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Course Pacing Feature Overview

Course Pacing Feature Overview

Summary

In Courses, Course Pacing distributes due dates on a defined pace for rolling enrollments.

This feature preview allows magical distribution of due dates for students with different start dates based on an instructor’s defined pace.

Availability

To learn about managing feature option states, see How do I enable a feature option?

Release Schedule

Updates will be made with our biweekly deploy and documented in the Change Log

Feature Updates

View updates via the change log in the Course Pacing User Group.

Mobile App Support

Not yet available

Beta Environment Availability

2022-04-13

Production Environment Availability

2022-04-27

 

Configuration

Feature Option Location & Default Status

Account (Off/Unlocked)

    Feature Option State

Production-ready

Feature Preview (active development)

    Enabled by Canvas Admin

Yes (learn how to enable feature options)

    Subaccount Configuration

Yes

Affected Canvas Areas

Courses and Assignment Due Dates Overrides

 

Community Resources

Feature Releases

This document outlines up-to-date functionality for this feature. This document will continue to receive additional updates as indicated in the feature's release change log. Releases are subject to change.

Customer Feedback

Community feedback for Course Pacing is welcome in the Course Pacing Users Group forum.

Feature Documentation

How-to documentation for this feature is included in the Course Pacing User Group Knowledge Base and in the Canvas Guides.

Affected user roles: Instructors

Lesson comments are welcome for functionality clarification. Lessons will also be updated with all future enhancements as indicated in this document.

Feature/Integration Setup

Feature Preview

Course Pacing

Course Pacing involves the Course Pacing feature preview, which can be allowed on a course-by-course basis or turned on for all courses across the entire account. By default, this feature preview is set to Off. Canvas admins can manage this feature preview in Account Settings.

If this feature preview is not already turned on for the entire account, instructors can enable the Course Pacing feature preview for a course in Course Settings.

Release Schedule

This feature was made available in the beta environment as of 2022-04-13. Additional enhancements will continue to be made to this feature as announced in future release notes.

As of 2022-04-27, this feature can be enabled in the production environment.

An enforcement date of this feature will be based on planned feature development and user feedback. Additional details will be announced in Upcoming Canvas Changes when available.

Account Setup

Feature Option

 

Locate Course Pacing Feature OptionLocate Course Pacing Feature Option

In Account Settings, click the Feature Options tab. Locate the Course Pacing feature option.

Enable Course Pacing Feature OptionEnable Course Pacing Feature Option

 

Click the Enabled link. This will make the Course Setting for Course Pacing visible to be turned on for each course as the instructor sees fit. 

Course Setup

Course Settings

Enable Course Pacing Course SettingEnable Course Pacing Course Setting

In Course Settings, click the Enable Course Pacing checkbox. To update your course, click the Update Course Details button.

Modules

Instructors can access Course Pacing through Modules.

Access Course Pacing in ModulesAccess Course Pacing in Modules

 

User Documentation

Affected User Roles

Instructors

Affects User Interface

Yes

Canvas User Guides

Coming Soon

Videos

Course Pacing Overview Video

Feature Q&A

Releases Q&A: 2022-04-27 Course Pacing

All Community Feature Resources

Course Pacing Resources  

Known Issues

Behaviors that are contrary to explanations in the workflow summary should be submitted to Canvas Support. Notable known behaviors are posted in Known Issues.

 

Feature Workflow

When the Course Pacing feature preview is enabled for a course, the feature allows automagical distribution of due dates for students with different start dates based on an instructor’s defined pace. Course Pacing is ideal for rolling enrollment courses that have no start or end date, but can also be used when courses have a traditional start and end date as well. 

View Course Pacing in ModulesView Course Pacing in Modules

Content must be in modules to use Course Pacing.

View Course Pacing ButtonView Course Pacing Button

Instructors can access Course Pacing through Modules. 

View Student Enrollment Course Pacing DatesView Student Enrollment Course Pacing Dates

When a student enrolls in the course their individual due dates are automatically set.

View Amount of Days SetView Amount of Days Set

Instructors can set a number of days between each assignment.



