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Add Assignment Columns Directly in Gradebook

Add Assignment Columns Directly in Gradebook

(1)
  Idea open for vote Wed. May 4, 2016 - Wed. August 3, 2016  Learn more about voting...

 

A useful tool for instructors in Canvas is to have the ability to quickly add assignment columns in the Gradebook section instead of having to go to Assignments or Calendar.

For example, the Gradebook could have a +Column button. The +Column button in the Gradebook could ask you two basic questions:

  • Assignment Name
  • Point Value

Instructors could quickly create assignments this way and input grades immediately. This would save some time and effort for those who need to create Placeholder Assignments but do not want to go back and forth between Assignments or Calendar and the Gradebook.

 

 

   

  Comments from Instructure

 

From Christi Wruck

We have thrown this idea around several times. Currently, we do not have plans do this at this time. The goal of Canvas is to be a full teaching and learning system, and if we add the ability to add assignments, and then discussions, and then quizzes, and then modules, and then assignment groups and then... to the gradebook, we are at risk of becoming a gradebook system instead of a Learning Management System.

 
51 Comments
scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hello Deactivated user​,

Thank you for coming and submitting this feature idea.  It has been suggested and voted on previously but failed to get enough votes to move forward in the process.  It that vote a few people voiced opposition to the idea on the premise that it would introduce unnecessary complexity while others said that faculty members are used to having this functionality in other systems.

This idea will open for vote with the next cohort on May 4th.

sarah_iannelli
Community Member

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the email. I think you’ve got the wrong person. Similar names but not the same. You might want to get in touch with the original author instead.

Best wishes,

Sarah

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Oops!  Sorry Deactivated user​

@ciannicelli 

My message above was meant for you.

Thanks,

Scott

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. May 4, 2016 - Wed. August 3, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

jkennedy2
Community Member

Yes, this is an excellent idea.  Since I will use the grade book for my onsite classes as well as the online ones, it will facilitate the process of setting up the grade book since I do not create modules for the assignments for the onsite classes.

macaulayl
Community Participant

No....this caused so many headaches in our previous LMS!  Unless creating a column directly in the grade book will also create the assignment under assignments, then this is a BIG NO!  Otherwise, weighted grades will be all messed up and faculty are likely to have duplicate columns in their grade book for the same assignment.

I get that for a class that isn't having students submit their work electronically on Canvas, that creating assignments takes a few more clicks than just creating a column would, but it really isn't that bad and the current workflow actually promotes better use of the LMS features, I think.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

I was about to type the same response, Linda.  Thank you.  To give another ANGLE on this issue, when I was an admin of a different system where you could have assignment dropboxes not necessarily reflected in the gradebook and grade book assignments with no corresponding dropbox it created more hassle by far than the utility of not having to jump over to assignments to create them there.

alexander_kark1
Community Participant

Totally agree. This is an idea that seems good on the surface, but will lead to confusion and headaches in practice. It is not difficult to create a basic assignment in Canvas.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Linda:

I strongly agree with you. If a gradebook entry is automatically created when you create graded content in Canvas, why would anybody want to go into the gradebook to create an assignment?

I actually created all my graded content from within Modules as I create my module content. I find this so simple that I can see no need to do otherwise.

As  the Canvas admin on our campus I already experience too many support issues around extra and forgotten assignments creating considerable confusion for both students and faculty. I cannot imaging voting for a feature that I feel would only make it worse.

KLM

sean_renner
Community Member

I agree with some of the previous comments. This ability caused issues in a previous LMS for which I ran our training program. When assignments and columns in the gradebook can be created separately, this creates the potential for there to be a mismatch between the assignments and the grades in the gradebook. That means that when you're building your course you have to check and re-check to make sure that the assignments and their corresponding gradebook columns match up. As other said, this can create a lot of headaches and, for us, led to a lot of support issues where there were mismatches. When gradebook columns and assignments are linked together, this issue is avoided completely.

It sounds like the reasoning here is to be able to create placeholder assignments quickly, but I agree with what was said above, that assignments do not take very long to create. If folks are pushing for a button to create items in the gradebook directly, I think that could be a helpful feature, but when that column is created it should create a corresponding assignment, and could even pop up a window that would allow you to put some particulars about that assignment right there in the gradebook so that assignments can be created quickly.

wenger_4
Community Member

This is an excellent idea.  Grading includes exams which are NOT assignments (and possibly other scores such as class participation or attendance.)  Requiring instructors to create "phony" assignments to include exams is counter-intuitive.  If necessary, one could call these new objects something other than assignments (e.g., exams, misc) in the gradebook, but one should not be required to create an "assignment" for every grading item.

The issue for me is not speed, but the counter-intuitive nature of creating columns for exams or non-assignment grades.

jbrady2
Community Champion

In our previous LMS, faculty had the ability to add a column from within the gradebook. This was often done for reasons such as creating an attendance column worth zero points towards the final score that would simply display the number of absences for the student to see. That being said, I would rather have something similar to the Notes column added to the gradebook to provide faculty with a column for providing info to the students. I can see too many possible issue that might arise from being able to add columns directly in the gradebook that are not tied to something (assignment, quiz, etc.) In Canvas.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Every now and then we get a feature idea submission like this one that attracts a lot of up and down votes.  Most people will never know how hugely valuable the ensuing comments and conversations are in helping us understand both sides or sometimes multiple sides of an issue with how Canvas should work.  Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to post use cases and comments.

cdoherty
Community Participant

Our instructors desperately need to be able to add columns to the gradebook that are NOT assignments. They want to enter information that is for instructional team only or scores for paper tests and they don't want to have to publish dummy assignments to do so, which generate notifications to students and cause confusion. The fact that you have to publish an assignment to get a column in grades fails to recognize some very common teacher workflows.

sean_renner
Community Member

Hi Christine,

For this use case, I'm wondering what the issue is with having an assignment associated with a grade column that might be for something like a paper test. Since assignments have an option to be established as an on-paper submission, wouldn't that make sense to have that assignment associated with that grade column, in which you could add a due date and instructions for that on-paper submission?

wenger_4
Community Member

Sean,

The problem is that exams are not assignments.   Instructors can use the "work around" you suggested, but this is confusing (and non-intuitive) to new instructors and to students.  The Canvas interface should be intuitive, especially with something as common as an exam.

cdoherty
Community Participant

The problem is publishing the assignment is required to enter grades and publishing sends notification. It is confusing for students to get an email that says they have a new assignment called Midterm Exam, when they are not actually required to do anything for that and have already taken the exam. Perhaps if that notification could be set at the assignment level, this disaster could be averted, but that would be a different feature idea. There are many other uses cases that don't fit with an assignment at all.

sean_renner
Community Member

Hi Rephael,

I think I would disagree with you on that point. I think Canvas treats any activity that students complete for a grade as an "assignment." It may come down to semantics with some of these things, but I think Canvas's approach is that anything the students are doing in the course should have a place in Canvas. The on-paper submission option for assignments isn't a work around for this use case; It's purpose is exactly for this kind of case, where a student is turning something in in class, whether it's an exam, paper, etc., but their grade is still being recorded in Canvas.

sean_renner
Community Member

Hi Christine,


Why would this assignment need to be published in the middle of the class? Why would it not be published at the beginning of the course along with everything else, so that the date for the exam shows up in the calendar and syllabus? I'm defintiely not trying to rile things up here, I'm just trying to understand the situation you're envisioning!

cdoherty
Community Participant

Because our instructors don't plan things out like that. I suppose they expect to be able to add things whenever they want, because they could do so with Sakai.