Enable Differentiated Learning at Scale

Theme Overview

Instructors need more flexibility through Canvas’ course-building tools to provide students with differentiated instruction based on their teaching goals and institutional initiatives. 

What value could this provide to users?

  • Instructors can differentiate learning journeys and expectations across Canvas based on students’ learning needs
  • Instructors can control access to content across Canvas based on a predetermined set of criteria
  • Students can see content that’s relevant to their personal learning journey
Why was this theme chosen to open for voting?

April 2023 • As the educational landscape has continued to shift, institutions are more committed than ever to providing high-quality, personalized learning experiences for their learners. We want to support institutions and instructors seeking to leverage technology for this purpose by streamlining content differentiation in Canvas.

Why was this theme chosen for prioritization

June 2023Educators want a simple way to allocate content to specific learners or groups of learners so that they can provide content that’s relative to their personal learning journey. We continue to hear from our customers that they want to provide high-quality, personalized experiences, but are pressed for time and lack the flexibility needed to effectively differentiate. While we will not be able to prioritize all ideas within this theme in the second half of the year, we will focus on releasing modules to individuals or groups of individuals. A new theme will be created for additional ideas related to differentiated assignments and other content types.

Referenced Ideas (29)

26 Comments
KristinL
Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Identified
 
ProductPanda
Instructure
Instructure
Status changed to: Open for Voting
Note from Instructure

April 2023 • This theme was chosen to Open for Voting. 

How do Ideas and Themes work in the Instructure Community? 

How do I participate with themes? 

 

FaweiGeng
Community Member

I am keen to the ideas which enable different pages/modules assigned to different sections. Many thanks

akhuebel
Community Participant

This type of differentiation is becoming increasingly necessary.  I would especially like to be able to assign specific students to a module and improvements to setting individual or section assignments and assignment dates.

milesl
Community Contributor

[Assignments] Assign to everyone except selected students and [Assignments] Differentiate Assignments appear to be duplicates. Is there a reason they were both included in this theme?

For clarity, it would be helpful for these themes to be as streamlined as possible.

ProductPanda
Instructure
Instructure
Status changed to: Post Voting Review

Status changed to: Post Voting Review

KristinL
Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Prioritized

Status changed to: Prioritized.

jw2546
Community Coach
Community Coach

Can you tell us which of these 29 feature ideas specifically led to the decision to focus on "releasing modules to individuals or groups of individuals"? Like, if the ideas were a checklist, what are we working on checking off here?

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi @jw2546! Great question. Before I link to the ideas, I wanted to add that before we pulled these themes together, my team and I talked to dozens of institutions that said this kind of functionality is a basic need in order to achieve differentiation. We want to tackle many more of the needs in this theme, but given the importance of modules, we see this functionality as foundational to achieving differentiated learning at scale.

Assign students to a module
Module access to specific students or groups of students 
Hiding and viewing modules for individual sections
Differentiated Pages

There are several other ideas in this theme that we are considering, but have not yet determined that we can deliver on them in this particular timeframe. As discussion in these threads continues and we get further along in development I will be soliciting opinions from this group and making determinations on those additional ideas. 

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi everyone! I am Allison Howell, a product manager on the Canvas team, and I will be updating anyone interested in our progress here in this thread! 

We are currently prototyping a few solutions and are seeking both moderated and unmoderated input from those of you who voted on this theme. If you're interested in providing feedback (and I really hope you are) we have a couple of options coming your way.

First, we would like to talk to those of you who may be available next week. I understand it's short notice and that many of you may not be able to make the time, but if you can, you can sign up directly via the Calendly link here. Unfortunately, a Calendly link favors our customers in the North American and LATAM regions; however, if you are elsewhere in the world and want to talk, please reply to this thread expressing your interest and I will reach out to you directly to schedule time! During our initial discovery in this area we talked to many institutions from all over the globe, and it's extremely important to us that we hear perspectives outside of our own region. We will make the timezones work for us!

Please don't fret if you can't schedule time with us next week –– we will have a survey that will be posted here to get more feedback. We expect to have that ready over the next couple of weeks, so please check back if you aren't getting email notifications for this thread.  

JamesSekcienski
Community Coach
Community Coach

When allowing modules to be assigned to specific students/groups/sections:

  • Will the items within those modules automatically have the Assign To updated based on who the module has been assigned to? 
  • Will this be compatible with mastery paths?
  • Will this be compatible with module requirements? 
    • As an example, if students progress to different modules and then progress back to one common module, will pre-requisite requirements be able to be set based on required completion of their assigned prior module?
    • It would also be nice if teachers could excuse/exempt certain students from select requirements for various reasons so they can still continue with the course when appropriate.

