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erinhmcmillan
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Canvas Release: Direct Share (2020-01-18)

This document introduces the Direct Share feature as noted in Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18) 

 

This feature was enforced for all Canvas institutions in Canvas Release Notes (2020-07-18)  

 

For additional feature updates, please refer to the direct share release notes entries.

Direct Share allows users to copy individual course items to another course and share individual items with other users. This change allows content to be shared directly in Canvas without having to use a secondary repository like Commons. 

 

 

Account Management

Permissions

Users who want to share content directly must have the Course Content - add / edit / delete permission. 

 

At the account level, account admins have this permission by default. 

 

At the course level, TA, Teacher, and Designer-based roles have this permission by default.

 

APIs

Users with permission can manage content with the Content Shares API.

 

Course-Level Features

 

In Assignments, Quizzes, Discussions, and Pages, instructors can copy content to another course and share individual content items with another user. 

 

Send to and Copy to options in assignments

 

The menu for individual content items also include the Send To and Copy To links.

 

Send to and Copy to links in an individual assignment

 

Note: If the content being shared or copied includes other content in the course (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying will be included. The additional files must be shared/copied individually.

 

Send Content

The Send To option is used to send content to another user.

 

Users can search for other users via email address. Content can only be sent to users with instructor-based roles who can manage course content. Users can be identified by typing at least the first three letters of a user’s name in the search field. Search results display users by name and email address. Select the name of the user when it appears.

 

Send To window with selected user

Send To Window with user added

 

The same content may be sent to more than one user by adding other users individually.

 

When all users have been added and the content has been sent, the window confirms the content has been shared successfully.

 

Send To Window Confirmation

 

Copy Content

The Copy To option is used to copy content to another course. Instructors can only copy content to their own courses. Admins can copy content to any course in the account.

 

To copy content, locate the course where the content should be copied by typing at least the first three letters of a course name in the search field. Search results display courses by name. Select the name of the course when it appears.

 

Copy To window with course name selected

 

The content can be placed within a specific module in the course, if applicable. This menu is optional. 

 

Copy To window with selected course and Module window

 

To use the module option, type at least the first three letters of the module in the search field. Search results display modules by name. Select the name of the module when it appears.

 

When all fields have been completed and the content has been copied, the window confirms the content copy process has started successfully. The content may take a few minutes to display in the selected course.

 

Copy To Window Confirmation

 

User-Level Features

Any user who receives shared content from another user is notified about the content In the User Navigation Menu. Shared content is indicated in the user’s Account icon and also in the Shared Content link.

 

User Navigation Menu with Shared Content Link

 

Shared Content Page

Shared content items are listed in the page in reverse chronological order. Additionally, pagination is supported after a user has received 10 content shares.

 

Each content item displays the title of the content, the type of content, the user who sent the content, and the date and time received.

 

Shared Content Page with shared content

 

Users can manage the content item within the page by clicking the Actions menu. Options include previewing the item, importing the item, or removing the item.

 

  • Preview: The user can preview the content item directly from the page. The content loads in the same window and the user can close the window after the content is reviewed.
  • Import: The user can import the content into a course using the same functionality as copying content to another course.
  • Remove: The user can remove the content from the page and take no action. A separate window will display to confirm the removal.

 

Shared Content page with action items

 

Content items are considered read once the user has selected an action for each content item. However, content items can be manually marked as read or unread by clicking the dot next to the item. Unread content items are displayed in the account’s primary color.

 

Community Resources

Future Enhancements

This document outlines existing functionality included in the initial release of this feature. The direct share functionality may continue to receive additional feature enhancements over future releases as indicated in Release Notes. Please follow the release notes for future functionality updates, which will be indicated by the direct_share tag.

 

Customer Feedback

Community feedback for this feature is welcome per Canvas Community Feedback Guidelines, which outlines general feedback, broken functionality, and feature enhancements.

 

Feature enhancements should include the direct_share tag. Before submitting a new idea, please review all existing Direct Share feature ideas.

 

Feature Documentation

Documentation for this feature is available in the Canvas Guides.

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37 Replies
audra_agnelly
Community Champion

I'm so excited about this feature! For teacher's who want to duplicate content between courses, it's a real time-saver. I have some questions about sharing and notification settings, specifically when some one shares/copies between their own courses.

