rwhitakerheck
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Can assignment due dates be set by students?

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I would like my students to set their own due dates for the assignments I have created. Is that possible, and if so, what are the steps? Thanks! 

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James
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 @rwhitakerheck ,

You can allow students to set their own due dates but these dates will not be reflected in Canvas unless you go into Canvas and set the assignments for each one manually. That can take a considerable amount of your time to handle that.

If you want the students to collectively decide when something is due, then you can get that information any way you like -- a survey, a form, a piece of paper, a consensus vote in class, etc. Then you would go in and enter the due date for each assignment.

If you want the students to individually decide when something is due, things just got a lot harder on you. The Canvas name for assigning different due dates to different sections, groups, or students is "differentiated assignments" and this lesson in the Canvas Instructor Guide explains how to use them: How do I view differentiated assignments with different due dates in a course? 

For this, you would need to go into each assignment and assign the students for each date and time picked. You can put multiple students down for the same date and time, but if your students don't get the information to you all at the same time, then you're going back in and editing the assignments over and over as new students feed you the information.

Canvas does not make it easy for you to tell who is using a differentiated assignment when assigning them to students (as opposed to sections or groups), it merely says "1 student" or "2 students" but doesn't give their names. That is, you wouldn't know when John was supposed to turn it in unless you went in to the assignment and searched for his name. It will also make your syllabus view unmanageable as it will show the date for each separate date and time --- if you have 20 different dates and time for "Argumentative Speech" then it will show up 20 times for you (the instructor) on the syllabus page. 

If you're wanting each student to be able to pick their own dates, then it would be easier on you to not set dates on the assignments at all inside Canvas. The students can add the events to their to-do list and associate it with your course. This way, they are responsible for keeping the date themselves. You still have no idea when that would be, unless you have them submit their due dates to you. This lesson from the Canvas Student Guide explains how students can add items to their to-do list: How do I add a to-do item in the Calendar as a student? 

Students often lack time management skills. Instead of leaving it completely open ended and putting no dates and times, you might start off with a reasonable set of defaults and then allow students to deviate if they need to. This will greatly cut down the amount of work you'll need to do.

There are other possibilities that don't involve setting the dates on the assignments themselves. We have a speech teacher who has blocks of time where a student can come to campus and present their speeches in an otherwise online course. The students can sign up for any of those three times. She just has a textbox assignment where she asks the students which of times they want to attend. She's dedicated, but she doesn't go in and set the dates individually for the students on the assignment.

There are other online tools that allow people to sign up for things, including the Canvas Scheduler. The Canvas Scheduler allows you to set times for the students to meet with you and then have the students choose which time they want. You can limit the number of people who can sign up for each time slot to keep it manageable. This lesson from the Canvas Instructor Guide explains how to use the Scheduler: How do I add a Scheduler appointment group in a course calendar? 

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James
Community Champion

 @rwhitakerheck ,

You can allow students to set their own due dates but these dates will not be reflected in Canvas unless you go into Canvas and set the assignments for each one manually. That can take a considerable amount of your time to handle that.

If you want the students to collectively decide when something is due, then you can get that information any way you like -- a survey, a form, a piece of paper, a consensus vote in class, etc. Then you would go in and enter the due date for each assignment.

If you want the students to individually decide when something is due, things just got a lot harder on you. The Canvas name for assigning different due dates to different sections, groups, or students is "differentiated assignments" and this lesson in the Canvas Instructor Guide explains how to use them: How do I view differentiated assignments with different due dates in a course? 

For this, you would need to go into each assignment and assign the students for each date and time picked. You can put multiple students down for the same date and time, but if your students don't get the information to you all at the same time, then you're going back in and editing the assignments over and over as new students feed you the information.

Canvas does not make it easy for you to tell who is using a differentiated assignment when assigning them to students (as opposed to sections or groups), it merely says "1 student" or "2 students" but doesn't give their names. That is, you wouldn't know when John was supposed to turn it in unless you went in to the assignment and searched for his name. It will also make your syllabus view unmanageable as it will show the date for each separate date and time --- if you have 20 different dates and time for "Argumentative Speech" then it will show up 20 times for you (the instructor) on the syllabus page. 

If you're wanting each student to be able to pick their own dates, then it would be easier on you to not set dates on the assignments at all inside Canvas. The students can add the events to their to-do list and associate it with your course. This way, they are responsible for keeping the date themselves. You still have no idea when that would be, unless you have them submit their due dates to you. This lesson from the Canvas Student Guide explains how students can add items to their to-do list: How do I add a to-do item in the Calendar as a student? 

Students often lack time management skills. Instead of leaving it completely open ended and putting no dates and times, you might start off with a reasonable set of defaults and then allow students to deviate if they need to. This will greatly cut down the amount of work you'll need to do.

There are other possibilities that don't involve setting the dates on the assignments themselves. We have a speech teacher who has blocks of time where a student can come to campus and present their speeches in an otherwise online course. The students can sign up for any of those three times. She just has a textbox assignment where she asks the students which of times they want to attend. She's dedicated, but she doesn't go in and set the dates individually for the students on the assignment.

There are other online tools that allow people to sign up for things, including the Canvas Scheduler. The Canvas Scheduler allows you to set times for the students to meet with you and then have the students choose which time they want. You can limit the number of people who can sign up for each time slot to keep it manageable. This lesson from the Canvas Instructor Guide explains how to use the Scheduler: How do I add a Scheduler appointment group in a course calendar? 

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