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Community Team
Community Team

Canvas Release: Close Dates for Grading Periods (2017-01-28)

This document explains the full functionality available in the Multiple Grading Period Close Dates feature as noted in Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-10-08), Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-10-29), Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-12-10)Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-01-07), and Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-01-28)‌.

 

Canvas validates assignments against closed grading periods in the Gradebook and SpeedGrader and various settings and options in the Assignments, Discussions, and Quizzes feature areas. For each grading period, the close date is the same as the end date, unless the close date is changed by an admin. Instructors cannot edit any assignments with due dates in a closed grading period.

 

Additional updates will be available in upcoming releases that validate the close date across all other Canvas feature areas. Updates to the limitations will be posted in Release Notes for details as they are resolved.

Please be aware of the current course-level limitations as outlined at the end of this document.

 

For institutions that use grading periods, admins can add a close date to their grading periods. This feature allows admins to extend the time that instructors can edit grades after the grading period has ended.

 

Account-level features are not available in Free-for-Teacher accounts.

 

 

Account-Level Close Date Field

At the account level, each grading period includes a close date. By default, the close date is the same as the end date with the time of 11:59 PM. However, the close date can be edited to any date after the end date. If the close date is after the end date, the instructors can edit grades between the end date and the close date. For instance, if the end date for a grading period is November 11, and the close date is changed from November 11 to November 20, instructors would have between November 11 and November 20 to make any edits to grades in the prior grading period.

 

By default, start dates for new grading periods default to 12:00 AM.

 

grading-periods.png

 

Course-Level Close Date Verification

At the course level, Canvas validates assignments against closed grading periods in Canvas.

 

At the course level, Canvas validates all assignments against closed grading periods in Canvas. For each grading period, the close date is the same as the end date, unless the close date is changed by an admin. Instructors cannot edit any assignments with due dates in a closed grading period.

 

Close Dates in Assignments

Assignments allows instructors to create assignments for the course. Once the close date has passed, Assignments does not allow assignments to be changed by instructors.

 

  • Assignments: Instructors cannot delete individual assignments for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period.
    • Differentiated assignments: the Assign field in assignments cannot be edited by an instructor for anyone who already has the assignment due in a closed grading period.
  • Assignment Groups: If a course includes assignment groups, instructors cannot delete assignment groups if they contain an assignment or quiz for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period. Additionally, instructors cannot move assignments and quizzes that are part of a closed grading period to another assignment group. However, instructors can move open assignments and quizzes to another assignment group.
  • Assignment Group Settings: Assignment group weights can only be managed through the Assignments page. Once an assignment group has any assignments in a closed grading period, instructors cannot change any assignment group settings, including assignment group weights, drop rules, and whether or not assignment groups are weighted. When settings can no longer be edited, the assignment group settings window is grayed out. Instructors can still view the assignment group weights and drop rules, if any.
  • Assignment Attributes: If any due date is in a closed grading period, instructors who edit an assignment view a message that many attributes cannot be changed. Assignment attributes include assignment name, point value, assignment group, grade display (including GPA scale and letter grade options that affect the assignment grading scheme), group assignment options, and moderated grading. Instructors can still edit content in the Rich Content Editor, the submission type, and the peer review option. If an assignment due date is not in a closed grading period, all fields are editable as normal.

 

Current Limitations

  • Editing and changing rubrics. If a rubric is changed in one of the graded assignment types in a closed grading period, the changes to the rubric value will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.

  • Changing the course grading scheme. If the grading scheme for the course is changed, the new grading scheme will affect how the assignment grades are calculated and therefore affect the total grade in the closed grading period.

 

Close Dates in the Gradebook

The Gradebook allows instructors to change grades between the grading period end date and the close date. Once the close date has passed, the Gradebook does not allow grades to be changed by instructors.

 

The Gradebook also verifies grading periods as part of a CSV upload. Grades cannot be changed for an assignment in a grading period. If grades have been changed for an assignment in a closed grading period, Canvas generates an error message after the CSV upload has completed. This behavior also considers differentiated assignments when verifying uploaded files.

 



 

Close Dates in Quizzes

Quizzes allows instructors to create quizzes for the course. Once the close date has passed, Quizzes does not allow assignments to be changed by instructors.

 

  • Quizzes: Instructors cannot delete quizzes for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period.
    • Differentiated assignments: the Assign field in quizzes cannot be edited by an instructor for anyone who already has the quiz due in a closed grading period.
  • Quiz Groups: If a course includes quiz groups, instructors cannot delete quiz groups if they contain a quiz for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period. Additionally, instructors cannot move quizzes that are part of a closed grading period to another quiz group. However, instructors can move open quizzes to another quiz group as necessary.

