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dale_hutchcraft
Community Participant

student-specific time zone deadlines

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I received the following email the following question from one of my students.

Bob, Dale,

While it's a huge blessing to have the assignment hours shifted to my time zone, I'm not sure that solves the underlying problem for others who live overseas.

It's surprising Canvas doesn't already handle time zone offset, as this is a regular problem for any software used internationally (like our own Relativity software).  Doesn't it make most sense to have the due dates respect the time zone of the submitting student, not locked into a particular time zone?  I'm certain this is a valid option for universities, since DeVry did this with our due dates for the Bachelor program I finished in Phoenix.

Is there some other reason you wouldn't track due dates by the student's time zone?

With Curiosity,
Alex

I responded to the student in the following way

Interesting point, Alex.

We'll look deeper into the Canvas capabilities to see if your idea of student-specific time zone deadlines are even an option.

I have been doing some research and reading up on this and I do not seem to be finding a place where there is an answer. I may just be overlooking something can anyone give any advice on this?

Or is this something that cannot be done through canvas?

4 Solutions

Accepted Solutions
Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @dale_hutchcraft , any Canvas user can go into his or her personal settings and adjust the local time zone so that assignments' due dates automatically display in the local time for that user. Please refer your student to How do I set a time zone in my user account? , and let us know if this does the trick.

View solution in original post

abunag
Community Champion

Just to confirm what stefaniesanders​ says - I used to be part of a college that was nationwide, and we didn't have an issue, assuming the students and faculty set their local time zones for their account.  The times for assignments and such are either based off the creator or the timezone of the canvas instance (we never really checked that), and it will automatically adjust to the user's set time.

The one thing to be really careful about is that when you set a due date for midnight (or 1159pm) on a Friday, for someone in a time zone ahead of you, the due date may say Saturday, but it's really 1am or 2am on Saturday.  So that can cause some confusion and require you to educate your population.

View solution in original post

garth
Community Champion

One solution would be to set user specific due dates.

When editing the assignment, scroll down until you see the "Assign To" section

assignment-assign-to.png

By default, an assignment is assigned to "Everyone", giving everyone the same due date.

If you would like overseas students to be able to have a due date that is comparable to their time zone, you can create a new due date for those students who require special consideration and calculate their due date based on their time zone.

In other words, if your on Eastern Time and the assignment is due at 5:00 PM Friday afternoon, and you have a group of students in Tokyo, there is a 14 hour difference.  So add a second due date for Friday morning at 3:00 AM.

In this scenario,

  • your local students would have a due date of Friday 5:00 PM (UTC - 5),
  • your Tokyo students would have a due date of Friday 5:00 PM (UTC + 9). 

I hope I got my math right, double check me.

This is one approach to address the time zone difference.

View solution in original post

All good questions, frankel​, and all ones I cannot definitively answer. Smiley Happy

As far as the "best way," yes, it will be incumbent upon the student to remember to change the time zone settings, and a friendly reminder in the course syllabus would probably be helpful in that regard. (I usually put that kind of thing in a "General" section.)

I'll tag the Canvas Mobile Users​ group to get their insight on the behavior of the app vis-a-vis a student's personal settings.

As far as the influence of the school's portal, I would imagine that would depend on how the SIS is set up, but my guess is that the campus portal time zone wouldn't override the student's personal time zone settings in Canvas, regardless of whether the student is accessing the course through a campus portal or by logging in directly to Canvas. Again, I'm just guessing, so this might be a question for your local support team.

View solution in original post

7 Replies
Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

 @dale_hutchcraft , any Canvas user can go into his or her personal settings and adjust the local time zone so that assignments' due dates automatically display in the local time for that user. Please refer your student to How do I set a time zone in my user account? , and let us know if this does the trick.

View solution in original post

abunag
Community Champion

Just to confirm what stefaniesanders​ says - I used to be part of a college that was nationwide, and we didn't have an issue, assuming the students and faculty set their local time zones for their account.  The times for assignments and such are either based off the creator or the timezone of the canvas instance (we never really checked that), and it will automatically adjust to the user's set time.

The one thing to be really careful about is that when you set a due date for midnight (or 1159pm) on a Friday, for someone in a time zone ahead of you, the due date may say Saturday, but it's really 1am or 2am on Saturday.  So that can cause some confusion and require you to educate your population.

View solution in original post

garth
Community Champion

One solution would be to set user specific due dates.

When editing the assignment, scroll down until you see the "Assign To" section

assignment-assign-to.png

By default, an assignment is assigned to "Everyone", giving everyone the same due date.

If you would like overseas students to be able to have a due date that is comparable to their time zone, you can create a new due date for those students who require special consideration and calculate their due date based on their time zone.

In other words, if your on Eastern Time and the assignment is due at 5:00 PM Friday afternoon, and you have a group of students in Tokyo, there is a 14 hour difference.  So add a second due date for Friday morning at 3:00 AM.

In this scenario,

  • your local students would have a due date of Friday 5:00 PM (UTC - 5),
  • your Tokyo students would have a due date of Friday 5:00 PM (UTC + 9). 

I hope I got my math right, double check me.

This is one approach to address the time zone difference.

View solution in original post

DrNufer
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I teach international students regularly.  I have had students from Australia, Korea, Ireland, South Africa, and several middle eastern countries - as well as students from all U.S. time zones.  Students should definitely indicate their time zone in their profile settings.  I've only had one student complain because her assignments were due Sunday afternoon, whereas students in Chicago had until midnight (and ET students had until 1am Monday).  I facetiously told her that perhaps it's not fair that she gets a jump start on the week when Chicago students are still in the previous week for several hours.  In the end, there are 168 hours in the week no matter what time zone you're in.  It all comes down to planning, scheduling your time, and being mindful of the due dates.

frankel
Community Champion

Hi, Stefanie.

What is the best way for a student who travels to another time zone for an athletic event or conference, say, to handle the deadline?  Do they have to remember to "translate" it on their own?  Is there a difference if they log in to Canvas via the app or by going through the campus portal (which, I assume, will make it look as if they're in the "home" time zone)?

Thanks.

cdf

All good questions, frankel​, and all ones I cannot definitively answer. Smiley Happy

As far as the "best way," yes, it will be incumbent upon the student to remember to change the time zone settings, and a friendly reminder in the course syllabus would probably be helpful in that regard. (I usually put that kind of thing in a "General" section.)

I'll tag the Canvas Mobile Users​ group to get their insight on the behavior of the app vis-a-vis a student's personal settings.

As far as the influence of the school's portal, I would imagine that would depend on how the SIS is set up, but my guess is that the campus portal time zone wouldn't override the student's personal time zone settings in Canvas, regardless of whether the student is accessing the course through a campus portal or by logging in directly to Canvas. Again, I'm just guessing, so this might be a question for your local support team.

View solution in original post

frankel
Community Champion

Thanks, Stefanie.

As for the portal, I suspect that if a student is traveling and hasn't reset the time zone in Canvas then the portal will not adjust to where they're logging in from.

cdf