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Allow folders in Pages

Allow folders in Pages

(257)

The Files section of Canvas allows folders for organizing files. Pages does not. Why the awful inconsistency in the user interface? I currently have 30+ pages that I've created in - all in flat directory structure. I'd like to be able to organize them, you know, like Files and stuff I have on my computer.

 
Comments from Instructure

Please refer to the update from the product team here

406 Comments
mstimers
New Member

Once you get more than a few dozen pages, you can look forward to sitting there watching Canvas load and load and load. How was a simple 40+ year old concept of a hierarchical file structure not included in version 1.0 build 1.0? Seems so very basic, I can't think of any reason why it isn't included. 

While on the subject...what is with this voting silliness? Don't you have designers that can produce a quality product without this time consuming voting?

dwaggle
New Member

I agree completely. Having to vote for features that have been standard features in software products for decades is crazy.

frederick_smith
New Member

Also agree.  I was cautiously optimistic when my school made the move from Bb to Canvas several years ago, but have only been disappointed since.  I see no real desire by Canvas to improve their product now that they have lured so many schools over, with these lengthy voting sessions seeming to be little more than a stall tactic.  Folders is such an obvious need that, as previous folks have said, it should have been part of the original design.  Of course, I am also intrigued that 75 people have voted against this idea for some inexplicable reason.  Why would anyone not want the OPTION to create folders?

momo_3077
New Member

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jonesn16
Community Champion

I'm one of the 75 that voted it down, so periodically throughout this thread I've offered my reasons for why. I respect the fact that this might not persuade you, but it can be helpful to have my reasons laid out. My school just made the move from Bb to Canvas about a year ago, and its been amazing for students and (with very few exceptions) a great experience for faculty as well. A lot of the confusion I saw in Bb from instructors was not managing their folders well, not understanding the settings for folders, and losing track of their content inside folders. It was a nightmare for students trying to figure out what to do, and they wasted time on learning how the instructor organized the course instead of learning the content of the course itself.

I think its a strong design move that the only things that can be organized using folders are things that you make outside of Canvas, aka Files. I also believe that one of Canvas' strengths is that its design discourages bad design choices and encourages good design choices. If the Pages area had folders without any restrictions, I think it would end up getting used as a bad imitation of Bb. And even a good imitation of Bb is still a worse navigation experience for students than what Canvas can do.

I definitely believe that the Pages area would benefit from having ways to organize and sort the information there. I don't believe that the best way must be Folders.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Thanks for those comments and your reasons for voting down. Appreciate what you say about folders and losing track of content, which must have been very frustrating.

Having come from a Moodle background, all I would say to counter this is that adding the option does not force a user to create folders, they are there as an option.

In fact, I wish that there were far more options and choices available for users in Canvas. Then let me as a trainer and instructional designer work with the staff to improve their digital skills and make more effective use of those features. 

Perhaps also a reason why Folder management of pages is not in place is that the page design feature was considered an afterthought and not something that was envisaged would grow in popularity?

garrett_william
Community Member

I actually agree folders would be weird here. I would much rather Pages work like Assignments. Search bar at the top and the ability to make groups would be a major plus. You can have a billion assignments and Canvas never struggles to load them. I believe the Pages section of Canvas just needs a lot of TLC. It would also likely take a lot longer to implement a folder structure. I bet it would be easier to replicate ideas from the Assignments and Modules section of Canvas. It would also make the design more consistent across the platform because things would look and operate in a similar fashion. Folders should house resources (like images, videos and documents). This is how most drives (like the Files section of Canvas) work. Pages needs to be so much more than just a repository of items.

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

 @GideonWilliams ‌ The "pages" were originally envisioned as a wiki (and only recently Instructure scrubbed I think the last vestiges of the word "wiki" from the language throughout the documentation)... and you don't look for folders in a wiki since it has a different kind of navigation/organizational structure of its own. As it turns out, though, most faculty are not seeking to create a wiki; instead, they are looking to create webpages in much the same way that they upload documents and other files to the files area. The separate of Pages from Files doesn't really make any sense at all as a result. Pages don't have the features that would really make them work well as a wiki, and they are also failing as a collection of HTML documents.

Something similar happened in the world of PBWiki, which is an ancient system which I still use for my class documentation: it started out as PBWiki, but then morphed into PBWorks when people realized that the whole wiki thing was not what people really wanted. As a result, it evolved some great file management features, including Folders.

If Instructure is going to implement Folders for Pages, they would do well to look at how that works in PBWorks. It helps with organizing files AND helps with navigation.

