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a1222679
Community Participant

Course Workflow State Changes

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Is there a way to find out when a course changed states?  I'd like to know when published courses were published if that was possible. 

I'm trying to workout the actual lifespan of courses in Canvas as they may sometimes start and/or end outside of the University's term dates.  So courses in the same semester can have varying durations and consequently varying sums of activity within them.  I'd like to know this information for all courses (over 2,000 this year) so unfortunately Admin Tools would be impractical.

 

There is nothing in the course_dim of the Canvas data to show when the WORKFLOW_STATE changed, although if it did and the course was concluded I would no longer know when it was published only when it was concluded.  Created, published and concluded datetime fields for each course in the course_dim would solve my problem.

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a1222679
Community Participant

Sorry for the late reply but I got an answer re the improbable course accesses in the requests table.  These accesses occurred in the first half of last year and Canvas informed me that;

We were able to confirm that during this time frame, Canvas did have an open Bug report that allowed students to attempt to navigate to unpublished courses.  When a student had an unpublished course in their course list and their enrollment was active, the course link was clickable, however, it took them to an unauthorized message.  This appears to be the cause, especially when viewing the student's prior page views....This bug was addressed in the 24-06-2017 Canvas Release.

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6 Replies
James
Community Member

 @a1222679 ,

Similar requests have come up before for when states change, but I don't think the answer has changed. Published is a toggle and can change multiple times. For courses, that can happen until students submit assignments. So, it might be unpublished, published, unpublished, and published again, but the record that it's tied to is a single record that contains just the current state. It would require the addition of audit or logging information to provide this information. Currently, that kind of information is available for quiz events, if enabled, but not for other things.

A potential place for it would be in Canvas Live Events, which is currently experimental and invitation only. See the Live Events REST API and How Do I Configure Live Events for Canvas Data?  These live events are similar to triggers that let you know when something was performed.  Alas, the only thing related to published there is the muted event. But it seems like this could be a place publishing anything would fit.

That means the answer to your question is not directly. You could gather the state of the course on a regular basis and look for changes to determine when it a course was published. Using the List active courses in an account endpoint of the Accounts API, you can filter on the published state.

If true, include only published courses. If false, exclude published courses. If not present, do not filter on published status.

You could grab a list of unpublished courses once a day (more or less depending on how accurate you needed the time to be) and make a note of the last time that it was unpublished in your own database. Then you can query your database for when a course was published. It would be impossible to go back and recover information this way, but you could use it going forward.

a1222679
Community Participant

Thanks James,

it's not as easy as I'd hoped it was going to be.  I currently use the first access of a course by a student enrolment as the a proxy for the course published date (probably close to if not the actual published date but prone to the vagaries of the requests table, specifically occasional access to courses well before it could possibly have happened) and the last date of any of the participations below for the end date (probably less accurate).  I don't use course access by a student for the end date as they still have view only access after the course ends.

* Submitted an assignment

* Started a quiz

* Created a wiki page

* Created a discussion or announcement

* Posted in a discussion or announcement

Looks like I'll need to continue to measure it like this as keeping a record of the workflow status of all courses every day isn't practical.

James
Community Member

Interesting about the requests table and the outrageous dates. Did you seek clarification on those from Canvas support? I once experienced an issue with students accessing a course a couple of years they had been in it because the mobile app was registering a hit in every course they took, not just the current ones. I did not check for accesses prior to the course began to see if that was an issue.

a1222679
Community Participant

I hadn't raised it with Canvas support, but will do so.  I'll let you know if I get some answers.

Robbie_Grant
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @a1222679 ,

Were you able to find an answer to your question? I am going to go ahead and mark this question as answered because there hasn't been any more activity in a while so I assume that you have the information that you need. If you still have a question about this or if you have information that you would like to share with the community, by all means, please do come back and leave a comment.  Also, if this question has been answered by one of the previous replies, please feel free to mark that answer as correct.

Robbie

a1222679
Community Participant

Sorry for the late reply but I got an answer re the improbable course accesses in the requests table.  These accesses occurred in the first half of last year and Canvas informed me that;

We were able to confirm that during this time frame, Canvas did have an open Bug report that allowed students to attempt to navigate to unpublished courses.  When a student had an unpublished course in their course list and their enrollment was active, the course link was clickable, however, it took them to an unauthorized message.  This appears to be the cause, especially when viewing the student's prior page views....This bug was addressed in the 24-06-2017 Canvas Release.