Allow Canvas assignment instructions to be visible before assignment is available


At present, before the Available date of an assignment, students can't see the text in the instruction box for the assignment.  It would be helpful if we had an option to show the instructions before students were allowed to do the assignment.  Alternatively, there could be separate boxes for text to be displayed before vs during the assignment period.

Example: I require students to submit a "reading statement" on the assigned reading before every class.  I put the reading assignment in the text box for the assignment.  Sometimes I post reading statement assignments before the preceding class (just to keep ahead of things), but I make the assignment unavailable to prevent students from posting reading statements to the wrong assignment.  (In the ps, Iast, if there were two reading statement assignments that were available, students sometimes posted their statement to the wrong one.)  However, I want students to be able to see the upcoming reading assignments.  Of course I could post those somewhere else, too, but then I have to post the assignments twice, and keep them in sync if I make changes.  Or I could post the assignment only somewhere else, but it's easier for students to keep it all in one place.

(btw I'll note that I object to Instructure's policy of only allowing suggestions via these forums, voting, etc.  It's a bad system imo, that reflects a lack of serious interest in feedback, I feel, but Instructure forbids employees from receiving suggestions to improve the product any other way.  I've communicated my view about this to Instructure many times in many ways.  There's no point in discussing that here.  I mention it to make clear that by using the "ideas" forum I'm not endorsing the policy.)

Community Explorer

"ps, last": typo, should be "past".

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
Community Champion

I agree that would be a nice feature.


Community Member

I would also like this feature, it's nice to let students see instructions before an assignment is open so they can prepare.

Community Member

Please, it will be very helpful if students can see the instructions for unavailable assignments, but still wait until the assignment or the module is available. 

Community Participant

This would make so much sense. I don't know why this isn't the default option. 

Currently, we have to create extra pages with the assessment information so that students can see what preparations they need to make. So many students don't think to go hunting for additional information pages, many others engage with the bare minimum. It is not an ideal work around. 

We have two use cases for this functionality in each of our units:

1. We have weekly quizzes that open for a set period. The quizzes are based on different materials, so it would be great for students to be able to see the details prior to the quiz opening so that they can be sure they've reviewed all relevant material before it opens.

2. We have a final assessment that opens in the last week of classes. The question is not released until the last week, however there are preparation activities that they need to do before this time. They also need to know the terms of this final assessment (i.e. it is a paper, the question will be released in week xx, these are the rules etc.). Ideally, this assessment page would always be visible and we would edit it when the assessment is open, or as @mabrams suggested, separate boxes for text to be displayed before vs during the assignment period would work quite well for this use case. 

Community Participant

Adding a comment to support this idea. Providing instructors with the option to make the assignment description visible outside of the assignment availability dates would be appreciated and give instructors the flexibility of communicating assignment expectations and resources ahead of their availability.

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

As part of the new Ideas & Themes process, all ideas in Idea Conversations were reviewed by the Product Team. Any Idea that was associated with an identified theme was moved to the new Idea & Themes space. Any Idea that was not part of the move is being marked as Archived. This will preserve the history of the conversations while also letting Community members know that Instructure will not explore the request at this time.