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Collaborations - add template document

Collaborations - add template document

(2)

At the moment, when you create a collaboration group, you can add a blank document (365/google etc). We would like to add a document that has been partially completed by the instructor to help scaffold how the students create together.

I know we can do a cloud assignment - but how would we effectively do a cloud assignment to a group, rather than each individual?

My thinking is that if you select a google doc for example, I should be able to view my google drive, and then select my doc that I want to use as a template for all the students, and then a copy is created for each group.

Cheers

15 Comments
GideonWilliams
Community Champion

This is a great shout. 

We use collaborations a lot with Office365 LTI

There are currently two options:

  • Quickly edit the document or copy and paste slides across (if using PowerPoint).
  • You can overwrite the existing document with a new one. Works for Word, PowerPoint and Excel. PowerPoint updates instantly, Excel takes a refresh and Word gets there eventually...

It would be so much better to do what you can do with Cloud Assignments and allocate a template file as you mention. I wonder what the difference really is eg if you can do it with one, why not be able to do it with another?

aengland
New Member

Great - thanks for that insight Gideon - we will give it a whirl.

Cheers

Anthony

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @aengland ‌, here's a link to a related idea for your consideration: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/11325-route-collaborative-documents-to-groups 

aengland
New Member

Thanks for that Stefanie

This is related, but I think a different use-case - I think... ??

In my scenario, a teacher wants a group to work on a pre-filled document to structure/ scaffold their document for them as a start. The only option at the moment for the group is to create a blank document for them to start from scratch.

My reading of the idea above is that it is about navigation consistency, whereas mine is more about supporting staff create scaffolded collaborations for their students.

Cheers

Anthony

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Yes,  @aengland ‌, I also saw it as different, but thought you'd be interested!

j_avneri
Community Participant

Voted up. This is a great idea, especially the part about copying the collaboration for each of the groups - for example if you have 30 groups of students and you want each group to collaborate on their own copy of the same collaboration template - there is no quick way of doing this. Currently you would have to manually go into each group's specific environment, create the collaboration there then add each student individually. 

P.S. if this idea is implemented please can it be integrated with Office 365 collaborations as well as Google docs.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

This is such a great idea Anthony. There is so much more the integration could do to enhance Canvas use and experience especially in terms of work flow and ultimately, to support staff making the change (the impact of the collaboration tool in Office365 is huge once staff see what it does).

I don't know what the relationship is between Microsoft and Canvas in terms of who controls the developments or indeed what sort of road map they have for improvements. I would certainly add this to my Top 5 (which currently is..)

  1. Accessing resources that are shared with colleagues - such a huge issue 
  2. Embedding Office365 into Pages
  3. Rubric use with Cloud assignments
  4. Office365 docs in Speedgrader preview
  5. Selection of existing document as template
  6. Removal of observers from the collaboration list!!

Great stuff

dpell
Community Member

It's possible to achieve this function (automatically opening a copy) with Google Docs by posting a URL to the doc you want to use as a template to Canvas:  Change /edit in the end of the link to /copy.  But then you still need to enroll students in groups or have them auto-enroll.

I'm very surprised that this isn't already baked into the Collaborations tool, because the ability to automatically make and share something blank is, quite obviously, of very limited use.  I guess another alternative is that you could give them view access to a second document (the template) which students have to cut and paste into their own blank document, but it begs the question: when the workaround is so obvious and easy, why isn't Canvas already able to do it?  Fingers crossed that someone is reading this.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

Let's hope so!

anthongr
New Member

I totally agree with Daniel Pell.  I too am VERY surprised that this isn't already baked into the Collaborations tool, because the ability to automatically make and share something blank is, quite obviously, of very limited use.

christinemoore
Community Participant

I absolutely agree - we are currently working with collaborations and have a Google Sheet already created. Additionally, some have already added information to the sheet. We want to add it to collaborations but short of copy/paste there is no way to do this. 

I'd love for Canvas to make this a little easier for workflow and usability!

erin_hill
Community Member

Agreed with all of the above.

It would be helpful if teachers could assign groups of students to work on a Google Document or Google Slides Template (hyperslides or hyperdocs with fill-in sections and manipulatives) within Collaborations so that we can see students working in real time. This would assist immensely with virtual station rotation-like activities, as well as scaffolding for students needing immediately accessible directions and/or sentence starters.  

Let's make this happen, Canvas! 😄

Kathleen5
Community Member

Yes!  I would like to add a specific google doc for students to work on

maryellen_fines
New Member

Yes we need it!

mlehnerd
Community Member

Adding an upvote and sharing my experience to the thread.  I have a number of Google spreadsheets that I have previously developed for class projects that contain specific formulas and protected sheets/ranges that I need maintained to prevent students from editing them.  I would like there to be a way to start a new Collaboration and link a Google doc, spreadsheet, or presentation that already exists, instead of starting with a new, blank document.  I tried copying and pasting my already created spreadsheet, but the formatting and formulas to not copy correctly. I would like to be able to duplicate the document to preserve the formatting and then just share it with new student Collaborations each semester.