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New Member

Canvas Commons for Course Templates

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At our institution, we have two templates we use and we have things configured so that as courses are brought in via our SIS integration, the template automatically is copied into the new course shell.  But we are thinking that putting the course in Commons is a better idea so as we update the content in the shell over time, the faculty can notice there is something new and update the template.  However, it seems only the faculty member (or an admin masquerading) can import the template from Commons into their course.

Is there any way to get this Commons content to import automatically when we create courses via the SIS integration?

11 Replies

Hi Neal! Having more or less the same experience:

  • I can't just simply edit imported content because the reference persists
  • If a folder is empty in the template, it wipes clean the customized version; I've had to put a placeholder in it
  • Overall, I have not been able to reliably tell what's going to be retained and what's going to be overwritten upon an update; I'm seeing duplicate files being created even though they are not modified in anyway.

I'm coming to the same conclusion that Commons is just not reliable enough for course templates yet ...

Community Champion

Some things have gotten better since the last time I posted. Now when we update it keeps any new pages/elements that were added to the course instead of wiping it out. Ultimately though, we are operating under a rule: No templates will be updated. If there's a new version we are to take down the original and share the new version so it's not an "update". Otherwise any customized things (such as the homepage or syllabus) get reset to the original template content. I think this will work for us as long as teachers don't import a template twice into the same course after customizing, but you can't protect people from themselves in that case.