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Community Participant

Discussion assignment got locked at an earlier date

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My Discussion assignment got locked on an earlier date (06/08) than the due date (06/12) or the end of the available dates (06/05 - 06/15).  I also checked Module's "Lock until".  The Module was set to Lock until 06/05.  So, it should be unlocked by now (besides, students were submitting posts with no problem, until it got locked on 06/08 by 11:59pm, which means Discussion assignment was available to students and it got locked suddenly before the end of the assignment).  I also checked "Close for Comments" and "Open for Comments" options.  This cannot be the problem, because these options appear after the due date.  The due date is 06/12, and my Discussion assignment got locked on 06/08.  So, how can I unlock this Discussion assignment?

27 Replies
Community Champion

It does appear that your course may have weirdness associated with its dates. In your screen shot, you have this in the top left.


It makes me wonder if someone accidentally put down ending dates for this Maymester thing instead of the summer term.

Unfortunately, I went into our beta instance to play around with things and now somehow I've broken the student view for the course I wanted to check. Your screen shot shows what the "Student View" shows, which is sometimes different from what the students themselves see. I added a fake student account to the course and was able to go in. I played around with date settings for the course and term and was unable to get the account to lock in a real (fake) student account.  So I'm going to hope that's not it -- the message should probably be something other than it was locked on a particular date.

The only way I could get the locked at date to show up was when the "Available Until" date had already passed.  Canvas won't let you change the Available Date to be before the due date from the assignment page, but it will if you drag the date on the calendar.

So I was able to get this by making it due on June 9 and then dragging it to June 14 on the Calendar.


Now when I go into the discussion, I get this (as a regular fake student, not as the Student View)


I know you're frustrated, but we're trying to help and you keep providing incomplete information, which makes it harder. When asked for a screenshot, you type in the dates. I know that sometimes our mind plays tricks on us and we type what we think it should be instead of what is actually there. The screen shot will help us make sure that Canvas is interpreting the dates correctly (and not, for example, confusing the month and day Jun 10 is 6/10 instead of 10/6).

Could you please include a screen shot of

  1. the assignment information block with all of the dates and who it's assigned to. If you have more than one of these, please make sure to get all of them; and
  2. the section from your Assignments page that lists the discussion in question.

I wrote all that before I saw the duplicate discussion thing. That might be playing a role with it. Make sure you're looking at the right discussion when you are checking the dates. But I've never known Canvas to malfunction in that way. I don't use Commons or Mastery Paths, so I don't know what complexities it adds. You may have imported the question from Commons and it gotten changed there and then brought in again. Mastery paths does some weird things. You don't know what mastery paths is ... so that leads me to the next question.

Did you set up your own course or was it prepared and given to you to teach? If there is someone else in there doing things and not communicating them to you, it could certainly cause confusion. If there is a coordinator who creates these questions and realized the question was bad and stopped it and created a new one, then they might have put in the available until Jun 8 bit on the one. I notice the unpublished discussion (with the 2 at the end) had a post from Jun 10.

The screenshots you do provide focus on the visible sign of the problem, but there might be something else going on in the part we can't see, like the title of the assignment, the publication status, or even the topic ID from the location bar (that one's not as useful) that would help provide a clue to what's going on.

Community Participant

I'm sorry I have been sending information in pieces (incomplete). I know you guys are trying to help. I really appreciate all of you putting time into this issue I have. Just to clarify, I am not frustrated at all (even though I may have sounded like that). But, I have tested several ways already and before I sent the first email to the Canvas Community. So, when I sent out the first email to Canvas Community, I was wondering if I have missed something, or if this is something well beyond my knowledge of Canvas (which is not really much). My alternative option of creating a second Discussion assignment for my students have been in my mind before I contacted initially the Canvas Community. So, creating this second assignment was an option that I had just in case nothing work or if we arrive to the conclusion that Canvas is in fact malfunctioning.

1) Now, about your first point, having said that, to your question about Summer & Maymester in the picture you attached, this course is a summer course. Our eLearning Center in my school set the same shells to both summer courses and maymester course. And we just use the shell when we needed them. See the attached picture (called Course Details) of the settings of my course. We do not setup the dates on "Starts" and "Ends". These are always setup by our eLearning Center people.

2) Now, about your next point: Student View vs real (fake) student account, I see the same message ("This topic was locked Jun 8 at 11:59pm" in both my instructor view and the Student View. I am attaching a picture of both (pictures are called "Instructor View" and "Student View"). So, I would imagine that if I can see the "locked" message in my Instructor View, then we should see it in any view (student view or fake student view). Notice that in the Student View, the box called "Reply" with an arrow pointing to the left is missing. This box is present in the Instructor View, but not in the Student View. So, my students are unable to post messages in the assignment or to reply to other students.

3) Now, about your third point: "Available until" in the "edit" part of the Discussion assignment. I have attached a picture showing my actual settings. The picture is called "Discussion Assignment Settings 1" and "Discussion Assignment Settings 2." I think these settings are ok. I understand the experiment you did by changing dates in the Available from and Until part and in the Due date. I think we can see the message "This topic was locked Jun10 at 11:59pm" because the date of June 10th has actually passed (the 10th is yesterday). Can you try to do the same but with a date of June 12th, or 13th in the "Until" part?

