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hydeag
New Member

How do I link a file in myfiles to a course section?

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I can link files in the course files area, but I cannot find a way to link files from the myfiles location to a course page.  I don't want the students to see it in the course files.  My college doesn't allow the files restrictions option, so I am looking for a work-a-round.

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1 Solution
James
Community Champion

 @hydeag ,

This is similar to a question asked a couple of years ago: Can instructors link to their personal files from a course? 

Yet, it seems different enough that I'll expand. I've got to admit that you threw so many things into that short question that are outside-the-norm that I'm having trouble pinpointing the cause. It could be a permissions issue, a lock down because they're using instructional designers, or having the Files navigation item enabled when it shouldn't be.

If the File navigation menu is showing, I would disable it. Most people do not find it or the Pages navigation item to be helpful. If the File navigation menu is not showing, then students cannot just browse through looking for files, it would have to be linked somewhere for them to access it.

There are several pages in the Canvas Guides on files. The primary one is probably How do I use Files as an instructor? The instructions on restricting files is How do I restrict files and folders to students in Canvas? I'm suspect that you're aware of those and they aren't working for you. I include them just for completeness in case someone else stumbles across this discussion in the future and wasn't aware of them.

There is a note at the top of the Canvas Guide How do I view my user files as an instructor?  that says

Note: When using the Rich Content Editor in a course, you cannot access files from your user files. To add files to a course, the file must reside in the files for the course. However, you can embed images from your user files using the Rich Content Editor.

I dug into things a little bit and what that seems to be referring to is that the Content Selector tool does not access files from your personal files. So if you want to add a file to a module or on a page, it needs to be inside the course. That said, the embed tool on the Rich Content Editor will allow you to embed images from your personal files. If the file that you wanted make visible was an image, then that would be one approach.

However, what you wrote in the original question suggests this may not be an option for you.  If you cannot manage files, then you may not be able to manage content (and probably not disable the File menu item either). That means you wouldn't have the ability to add module items, edit pages, or basically change your course. If you do have some of those abilities, then what you wrote about having restrictions disabled seems really, really strange (although still technically possible)

What do you mean when you say your college doesn't allow the file restrictions? As far as I know, a school cannot disable the restrictions on files. What they can do is remove the ability for certain roles, like instructors, to manage those restrictions. To the faculty, that may seem like it's not there. The specific permission is the "Manage (add / edit / delete) course files". By default this permission is enabled, so they would have had to turn it off. It's explained on page 8 of the Canvas Course Role Permissions document.

There is also the Canvas Guide How do I move and organize my files as an instructor? that says you can easily move files between your personal files and the course files. That sounds like you could keep the file in your personal files and then move it to the course files when it's needed.  However, that probably going to work if your school has disabled the ability to add your own files to the course. That's the same permission that would keep someone from locking or unlocking it.

Since we're a small school where the instructors do all of their own course creation, it is hard for us to fathom not having the ability to add or edit files to your course. If you come from a school where the instructional designers do all of the work and the teachers just teach, rather than design, then it seems like this is an issue that you would need to work out with the instructional designers. If you need files in your course, then you work with them and they can add them and set the restrictions.

The permission to manage pages is different than the one to manage files, so if you can add content to a page, then you might be able to host your file somewhere outside Canvas and then add the link when you need it.

If you don't have permissions to manage files, it seems your school has instituted that rule for a reason and you should work with them to get around it. That might be disabling the Files menu, it might be adding the file and setting the restrictions for you, it might even be a realization that they didn't mean to restrict that. It might be in place to keep you from putting stray files that aren't directly related to the course out there. But it should be worked out with the locals as Canvas isn't going to make it easy to work-around the restrictions your institution has put into place.

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4 Replies
James
Community Champion

 @hydeag ,

This is similar to a question asked a couple of years ago: Can instructors link to their personal files from a course? 

Yet, it seems different enough that I'll expand. I've got to admit that you threw so many things into that short question that are outside-the-norm that I'm having trouble pinpointing the cause. It could be a permissions issue, a lock down because they're using instructional designers, or having the Files navigation item enabled when it shouldn't be.

If the File navigation menu is showing, I would disable it. Most people do not find it or the Pages navigation item to be helpful. If the File navigation menu is not showing, then students cannot just browse through looking for files, it would have to be linked somewhere for them to access it.

