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Canvas Error Report - Send Broken Link errors to instructor

Canvas Error Report - Send Broken Link errors to instructor

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas
When students run into a broken link (e.g. link to file that has been deleted) they fill out the "oops!" error report, which is sent to me as a Canvas Administrator at our institution. I will then forward the error report to the course instructor. Wouldn't it be more helpful if there is a way for this type of error report to be sent immediately to the instructor?

 

I'm guessing there is metadata originated on the "oops!" page that would differentiate missing file errors from other types of error screens, so Canvas would know which type of error messages to send to instructors and admins vs. errors to send to admins only.

-or-

Perhaps there could be a prompt on the error screen asking the student if they ran into a broken link, and give them an option to message the instructor directly (an of course send this error message to the Canvas admin as well).

 

Bottom line - broken links to deleted files is not a system error. It's a user error, and thus it's more important for the instructor to know about it than a Canvas admin.

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through the https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-16250-canvas-release-notes-2019-03-30 .

21 Comments
RobDitto
Community Champion

Nice idea,  @anthonem ​, and you make an excellent point about informing the user of an error related to how they (or their team) managed course content!  I can't wait to vote for this.

As has been discussed in " modifiedtitle="true" title=""Replace" Function to Retain File Properties, ​ and related ideas, sometimes Canvas' current design for file replacement runs counter to the way users naturally revise files. At our institution, file replacement/updating has always been a significant cause of broken links.

anthonem
Community Contributor

Thanks  @RobDitto ​ -- as I was writing this I was starting to wonder if there is already a feature request that might prevent this problem from happening in the first place. You linked me right to a couple existing requests :smileylaugh:

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hello  @anthonem ​ and  @RobDitto ​,

Thanks for submitting the idea and for the follow up.  I'll go ahead and add this to the May 4th queue right now.

zachw
Community Participant

Good idea! I submitted a similar request​ asking for a more descriptive error message, but now I like this one more.

Ideally, the instructor gets a push warning (through Conversations?) and there's a more instructive error message. Otherwise instructors will just get the same sort of confusing shorthand that the current message encourages.

anthonem
Community Contributor

Good point Zach -- the error message would need to be more helpful than the one Admins receive. Perhaps the name of the page/discussion/assignment/etc (?) and the name of the file would need to be included in the message to the instructor. Or, as you mentioned Zach, the student needs to be prompted to provide detailed information before the error message is sent to the instructor.

jaydsonnenburg
Community Participant

I just submitted a very similar request asking for the empty box to have more detailed info such as course, file or discussion name,etc. but I love the idea of a message going directly to the teacher. As far as it also going to help desk, I'm not sure how we would know if the teacher resolved the issue or not.

ejackson
Community Champion

I could really use this! It's very frustrating when we get this type of case submitted to us, and when I follow the link, it takes me directly to the error page, and then I have to hunt and search and try to figure out what content item in the course generated the error. NOT fun!

snugent
Community Champion

This is our number one issue for help tickets submitted through Canvas. I usually look at the students user account details to figure what the last page was that the student visited before submitting the ticket. Then on the ticket I cc the instructor on the message I send to the student. It would be great to see this process streamlined.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

So just a quick comment...........

This is a faculty training issue. On the Course Settings page there is a link-validator tool available. We train and advise our faculty to run it before their courses are released to students.

Learn more at How do I validate links in a course?

I hope this helps,

KLM

anthonem
Community Contributor

 @kmeeusen , thanks for posting the validation guide to this thread - very relevant! I might be feeling cynical today...but in terms of faculty training fixing broken links feels like one of those "you can only lead a horse to water" issues :smileygrin:

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Oh, I am with you there, Mark! Oh Yah!Smiley Wink

But, being the eternal optimist, every teacher I can convince to use that tool takes away a number of student support calls!

KLM

gschultz
Community Contributor

 @kmeeusen ​, I do use this and have included it in my faculty's training.  The report does help to find the items that need fixed.

On another note, after I used this I found their were several content pages with broken links that I no longer used in a course that were left overs from the past.  I found a great easy three step fix for those. 

  1. view all pages and unpublish all of them
  2. go back to my modules an publish all pages
  3. return to view all pages and review the unpublished items and determine whether to keep or delete

This help clean up an old course and removed many of the invalid link errors that would appear in the canvas tool.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @gschultz ​

Great minds think alike! Oh yes they do! I actually presented on this very topic a couple years ago at InstCon - the power of Draft State for course clean up, and other things related to Draft State.

This is another tool I share with my more fluid course-building instructors who wind up with mass amounts of garbage in their courses.

KLM

gschultz
Community Contributor

Thanks  @kmeeusen ​

With your kind words from above, I decided to create a document on this clean-up process. Canvas Pages Clean-Up ​.  I hope others will benefit.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

I just read it this morning Greg, and greatly appreciate your posting it. Of course I also saw all the comments about one-step publish and unpublish. This is something I would like as well, but it doesn't change the usefulness of this process in our current UI.

Thanks for posting the how to.

KLM

cfelton
Community Participant

This should be an option for Admins to set. Our instructors don't insert their own links, so if there is a problem with a link, I as the admin need to know, not the instructor.

mcsmith
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks everyone for your input. As many of you mentioned there are measures in place to prevent instructors from adding broken links. There has been great recommendations on how others in the community have handled this problem.  Having broken links in the course is the problem here. We will focus our attention there rather than focusing on who gets the error message.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
kevin_andreyo
Community Member

This feature doesn't work if you are linked to a Youtube video, but now the youtube video is marked as private.  The link works but the instructor doesn't know that it won't show the video.  Further, links can go bad after the instructor runs the dead link report.  BTW, I love the dead link report as it is one of the best features of Canvas.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

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