4) To your fourth point, I don't know either what is Commons or Mastery Paths. So, I don't even touch any of these.

5) To your fifth point, yes, I set up my own course. No one else set it up for me. As a matter of fact, these same set of settings that you can see in the attached pictures "Discussion Assignment Settings 1 and 2," I have had them in courses of previous semesters: in the fall 2016 semester and the spring 2017 semester. And I have had no problems before. This is the first time I have this type of issue. This is why I cannot understand why this is happening now, meaning the assignment got locked at an earlier date of what I actually set up. And to make things even more strange, from where the date of June 8th came? Why did the assignment got locked on this specific date that I have not set up anywhere in the course? Strange things like this (rather than frustration) is what it is making me be suspicious that it must be a malfunction of Canvas. Unless, I am really missing something else.

OK, hopefully my screen shots are more informative. I really appreciate any help you (or anyone else) can provide.

Community Champion

In regards to #3, there was no message at all about being locked if the Available Until date was in the future.

Weird question, but have you tried changing the Available Until date as opposed to just looking at it? Like change it to June 16 and save it and see if it gets re-opened in the actual discussion. Be sure to change it back once you have done this.

The only other thing I wanted to see was the list of assignments where the discussion is contained. Click on the assignments navigation button, scroll to the Lecture Activities group, and then find it. I had a question earlier about whether the date there shows the 8th or the 15th. If it says the 15th, I was thinking it might be a prerequisite issue and we haven't explored that any more since you said you always hit "Continue".

Canvas does have bugs. I just filed one this weekend about mobile activity updating the Last Activity date for every course, not just the ones they go into. They came back and confirmed that they were able to reproduce the situation and are escalating it up the chain.

But this is in an area I don't remember reading anything about and I've never encountered anything like this in the Community before, which is why we're going through this crap shoot trying to find things. It seems someone would have said something if this was happening.

That's also why I considered the term dates. If your school had set the student access to Jun 8 to end the Maymester, then Canvas might have shut down the access. That's not something you can check easily, but your Canvas Admin would know. Then they realized the problem, fixed the date so students could get back in, but Canvas didn't reset everything. Seeing your course settings, I don't think that's the problem since you had the checkbox to override the term dates enabled. But I also had student who were getting into my course this summer when they weren't supposed to be, so there may be some issues with that checkbox. It was just that one student and we weren't able to duplicate it with anyone else who should have been in a similar situation.

That suggests one other thing to check now that I think about it. Go into the Course Settings and then click on Sections. Click on the section and see if there are dates specified for any of the sections (like the image below). Again, I don't think that's it, but we're trying to figure out anything that it could be.

The only thing I've found in experimentation that affects the "Locked at" date is the Available Until date.I even looked into the source code for Canvas and the only time that message appears is related to the lock_at date that is contained in the system. I haven't tracked down where that gets set, but it's included as part of the data structure for a discussion object and my previous experience is that it's the available until date.

Unless the prerequisite thing pans out, my last real hope is that you haven't tried changing the dates yet and that it will somehow reset when you do that.

If something does pan out with the prerequisites, then we start exploring those, but I'd still start with resetting the available until date -- maybe even if you already have. Change it, save it, check it, then change it back.

I am not sure if this is just a coincidence, but the same exact thing is happening to Ruben is happening to me.

Today is the first day of summer classes and all my discussion are locked to some prior date--specifically, the due date for the discussions in my Spring 2017 class!

I re-typed all discussions (not fun) because I could not find a soultion.

Community Participant

Good news! It looks like we found the way to fix it. A person from our eLearning Center helped me to fix it. She told me that another person in our school had the same problem.

Ok, this is what we did.

1) I clicked on the Discussion Assignment

2) I checked the gear icon, and the option of "Open for Comments" was absent,

3) So, I clicked on "Edit," next to the gear icon,

4) I removed the "Due" date, the "Available from" date, and the "Until" date (that is, I left these dates in blank),

5) Clicked "Save,"

6) Next, I checked the gear icon, and the option "Close for Comments" appeared,

7) Then, I clicked on "Close for Comments," and the option "Close for Comments" disappeared, while the option "Open for Comments" appeared in the gear icon,

😎 Then, I clicked on "Open for Comments," and the message "This topic was locked Jun 8 at 11:59 pm" disappeared!!!

9) And so, the Discussion assignment got unlocked!!


Hope this helps for anyone having a similar issue.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to look into this issue...

View solution in original post

Community Champion


Woohoo! Definitely file a trouble ticket on this one if you haven't already. This is not the expected behavior at all.

Community Coach
Community Coach

The closed and open for comments option was what was giving our Instructor problems as well and was what I was previously referencing. Glad you got it sorted out and thank you for sharing what you did to get it to work!

Community Contributor

Thanks for the solution! We are having the same issue here. The odd thing is that is is inconsistent. Was the course with the issue copied from another course?

Community Participant

Great! I'm glad the steps to address this issue are helping others.

Community Participant

Yes, I copied my summer course from my spring 2017 course. But, this was not the only time. I have previously copied my spring 2017 from my fall 2016 course. Do you think copying courses has to do with generating this issue? If copying courses, or copying courses too many times is (are) the cause of this issue, definitely it is a bug that would need to be fixed. Because, copying courses saves a lot of time.