Disable Canvas late submission?

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Community Champion

I have been using grace periods for assignment submissions with some assignments, and I was wondering if there is a way I can disable how Canvas flags an assignment as late if submitted after the due date?  I tried deleting the due date after the grace period, but I noticed this action did not change the late status for assignments submitted after the due date.  Some students have been concerned their assignments were "late" even though they submitted the assignment within the grace period.  If anyone were to check analytics, it also would give the appearance that students are routinely submitting late assignments.

late submissions‌ analytics‌

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Community Champion

 @lewisale ,

No, you cannot disable or change this within Canvas. Admins can apply CSS styling to hide the label, but that needs done at the account level, not within individual courses. They are very unlikely to do that in this case since it is good that students know they are turning in things late. It's also good for the instructor to know it.

What you can do is do away with the grace period and make the available until the same as the due date. Then nothing can be turned in late and you've eliminated the label.

If they are turning it in past the due date, it is late. You may accept it, but it's still late. Canvas calls that "still acceptable" date the "available until" date. Canvas doesn't have a "I really wish you'd turn it in early" date.  There's no "bonus for turning it in early" date in Canvas. It's just a "due date" and "available until" date.

If you want to allow a grace period, then you need to do a better job of explaining it to the students so that they don't keep freaking out over the "late" label. When I have had a grace period, I never had a student complain about it showing up as "late", they were well aware that it was late, but they also knew that I would still take it for a day or two after that. Most of them even went out of their way to look up the available until date rather than taking the due date that Canvas gave them because they knew the "due date" was a soft date and not the real deadline. I had them do a course redesign project and they said they would rather have a real due date without a grace period, even if they had less time to work on it (I typically gave 4 days for a quiz with 2 days before it was due and 4 days before it was unacceptable)

A way to encourage people to turn it at the desired time is to apply a penalty to late work. The new gradebook does have the option to apply automatic late policies. If you were using that, you could say that it's full credit if it's turned in on time and then deduct points for late work up to a certain point where it's no longer accepted at all. When there is a penalty applied, more students magically start turning it in on time. I had 17 in my college algebra class this summer and homework was due the next class period, but I would take it up to one additional class period after that. Only 2 or 3 students routinely turned in material late. I am not using the new gradebook, so I had to apply the penalty manually, but I could have just as easily set the due date and available date to the same date and then said I'll give a bonus point to people who turn it in early (by the intended date). That's confusing in Canvas, because the due date is a due date. While most of the students this summer are turning it in on time, when I taught statistics in the spring, I had a due date with a 2 day grace period and had very few students turn it in on time, most turned it in during the grace period and many of them right before it was closed for submission.

Even though you might not think it's late, it would benefit the students if you would use the same nomenclature as the learning management system. All of us have things that we all wish Canvas would word differently, but one of the benefits of not being able to change is that the meaning remains the same from course to course. That makes it more consistent and benefits the students. If you want a grace period, fine, but you should convey the expectations clearly. "It is due on this date, but I will take it without (with) penalty until that date. Canvas is going to show that it's late, but it won't (and it will) affect your grade."

As for the student's concern, they should be concerned that they keep turning in stuff late. They're living on the edge, relying on your grace, but if a crisis should happen or their internet goes down, then their out of luck. They're not using the grace period they way you intended the grace period. They're abusing it to make the "available until" date the real due date and allowing them to procrastinate even longer. When I had the grace period in stats, the students grades went down because they waited longer after we covered it to work on it and they remembered less of it. Those students who are perpetually pushing the envelope are the ones who need to not wait because it hurts them in other ways.

Analytics should show that they keep turning it in late because they are. Students who routinely wait until the last minute to turn stuff in are likely more at risk than those who turn it in on time.

Although you can't toggle a switch and make the late flag disappear, here is something that you can do.

  1. Make the due date and available until date the same. That will eliminate the ability for anyone to turn it in late and then no one will get flagged as being late.
  2. Create a companion non-graded assignment that has the due date and available until date the same as each other and the time that you originally wanted the due date to be. In the description, be sure to link to the full assignment. You might also explain the purpose of this assignment and how to remove it from the To Do list (or not). The non-graded assignment will show up in the To Do list with the word "Complete" in front of it, so you might want to name it in a way that plays off that. Non-graded assignments do not show up in the gradebook, so they won't clutter your gradebook.

What will happen is that both assignments will show up in the To Do list. The companion assignment does not have a submission associated with it and the only way to get rid of it is for the date/time to pass or to manually click the X to hide it from the To Do list.

When a student submits the real assignment, it will get rid of the assignment from the To Do list. If they turn it in early, then the real assignment is gone from the To Do list but the companion one is still there until one of the two things mentioned in the last paragraph happens.

Once the soft due date passes, the companion assignment disappears from the To Do list and only the real assignment remains. It disappears once the student submits the assignment or time runs out.

If that seems like a lot of work, it is. Some of us take a similar approach for discussions that have a post first format. That way, students get notified about the initial post up until the desired, but artificial, due date for the companion assignment and can still participate in the follow-up discussion until the real due date that is also the available until date. That's a work-around in a case where two due dates could be of benefit.

If it's just a grace period issue, then it would be much easier to move past the objection to the use of "late" for something that is past it's due date. Then your usage becomes consistent with the dictionary's definition for the word "late", which is "coming or remaining after the due, usual, or proper time." People using words in a fashion consistent with the rest of the world is also a benefit for the students who may be surprised to find out that "due date" doesn't mean when it's due and then think it means that in all of their classes.

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