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Community Member

Why am i suddenly unable to edit a discussion board assignment?

In previous years using Canvas, i would create discussion boards and have them be graded assignments with clear expectations and a grading rubric. However, i would set the assignment to "0 Points Possible" and "Display Grade as Complete/Incomplete." After the discussion period, i would use the rubric to give feedback (with point values removed). A couple weeks later, i would go back and change the settings to "15 points possible" and "Display Grade as Points." (theres a whole philosophy here about reducing grades as motivation for coursework, but thats another conversation).

The question is: this system has worked well for years, and suddenly now it is not. The drop down menu for "Display Grade As" as been disabled, and i cannot change it from "Complete/Incomplete." Also, i cannot unpublish the discussion board (not that i want to, its just strange to me). Anybody have any idea what the difference is? Why am i unable to make these edits suddenly/ What changed? Did i check a box or mess up some setting, or is this a new "feature" of Canvas?

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi @nchivers 

Under the Settings > Course Details area for the course, is the course using Term or Course dates to determine the participation dates for the course and when the course is over?  What is the "End" date that is set for the course?

After a course has ended, or after the term is over for instructors if the course is associated with a term, the course goes into "Read Only" mode in order to preserve student work, grades, etc. (See )

Thanks @mzimmerman! The Canvas feature you described seems like a great feature with a very reasonable premise (thanks for the link, btw!). However, i'm not sure it explains my issue.

When i go to the course details in my settings page, it shows that participation is set to "Term" and the term on August 22, 12:00a (two weeks from now). If i change the participation drop-down menu to course, then the start and end fields are blank. Are the blank course settings the issue?

Relatedly but tangentially, i found a workaround:

  1. Deselect the "graded" option in the discussion board setting and save (make it an ungraded discussion)
  2. Go to the course "undelete" page
  3. Find the action where i removed the rubric from the discussion board (the consequence of setting it to ungraded) and restore it
  4. Go back and make the discussion board "graded"
  5. Set the discussion board grade display to "points"
  6. Set the rubric to "use this rubric to grade assignment"
  7. Rubric now shows point values, speedgrader and gradebook allow me to enter them.
  8. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi @nchivers 

Thanks for the clarification.

Nope, the blank dates if you switch the participation date setting to "Course" are expected.  Each course is associated with a term, and by default, the course uses the start and end dates associated with that term.  If you switch the participation dates over to "Course", the dates will be blank unless you manually set start and end dates for the course.

As for your workaround, I'm afraid I've got nothing.  🤔 The course dates are just one of the more common situations I see where instructors are suddently not able to make changes to the course anymore, but of course it affects lots of other things in the course.

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I had the same problem and couldn't figure out why I could edit on some discussions after students submitted, but not others. Here's what I found and how to fix it!

If the due date has passed, and there's automatic zeros in for grades, it won't let you edit. I guess it's because some students were technically graded. I deleted the zeros for missing assignments, in the gradebook, and went back to edit. Viola! It works again.