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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 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?

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27 Replies
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! 

Community Champion


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:


From 54 seconds


and at 57 seconds


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... 

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. 

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.

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.


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.

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!