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

But be careful: if you discourage creative design in an effort to discourage bad design, then... that's bad design. 🙂

frederick_smith
New Member

Absolutely correct, Laura.  In response to Nicholas, remember that using folders would be an option, not a requirement.  As others have stated, if faculty have problems using it, then your institution would need to train them how to properly implement its use.  This feature should not be denied to the majority who do know how to use it correctly because of a minority who do not.  Further, I am constantly finding that Canvas has problems loading a list of a large number of pages (oddly, when I switch my browser zoom to 125% it works much better).  Having them organized in folders would take the burden off of Canvas to load such a long list, while providing a much needed and standardized method of organization.  It's a commonsense addition.

garrett_william
Community Member

I definitely agree with this sentiment but caution we don't know if Pages "folders" would be an admin controllable option, a permanent forced change, or something in between. Many gave Canvas feedback about wanting course cards. We got the cards but many of the features we requested were disregarded. The permanence of the color overlay has been a complete mess. I definitely don't want the folder feature to be something I have to write more code for so that I can circumvent the worts associated with the change. Lots of great ideas and insights on this thread but I'm not sure we will be happy with their ultimate solution. I bet status quo is here to stay for quite some time.

develand
New Member

865-251-2320


jdick1
Community Member

As it turns out, though, most faculty are not seeking to create a wiki; instead, they are looking to create webpages in much the same way that they upload documents and other files to the files area. The separate of Pages from Files doesn't really make any sense at all as a result. Pages don't have the features that would really make them work well as a wiki, and they are also failing as a collection of HTML documents.

This a perfect summation of the issues I'm dealing with here. When things aren't pretty and aren't easy to use/find, faculty go on doing their own thing on a bunch of other platforms (they have that option where I am; not the case, I realize, with the overwhelming majority) because they are busy and understandably have other priorities.

I mean, heck, I'm providing support for a department project that is bypassing Canvas entirely and opting for creating a homebrew website instead because it ends up being both easier from a production workflow and content management perspective while creating a much more attractive and navigable final product for all audiences. (Canvas will be suggested as a way for instructors to pull in and personalize the reorganization of that material for their classes, but again, given the number of pages involved, I am curious to see how this gets handled.)

ronmarx
Community Contributor

Your comments are the perfect "actual use" scenario that so, so many of us experience, even in the K-12 educational space.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Interestingly enough, I hide the pages view on the menu from my students and only used them within the Modules section.

Ihave the flexibility of creating wiki style pages by pushing links to those pages on any page. What I really want to be able to do is to organise and manage the huge number of pages that are created as part of a large unit of work.

Of course, if we are going to start creating folders for pages then why not sub modules for modules.or at least some greater flexibility in how they are seen and used...(I could go on and on and....) :O)

nsweeten
Community Contributor

The prefix 'Wiki" still appears in course Settings--> Import Content--> Canvas Course--> Select Specific Content--> drilling down to Wiki pages.  Needs to be scrubbed further. Smiley Happy

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I actually don't do any content development inside Canvas, and I think that's a perfectly viable option, especially in higher ed. I feel badly for the LMS designers trying to keep up with other/better tools out there, and in that sense I understand Instructure's focus on gradebook/quizzes and comparative neglect of content given that there are alternative content tools, LOTS of them, but because of FERPA we have to be using LMS-based grading and quizzing tools.

But still, the neglect of content development in Canvas is becoming a really serious problem...

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

HA! Good call,  @sweetera ‌! 🙂

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

In that case I would like to see a little more focus on quizzes :O)

Quizzes.next has many features that it needs to improve upon and we cannot keep working in a system with two different features doing similar things.

One assumes that those organisations that recently moved to Canvas did so on the basis that it offered improvements and additional features from their existing platform with the expectation that these would continue? We pay a considerable amount for the product already. It is a core tool. I cannot go to my leadership team to then ask for moneys for a range of other tools to make further content.

I am thankful that at the moment the only additional integration we pay for which is H5P is fantastic value for money.

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I hear you,  @GideonWilliams ‌! When we switched from D2L to Canvas, there were a few faculty who were using some of those advanced D2L quiz features. I will confess that the D2L Gradebook worked better for me too, in that I could add a column to the Gradebook to put text in which the students could see, and I could also opt to record a letter grade in the textbook which had nothing to do with any percentage-out-of. But that's not a big deal for me one way or the other. I'm an LMS-minimalist, and my main goal is just for the LMS not to get in my way.

Life is easier when you're an LMS-minimalist, ha ha. 🙂