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Community Member

So Frustrated With Canvas Training: Please Answer One Question

I am so frustrated at the moment. 

I am going through Canvas training right now at my school. We have homework every week, including discussions, which are not terribly difficult, but it is the timeline that is driving me crazy. 

Here is an example of my confusion: We have a Discussion that appears to be due today, Easter Sunday 04/04, at midnight. And yet when I look at the assignment in Canvas, this is the information I see: 

Available until Apr 11 at 11:59pm -- Due Apr 4 at 11:59pm
What the heck does this mean? "Available"? Does this mean that I will receive a zero if I attempt to participate in this Discussion on April 5th?
And as if that weren't crazy-making enough, when I open the assignment there is suddenly no mention of April 11th. Now it just says this: Due April 4th

Can someone please decode this language for me? Whenever I give an assignment to my students I ALWAYS make the due date and the assignment date the same. I appreciate it.

Lost in California



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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there, @5isAlive ...

Sorry to hear that you are having some troubles with due dates and availability dates.  They can be confusing, so let's try to address this for you.  First, I would direct your attention to the section called "Add Discussion Options" about half-way down the page on this Guide: How do I create a discussion as an instructor? - Canvas Community.  The last paragraph in that section describes a bit about these dates.  However, this Guide, What is the difference between assignment due date... - Canvas Community, is really what you'll want to look through.  When you are editing your graded assignments or your graded discussion topics, you'll want to look at the due date/availability date sections of those assignments to ensure that you've got correct dates listed in there (if that is what you want).  Not everyone lists availability dates for their students, so this might not be something you want/need in addition to your assigned due dates.

I hope this will help a bit.  Sing out if you have any other questions about this...thanks!  Take care, stay safe, and be well.

Community Member

Hi. I looked at some of those materials before my post but will review them again. I will probably have a few more questions later. 

Thanks so much,


No worries about additional questions...we are here to help in the Community!

(By the way...I can only assume your username here in the Community refers to #5 from the classic movie, "Short Circuit".  Well played.)


Community Member

Yes, I LOVE that movie. So full of wit and charm. 

Thanks again. What I don't understand is why an instructor -- and instructor -- would confuse their students by the giving them two different "due dates." It makes absolutely no sense to me. 

Will write more later.


Hello there, @5isAlive ...

I think you are still a bit confused about the difference between availability dates and due dates for graded assignments in Canvas.  Availability dates are not due dates.  Availability dates are simply the dates that you are making the assignment available to your students.  So, for example, you might have an assignment available from June 1st through June 30th.  But, you might have a due date of June 25th for that assignment because you want your students to be able to still see the assignment directions and rubric (if there is one attached) beyond the June 25th due date.  Or, you might want to give your students a few days after the due date (as a sort of buffer window) where they can still submit the assignment to you after the due date, but with the understanding that they will be docked points because it was submitted after your due date.  Placing a due date on your assignment will let you and your students know if the assignment has been turned in late if it was submitted after the due date.  This Guide might also be of help to you:

How do I change the status of a submission in the ... - Canvas Community

Let Community members know if you have "more input".  🙂  Thanks!