There are several pages in the Canvas Guides on files. The primary one is probably How do I use Files as an instructor? The instructions on restricting files is How do I restrict files and folders to students in Canvas? I'm suspect that you're aware of those and they aren't working for you. I include them just for completeness in case someone else stumbles across this discussion in the future and wasn't aware of them.

There is a note at the top of the Canvas Guide How do I view my user files as an instructor?  that says

Note: When using the Rich Content Editor in a course, you cannot access files from your user files. To add files to a course, the file must reside in the files for the course. However, you can embed images from your user files using the Rich Content Editor.

I dug into things a little bit and what that seems to be referring to is that the Content Selector tool does not access files from your personal files. So if you want to add a file to a module or on a page, it needs to be inside the course. That said, the embed tool on the Rich Content Editor will allow you to embed images from your personal files. If the file that you wanted make visible was an image, then that would be one approach.

However, what you wrote in the original question suggests this may not be an option for you.  If you cannot manage files, then you may not be able to manage content (and probably not disable the File menu item either). That means you wouldn't have the ability to add module items, edit pages, or basically change your course. If you do have some of those abilities, then what you wrote about having restrictions disabled seems really, really strange (although still technically possible)

What do you mean when you say your college doesn't allow the file restrictions? As far as I know, a school cannot disable the restrictions on files. What they can do is remove the ability for certain roles, like instructors, to manage those restrictions. To the faculty, that may seem like it's not there. The specific permission is the "Manage (add / edit / delete) course files". By default this permission is enabled, so they would have had to turn it off. It's explained on page 8 of the Canvas Course Role Permissions document.

There is also the Canvas Guide How do I move and organize my files as an instructor? that says you can easily move files between your personal files and the course files. That sounds like you could keep the file in your personal files and then move it to the course files when it's needed.  However, that probably going to work if your school has disabled the ability to add your own files to the course. That's the same permission that would keep someone from locking or unlocking it.

Since we're a small school where the instructors do all of their own course creation, it is hard for us to fathom not having the ability to add or edit files to your course. If you come from a school where the instructional designers do all of the work and the teachers just teach, rather than design, then it seems like this is an issue that you would need to work out with the instructional designers. If you need files in your course, then you work with them and they can add them and set the restrictions.

The permission to manage pages is different than the one to manage files, so if you can add content to a page, then you might be able to host your file somewhere outside Canvas and then add the link when you need it.

If you don't have permissions to manage files, it seems your school has instituted that rule for a reason and you should work with them to get around it. That might be disabling the Files menu, it might be adding the file and setting the restrictions for you, it might even be a realization that they didn't mean to restrict that. It might be in place to keep you from putting stray files that aren't directly related to the course out there. But it should be worked out with the locals as Canvas isn't going to make it easy to work-around the restrictions your institution has put into place.

James, thank you for a great explanation. It was very helpful to really understand the manage files issue and the "restrictions" definition.  I think I used the wrong terminology for my primary concern.  Rather than restrictions, I should have said "usage rights."  I found the following (in the pale blue box) in the questions section.  What I should have said was that my college does not give us the option of "usage rights" and hence the statement I made in the original question.. 

In most of my classes, I have hidden/disabled the files option on the menu as you suggested. However, in my courses, I have a set of documents that contain the text of my narrations for certain presentations for those who are hearing impaired.  I placed them in the files section.  If there is no way to keep students out of the rest of the files, then I will have to find a way to manage that aspect.  Perhaps one page that has links to all of them, but then that allows students to see the narration of topics that are weeks away (future topics) - and that's not good.  I've not much experience with Canvas yet, so I'll be hunting for an answer.  I'm toying with the idea of linking each narrative text in the same week/page as the presentation.  Finally, I may be pushing overkill here because each narration presentation has closed captions included.

I welcome comments about this...  and thanks again.

If usage rights is enabled in your course, you have to set a usage right (copyright) for each file you upload to your course. Usage rights must be assigned to files before files can be published to the course. If a file or multiple files are located in a folder, you can set usage rights through folders.

Note: Usage Rights is currently a course opt-in feature. To enable usage rights, learn how to manage feature options in the course features lesson.

Robbie_Grant
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @hydeag ,

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

Yes, thank you!