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bradhorn
Community Contributor

Content (quizzes and pages) disappearing

Ok, I'm back with more mysteries. I'm having things disappear—quizzes and pages to be specific. Using the www.school.edu/coursename/undelete trick didn't work for me. I always save and/or publish things so that's not it, but there are two things that could be contributing to the phenomenon: 1) I am working collaboratively with another teacher and we are often working in the course at the same time. 2) I also often have more than one Canvas tab open with my course in it. Both of these have been the case for more than a month but it's only recently that things have started to disappear.

Any ideas, oh gurus of Canvas?

Tags (1)
27 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

bradhorn, not sure about the guru part, but my vote is for the two of you in working on the same course. We've had this happen in our office more than once and we were testing things earlier this week and found that if multiple people are in working on something at the same time the only thing that gets saved is what the person who saves last was working on.

I's possible that you having Canvas open in multiple tabs/browsers could be the issue, but honestly I do that pretty much every day (for the last 4+ years) and haven't had that happen.

bradhorn
Community Contributor

This makes sense to me as the lost pages, to the best of my recollection, *were* created while we were in the course at the same time. Just to be clear, though—we haven't not been working in the same pages, quizzes, etc. at the same time, only working simultaneously on *different* pages, quizzes, etc. in the same course. Do you still have the same conclusion after knowing that, or no?

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

If you were working on different pages then no, I wouldn't expect this to happen. In my office we started to be very clear about what we were working on (when we were in working on the same course) and stopped having the problem. This might be a case where you need to monitor it a little closer and as soon as it happens (provide the specifics and) contact Canvas Support to check into it

tdurbin
Community Contributor

It is because you both have active instances of the same course section open & in edit modes at the same time. It has less chance of happening if you were to be working in different sections, like one of you in Announcements & the other in Pages, just so long as you are not both working on Pages/Announcements/Assignments/etc. at the same time.

Example:

Say you make a page called "puppies" & save it, then the other person saves their page called "kittens" & when you both go back into the course, you can only see "kittens". This happens because the newest save of kittens was made on an old cached version of the Pages section that did not have "puppies", so essentially Canvas is seeing it as "puppies" never existed & overwrote what was there (this is also why it does not appear in the deleted items, it wasn't technically deleted, it was overwritten to appear as though it was never created to begin with).

It could also have a little to do with which browsers each of you are using also.

ysmalls
Community Champion

Same here, we have found that if you have two or more teachers working on the same course things will meritoriously get moved, deleted or edited either by mistake or unknowingly. 

bradhorn
Community Contributor

First off—I like you people. Let's be friends.

Second... ysmalls,  @kona ‌, maybe James Jones (whom I can't tag for some reason) since this has nothing to do with Mastery Paths .... (OR DOES IT?) — this was an instance of me creating content that my fellow Canvaser definitely wasn't working in. Also, the pages that went awol weren't in the magical .../undelete closet. Something funkier than mistaken-deletion via co-editing is going on here, unfortunately. The only clue I have is that all the lost pages were created during one Canvas session. I'll try to look for other patterns and will contact Support as per Kona's suggestion. Thanks for holding my hand here, everyone.

ysmalls
Community Champion

bradhorn...HA!  I likes you too!  And now following you!

Well I can tell you from experience the "undelete" closet is very temperamental (MO) and not always the answer.  By any change have you tried looking in your beta/test instance to see if you have those "missing in action" content? 

Also, not sure if this would help but your Canvas admin can always check the log of those other trusted users to see if maybe they had any hand in the matter (this might be more work though)?

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

We had a case of this in a course just this week and called Canvas Support and they were able to go in and tell us exactly what happened and who the culprit was!

bradhorn
Community Contributor

How do I access the Beta environment? I have tried looking it up (in places like this: How do I access the Canvas beta environment as an instructor?) but I can't make sense of the "[organization name].beta.instructure.com" instruction. For me that would be (I think) wisc.beta.instructure.com which kicked me to a login to Canvas via my institution's login page. That login failed. I also tried wisc.EDU.beta.instructure.com but got a "your connection is not private" error and couldn't proceed.

Is my Canvas acct haunted by the ghost of a disgruntled employee?

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hmmm... I did some playing around and I wonder if the issue is that you have to pick which Institution/organization you're trying to access? One thing you could try is to log into Canvas (regular Canvas for your school) and then in the URL at the top of your page insert beta in between the school part of your URL and the Instructure part. Example: richland.instructure.edu (my normal Canvas environment) --> richland.beta.instructure.edu (beta environment). When I do this I'm not prompted to log in because I'm technically already logged into Canvas through my regular environment.

If this doesn't work then my recommendation is to contact Canvas Support at your Institution and see if they can help you figure out the login issue with Beta and to help with why your pages are disappearing! If you're not sure how to contact support click on the Help link in Canvas and report a problem.

bradhorn
Community Contributor

Well now maybe that's the problem...at least with the Beta / Test thing. This is the url to my normal Canvas environment: https://canvas.wisc.edu/ . I've tried inserting the word "beta" in several spots in the url but nothing has worked.

Seems like I need to be moving on to Canvas Support at this point but do let me know if you have any ideas. And thank you.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Nope, sorry, I'm stumped. If/when you find out what you needed to do could you come back and let us know?

Thanks! Kona

James
Community Champion

Cool, I'm untaggable! Elliot Ness, move over. Wait, he was untouchable, not untaggable.

bradhorn, what I do is position my mouse over the person's name in the original post (not the part at the top of the box where you're replying), then click the right button and copy the link location. When I paste that into the browser, Jive (the software the Community uses) turns it into a link with their name. It also unfortunately adds a space afterwards, and I usually want a comma. But anyway, I've found that's more reliable and faster than @ mentioning someone.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I find it faster and more efficient to do what James is suggesting with the right click, copy link location, then paste. In the past there might be more than one person with the same name and this way you know you're @ mentioning the right person!

