one would expect.

In other words, unless I misunderstood what you've described, I can't replicate your experience.

So to answer your ultimate question, I think your best course of action is to report this to Canvas Support and have them look at it first before we continue to troubleshoot here. Generally speaking, calling attention to something in the Community is what you'd want to do after Canvas Support has had a look at the specifics surrounding your case to see if the feature is working properly or is indeed a bug. Once the case has gotten past that point the Community can help you decide how to proceed. Please submit a ticket or call support, and take a moment to update us on the outcome!

Community Team
Community Team

Hello,  @ghalsell , we haven't heard from you in a while. Has this conversation resolved the issue for you? For now, I'm going to mark this question as Assumed Answered--but if you have a moment to let us know what Canvas Support discovered, please share the results here.

Community Participant

I'm going to call this resolved, because it appears the calendar items were apparently never linked to the assignments they represented (I created them several semesters ago and have carried them over from term to term, updating the dates each time). In the future, I'm going to avoid using calendar items as much as possible. That being said, it would be great if there were a way to show upcoming assignments and exams in the calendar without actually assigning them. For instance, I would like my students to be able to see at the beginning of the semester when each of the exams in a given course are scheduled, but without having to actually create each exam and publish it in order for it to appear in the calendar. If I create a separate calendar item for it, then later publish the exam, but with a different due date than what the calendar item indicates, I have to remember to go back into the calendar and either delete the calendar item (now that the quiz itself shows up there), or change the due date on the calendar item. I don't know if there is any easy answer to this situation, but would love to know what others do in this situation.

 @ghalsell , when you refer to "calendar items," are you talking about placeholders for assignments or events? If you create an event on the course calendar, it does not link to any assessment item; it stands alone as an event--even if you call it Assignment 1 due today. So if you subsequently create an assignment called Assignment 1 due on that date, it will have no effect on the Assignment 1 event. Assignment placeholders should always be associated with their assignment shells; they should change their position on the calendar when you edit the due dates, and they should carry over upon course copy.

Community Participant

I agree - an option for designers and instructors to choose whether or not they want activities listed in the Calendar, To-do, and Syllabus Course Summary section to be hyperlinked? Could we explore adding this option so WE CAN CHOOSE on our end whether hyperlinks in these places are useful or not in a particular course or program?