View Skip WeekendsView Skip Weekends

 

By default, weekends are skipped. To allow weekends in the due dates, click the Settings icon [1] and then deselect the Skip Weekends checkbox [2].

 

View Unpublished Course Pacing PlanView Unpublished Course Pacing Plan

 

If changes are made to the plans, the number of unpublished changes is displayed in the Course Paces page.

View Unpublished ChangesView Unpublished Changes

After clicking the unpublished link, instructors can view the unpublished changes.

 

Publish Changes ButtonPublish Changes Button

To save the changes, click the Publish button.

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Comments

I think this is a great new feature for programs with rolling admission in self-paced courses. My institution doesn't have a big need for this but I can think of a few professional learning programs where we might want to implement this. Will the date windows eventually apply to assignment availability dates or to module lock dates as well? If I read this correctly students could work through all the material at their own pace in a few weeks, even if the due dates are spread out over 3 months. I can see cases where cohorts enroll in the course at specific times, and the instructor may want each cohort paced together (ex. cohort A starts today and completes one module per week for a month; cohort B starts 2 weeks later, also completing 1 cohort per month for 4 weeks).

Also, ultimately apropos of nothing other than my own pet peeves, but is it necessary to use terms like 'magical' and 'automagical' in documentation directed towards admins? We know applications run through algorithms not by magic. The terms could be dropped from both locations where they are used above without any loss of meaning.

  

@audra_agnelly, can you tell me more about the case of cohorts progressing together? Often it is the social /pedagogical needs of collaboration and coordination that keep those cohorts together and not necessarily technical barriers preventing them from working ahead. I'd love to hear more about the courses at your institution!

I'm also wondering to what degree this might be useful for a traditional course but with students who want to move through content at different paces—say a more aggressive pace vs. a slower pace. Obviously, I won't know until playing with the settings in my context, but this is a great new feature! Any personalizing tools and setting is the future of education.

@dlyons I'm thinking of a more traditional or hybrid course that has regularly scheduled sessions with the instructor (once weekly, biweekly etc). The due dates would be different for the group starting May 1st than the group starting June 1st, and while the instructor may want the dates to update for the second group, they may not want the students working ahead. Maybe they want the next module to open every Monday for examples with the due dates auto adjusting for cohort 2.

As I think through it more, I don't actually know that what I'm presenting is a good use case for this new feature. This scenario we would typically just manage with 2 separate courses, which is probably the simpler and easier way to address different due dates when students are meant to move through the course more or less together.

@mkeck and @audra_agnelly, it sounds like you may be interested in the section and student specific paces. Right now the pace is set and then students due dates are based on their effective start date but we're investigating section and student specific plans. So one course might have a pace for an "accelerated pace" section, or a student who wants an extra challenge (or some extra grace!), etc.

That part is still in development, but our brains are going in that direction just like yours seem to be. 🙂 

@dlyons @audra_agnelly Awesome to hear it! That kind of personalization is definitely needed. I tried doing some of that control through modules prerequisites and requirements, but the assignment dates were tough. Had to tell kids to ignore them if they wanted to slow down. Can't wait for that rollout! That will change the game!

I agree with @audra_agnelly  about "magical."  

Other than the above, this feature might prove useful in a few of our independent study courses.  

Cheers,
Ben

If this feature is rolled out as "by section" then this could be a real time saver. We enroll students by section for their medical rotations and each rotation has due dates for the required assignments based on when their rotation is for that specialty during the year.  Right now, we use the differentiated due dates on every assignment by section, but I think this would be smoother and less likely to cause error.

I second @LMacaulay, I'd like to see "by section". We enroll students into cohorts using sections, I'd get more use out of the tool with this added.

Late to the party, but you know what would be AWEOMEer, the ability for teachers to mass excuse students when enrolled after a course has started. 

Our k12 get lots of students throughout the year and depending on the amount of assignments, those new students will have piles of incomplete assignments that teachers have to check off one by one. 

So, to go with this feature, I think there could be a feature that would allow teacher to enable  auto-excuse a student after enrolling in course within certain dates or after certain date.  Similar to course pace but a bit in reverse.

Just a thought.