 

Current Limitations

  • Changing assignment attributes. If specific attributes for a graded assignment type are changed in a closed grading period, the attribute changes will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.
    • Quizzes attributes: quiz type, assignment group, multiple attempts (details tab); quiz questions (questions tab); moderate quiz (sidebar).

Attributes that do NOT affect grades in a closed grading period for all graded assignment types include name, description changes in the Rich Content Editor, peer review options, and any other attribute not already specifically mentioned as a limitation.

  • Editing and changing rubrics. If a rubric is changed in one of the graded assignment types in a closed grading period, the changes to the rubric value will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.

 

Close Dates in SpeedGrader

SpeedGrader allows instructors to change grades between the grading period end date and the close date. Once the close date has passed, the Gradebook does not allow any grades to be changed by instructors. However, comments can still be added to any graded assignment type (assignment, graded discussion, or quiz).

 

Current Limitations

  • Changing point values in rubrics. If a rubric is used for grading and the rubric value is changed for an assignment or discussion in a closed grading period, the changes to the rubric value will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.
  • Using the same point value for a resubmitted assignment. If a student resubmits an assignment that has already been graded, clicking the link to use the same grade for the resubmission will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.

 



Additional Course-level Close Date Limitations

Additional updates will be available in upcoming releases that validate the close date across all other Canvas feature areas. Instructor grade adjustments aside from existing availability noted in this document may affect grades in closed grading periods.

The following scenarios are not currently restricted and may affect the total grade in a closed grading period.

 

Graded Discussions

  • Discussions: Instructors can delete graded discussions for any student, group, or section in a closed grading period, which will affect grades.
    • EXCEPTION for differentiated assignments: the Assign field in graded discussions cannot be edited by an instructor for anyone who already has the graded discussion due in a closed grading period.
  • Changing assignment attributes. If specific attributes for a graded assignment type are changed in a closed grading period, the attribute changes will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.
    • Graded discussion attributes: point value, assignment group, grade display (including GPA scale and letter grade options that affect the assignment grading scheme), group discussion options. 

Attributes that do NOT affect grades in a closed grading period for all graded assignment types include name, description changes in the Rich Content Editor, peer review options, and any other attribute not already specifically mentioned as a limitation.

  • Deleting a graded discussion. If one of the graded assignment types is deleted in a closed grading period, the deleted assignment will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.
  • Editing and changing rubrics. If a rubric is changed in one of the graded assignment types in a closed grading period, the changes to the rubric value will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.


Course Settings

  • Changing the course grading scheme. If the grading scheme for the course is changed, the new grading scheme will affect how the assignment grades are calculated and therefore affect the total grade in the closed grading period.


API

  • Using submissions_api_controller#update in the Submissions API. If a grade is updated via the Submissions API, the adjusted point value will affect the total grade in the closed grading period.
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10 Replies
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Surveyor

This new process for grading periods seems like it will be very useful. I would love to see a similar process for student visibility to the course - so students can see what their final grades are. After the term ends - and after the final grading period, it would be nice for the students to have a view-only period for the courses that they just completed for a short time, so that they can see what their final grades were in Canvas and compare those to what appears on their transcripts (in the institution's SIS). In the example mentioned above, Quarter 1 ends November 11 and then instructors have until November 20 to make any edits to grades - then, (what I would love to see) students would have visibility to the course (no more participation) from November 11 until November 30, just so they can see their final grades.

We have the ability for students to view past courses disabled, so have a view-only period for courses in current the term would be extremely helpful.

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Community Team
Community Team

Hi, Jason,

Thanks for your comments. I'm not entirely sure if you mean view-only for the course or just the grades. Term dates control both of those, as the grades are associated with the course. When the term concludes and the course is in a read-only status, read-only status relates to everything in the course, including the grades. As you noted, most grades end up outside of Canvas in a transcript, so keeping grades for previous terms is something that is associated with the courses and accessed through term dates.

Grading periods and terms work together in that courses associated with a term automatically inherit the grading periods created specifically for the term. With assignments, Canvas' job is to verify your assignment due dates and not let you create a due date before a term starts or after a term ends. In regard to grading periods, Canvas' job is to use the due date to determine which grading period the assignment belongs in. Term dates still trump everything, so even if you create a grading period date that is longer than the end term date (which you can do), Canvas won't let you create an assignment past the term date.

