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Instructor Working from the Assignments area


I am the Distance Learning Coordinator for my site (so admin/instructional design/all-in-one/etc).   One of my faculty has decided to not use modules and just make all assignments via the Assignment area (which is restricted from student access) then have the student access the assignments from their Grades area so bypassing Modules.

Has anyone seen this before?   It it kind of unique but the only disadvantages that I can see so far are that you can't really organize the assignments and add extra pages plus I believe students can't really see other student's discussion items.  

I don't think the LMS is setup to be used this way but it does seem to work.    Our college does have a rule that assignments should be in Modules area but is there something that I am missing here or is this actually a valid approach.

Sincerely yours,

Joe Struss
Distance Learning Coordinator for Iowa Valley CCD

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Community Contributor

I am a user of Canvas as a teacher/admin in a school district and also as a student in grad school. I can say that this method theoretically could work, but it is really annoying as a student. If the instructor is not going to use Modules, s/he should make the Assignments tab available on the menu for students to access.

Alternatively, the instructor could create a Home page and post links to the assignments there.

Expecting students to access assignments through the Grades area is both risky and unfair to the students. At least use the Syllabus. I do have one professor who has the Syllabus set as the home page, and we access our assignments there. It's not my preference, but it works.

Community Contributor

Can it be done this way...yep.

Is it great practice...not really. 

You hit the key element already. Organization is hindered this way. I would be curious as to the reasoning behind not using Modules. The Grades page is incredibly valuable. I personally feel it is the top three most important spots for students, but it cannot be organized like Modules can (also top three for me). There are some strategies to potentially employ without using Modules:

  • Set up the Course Home to be the starting point. For example, have the instructor create a single cell table, with a light background color. It can be a Daily/Weekly To-Do list. If weekly, it gives an overview of what they will need to do each week. Simple, but helpful.
  • Consider making the Syllabus the Course Front Page. It already gives a list of the assignments by default (all linked). With Due Dates set, it even sorts the assignments in order, making it easy for students to see what needs to be done and when.

If your college expects Module use, then show them a simple way to set up modules to meet college expectations. Have them create a module for each week, then just add the assignments. It should only take a few minutes a week to do (and less time than the Home Page To-Do list mentioned above), but it helps provide a visual way for students to see how each week plots out in terms of work. Consider setting up an example to show them.

If Module use is an expectation/rule, then I would be tempted to ask why they won't use it to understand how to best help them meet the expectation. Five minutes a week to set up a weekly module and add already created assignments should not be that strenuous. Plus, if they consistently use the same week-to-week breakdown, then importing the modules page into other classes means the work is now done. 

Community Contributor

I echo the others here. Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should be done. All of the professional development courses offered by my community College have emphasized the use of modules as a way to organize content and assignments.

Each module should begin with a Page outlining the learning objectives and activities for that week. Modules should contain Pages with content as well as a variety of activities for students to complete including Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes.

Frankly speaking, as a student, I would be very frustrated with the approach this instructor is keen on using. He can and should do better.