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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
aungminthein29
New Member

Thanks. But I think the system is unfamiliar with me. So I need to try to catch up it.

jstowell1
New Member

I am happy to see this is back open for voting, I think it is an absolutely necessary feature simply for content organization. I think this would benefit faculty, course writers, reviewers and designers in a number of ways. The alphabetical listing of the pages is not always enough. It works ok if you know the name of the page you are looking for, but sometimes, when in the initial stages of developing a course, I may change the name of my pages and then not recall the name I last gave it when searching for it later, and sometimes I am working on more than one course at a time and the content may be similar, and I might think I used a Page name in one course, that I really used in another. Also, this would benefit those that are not as familiar with setting up navigation in a online course, when using modules and for those who wish to set up a more advanced structure with out using modules, but it all comes back to organization. I recently set up a brief training course that used pages and did not use modules, and I like to work on the design as I research and create content, It helps me to see the bigger picture and what I am focusing too much or too little on. However, folders in pages could have really saved me some time in rearranging content and the order the pages were presented, I had to screenshot my pages, then click through my existing navigation, and number the pages, so I would know which pages my new page was coming between when re-linking my navigation. If I had folders, I could have just put the pages in the folders and moved them around until I had all my content before linking the navigation. I think folders would provide organization leading to time saved which would ultimately contribute better content and course design. I love the design flexibility that Canvas has, and I do not think that this would take away from that flexibility either, but compliment it by allowing for better organization to really be able to use the flexibility to an even fuller capacity! I do have a question, and maybe this has already been mentioned somewhere so I will keep looking... Is the feature intended to just be for organization like in the files section, or is there any possibility of using these like modules to link to badge awards and points on the leaderboard? I am excited to keep watch for what develops!

gnoack
Community Champion

I would love this feature and would use it.  I currently have a work around where I put files in a Google Drive folder and share it.  It's very inconvenient and confusing to students.  Seems like a simple fix. 

SHEBENE
Community Champion

Currently in Canvas you can store and share files in folders inside of the Files course navigation. You can lock the folders that may have course images and such and leave open the ones with resources that you want your students to have access to during the course. This will increase the size of your course as well.

matthewthomas
Community Participant

"We are working toward a longer range strategy that we envision solving many of the struggles you've expressed here. . . . 
"This idea was considered when developing our product plan for Q2 2019 and is not expected to influence development within Canvas at this time."

Given that this idea has been near or at the top of the voting rankings for--I believe--years now, I would like a few more specifics from Instructure:

  • Could we have a bit more detail about the 'longer range strategy' envisioned? I've seen that mentioned also for at least a year or two, without any more details. What is the thing we're waiting for, and will it be worth the wait? I don't need all the details, but a general idea of the direction would be nice.
  • If the idea was considered for Q2 2019, could we have some idea of the thinking that went into the decision for it not to "influence development within Canvas at this time"?

Further, there are workaround ideas that have been floated in this discussion that seem like they would not be overly difficult to implement--such as adding a Search to the Pages page--that would alleviate much of the frustration here to some extent. Why not throw us a bone?

develand
New Member

While one feature does not a conversion make, Sakai - that LMS that's supposed to be 'on its last legs' has had this for years. Does anyone know how Moodle or D2L do this?

brad_kirk
Community Member

For high school, the logical use of a page is the lesson plan. Unlike in colleges, we have lots of full year courses that meet over 100 times.  This would be easier to manage if we could group daily lesson plans/agendas into unit folders.  Meanwhile my planis to just number them for ease of navigation.

ronmarx
Community Contributor

Thanks for your input and vote of support for this feature.

kautz001
New Member

This seems like such a basic need.  Every time I want to find a page, I must "load more" multiple times to find the page.  I have hundreds of pages.

cwoodwar1
Community Member

I have many pages that I'd like to be able to group by topic, semester (fall or summer that I use them) etc etc. It shouldn't be too hard to allow subdirectories for pages, just like there are for files. After all, pages are just html files are they not?

mwolfenstein
Community Participant

I haven't downvoted this but I will explain my rationale for downvoting when I do.

This system is the primary channel through which users have the ability to propose ideas and push their priority to Instructure. If I see an idea proposed here that I think is way down the list compared to the things that actually impact the student experience the most, I'm pretty likely to downvote it if there are other things in Canvas that are actively making the student experience worse and if the proposed feature is likely to be resource intensive to implement and draw attention away from making other fixes or improvements that affect the student experience.

