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Community Participant

How are assignments meant to be seen by assigned/view date (for students)?

I'm asking this question as a parent of an elementary school student who has to use Canvas.  Our school district has provided very little training to teachers and none at all to parents.

Please keep in mind that I have a 5 and 8 year old who are being tasked to use Canvas.  This experience would be completely different with a 15 year old.  As a parent of elementary school children we basically have to be their administrator/secretary to ensure that they are finding and completing everything required of them.  This is a substantial time-sink to the already greatly increased time we need to spend on ensuring they are getting an education.

One of the biggest challenges we have is locating all the assignments, meetings, etc for the half dozen courses that my daughter is enrolled in.  After spending some time in Canvas I discovered the "List" view in Dashboard.  This is from what I can tell the most powerful view in Canvas (second only to the Calendar's Agenda view) in that it seems to show all module assignments across courses as well as if assignments have been submitted or are missing/late.  Without this view we found ourselves constantly having to drill down into each course to see all assignments and then drilling down into each individual assignment to see if it was submitted.

However, even with this view the way that the assignments show up does not seem very conducive to scheduling.  I don't know if our teachers aren't using the tool properly, or if Canvas simply doesn't have this functionality.  This is best illustrated by example:

Say we have an assignment that is assigned today, Wednesday the 16th.  However it is not "Due" (or at least should not be considered missing/late until Monday the 21st.  When looking at the Dashboard List view this assignment doesn't appear to show up until Monday the 21st with a due date of 11:59PM.

This means that when trying to see a list of all assignments, we won't actually see assignments until their Due date and therefore have very little time to complete them.

Is there a way for a teacher to assign (and a parent to view) all assignments in a course (and indeed across all courses) so that they show up in a single global view?

Without this, using Canvas is a game of hide-and-seek/hunt-and-peck trying to scour out assignments.

I really hope we are missing something....

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4 Replies
Community Contributor

I'm so sorry you are feeling this frustration. There are a lot of resources within the Community here and also within the guides here:

I've been a Canvas admin for 6 years, so I can appreciate good training and organization is certainly key.

Does your students course offer  the "syllabus" in their course navigation?

I find this a really great quick look at the assignments and their due dates. Once at that tab, look under "Course Summary". You should see all the assignments in order.


I hope this helps : )  Heather


Community Participant

Thanks for the reply.

No - so far I have seen no "syllabus" section in any of the courses.  It sounds like, even if it were there it would still only exist on a course-by-course level?

The school district has provided virtually no training to teachers (and if they have, they have not set any actual performance levels that the teachers must attain) and seemingly have not created or at least enforced any standards.  They have provided even less training to parents (basically all they taught us was how to login and pair as an observer).

I have stressed to those I have been able to communicate with that the courses must be laid out appropriately as it is too difficult to follow all the courses when each is laid out in a completely disparate way.  My daughter for example is only in 3rd grade, but she has the following courses in her Canvas:

  • Reading (Teacher A)
  • Math (Teacher A)
  • PE (Teacher B)
  • Art (Teacher C)
  • Gifted & Talented (Teacher D)
  • Music (Teacher E)

So even as a 3rd grader with only one "core" teacher (A) she still has 6 courses that we need to keep track of.  Having to drill down into each one to see a daily/weekly agenda would still be a considerable amount of work.  Again this would be a totally different ball game for a 15 year old, but a 3rd grader needs to have a "learning path" where they can log in daily and see all of their required activities in one place.  Without this, we basically have to walk them through the day constantly.

The teachers aren't even all properly scheduling zoom meetings, so the only way we know when they are is to look at their customized home pages or at best, click on each course and then on the Zoom module instead of having all the scheduled meetings show up in Calendar/Dashboard.

I have created my own teacher account and am going to play around with the Syllabus option to see if it provides useful at all and then perhaps get our teachers to implement it.  Most of them seem to have no incentive or desire to implement things properly.

Community Participant

The syllabus option provides some level of insight, but it is still not much.

There are two issues that make this extremely frustrating:

1) Canvas only shows the DUE date in the dashboard/calendar.  So if the teacher assigns it Monday but it is due Friday you will only see it showing on Friday in the Dashboard view.  

2) Syllabus doesn't show submitted/missing/late status.  In fact, the *only* place you can see this is seemingly within the Dashboard list view, apart from drilling down into each individual assignment which is simply ludicrous to even suggest.

This means there is no good way to just see a list of all assignments and what has been submitted or not.  Again, Dashboard List is closest to this, but you still need to know when the due date was and scroll back and forth throughout the days/weeks to track all these down.

I don't understand how a product designed for students can be so difficult to use.  Granted, our school district shouldn't have chosen this tool for elementary school kids, and certainly shouldn't have implemented it with virtually no training or standards, but even so there are so many fundamental things just missing.

I am a new user and a parent.  I am facing the same challenge as others are mentioning which seems to be the lack of a single view that would list all upcoming assignments, and at a minimum the due date.  Ideally I would envision a grid where it listed the Subject, Assignment, Assigned date, Due date, and Status (whether the assignment was turned in or not).  This single view would be so valuable for both parents and students as it would provide a single view where at a glance the parent or student would know what requires attention.  Is it true that something like the above does not exist?  Please let me know if I am not aware of an existing functionality.