Color-code pages, assignments, and quizzes in Module view

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It would be helpful if the different types of content (assignments, quizzes, pages, etc.) could be color-coded in the Module view so that you can tell at a glance if an item is a quiz, a page, etc.  Letting us choose the color for each type would help both on the instructor/designer end, and it would provide additional information for students (they can immediately see that the next item in the module is red, so it is a quiz, for example).

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ctitmus
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
 
Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Archived
 
Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

@C_Hughes 

Thanks for sharing this idea. Our accessibility team has evaluated it and has determined that, as written, this is not something we would develop. Using color as the sole visual means for conveying an intended meaning does not meet accessibility standards, as it disadvantages students who have color vision deficiency. Specifically, students with that visual deficiency would not necessarily be able to perceive the next item that is colored red as "quiz," and so forth. As such, we've archived the idea.

Please read through W3C Use of Color and What are the Canvas accessibility standards? to learn more.

Thanks!

deCheubell
Community Member

I must caveat this response by saying that I am currently using Canvas to teach distance students during the Covid pandemic. Canvas was adopted as the primary LMS by my school district. Canvas would not have been my first choice of LMS, mainly because it offers so little opportunities for customizing how information is presented and organized. That being said, I think Canvas has the potential to improve and be a more effective platform for student engagement and distance learning.

I understand your reasoning behind limiting color due to accessibility concerns, but I feel like it is rather limited in scope and lacks consideration for the needs of the entire learning community.  As a teacher who has direct student and parent contact daily, color coding is frequently requested as an additional way to organize and access information. The icons canvas uses to differentiate between page types look remarkably similar, with the page icon and the assignment icon looking nearly identical, especially when considering most students are accessing canvas on a 13-inch screen. When labeling is consistent text headers work well, however, students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities are clearly at a disadvantage. Right now Canvas only prioritizes one potential method for creating an organizational structure. Any teacher can tell you that a variety of entry points for students to access information is key. Students benefit when they have the autonomy to access information in a way that benefits their learning style best. Simply put, differentiation is key to a successful and equitable learning environment.

Many students who have different learning modalities or are not strong readers find that color-coding helps them find information, especially when a color-coding system remains consistent throughout the course. Some IEPs specifically identify the use of color-coding as an organizational strategy. Text headers, icons, and color can be used simultaneously, and offer three different ways students can identify course content. 

I am not sure as to why Canvas isn't considering color coding as a valuable option. Why are we limiting this function to accommodate color deficient students, when it could benefit other students? Less than 10 percent of students have any form of color vision deficiency, while The Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity states that 20 percent of the population has dyslexia or a reading disability.  It seems like a weak argument to limit color functionality when multiple organizational strategies, that benefit a wide range of students, can be implemented simultaneously.

Additionally, the justification for omitting a color-coding option provided by Canvas Community team members and layout in the Canvas Accessibility Standards seems inconsistent with other customization options available in Canvas. If the use of color is such an issue from an accessibility standpoint, why even offer multiple color options on the dashboard or text color options in the text editor? Even on this web page, there is the use of red to prioritize important features, like submit buttons, and blue for headers, menus, and links. This is a type of color coding for organizing information and resources. Given that the most common type of color vision deficiency falls within the red/green category, it seems that even these colors may not be an entirely appropriate choice to accommodate visual impairments, but do they work for over 90% of the population? Absolutely. 

Keeping Canvas’ Accessibility Standards in mind, compromise may be to offer a limited color pallet that best suits those with vision impairments and those who benefit from additional forms of visual organization strategies. I think it is important to keep in mind that one size does not fit all. Offering options for differentiation is an important factor to provide an equitable learning environment for all students.

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

@deCheubell 

We have a conversation currently underway authored by a teacher who has kindly incorporated accessibility compliance into the idea description, so please add your comments and rating to Color Coding Modules and Assignments - Canvas Community . We've closed comments on this one to prevent the discussion from branching away from that main thread.

Thanks!