  1. When I copied an assignment from one of my courses to another, the due date and publish state carried over from the original course. If that assignment comes over published, will students receive a notification (if they have due date notifications on)?
  2. With copied announcements, I see the copied announcement has the unread blue dot next to it and that the Posted On date/time is empty. I opened my announcement, selected edit, made a small change and saved the announcement. The Posted On date/time field remained blank. I also noticed that the image icon next to the announcement just displays the letter "U", unlike my other announcements which show my profile picture; my name also doesn't appear anywhere in the announcement header. The only way I could populate the Posted/On field was to enter a delay posting on date (this change still didn't show me as the author). So, if an announcement is copied, will students be able to see it even though the posted on field is empty? Will they receive a notification when the announcement is copied or do we need to enter a delay post date/time to force a notification? 
erinhmcmillan
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi, Audra,

No behavior has changed with course copies related to this feature. Copied announcements does require a modification to the announcement, or you can copy the content and post a new one.

Notifications aren't sent to students with copied content. Smiley Happy

Thanks!

Erin

bbennett2
Community Champion

If teachers share an Assignment or Page, are all included assets (particularly Files like PDFs or Images) duplicated and shared as well?

bbennett2
Community Champion

I tried sharing material between two teachers in beta. The material never arrived in the receiving user account. Is there a time expectation or any way to check for errors in the transfer?

0 Kudos
audra_agnelly
Community Champion

 @bbennett2 ‌, I tested in our beta instance and the materials appeared more or less right away.

0 Kudos
Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @bbennett2 ...

Yes, in my own testing...if you share a content item (I shared a "page") with another instructor that includes things like embedded images and linked PDF files, those assets will be copied into the instructor's course when he/she decides to import it into his/her course.  The images and PDFs are placed in course "Files" ... because that is where they were stored in the originating course.  Hope this helps.

Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Posting this here so that it is not missed.  Please see the comments from  @bbennett2 ‌ and  @kblack ‌ regarding the Send To... dialog box that are a part of the Canvas Release Notes (2020-01-18).

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timberley_barbe
Community Member

When doing testing, we shared an assignment with another user and then tested importing the shared assignment into a course. 

  • If imported into the course and selected a module, the assignment would appear in the module list, but it did not appear on the "Assignments" area. 
  • If we imported the shared assignment into a course and did not select a module, the assignment did not appear in "Assignments" area or anywhere else.  
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audra_agnelly
Community Champion

Timberley, my experience while testing has been that the copied assignment shows up in the Imported Assignments group. Is your institution using grading periods? If so have you checked that the grading period filter isn't hiding the assignment? If that's not the issue, you should report the issue to Canvas Support. 

kblack
Community Champion

That's been my experience, as well....I was just going to reply to this!  My experience, too, has been that the imported assignment winds up at the bottom of the Assignments page in "Imported Assignments."

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

I actually submitted a feature idea about this topic this morning. In addition to the module selection, I'd like to see the option to select an assignment group when making a copy. I think that would streamline the process for instructors.

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/15690-direct-share-select-assignment-group-to-copy-into

mclgreenville
Community Member

What happens if you copy or share a PAGE that his files linked within it? Does it reference the files in the " parent " course aka the course you are sharing from OR does it bring over any files that are referenced within the Page.

Exams ...... will it bring over Questions Banks?

0 Kudos
mclgreenville
Community Member

Entire Course !  That would be amazing solves so many problems. 

0 Kudos
audra_agnelly
Community Champion

 @mclgreenville ‌, I didn't test the question bank situation, but when you copy a page or other resources all linked resources come over. If a linked file had been placed in a separate folder in the original course, the folder directory structure comes over to the new course...at least when you do course-to-course copy. I'd expect sending to a colleague would behave the same but haven't tested that specific scenario.

0 Kudos
crafte
Community Champion

 @mclgreenville ‌, I just sent a quiz with a group connected to a questions bank. The empty group was listed in the imported quiz but the questions bank was not transferred. 

0 Kudos
mclgreenville
Community Member

ok so sounds like banks to not move over w shares . I guess they would w a copy. I need to do some testing !

kelly_clewell
Community Member

 @mclgreenville  and  @crafte , I tested direct sharing a quiz with a question group linked to a question bank and got similar results.  The test imported with the group and link to the question bank, but the bank remained in the original course only.  I think this is perfect.  We have teachers who often collaborate to create quizzes with question banks.  If everyone imports the bank into their course, they end up with multiple copies of the banks with the same name.  It's a nightmare to find all the copies if edits are needed.  If you import (or direct share) the quiz with the link and not the bank, the team of teachers continues to have 1 copy of the bank, but every student can access questions pulled into the imported quiz.  We've used bookmarking to avoid creating multiple copies of question banks in the past, but direct share seems a lot easier.