Chris 

 

 

@mkeck I could actually see this being useful as someone that manages a set of master courses, being able to set the pacing ahead of time for instructors so that it can just roll out into different terms and have the due dates set up.  

My only hold up is that as the instructor, you don't see the due date, you just see that pacing is turned on.  If the entire course is set up with the same pacing, it would be nice for the instructor to see the due dates.  You can see them in student view but not in the instructor's view which definitely makes sense if students are on different pacing but to at least have the option if the entire class is on the same pace would be nice. 

@christopher_gil, in the case you describe do the students that join late have the same due dates as the folks who joined earlier/"on time"? 

@RachelSalmon, we're definitely still learning what info makes sense to show in which locations in the open/rolling enrollment context. Can you tell me about the benefit you see of using Course Pacing instead of regular due dates in a scenario where you expect the entire class to be on the same pace? 

@dlyons My thought process for using pacing even when the entire class was on the same pace was that we have a number of courses where we have masters of courses that run a few times a year in multiple sections.  I was thinking I could set up the pacing in the master course so that when it was copied into multiple live sections over the course of the year, the due dates would pre-populate into the sections correctly based on the start date.    

@RachelSalmon, thanks for clarifying. Are those sections combined into a single Canvas course or in your case, or is it one course per section? 

@dlyons One master, multiple live sections.  They're not cross listed because they're facilitated by different people. 

@RachelSalmon, last question (I think 😉); are you using Blueprint or Course Copy/import? 

@dlyons For these specific courses we are using Course Copy.  What I was describing is for a handful of our online programs, not school wide.  

@dlyons  hey good morning, thanks for replying (I added orig, below)  in this case, we are a k12 district and have students enrolled/unenrolled all the time. So, the hope would be that when students are enrolled in any in person course, those students would automatically be excused from all assignments that are due before they enroll. 

We have teachers with more than 20-30 assignments and lots of enrolled students after the course start and the teachers have to go one - by- one excuse those assignments for each student. 

Reality is teachers do not expect students to complete previous assignments. 

Does this make sense? 

 

 

@christopher_gil, in the case you describe do the students that join late have the same due dates as the folks who joined earlier/"on time"? 

We share the same request as @christopher_gil to excuse all previous assignments for a student that has a later start date. This feature would be deeply celebrated by our teachers. 

@CaseyMulvihill, I was able to discuss this with @christopher_gil a while back to better understand the use case and it sounds like it isn't quite part of Course Pacing. I did pass the feedback along to the PM over the Gradebook that "bulk status" (excused, in this case) is something of interest. Thanks for letting us know it makes sense for your workflow too! 

We've enabled this on two courses but have not been able to make it work successfully.  I've reached out to Canvas Support with a description of the error I receive, screencasts, and HAR files.  L2 has sent the info to the engineer group.

I would like to jump on a quick video call to receive feedback on whether this is an issue related to how I have setup Course Pacing in both courses or whether it is a technical error with the Beta.

@dlyons  is this possible?

@audra_agnelly  I think that your comments clarified some things in my mind. I was trying to figure out why this might not work in the way I was hoping at my institution, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Cohorts is pretty much exactly where my lingering doubts are. We have some clinical courses where we need students to stay together in cohorts for various reasons. While it is self-paced, there are certain things that they all need to accomplish in the same timeframe together. I need to set it up and play with it a bit to see if perhaps I'm overthinking it. 

@dlyons You asked someone if they are using Blueprint. Before I go fiddling, can it be used with BP courses? One of the use cases that I'm picturing might involve a BP course.

@JoeFambro, can you please share the support ticket number with me so I can look at what the rep attempted already? 

@STUARTA, Blueprint and course copy is not supported at this moment but it will be in an upcoming release!

@dlyons 08825969

 

@JoeFambro, thank you for sharing. I've been working with the engineering team and we have deployed a fix to the beta environment. It appears to have resolved the issue in our testing. If you could please confirm in your courses (on the beta environment only) that it is working as expected then you'll be all set for when this update goes to Production next Wednesday.

@dlyons Tested in the beta environment and all seems to be working as expected.  Course pacing for sections - BRAVO!  Thank you.