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danmowork
Community Participant

Javascript embeds and CSS files

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Hi all,

I am evaluating Canvas LMS and have come across something that I consider a considerable limitation. I do not seem to be able to embed javascript or link css sheets on the course level, which is something that is heavily used by our faculty currently. I understand that we can make organization level css, but that level of granularity is not enough.

The other LMSs on the market do not seem to have this limitation. Canvas does a lot of things right, but I am afraid that this may be a deal breaker. It would not be feasible to redesign thousands of courses from scratch.

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chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @danmowork ​...

Yes, Canvas has both a global JavaScript and global Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file that can be included in your Canvas instance to customize the look and feel.  What kinds of things would you be losing out on if you weren't able to use CSS for individual courses?  I know this is certainly not ideal, but if you had HTML pages in your course that you created outside of Canvas and loaded those in to the "Files" area of a course and also included a linked CSS file, I believe your HTML pages would look the way you want.  Of course, like I said, this is not ideal because you wouldn't be using the included RCE (What is the Rich Content Editor? ) that allows you to create course pages and content.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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3 Replies
chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @danmowork ​...

Yes, Canvas has both a global JavaScript and global Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) file that can be included in your Canvas instance to customize the look and feel.  What kinds of things would you be losing out on if you weren't able to use CSS for individual courses?  I know this is certainly not ideal, but if you had HTML pages in your course that you created outside of Canvas and loaded those in to the "Files" area of a course and also included a linked CSS file, I believe your HTML pages would look the way you want.  Of course, like I said, this is not ideal because you wouldn't be using the included RCE (What is the Rich Content Editor? ) that allows you to create course pages and content.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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danmowork
Community Participant

Interesting. I tried the file method and linking it to modules and it worked. However, it looks very strange having all the modules link to Files, with the associated breadcrumbs as well.

The majority of our courses rely heavily on CSS to make the course come together. It would be really hard to convince faculty to give up features, especially one that allows them a lot of control over their own course.

Not ideal, but it is something.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @danmowork , I definitely understand the desire of faculty to have a lot of control over their course and how it looks/works. In our previous LMS faculty had a lot more control over how their courses looked/worked and when moving to Canvas wished they had more control.

Yet, to be totally honest, since moving to Canvas it's made things a LOT better/easier for our students. No, the course doesn't look as "cool" (in the eye of the beholder) or function the exact same, but there is a certain amount of comfort and security in knowing that for every course the environment will look pretty close to the same and things will function pretty much the same. We actually did some survey's on this and students indicated that they liked the clean and straight-forward look of Canvas better than our previous LMS (where each course could look totally different). We also track the number and type of student help tickets we get and the number of "I can't find X, Y, Z in my course" tickets went down significantly after switching to Canvas. And last, and honestly the only reason I thought of it when I read your response, is that I had a faculty member in my office yesterday talking about how as an Instructor he misses being able to easily customize his course, but that it's actually made his life easier because students can navigate and find things in his courses easier in Canvas - which majorly cuts down on the questions he gets about where things are or that students can't find things. Overall he said it was worth it to loose the easy customizations to have the better/easier to use environment for the students.

Just my musings, but I hope they help!