Also, with the upcoming bulk publish feature, a new concern has been raised by our Instructional Designers.  We use blueprint courses to build the content for our courses that are loaded each semester.  They have been utilizing the first module as an unpublished set of Instructor Resources to provide information that should only be visible to instructors and includes information specific to the course materials.  There is concern that with the bulk publish feature, some teachers may use this and then forget to unpublish this module that shouldn't be visible to students.

  • Since you are working on building the ability to assign modules based on different students, would it be possible to also assign access based on role or at least to be able to assign to no students?  This way, even if the module is published, it could still be kept private from students.
SabrinaDean
Community Explorer

Hi @AllisonHowell, will the survey be posted? I am very interested in the progress on this theme. I met with an instructor today who could greatly benefit from dynamic homepages. 

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi there, I am posting now. Thanks for waiting -- we ended up making some significant changes based on our zoom interview feedback. 

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hello everyone! While I'm a little late on sharing the survey, I promise it was for good reason! We spoke with several of you and gathered feedback on our first mockup in order to make sure we were hitting the mark in terms of value delivered. We've made several adjustments based on that feedback, and now have a survey to share that will walk you through two different approaches to this work. 

Please give yourself about 30 minutes to take the survey. I know that's quite lengthy for a survey, but this is a fairly complex workflow that we want to make sure we're getting right, and your feedback is essential to helping us get there. You can take the survey here

Finally, we would appreciate you sharing this with your colleagues, especially instructors, instructional designers, and others who would be using this functionality frequently in their courses. Their feedback on ease of use of the prototype will be invaluable as we move forward.

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi James, this is all great feedback! We want this to reduce load for educators, not add to their plate, so intend to automate as many things as possible. If there are limitations for some reason, we'll take that to this thread and get more feedback. On the compatibility questions, yes! It's important that we don't take away some of the great methods for differentiation that already exist, but find ways to enhance them. This will be another tool for educators to use.

And thank you for the feedback on bulk publish for modules. I understand the concern and we have been thinking through possible solutions to this. 

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi all! I wanted to update this group and let you know that we have received an incredible amount of feedback in our survey. Thanks to all of you who have already taken it! If you haven't, there's still time. Head to this link and complete it before this Friday, July 21: https://t.maze.co/175954274

shermanm
Community Participant

Allison I learned about this theme while talking to another canvas rep last week at InstructureCon.

If it is not too late we would love to be able to contribute to the discussion.

I met countless other districts at the conference with similar issues implementing a passback solution as well.

If we should be contributing on a different channel here please redirect me.

We have 2 very simple problems.

1. Oneroster and assignments.

  • each assignment must be assigned to every student and must have the same due date.

this means that we either use the passback and don't differentiate, or that we don't use the passback, we also crosslist sections that meet on different days + different due dates for each section.

  • a simple solution would be to develop a way to communicate just the overall grade (and ignore the assignment scores)

2. Standards aligned grading.

we will likely transition to a standards aligned grading setup in the next two years, and without a functional way to passback grades we will likely have to abandon the canvas gradebook all together.

I believe making the grades travel seamlessly between systems is mission critical, we just aren't sure who to collab with to make this happen.

 

mike

KristinL
Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: In Development
 
JamesSekcienski
Community Coach
Community Coach

@AllisonHowell 

Are there any new updates on what is being developed for this Theme?

AllisonHowell
Instructure
Instructure

Hi @JamesSekcienski! Thanks for asking -- we've reached the "heads down" portion of our work and I have neglected to update this thread in awhile. So yes, I do have some updates for you and others interested in development in this area.

This first batch of work is focused on introducing more consistency across Canvas with content differentiation. Based on survey feedback and conversations with many who voted on this theme, we are targeting the ability to release modules to sections and students, similar to the existing "assign to" functionality present in assignments, graded discussions, and quizzes. We are also adding this functionality to Pages, ungraded discussions, and files. "Assign To" will get a new UI that will be consistent across Canvas.

As we continue to develop, we may be able to undertake other ideas in the theme or make plans to address them, but the ideas I listed above are our target for this initial round of work. My hope is that we will be able to get this group to test and provide feedback toward the end of the calendar year on the modules work that is currently under development, so please stay tuned for details on that as we work them out. 

As we near release, I will start taking ideas that we were not able to get to in this round that we still think are viable and create new themes that are more targeted. I think we learned a big lesson with this theme -- it was too big! 

These comments are for questions and general discussion. Feedback and detailed discussion will take place after an idea is prioritized.