Anonymous Assignment Improvements - Enable the ability to message students from the Gradebook


For anonymous assignments, it would be nice to preserve the ability to use the "Message Students Who" feature. For example, our instructors would like to send reminders to students who haven't submitted an anonymously graded assignment to remind them to turn it in. Or, in general, if they'd like to send a particular message to students in any of the available messaging categories but still preserve anonymity. As the screenshot below shows, while an assignment has the option checked to grade anonymously, the ability to message students is disabled.



Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
Community Member

I also would like to see this feature enabled.

Community Member

I also second this idea.  

Community Member

I would like to see this too. I need to communicate with students who are slipping behind--I don't need to know their names!

Community Member

We shouldn't have to choose between helping our students and grading them anonymously.  

Community Member

I agree with the previous comments. This seems like a valuable, commonsensical change.

Community Participant

This would really be a useful tool! I'm a bit surprised it wasn't already incorporated, I was just about to raise this idea myself! Thanks for raising.

Community Novice

I think this needs to be an essential feature of anonymising submissions - it's important to be able to follow up students who need extensions on coursework submission and to monitor late submissions. Please can this be developed!

Community Participant

@nic_nac and @b_w_reid, Thanks for the help! I have two other anonymous grading improvement ideas. If you like them I would appreciate a vote on those as well!

Community Contributor

we would like this at our institution

Community Member

I would like to be able to send messages to participants when scoring anonymous assignments without compromising anonymity.

Community Participant

With recent updating to the Anonymous Assignment features, we now can no longer use the method we employed to be able to contact students anonymously who had not submitted for pastoral purposes. Please can this feature idea be implemented as a matter of priority?

Community Champion

I'm glad I found this Idea because i was going to suggest this as well.

We just had this scenario where we had a county-wide writing assessment for all 8th grade students (approx 2,020 submissions).   Students had two weeks to submit.  Then the essays will be scored, anonymously by two Graders (we created a custom role so they could only score and not edit the course).

What we found:

  • we had to identify several time along the way which students had not yet submitted so we could inform their teachers
  • the Message Students Who option could only be used IF we turned off anonymity after 11pm when we hoped teachers were not online.   But this only messaged the students and it was done with my own account (not the teachers').   Then I turned anonymity back on.
  • We did find New Analytics could provide us a list of all students with Missing Assignments -- but we had to change the Due Date each time since the report only works if the Due Date had passed.   There is no proactive way to identify these students and provide them support.
  • Even with System Admin rights, I couldn't check on specific student submissions on behalf of teachers or curriculum supervisor if they wanted us to see if a student submitted correctly.
  • NOTE:   We had a Practice Assignment that we hoped would allow students to practice submitting, and allow us to see if students could submit successfully before submitting the real thing.  BUT, the issue there was then the Graders could see the students they had been assigned by Section to grade.   So we quickly had to make the Practice Assignment anonymous as well.
Community Contributor

I appreciate this may be an exaggerated and general comment (forgive the soundboard) - but wouldn't it just be nice if we could have the ability to anonymise the students in an assignment (i.e., just not be able to see their name) without losing pretty much any of the Canvas functionality that is otherwise available?

The only functionality that should be lost under those conditions would be that which relies on the marker locating / identifying a student by name to action it - e.g., message person X. But even here, there should be user based permissions that determine 'marker' cannot see student name, but 'administrator' can.

Instead, we seem to have lost, or are unable to have implemented a number of features that are readily available where anonymity is not enabled. Oddly, despite the over-engineered coding that has caused this situation, there are still areas of the platform that don't follow the basic premise that other students have no right to know what another student is up to? (e.g. we can't organise students privately as there is no concept of, say a hidden section). Very frustrating.

Happy to be corrected if I've missed something. 

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

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