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A way to save a draft for Text Entries

A way to save a draft for Text Entries

(2)
Text Entries are how most of my teachers do their assignments. If I want to start an assignment when I have a little time, and then continue working on it later, the only real way to do so is by writing it in an external application that I can copy and paste into the text box when it's finished. It would be incredibly convenient if I could start writing an assignment in Canvas, and save a draft of it if I have to go before I finish. This would save the trouble of needing to log into Google Docs or a similar application in order to save my draft, and then later needing to find what I've written again and the assignment it was for on Canvas. A way to save drafts could remove the hassle of using an outside application, allow me to work in as short of time periods as needed, and conveniently keep what I've written connected to the assignment that it is for.
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through Canvas Release Notes (2020-03-21) 

46 Comments
biray
Community Member

Thank you for your submission,  @emersoncall ​. This idea will be open for vote in the next voting cycle. Smiley Happy

mwelker
Surveyor

This feature would very much help move Canvas forward - on par with WordPress for composition capabilities. However, we still try to steer students to use Word processor for long form composition.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

This idea is now open for voting!

dputchio
Community Member

This would be really helpful on quizzes too.  Sometimes we use the quiz option as an assignment if we want kids to answer multiple questions.

accook
Surveyor

This would be helpful on discussion boards as well!

jomontuori
Community Member

Two points in favor of a saved-draft capability:

First point: the ability to save a draft during text entry submissions would decrease accidental losses due to device failure, power outage, etc.

The ability to save drafts is especially important during assessments. Some of our teachers use Canvas assignments for text-based, in-school, timed assessments.  Other teachers are hesitant due to the additional risks while managing these already stressful situations for students. I'm aware of at least one student who lost work during an assessment. (Perhaps through her own error, but the ability to save drafts may have prevented it.)

Soon, our NYS Ed Dept. will be piloting in-school online testing, and our state is not alone. Second point: Making online testing in Canvas the norm could give us a big leg up in normalizing the process. That would be a plus for students and teachers. Thanks for considering this idea!

julie_ryan
Surveyor

Losing work is a huge deal and I'm in favor of any updates, including this one, which help solve the issue. However, I would rather see Canvas implement an autosave feature so that the user doesn't even have to think about it at all.

jomontuori
Community Member

Brilliant, julie.ryan!
Simplify, simplify, simplify. I love this idea.

Maybe a manual and an auto save feature, for instances in which a student needs multiple sittings to complete an assignment? This would accommodate the accidental loss scenario and  @emersoncall ​​ scenario of multiple sittings to complete an assignment. 

I'd also add that for those on mobile devices, autosave for text entry is even more essential. (Jumping to Google docs or Word on a phone or tablet, then uploading to Canvas -- not gonna' happen!.)

clarkbra
Surveyor

I agree with the need for auto save.  The other part already exist, doesn't it?  When a student types in text entry and saves and then clicks resubmit it causes there to be a link on the right hand side which they can open.  That link shows their previous answers.  They can copy and paste from that page into the new empty text box.  It would be nice if their previous answers automatically show up in the text box, but the work isn't lost it is on the link on the right.   Also, if they have turned in the assignment multiple times using this technique when you use speed grader there is a drop down option that lets you swtich between their multiple submissions.

terry_hill
Community Member

YES PLEASE!  Text Entries are how most of my students do their assignments. They currently have to upload from Google docs in order to make test corrections efficiently.

josysd222
Community Member

When is the next voting cycle? This is exactly the idea that I was going to submit, so no point in duplicating it. The Save Draft feature would be a huge time saver for everyone, and would certainly be more efficient use of my time - for example, use snippets of time to read a few posts, reply and jot down a few key points while they are fresh in my mind, then Save Draft and return to it later to develop it more. Thanks!

Josy

josysd222
Community Member

It's me again. Just saw the voting cycle date, hooray, I didn't miss it. Thanks.

Josy

jomontuori
Community Member

That's a good point, Brandi. Submitted assignments can be replaced by additional submissions. But I think "submitting the assignment" has a significantly different meaning in a student's mind than a Canvas-designated "save a draft" feature would provide. And right now, submitted assignments can't be clearly designated as drafts.

For example, if a student wished to save a draft and continue his/her work later, currently the student must submit the assignment. Teachers have no way to know if this is a "draft" or a "submission" without additional communication from the student. That can be problematic. A clearly-designated draft-saving function would eliminate this uncertainty.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

 @josysd222 ​

This idea is still open for voting!  You can add your vote by clicking the up arrow at the top of the idea.

jsparks
Instructure
Instructure

I understand where you all are coming from and can see the need for this feature. We would likely implement this feature across the platform and the variety of interaction points in Canvas; this would require some strategic thinking across the product management team and looking at when we would be able to work this into our roadmap.  I can comfortably say we are planned well into 2016; assignments do need some love.  We will likely pursue this sometime in the future. For now, I would like to archive this idea. I am tracking this request for when we are able to implement.

Kind regards,

Jason

bogardde
Explorer II

I'm very sorry to hear that this feature idea is not going into the next stage at this point. 200 votes says to me that this is high on the "pain point" list for users...especially, perhaps, the K-12 community. Smiley Sad

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

bogardde

This idea did go into the next stage.  It was moved to the "gathering information" stage, which allows the product teams to scope the project and evaluate it against available resources.  I think that Jason did a very nice job of explaining what he discovered.

If you want to know more about our stages, please take a look at How does the voting process work for feature ideas?​  It explains how an archived idea can pop up for development at any time!

bogardde
Explorer II

Thanks for the input. I did read the explanation and believe I do understand the process, at least in a general way. Nevertheless, it does not assuage my disappointment that this feature idea has been archived into the gray expanse of "sometime in the future." In the here-and-now, it is a quite significant pain point for the teachers and students I support. Thus, the sad face Smiley Sad

andrew_ellingse
Community Member

Has there been any progress on this idea since January?  We are new users of Canvas, and we already have students and teachers who are frustrated at the lack of a "Save Draft" or "Auto-Save" feature.  Can anyone share an update?

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...