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Yes, we should definitely be friends and I followed you yesterday! Smiley Happy

In general the Community is a pretty fun and helpful bunch, and we're happy to have you in and participating! Is your school just switching over to Canvas?

bradhorn
Community Contributor

Yes we are just now getting it and I'm a new employee, too. Lots of newness here. Too much, obviously....although it has led me to hanging out, virtually, with you cool folks.

myerdon01
Community Champion

Myself, and other faculty, work with Canvas open in multiple tabs and have not had any issues. I have one that swears though that they have issues when they are using 2 different browsers with Canvas simultaneously, but I have yet to see it actually happen.

HOWEVER, I did want to chime in with a caution on working with multiple tabs open, specifically when copying content from a previous course to a new one. Thank goodness this only happened once since I have been our Canvas admin, but I had an instructor (computer programming teacher, no less) come to my office close to tears the other day. She had Canvas open in different tabs and was switching back and forth between them making sure she had copied all content from old courses into a new development shell. When she was finished with one of the old classes (it was a manually created development shell), she decided to permanently delete it because she would no longer have a need for it since she copied everything into a new shell.  Once she hit the button she realized she was in her live course for the semester, not the shell! Together we were able to get the course back, she had googled a You Tube video and I followed the instructions in the admin guide and all was well!

Just my word or warning to be careful with multiple tabs or windows open! She and I both now agree that when we are ready to delete something, we close everything except the one we truly want to delete, just to be safe!

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Good words of caution! Same goes when you're getting ready to copy content into a course! Always double check that you're in the right course!!

tdurbin
Community Contributor

We have hidden the delete button from faculty, so any course deletions happen by an admin & we can verify everything before we pull the plug (although very early on we did have an Admin that wiped out an active class during finals weeks).

An undo what I just did button would be great, but not really feasible!

James
Community Champion

This isn't another artifact of mastery paths that I don't know anything about is it?

schristman
New Member

I didn't read through ALL of the comments, but was this course imported?  In my experience, I had created a "template" course or module then imported it, and when I went to change the actual content in the modules everything reverted back to the original.  

johnmartin
Community Champion

This is what it looks like for me (Canvas Pages disappearing 8:24:17 - YouTube ). It happened as I opened a "Teaching Effectively in Canvas" session in front of 30 faculty! Not the most effective way to reassure wary instructors, and not the best example to convince them to move to a new platform 😞

I heard that it also happened to another colleague ( @kspader ‌) during her FacDev workshop on Social Learning in Canvas. And there's a third case that  @theresa_ballweg ‌ is trying to troubleshoot.

  • We have many many courses with multiple instructors, working from multiple locations, so unless there's a clear check-in and check-out system in place, keeping them from working on the same course at the same time won't work (can Instructors even know others are working on a course at a certain time?).
  • Working in multiple tabs is also such an entrenched part of everyone's workflow now, so trying to keep that from happening is also difficult.
  • And working in multiple browsers is needed because of Canvas's weird issues with different browsers.

Any new information or thoughts on how to address this issue? Thanks! 

James
Community Champion

 @johnmartin  

It's hard to tell from your video, but at about 1:27, it sounds like you said "paste", supposedly meaning that you updated the link that was there.

The problem jumped out at me early on but I still watched the whole thing to make sure I wasn't missing something.


Your link was to a non-existent page, which is why it couldn't find it. The name of the page has "(20 min)" at the end of it, but your link didn't have that. 


From 22 seconds in:

247788_pastedImage_2.png

From 54 seconds

247789_pastedImage_3.png

and at 57 seconds

247791_2017-08-24_11-39-27.png

johnmartin
Community Champion

Thanks  @James ,

Yup, changing a page title breaks all the links to the page — Canvas does NOT automatically update links to them. So, if I change a page title, I need to manually find and go through all the pages in the course that refer to that page and manually change the URL of the changed pages.

This is a PITA, and was news to me, but apparently fixing this behavior so links point to a page ID has been on Product Radar for several years...   https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1985-update-all-links-when-page-name-changes 

James
Community Champion

Correct, it is a PITA and one you remember after you've experienced it first-hand. But it's also something that can be slightly mitigated by running the "Validate Links in Content" feature from the Course Settings page. That will tell you where all the bad links are and then you can go in and fix them.

The lesson to learn is that you decide on names ahead of time and don't change them. I did not know that my first semester teaching with Canvas and ran into what you did. But the second semester I taught I planned things out a little better. You have a little flexibility as the name of the page does not have to match the name of the link text, but they must match the title on the modules page (they don't for files, but do for content pages).

And I can make a case that updating links when you change the name of the page should not happen -- perhaps you want to replace a page with new content, so you rename the old one and then create a new one and don't have to update the links to refer to the new one. Of course, some will counter that there should be an option asking if you would want to rename all the existing links when you do that. Then you run into the "we want Canvas simple without a bunch of options cluttering the interface" principle. After a while, you start to realize why decisions are rarely simple.

Thank you  @James ‌ for reminding me of the value of the validate links option. I had always thought of that as focused on links to external resources but keeping on top of changes to internal links is a good use of the tool. This is one of those lessons that many of us learn the hard way. 

cxy11
New Member

I have had files that had been there for weeks suddenly disappear from the listing and then reappear hours later.  I don't think it had anything to do with multiple people working on the same class.