So if you want to keep students from viewing courses after they've concluded, the options I see are:

  • Shorten the close date for your last grading period (when students know grades are final) and/or lengthen the term date so they can still access the course and view their grades.
  • Use course or section dates to override the term date so that the course and grades can be viewed past the term end date.

Hope that helps!

Erin

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Surveyor

Here is the use case:

For Fall 2016, Final Exams at UVU run from Dec. 12 -15. We want our students to have total access to the course (materials, submit assignments, take quizzes/exams) all the way through Dec. 15 at 11:59pm. From Dec. 16 at 12:01 am through, let's say, Dec. 24 at 11:59pm, we want our students to have view-only access to the course content and the results of any submissions (comments on final assignments, grades of final exams, etc.). During this view-only period, it is imperative that students are unable to submit any work whatsoever.

Currently, our Fall 2016 term end date is set to close on Dec. 15 at 11:59pm. The problem is that each of our 7,792 courses in this term have a course-level course end date for Dec 21, 2016 at  5pm with the 'This will override any term availability settings.' box checked. This date comes over from Banner and checks that box by default (not sure if there is a way for Banner to not check that box). Towards the very end of the semester, I have to do a course export/report of all the courses for the term and then remove the course start/end date values from each course in the .csv file, save it, and then do an SIS Import to batch update all of the courses to remove the course-level start/end dates AND remove that check box (bolded above). Only then do the Term dates truly apply to all of the courses in the term. At one point, I was told by an Instructure representative to add a date for the 'Students can access from' field in the term settings that is later than the term end date, then that would give them view-only access. Well, it didn't and students had full access to their courses well beyond the closing date of the scheduled final exams.

If there was a way for students to just see the results from any submissions (comments on final assignments, grades of final exams, etc.) from any term in their User Profile, that would also work just great.

Let me know if there is already a method to accomplish this use case.

Thanks for the response!

Highlighted
Community Team
Community Team

Hi, Jason,

Term dates (or course/section override dates) are the dates that students have full access to the course; once those dates have passed, students only have read-only access. Adding a date for the ‘students can access’ field past the term end date gives students access longer than the term end date, so unfortunately that information was incorrect. However, as long as you have a course override date, the course date will have priority (regardless of whether the date is later or earlier than the term date). In your current setup, users have full access to their courses until December 21 at 5 pm, which is when the courses will be concluded—and because you've chosen the setting for students to not be able to view courses after they have concluded, students can only have read-only access with one of the modifications that I suggested previously.

If you'd like to suggest an idea of a view-only period when used with the option for students to not view courses after they are concluded, you can do so in our Canvas Feature Ideas​ space. If anyone else has the same need they can add their comments as well; feature ideas are monitored by our community and product teams.

Hope that helps,

Erin

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Surveyor

So back to the original intent of this post (I apologize for the derailment)...

In Canvas for Fall 2016, all of our 'blocks' that come over from Banner are associated with the same term: '2016 Fall'. So, our first block, which runs for the first seven and a half weeks of the full term and the second block, which runs for the last seven and a half weeks of the block are associated with the same '2016 Fall' term. All of the first block courses have a course-level course-end date some time in Oct. - let's say Oct. 12 at 11:59pm (with the override term settings box checked). The 2016 Fall term ends Dec. 15 at 11:59pm. If I add a Close Date of Dec 21, 2016 at 11:59pm, will that affect the courses in the first block? Meaning, will the instructors teaching in the first block be able to continue grading assignments all the way through Dec 21, 2016 at 11:59pm? Also, does the override term settings check box for the course start/end dates override the Close Date for the Grading period, or have any effect on it whatsoever for that matter?

I'm starting to wonder if I should have Banner send over first-block and second-block courses attached to 'different' terms, so that we can take advantage of these Grading Periods more effectively.

I'll mention my CSM here, so she's aware of my menacing as well    Deactivated user​

Thanks for all of your help Erin!

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Community Team
Community Team

Good morning, Jason!

If I add a Close Date of Dec 21, 2016 at 11:59pm, will that affect the courses in the first block? Meaning, will the instructors teaching in the first block be able to continue grading assignments all the way through Dec 21, 2016 at 11:59pm?

Think of grading periods as a way to subdivide instructor grading within a term; that's literally all it is. Grading periods do not take the place of terms in allowing access to a course.

