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Allow folders in Pages

Allow folders in Pages


Greetings all.
Conversations in the community unthread after 100 comments, making the conversation difficult to follow, and official comments hard to find. For this reason we're posting our most recent update here:

We know this is an important topic to many. We appreciate all of the use cases (pros/cons) that have been presented and the ideas for solutions. We are working toward a longer range strategy that we envision solving many of the struggles you've expressed here. We do not have an immediate solution. Stay plugged into the Canvas Ideas space to watch this strategy unfold (beginning with Assignments 2.0)

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.
Learner II

I totally get where you're coming from, but I think in terms of realistically understanding Instructure's development priorities with Canvas it's worth recognizing that 2,250 is a tiny fraction of Canvas users with the teacher, designer, or an equivalent role.

This isn't to say that I don't personally think a method for searching and organizing pages/content in Canvas isn't important. I think it's pretty essential, although maybe not quite as important as a few key feature enhancements for discussions to bring them on par with other LMS's.

However, my point isn't actually about what I think is important, but that as Instructure is prioritizing the combination of bug fixes and new feature development, even top vote getting ideas in the community don't represent that many users. Just for a point of reference, I work in the California Community College system. The 2018 headcount for full and part time faculty was 63,320. 2,250 is somewhere around 3% of the faculty users in our system alone. Our whole system is on Canvas and almost all of those faculty are now using the LMS to teach under COVID-19. As a system we're a big client to be sure, but we're also just a fraction of the total Canvas user base. In 2018, there were over 8 million students at campuses that use Canvas. I'm not sure how many faculty were serving those students, but it's a lot more than the 63K plus in my system, and the Canvas LMS marketshare has grown since then.

All of this is to say that unless a vote getting idea is being evidenced as a strong need in the usage data, I'm guessing that it's not that likely to tip into development prioritization for Instructure. I'm guessing this is especially true if the idea, like this one, would be a major change that involves not just UI development, but has serious implications for the back end of the system.


@Moses Wolfenstein

Excellent points, Moses, sample size is surely important as well. Your argument then begs the question, why even have voting at all if: (a) they're likely not listening very closely, and; (b) the votes have no statistical significance? They could just do what @Renee Carney stated, read the narratives and use that info if they decide it's useful.

Learner II

@Moses Wolfenstein

Also, keep in mind the number of people who have tried to interact with this popularity non-contest to get bugs fixed and ideas implemented and given up. I know that I represent not just myself here, but basically all my colleagues who have given up on this forum.

Ideas with far, far fewer votes have been implemented, yet the most popular ideas sit and sit for years and years while Instructure continues to claim they care about our experience with using their buggy, clunky, slow LMS. 

Yes, please fix bugs -- how about making it so that text files display accurately (that's been around for years as well -- and we're talking plain-text files, so this should be a no-brainer: just display exactly the ASCII characters that are in the file, no more, no less).

Learner II‌ That's a good question. I think to some extent this is a hold over from when they were a smaller company, but there are other top vote getting features that are seeing development. I've heard that even though it hasn't been announced is going to be developed and and have been developed. It's worth noting that both of these also have less impact on the system than something like this idea, and aren't met by a product that plugs into Canvas in the way that something like  is through Respondus.


Why have a vote at all?  So they can pretend to consider faculty input, and they can market the LMS to other institutions promoting how flexible to change and faculty requests they are.

Learner II

While I enjoy this lively debate, Instructure's prioritization is suspect. There are many UI inconsistencies that remain unresolved but guess what . . . you can get a confetti drop when you turn in an assignment on time : ) There a lot of features people are forced to pay for (like Search of all things from Atomic Jolt) that should be native to the LMS. I think the user preference is pretty obvious if people are willing to go to another company and pay for it. New features aside, maybe one day Canvas will have a delete option that is the same for discussion forums, pages and assignments. Sometimes you hit edit, sometimes you don't. Why is that inconsistency allowed? I think it speaks volumes for the larger issues being discussed here.

Learner II

The fact that Search isn't a native feature is, frankly, ridiculous. I'm 100% with you on that.

Instructure does state that they don't prioritize features where the need is met by a product in their ecosystem, and I'm willing to accept that as a justification in relation to Respondus and quiz authoring (even though I still think that my‌ is the appropriate solution), but for search? That's just really not okay, especially given the notion that in theory there's wiki architecture on the back end of Canvas. This is also why it's insane that we can't apply tags to content elements in Canvas. Like search, it's a feature that should have been there from the beginning given the nature of the platform.

I'm not sure what you're getting at about the delete thing though. You can delete all three of those content types (as well as quizzes and announcements) from their respective pages after clicking the kebab icon. I seem to remember this not always being the case, but it has been for at least a little while.

Learner II

The kabobs have improved over time. Based on memory, assignments/ quizzes kick you back to the section, most now give you a pop up warning, one of them used to act like you did nothing at all: 

Assignments - select edit to delete

The others - Kabob to delete 

But then again all the drop downs are different, with discussions having the most choices.


In addition to being able to organize Pages into folders, there needs to be a better way to access images from the folders they are stored in (e.g., when inserting images into a quiz there is a tiny window to interact with the folder in and and it always defaults back to the base folder directory rather then staying in the folder I'm drawing images from (which have been organized by topic for the purpose of creating quizzes).  Organization and retrieval of content in Canvas leaves much to be desired.  The more I use Canvas the more it seems that the creators don't have much of a feel for how instructors use/will use the platform.  I hope they are getting feedback on the "longer term" solution they are developing rather then unloading something that doesn't fit the needs of the people using the platform. 

Explorer III Your related comments are ripe to be shared in several other feature requests and groups as well.

User Group: New Quizzes‌. or the other ideas that discuss the inconveniences of building lengthy quizzes, etc. in the existing interface. These are tiny glitches that waste mega time and patience for those of us who encounter them.

No, New Quizzes doesn't address this glitchiness either, to my knowledge.  I believe you are describing subtle and irritating UX user experience issues.  These kinds of complex user interactions are deep in the code and are expensive to 1.) notice, 2.) track, and 3.) change. 

Understandably, Canvas programmers aren't in a rush to fix something they don't realize is broken.  They also don't want to accidentally create new problems or alienate existing satisfied users catering to a vocal (assumed) minority.  

(Consider: Both Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney have said in interviews that sometimes the fans know their songs better than they do. The fans have actually sung the songs more in some cases and listened to the songs more often outside performances, etc., sometimes every day for years.  So, for this metaphor/analogy, Canvas is Paul McCartney?  Yep.)

Takeaway: The institutions, teachers, and designers who use Canvas daily know more about those irritating little things that can detract from the success of the experience. We are the beta testers and the ongoing user base.  Most of us aren't programmers who are saying we can do it better--and we don't think Canvas is created best by committee and voting--we just want some of the same magic inspiration that created the original product to be included in the fine-tuning "mix" after the sale is made to keep the well-being on track.  Is that so much to ask?  

Answer: Yes. It is a lot to ask because the same skill set that created a wonderful product also created the problems. It requires questioning the one to question the other.

I propose that Instructure's genius pool could benefit from a grey-haired bun-wearing school-marm consulting on staff, or perhaps at least some carefully curated spot check case studies and videos of user scenarios in action to convey the fine-tuning needs to programmers.