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Accurate Breadcrumb Trail in Modules

Accurate Breadcrumb Trail in Modules


It would be great if the breadcrumb trail would follow your navigation correctly when you are working in modules rather than switching to "page", "discussions", "assignments" or whatever you click on. Would it be possible to add a "modules" breadcrumb?

Community Participant

Well put  @john_hollenbeck ‌ - find the decision not to act on this extraordinarily complacent.

Community Participant

It would be FANTASTIC to have the name of the Module in the breadcrumb. So if a student is in Module 1, it's says [COURSE_NAME] > Module 1: Blah blah blah > [PAGE_NAME]. Even if we had to truncate the Module name and Page name after a certain number of characters.

Community Participant

Couldn't agree more strongly. It's a UX bug.  A failure to present things as they are to the user for the tradeoff of, what, presenting the file directory structure that only the developers need.

The original post asks for a Modules breadcrumb.  A nice to have.  The ensuing discussion has called this out as a UX problem and, I believe, an Accessibility issue. It's presented as primary navigation at the top of the page, and it's completely W-R-O-N-G about how the user arrived at the page.  And, if the instructor has hidden the nested tool (see below), the student not only sees inaccurate information, the student is then taken to the wrong page -- Home -- for no apparent reason and with no explanation.

The original Idea post identifies this problem as it arises when an instructor chooses to hide the Pages or Discussions or Files (etc.) link from the site navigation.  This instructor has taken extra effort to try to minimize distraction and unnecessary cognitive load for their students.  This instructor is a champion of using the LMS to efficiently, effectively, even elegantly present content in context using Modules. This implementation of breadcrumbs undermines their efforts.

Passionate educators are writing javascript and css to hide fix the problem.  Of course, unauthorized code sets us up for unanticipated trouble down the line. 

Canvas has failed to fix this after three and a half years. Why?

Community Member

I remain in awe of a software company that treats basic expected computer function as something to vote on. Why don't you sit with my users sometime and explain why breadcrumbs that provide clear return paths in every other piece of software don't in yours? They think I'm kidding.

Then there's Previous and Next on the bottom of page only. But that's another thread probably not getting enough votes, along with the one about nesting folders.


Community Member

Problem with breadcrumbs are significantly impacting he usability and accessibility of Canvas Smiley Sad

Community Member

OMG -- YES!   This is my biggest pet peeve as I'm building new modules!  

Community Participant

Yes! We had heaps of higher ed students complain they had to click the back arrow instead of using breadcrumbs to go back to a specific point 

Community Member

I use modules to organize all the student assignments/quizzes/etc. When I click on a Module and then select the assignment I wish to edit, and would like to go back one click to the module where I have everything, the link in the upper left side doesn't "go back" to where I just came from, it links back to the assignments page, which is not where I want or need to go. I'd like to simply click up on my navigation tree. After getting into an assignment and making edits, clicking the back arrow on my canvas browser doesn't take me back to my Module, it takes me back to the edit mode or what ever else I was doing page, by page before. 

My students must get to the assignment through the module. In my screen shot, it is indeed the method I used to get to the particular assignment, however if you'll notice in the tree, if I try to follow the breadcrumb link back, it takes me to my assignments list, not back to the module. Can you please make the linking follow the path as to where we actually came from?

Screen Shot 2020-11-06 at 2.29.10 PM.png

Community Member

I use modules for my content.  As I move through the module I see the pages, assignments, and quizzes I've included in the module.  It would be nice to be able to see the name of the module these items are in while double-checking them.  Does that make sense?

Community Member

My colleagues and I have just come across this issue and are astounded that this basic navigation option is not something already implemented.

Regardless of the term you use, a user should know where they are within the content hierarchy, and be able to non-linearlly move between areas.

Blackboard, Moodle and pretty much every other LMS have this as basic functionality - why on earth is Canvas not doing so?

It will absolutely have an impact on learner experience, as the current 'flat' navigation is uncessarily burdensome and introduces a lot of extra work that should not be in an LMS in 2020.