I'm tempted to downvote this one because unless I miss my mark, implementing this would not be a remotely small lift for Instructure, and the extent to which it would improve the student experience is likely to be limited, but I can also see the potential benefit for non-linear courses especially and so I'm just offering this comment instead.

frederick_smith
New Member

In my opinion, this is a rather short-sighted reason for providing a downvote, Moses, as well as being somewhat anti-instructor.  While I am completely in support of improving the student experience, this can't be done if instructors find navigating course creation overly difficult.  In other words, anything that makes it easier for an instructor to build a better course - even if invisible to the student - benefits the student experience.  

johnmartin
Community Champion

Hullo Moses! Doesn't a disorganized course and flustered instructor play a significant role in actively making the student experience worse? 😉

nsweeten
Community Contributor

You could check with Instructure on this, but I'm pretty sure that downvoting will only sabotage this idea--it won't gracefully re-direct attention to the changes you value more. 

mwolfenstein
Community Participant

 @johnmartin ‌! Delightful seeing you here. There's notably a reason I didn't downvote this idea and instead provided a blanket explanation of why I will sometimes downvote an idea. I do think that the faculty who are going to be most concerned with managing pages in folders are probably edge cases among Canvas users, and I also will theorize that making a change like this is quite possibly a huge structural change for Instructure's databases which could very well have cascading effects.

 @sweetera ‌ From what I can see in the documentation, voting is generating a raw score and after the voting period the ideas in the top 10% remain open for voting. A downvote is an expression that you don't think an idea should be rising to or staying in the top 10% based on other ideas that are being voted on. As it says at the top of this page, "If this idea is in the top 10% by vote next cycle it will be reconsidered."

Finally,  @frederick_smith ‌, I'm sure you didn't mean it like this but referring to me as short-sighted and anti-instructor reads as an ad hominem attack. I work in my role as Distance Education Faculty Coordinator to support the instructors here at my institution every day. It's literally my job. There are all kinds of changes that Instructure can implement that are instructor-centric but would translate to huge gains for the classroom experience for students. Those ideas get my enthusiastic upvote.

frederick_smith
New Member

No, Moses, I intentionally did NOT mean it as an attack on your person, but on the justification that you provided for your potential downvote.  Please carefully read what I wrote again, with the key word in bold: "In my opinion, this is a rather short-sighted reason for providing a downvote, Moses, as well as being somewhat anti-instructor."  I did NOT state that YOU are short-sighted or that YOU are anti-instructor - this was your misinterpretation.

The fact that you are a Distance Education Faculty Coordinator does not convince me in the least, by the way, in regards to the validity of your anti-instructor argument (again, a criticism of your argument, not of you personally).  I have been teaching on-line classes for nearly 20 years and have used numerous LMS's to do so.  Unless you actually have to deal with the many shortcomings of Canvas on a daily basis, teaching 5-7 on-line classes per semester and around 150 students a semester, you cannot appreciate the need for an improvement like page folders in order to benefit our students' education.  Administrators often do not have the same understanding as faculty in this regard.  Perhaps this is part of the reason why Canvas does not seem to be taking this very popular idea more seriously!?

hasti
Community Champion

I would just like to point out that this idea has been the very top vote getter for literally years and yet Instructure has had no problem ignoring it ("reconsidering" it) year after year and focusing on other much, much less popular ideas.

mwolfenstein
Community Participant

They aren't exactly transparent with how this voting process weighs into their actual development prioritization, but as I noted previously, I suspect that this feature as proposed is a potentially very non-trivial lift with a lot of cascading effects. The page is the foundational building block in Canvas. Actually putting them into a directory structure which I saw floated somewhere in these comments is a non-starter since that would drastically change the entire architecture of Canvas. Developing a tagging system that could be represented with folders is what I would speculate as a more likely approach for doing something like this, but I'm willing to bet that even an approach like that isn't nearly as simple as it might sound. Basically, Instructure isn't the only vendor I've worked with over the years that takes customer input in a manner like this. I don't know what type of formula they use exactly, but I can pretty well guarantee that there are other parts to their feature prioritization formula that have a higher weight than these ideas. If the feature has high risk in relation to their uptime stat or is likely to generate a lot of bugs, it's probably de-prioritized no matter how many users in this community want it.

All that said, although it's also likely a sizeable developer task, they really really really should add search to pages (another idea proposed in this discussion). Not just search by page title, but by page contents. It would be a new feature that doesn't exist in Canvas at all, and as such should minimize risk in relation to bug creation in essential parts of Canvas. It would provide a solution for the problem being expressed here (just not in the form requested), and it could potentially see use in other parts of Canvas. Just my 2¢ after sleeping on it.

RobDitto
Community Champion

Since searching page content has been mentioned several times, here's a link to the active feature idea for that:

Our institution couldn't wait - we licensed a partner tool, Atomic Search for Canvas, and are very happy with it!

hasti
Community Champion

Yes, I know it's hard -- because they made a bad decision to start with and now we all have to pay for it. But given that they won't fix this, how about they try to fix the issue about not getting all the pages to load (another problem that has been known to Instructure for literally years)? At least let me look at a listing of all my hundred or so pages in the flat directory system (an "organizational" style that predates the modern office, much less modern computers)! My understanding is that this is not a free LMS, so it's not unreasonable  to expect them to try to fix issues, even the hard ones.