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hasti
Community Member

How can I create groups that I can sort the Gradebook and SpeedGrader by?

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I've got ~300 students this semester (next semester I'll have ~500) and 5 TAs. I want to divide the students into 5 grading groups which will rotate among the TAs over the course of the semester (i.e., each assignment a TA is responsible for one of the grading groups). I'd like to be able to create those 5 groups within Canvas and have TAs be able to select their group in the Gradebook (or Speedgrader) for quicker access to the students they are responsible for as well as to make it really easy (for them and me) to see which students still need grades within a particular TA's group.

I could do this very easily in D2L. How can I do this in Canvas?

If I can't do this in Canvas, what do you suggest as a reasonable work-around?

1 Solution

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de_millington
Community Member

After reading the tweets, tomes and life stories – all this by way of a mere preamble to pointing poor Beck in the right direction - I found myself reaching for the draw with the indigestion tablets. Then I realised the tablets were no good for cerebral indigestion! :smileyangry:

Returning to the original scope: "...I'd like to be able to create those 5 groups within Canvas and have TAs be able to select their group in the Gradebook (or Speedgrader) for quicker access to the students". 

May I suggest a simpler solution to coding that appears to have been overlooked. Smiley Happy

Create your 5 sections (that as easy as 123)

Add the students en-bulk to the sections [Canvas UI “People” section permits the addition of 1000s of user IDs under each other, copy pasted from a column in a spreadsheet or text file; this doesn’t matter if they are already enrolled to an overall course section as well, unless you only want them to interact within that section (there is tick box for that). The only down side is it might send out additional notifications to the students to join the course section.]

The next revolution to make the fireworks ignite, is to enable the New Gradebook (you will need to ask your admin to enable this for your course as it is still in Beta). The new Gradebook will not only permit you to filter by section, but by the assignment or module. This should significantly minimise the field of vision and all the eye movement that is exacerbating Carpal issues.

The only current drawback with the new Gradebook is there are 2 bugs I have reported to Canvas: (1) When Speedgrader is accessed for a particular assignment, it reverts from the section back to all students. If you use Speedgrader more than Gradebook to give feedback then you would probably be advised to wait until the bug has been resolved; (2) there is a JavaScript type bug in the Gradebook where by a drop down box that is supposed to offer the grade selection has a resolution issue. This is easily worked around by have a template printed off.

For an overview of the New Gradebook you can view a short clip here.

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44 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @hasti , I’m not sure if your school will allow you to do this, but if you separated the students into 5 sections then you could assign a “section” to a TA and have them be able to sort and grade just those students. 

Hope this helps!

Kona

hasti
Community Member

 @kona  what do you mean "separate the students into sections"? Like what they have registered for? So does this mean I absolutely cannot do this in Canvas absent getting my university to buy into creating dummy enrollment sections?

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

It means that groups weren’t designed to allow this functionality, but sections are designed this way in Canvas. Some schools let teachers create their own sections within a course, but some schools don’t. If your school doesn’t allow you to create sections then yes, you could ask your Canvas Admin to create sections - based on anything you want. For example, we work with a law enforcement class that wants students separated by *squad* for grading purposes so we create a different section for each squad for this one class in Canvas. 

 @hasti ‌, here's a blog post I wrote that elaborates on the difference between sections and groups.

Canvas Groups and Sections: What’s the difference? | CEETE 

hasti
Community Member

Ok, I understand now that I can create different sections (which will then show up in the Speedgrader, Gradebook, etc.).

The only issue is (and it's a major one), is there any way for me to efficiently assign sections? From what I am able to determine, I have to go into People and pick out students one by one and assign them to one of my grading sections. This is is untenable in my classes of 300 to 500+ students. In D2L I could check off which students I wanted to enroll in a section (whereas in Canvas I have to decide which sections each individual student should be in).

This is also something that would be really, really helpful for me to do since my university has decided to make cross-listed classes (i.e., classes listed as being both Math and CS, say) inefficient to handle in Canvas and the instructor side of the enrollment system as humanly possible. (For example, there is no place that I can go to as an instructor to find out exactly how many people are enrolled in lecture 1 since there are two counts for lecture 1 - one for Math and one for CS - and two sections in Canvas for lecture 1, one for Math, one for CS with no overlap. Multiply this by 2 lectures and 14 discussion sections and it's a massive pain.)

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Wow! That does seem a bit unruly to manage! 

Normally for an Instructor I’d say that there isn’t really a way to do this other than the manual long way, and that’s why you should get Canvas Support at your school involved. They can do it quicker and easier - which is why I take care of stuff like this for my faculty. Yet, since you teach in computer science I’m going to say that I think you might be able to do it on the backend of Canvas much quicker using the API.

Here’s a really good primer to get you started - Canvas APIs: Getting started, the practical ins and outs, gotchas, tips, and tricks‌. From there if you have technical questions, I’d also recommend the Canvas Developers‌ group in the Community. They have a lot of great programming type resources and information. 

Hope this helps!

hasti
Community Member

Just because I teach in the Computer Sciences department doesn't mean I have the time or interest in being an uncompensated developer/beta-tester for Canvas and/or my university (and similarly just because I have a master's in Math, it doesn't mean my checkbook is balanced or I do my, or anyone else's, taxes in a spreadsheet) Smiley Happy

Question for those teaching in English at the university level: have you ever had anyone from Canvas (or your university) suggest that you copy-edit (and spell-check and grammar-check) the help documentation they provide?

Besides, if I hack a solution, then everyone else in the university who has this ridiculous problem is in the same boat (and they will do what all my colleagues in CS have done - given up on trying to get Canvas to implement any changes that help large enrollment classes, which is part of why there's not more about issues like this in this entire forum).

If I wanted to be a developer (with the correspondingly significantly higher salary), I could have done that. Hopefully, Canvas Support at my institution (whoever they are) can provide some assistance (even though I'm not tenure-track faculty but merely teaching faculty).

 @hasti  

I sincerely believe you are a nice guy, but you're coming across pretty brash lately.  I know (and can relate) that this can be due to frustration when you are looking for a solution to a problem, but I feel like I need to remind you that we're all a community of users here.  We're here to support one-another, and I think that Kona and Sarah (and others in other threads) have been doing a fabulous job to try and point to possible solutions.  

We do have community guidelines; they're short but very effective for the culture we seek.  

We have some of the most amazing people I have ever met in this community, and many of them do deploy their skills in a voluntary way, including writing code (pretty advanced example:Canvancements). We also receive and welcome comments on documentation that helps us improve clarity for all.  I don't say this to encourage you to do so, but just to point out that it's ok to 'do you' here! If you aren't interested in being part of a community built solution, that's ok, you can still participate in a community solution in other ways!  For example, I found these two existing related ideas that you may want to vote on and add your use cases as a comment.  (How does the feature idea process work?‌)

I also want to add that I was an admin, as Kona is, and I managed all of the section creation/enrollments for instructors.  There are admin tools for sis integration and for manual csv upload that make mass section creation/enrollment much simpler than an instructor manually selecting enrollments.  I would encourage you to touch base with your local admin to see if they can streamline this for you!  Then you'll be able to leverage the existing grade by section feature!

Beck, we love having passionate members of our community, so I'm not asking you to tame your passion, but more to remember that we're all in this together!

I apologize if it came off as harsh - it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine: I can't tell you how many times I've been asked to help install software, install extra memory cards, trouble-shoot someone's internet connection, "fix" their computer, etc. when someone hears that I teach in the Computer Sciences department. That's not what Computer Science is.