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ndp5
Community Member

Combining sections and quickly assigning different due dates

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I am the only instructor for a course that has 14 sections this Fall. I am considering using Canvas but I have some concerns that I couldn't find specific answers to. Here they are:

1. My institution creates course for each section. I read that you can combine ("Cross-list") sections but it also says that cross-listing courses that do not meet together in person is a potential FERPA violation. Each section of my course meets at a different time. Would that be a concern? Does adding all the students in a section to a group solve the problem? Can I have groups within groups? I have 600 students, adjusting the settings for each student individually is not an option.

2.  If I do cross-list the courses, I see that I can set different due dates for each section. My current LMS allows me to do that quickly. I just set a due date offset (number of hours offset from the previous main section) by section for all assignments. If I need to adjust due dates differently for a given assignment, I can do that as well. All of this is done in one place. From what I can tell, Canvas lets you set different due dates but you have to do it per each assignment. Is that correct? I have 14 sections and many assignments. Setting due dates for each section for each assignment would not be an option. Is there a good way to set due date offsets on Canvas?

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rmurchshafer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hey Nathan,

I have partial answers that are not great unfortunately.  Regarding #1 and FERPA, it kind of depends on the content of the course.  If you hide the People tab and don't use discussions it's not really possible for students to see students in other sections.  From the InBox they could if they try to send a message; but it would just be a list of the 600 students and no indication which section they were in.  I'm not sure if that would be a FERPA concern or not.  It is possible to set enrollments so that students can only see and interact with students in their same section. https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13026  However, I don't know of an easy way to set this for all 600 students.

315741_pastedImage_1.png

There is a feature request to make this process more simple and it had a lot of votes, but I don't see that it has been created yet https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5584-course-level-setting-restrict-users-to-their-own-sections

There might be some ways to more easily do this though the use of APIs or with how your institution manages enrollments.  This is probably something you would need to get your Canvas admins to assist with though.

Regarding #2; I don't have a good answer.  There isn't any sort of method for setting date offsets or quickly managing due dates by section without doing it one at a time.  The best solution that might exist for this would be to use APIs to somehow manage these.  Here is the full documentation on Canvas APIs https://canvas.instructure.com/doc/api/.  I know it's possible to use APIs to create assignments and modify them and think it should be possible to set or change dates by section.  But if you don't know how to use APIs the learning curve might be a little steep.

Rick

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rmurchshafer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hey Nathan,

I have partial answers that are not great unfortunately.  Regarding #1 and FERPA, it kind of depends on the content of the course.  If you hide the People tab and don't use discussions it's not really possible for students to see students in other sections.  From the InBox they could if they try to send a message; but it would just be a list of the 600 students and no indication which section they were in.  I'm not sure if that would be a FERPA concern or not.  It is possible to set enrollments so that students can only see and interact with students in their same section. https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-13026  However, I don't know of an easy way to set this for all 600 students.

315741_pastedImage_1.png

There is a feature request to make this process more simple and it had a lot of votes, but I don't see that it has been created yet https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5584-course-level-setting-restrict-users-to-their-own-sections

There might be some ways to more easily do this though the use of APIs or with how your institution manages enrollments.  This is probably something you would need to get your Canvas admins to assist with though.

Regarding #2; I don't have a good answer.  There isn't any sort of method for setting date offsets or quickly managing due dates by section without doing it one at a time.  The best solution that might exist for this would be to use APIs to somehow manage these.  Here is the full documentation on Canvas APIs https://canvas.instructure.com/doc/api/.  I know it's possible to use APIs to create assignments and modify them and think it should be possible to set or change dates by section.  But if you don't know how to use APIs the learning curve might be a little steep.

Rick

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