Canvas needs to implement far, far better navigation options if they want to continue to position themselves as current and relevant.

Community Member

Are you kidding me? Someone posted this 5 years ago and it's still not been acted on? This is one of the most frustrating things about Canvas, and it causes students (and me) to navigate through the modules incorrectly, skipping important parts of the module, because they can't figure out how to get back to the main page of the module!

Community Member

I only just now realized how very many people have asked for this--for the past 5 years!  Canvas folks, this is imperative!

Students (users) should absolutely be able to see which module they are in when they are on a page, discussion, assignment, etc. The breadcrumb trail already shows the name of the CRN and the page or assignment.  If you add the module name, then students could see that they are still in a module (or have gone on to the next module).

Many of us have been taught that it is best practice to organize our courses by modules, but once a student is in the module, they can't tell when it has ended. They wind up missing assignments and tasks, which is interruptive and detrimental to their learning.

This seems too critical, and widely requested, to ignore. Please make this change ASAP.

Community Participant

This seriously needs to be addressed. It's funny that the breadcrumb actually displays the module from an external link within a module... 

Community Member

Need to add a button that allows you to go back to a specific module from a page within the module instead of scrolling to find the module again.

Community Member

Yes, please, please fix this! I actively discourage students from using Back/Next because it can take them out of one module into another and they won't realize it!

Community Participant

I find that when I am in a module and navigate to one of its pages, it can be time consuming to get back to the module itself.  If I have simply looked at the page, I can get quickly back to the module by using the back button on my browser.  But if I edited the page, it is not easy to get directly back to the module.  I can navigate to other pages in the module by using the "previous" or "next" buttons near the bottom of the page, but to return back to the module, I have to click back into modules and run through my whole list again and perhaps open the module, etc..   Since "previous" and "next" must know what module I am in to be able to direct me to the next item in the module itself, another button could know that as well.  How about a third button that would take me immediately back to the module that I am working on and that the page is associated with.  It could be near the bottom, between "previous" and "next" and say "Module", or list the name of the module.  That button would easily take me back to the module to work on other pages or coordinate my edited page with the other resources in that module.   When editing modules, it would save creators much time navigating out and back into modules.

Community Participant

It is possible that bread crumbs are not the way to navigate from pages to modules.  Bread crumbs are fairly complex data trails which might be hard to program.  Also, a page might be associated with more than one module which might create confusion.  My suggestion is the one immediately above this comment.  Why not add a single navigation button below the page with the module name, or if it would be more simple, simply the word MODULE.  Every page is know to be within a module.  How else would the previous button, and the next button at the bottom of the page work?  There is plenty of room between these two buttons to place a third button and the coder would simply be using the code for the already placed buttons to create a third button located in the middle.  I really believe that it would be simpler and simple often moves it up the todo list and gets it done.  It sounds like people have been commenting on this for years.  Could someone at Canvas check with a coder and see if this is simple or not.  It is possible that a coder could have this done in less than an hour although Not being a coder myself, maybe not.  An informed decision would be very helpful.

Community Member

6 years later and this "idea" hasn't been addressed lol. It's such a basic thing that it's unbelievable to me that it is something that wasn't built in from the very beginning. 

Community Participant

Have create a little script to insert breadcrumb html code on top of each Canvas page.

Screen capture about how I install Tampermonkey for Chrome, ( firefox will be the same, just search Tampermonkey for firefox )

Install the breadcrumb script by visiting this link


Then edit each page in module, click the Get Breadcrumb Code button, insert then it will be added at the top of that page.

If change module page name or sequences later, you can still use that button to update these breadcrumbs html code in each page, it will auto seek/replace old breadcrumb html code with correct one.


Community Member

This is essential. If i'm in a module and click on a page or any item, there is no indication of which module i'm in or what comes before or after.

Couldn't you have the module name append the title or put in breadcrumb trail..

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