Term dates still override grading period dates, and although grading period dates aren't currently validated against term dates, it is possible to set grading period dates outside the term dates (though it won't do you much good unless instructors can actually access the course). In this case, your instructors are still limited to accessing the course until the term end (December 15), so to allow them time to finish grading in the course, you'd have to extend their term access date to December 21 so they can still access the course and complete grading. (See your 2016 Summer term as an example for how you extended instructor access dates). If you leave your term in status quo, instructors lose access to editing content in the course on December 15. (Instructors can always view concluded courses but they cannot modify the content unless they change the course override date.)

In extending your term dates for instructors, you're welcome to set the grading period close date for grades on December 21 so they match, though by nature of the term ending they wouldn't be able to access the course and change any grades after the term end date anyway.

Also, does the override term settings check box for the course start/end dates override the Close Date for the Grading period, or have any effect on it whatsoever for that matter?

Yes. As noted above, term dates (or course/section override dates) still take priority for access to the course. Since you restrict students from viewing concluded courses, they won't be able to see the course after the course date has passed. For instructors, the close date won't matter if the term access date ends earlier because they won't be able to edit any course material.

I'm starting to wonder if I should have Banner send over first-block and second-block courses attached to 'different' terms, so that we can take advantage of these Grading Periods more effectively.

You can still associate the blocks with the same term. Create a grading period set and associate the term with the set (I noticed you did this in your account already). Then just create two grading periods, one for each block. The grading period dates can't overlap between periods though, so if that is going to be a problem you would have to separate the blocks into two different terms and associate each term with a different grading period set. (A term can only be in one grading period set.)

Hope that helps!

Erin

P.S. Your CSM Deactivated user​​ is awesome. Smiley Happy

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Surveyor

Yes, she is awesome! We've been fortunate to have some really good ones. :smileygrin:

Highlighted
Surveyor

We just bumped into something that we didn't expect with closing TIMES and how they matter. For example, our Marking Period 1 ended October 31 so we set that time for October 31, 11:59PM to close it. Two things happened in our instance that we're going to asking our CSM about because at first glance, they seem a bit quirky.

  1. Assignments with due dates of October 31, 11:59PM did not list in Marking Period 1 (nor in Marking Period 2). Instead, in the Gradebook for the class they simply displayed a solid, light grey box indicating the assignment due date was not in any term. To resolve it, I set the assignment due time to October 31, 11:58PM, and all was fine. It just seemed a little odd that it wouldn't include other 11:59PM due dates in the first marking period and we needed to list them a minute away from the close time.
  2. So, after that happened, we realized it was ridiculous to nudge back all due times by one minute so we then thought," we'll just close the marking period at November 1, midnight 12:00AM. This way all of the October 31, 11:59PM due time'ed assignments will not find themselves in a marking period "void" and all will be fine. Well, we couldn't set the time for midnight either for the term. We were sure not to overlap start and end times to avoid logic conflicts Canvas might be trying "to save us" from making, but midnight wouldn't lock in. We thought, "Let's dump the cache," and so on and try again. Still the same result. Midnight is a no-go. The only thing I'm wondering about is that Canvas "talks" with our SIS (PowerSchool) on the 12s, noon and midnight. Perhaps this was the reason why we couldn't set midnight (??) for our term close.

So what will we do for future terms? We're thinking of two options...

  • ask if we can either change our evening sync time possibly to 12:01 AM  🙂 
    • so we can get midnight back again as a close time
      • and allow for 11:59PM due dates to remain in the previous term
  • or keep the sync times at noon and midnight exactly
    • in order to close the next term at 12:01 AM
      • and allow for 11:59PM due dates to remain in the previous term
        • and start the subsequent term at 12:02 AM

These are certainly no big emergencies. But they were just things we were not able to see coming nor predict this end-of-term date/time vs. assignment due date/time behavior. If anything, we'll have a fun time sharing with our CSM during this month's phone call.

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Community Team
Community Team

Hi, Todd,

You are correct in that this behavior doesn't look quite right—assignments should be placed within the grading period. I've chatted with our Gradebook team and our support team and it's something we need to look into. (I checked to see if you had submitted a support case but I wasn't able to find one.) Ideally we'd like to get this reviewed by our engineers before you get to your next term, but I can't guarantee when this will be reviewed. If you'd like to follow along with the status of this behavior, feel free to file a support case so that our agents can associate your case with our new engineering ticket.

In setting a grading period to midnight, our engineers have already been working on a ticket that defaults a grading period start date to 12:00 am. Not being able to set a grading period to that time was part of that current behavior (because it wasn't supported). That ticket should be resolved next release (should all go well with our QA team).

Thanks!

Erin

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