0 Kudos
sarah_price
New Member

This feature is great and it will be very useful. However, most of our instructors build-in module view. Many never go to assignments, pages etc. Why is direct share not available in the module view? It would be much more convenient to have this option available there and not have to go to the same item in assignment or page view.

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

In our call with our CSM last week, she brought up an issue that in-course links don't copy over with direct share. If you share a course homepage that has links to other course pages (or assignments, discussions, etc) those links will all be broken. Files and images do come over but I didn't think to test those other types of links. 

audra_agnelly
Community Champion

On the regular course import page, you see the term under under the course name, but in the direct share drop-down, that information is missing. For the majority of our teachers, this isn't an issue because the drop-down only shows active courses, but in our schools department chairs and some other teaching staff also have a subaccount admin role. When you have the admin role you see all courses and since the course name does not contain the term, there isn't a way for these staff member to identify which course is the correct course to share to.

0 Kudos
Hildi_Pardo
Advocate

Hi!  This is really great for sharing one specific content item!  Very easy!  And I'm very excited to share this with our teachers.

For multiple items, or an entire Module, I'll continue to direct our teachers to enroll themselves in each other's in courses with a Role we created:  Non-Editing Teacher.   This Role allows Teacher B to see course content, and import content, but not accidentally edit or delete Teacher A's course content.

My question is:   Does anyone know if Direct Sharing a quizzes.next assignments works?  I was testing with a colleague, who Sent a Q.N assignment to me.  When I imported it to a module in my Sandbox course, and tried to access it, it brought over the Password, and I was locked out.  Furthermore I couldn't figure out how to Edit the Q.N. assignment to remove the password, or add/edit questions.     (I actually have not used Q.N much, so maybe I'm missing something.   Or maybe Direct Share isn't working quite well with Quizzes.Next, yet?)

0 Kudos
Hildi_Pardo
Advocate

Also.....    Could this be expanded to #rubrics‌? Teachers often ask about sharing rubrics.  Thanks!

Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @Hildi_Pardo ...

For multiple items, an an entire Module, I'll continue to ask our teachers to enroll each other in their courses with a Role we created:  Non-Editing Teacher.   This Role allows the Teacher B to see course content, import content, but not accidentally edit or delete Teacher A's course course.

As a suggestion (and maybe you are already doing this based on your second paragraph?), do you know if your school has "master" versions of courses?  For example, we have a "Master Term" in Canvas where we house a "master" version of courses we've built in Canvas for our instructors.  We also created a custom "Viewer" role at the admin level.  How do I add a course-level role in the Permissions page?  This custom role is based on the "Teacher" role type, but with some permissions turned off...such as being able to not edit any content.  So, after we have built a course in our "Master" term, we invite the curriculum writer (often, this is also the instructor of the course) along with others who also may be teaching their own sections of the course for the term.  The curriculum writer/instructor gets full "Teacher" access.  But others get our custom "Viewer" role.  This has worked well because only the curriculum writer can make changes to the "master" based on feedback from the other instructors with the "Viewer" role and also based on feedback from students that are taking the course.  Also, the "Viewer" role is still able to import content from the "master" course into his/her own course.  I've written a blog about this process which has more detail: Our Custom "Viewer" Role for "Master" Courses.

Hildi_Pardo
Advocate

Very interesting, Chris!  Thanks!   

We don't have many master versions (hopefully we'll get there some day!).   Our teachers create their own courses -- so collaborating and sharing content is super important!   Direct Share makes it super easy for individual items, and teachers are going to love this!

And our "Non Editing Teacher" role can continue to work great for importing entire Modules, entire sets of assessments, selecting various items, or even an entire course, from a colleague's course (without the risk of accidentally editing or deleting their content).

bcalnan
Community Participant

 @Hildi_Pardo  - in some experimentation today, it seems that when a rubric is attached to an assignment that is directly shared, the rubric travels with the assignment and is then available for use by the receiving teacher. This was very encouraging.

 @mgroccia ‌ and I discovered that today.

Hildi_Pardo
Advocate

oh yay!  That's awesome!  Thank you!

JACOBSEN_C
Community Contributor

We are noticing you cannot direct share from concluded courses.  It would be great to be able to.

stimme
Community Contributor

I just tested sharing content with linked files with  @kbhayes ‌. We also found that files to which we linked from assignments, discussion, quizzes, and pages were included with shared content (even the folder structure was included when the files weren't at the top course files level). I'm glad to find that others get the same result. Thanks, Brian and Chris, for your posts.

We were not expecting files to be included, because this document says "Note: If the content being shared or copied includes other content in the course (such as a quiz that includes a file), only the direct content item selected for sharing/copying will be included. The additional files must be shared/copied individually." Could I request clarification about this note, erinhallmark‌?

erinhmcmillan
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi, Clint,

In confirming with our engineers, you can share from concluded courses if you still have access to the course. They didn't explicitly design the feature to not share from concluded courses. Your institution may have enabled a setting that doesn't allow you to manage the course after it is concluded. I'd recommend checking multiple concluded courses and see if there are any discrepancies on settings and whatnot, and if something seems amiss where you do have access to a concluded course but still cannot share, please let our Canvas support team know and they can investigate.

Thanks!

Erin 

rmurchshafer
Community Coach
Community Coach

erinhallmark‌ and  @JACOBSEN_C ‌, I just tested again and disagree with Erin; but it's complicated.  If you don't use term dates or course start and end dates then yes, your teachers can direct share from old courses.  But, if you use term dates (end dates in particular) my testing shows that teachers can not direct share from a course that is in a term where the end date has passed.  I know not all schools use term dates, but I personally like them as a method to keep user's dashboards clean from old courses and to help bound the analytics page graphs.  I really don't want to get rid of using Term Dates just to make direct share work with old courses.  *sigh*

I of course could be mistaken with my testing, but here is a video showing exactly what I'm talking about VidGrid - Direct Share Issue with Old Courses 

Rick

chriscas
Community Champion

We conclude our courses via terms as well, and just like  @rmurchshafer ‌ mentions, the direct share option does not seem to appear in these concluded courses.  I know concluding courses does remove access to most editing (and we do want that in place to keep a somewhat accurate historical record of the course), keeping access to share content is definitely desired.  Perhaps this couldn't be done through modules because of how the code works, but at least for us, visiting an assignment page in a concluded course does let a teacher "share to commons" through the three dots menu (screenshot attached), so I think the direct share option at least needs to be exposed there in concluded courses.

339204_pastedImage_1.png

-Chris

kmeeusen
Coach Emeritus

My own testing confirmed what  @rmurchshafer  has claimed!

While we wait for the engineers to apply a fix, I will be teaching my faculty how to work around this limitation, but I really do hate work-rounds, as they typically lead to other problems - not setting terms back, and not restoring end dates.

Like Rick, we will not be changing our term structure to accommodate this.

Kelley

ChrisMedina
Advocate

Totally agree. 

aolsonpacheco
Community Participant

We use term end dates (for accreditation and privacy regulations) as well and it's a HUGE bummer that instructors can't copy/share from courses that have ended.

MANY instructors will be copying from previous courses to prepare new ones. And the import tool is too complex for just copying one page, assignment, etc-- especially if you can't select the module for it to go into. Instructors have a hard time finding imported pages in ALL Pages or assignments in ALL Assignments as there is a long list to look through and they are more familiar with building in Modules at our school. 

This new direct share/copy tool is amazing for that reason. I really hope Instructure can enable copy/share for courses with term end dates that have passed

Hildi_Pardo
Advocate

If this helps in any way....

We provide all our teachers with a couple of Sandbox courses which have no term (they are either in Default Term or a term we called Manually Created Courses -- I can't recall which).   The Sandboxes are used to import their content from the term (school year) that just ended, so if they want, they can continue refining their course for the next term (or year).   When they receive their new courses, they import from the Sandbox course.    They can do course import, or they can do Direct Share from the Sandbox. 

ChrisMedina
Advocate

We also use master shells for faculty to design and copy from to their term shells. The direct share helps out so when they make a change in the active term shell they can easily copy that item to their master. I believe the master shell method is the best practice for schools to adopt. 

erinhmcmillan
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi, all,

Thanks for your comments on this document. Since we just released our March release notes, I'm going to close this thread for discussion. If you've identified something that would be a nice feature enhancement for Direct Share functionality, please make sure it's been created as an idea in our Ideas space so it can start to be tracked by our product team and voted on by others. The tag to use for Direct Share feature enhancements is noted in the document above.

Thanks,

Erin