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Disable the To Do List

Disable the To Do List

(65)

I want students to work from the Modules and complete work in the order on the Module.  This ensures student learning progresses in a sound pedagogical order.  The student To Do list completely sabotages student learning.  If they click on an assignment on the To Do list without doing all the preparatory pages and information I have listed, in order, on the Module, they are not properly prepared or reinforcing their learning.

I have to put big red words to asking them NOT to work from the TO DO list, but some students will take the short cut anyway.  

Also, the student To Do list takes up too much screen real estate.  This right frame is completely counter-productive and unnecessary. 

Please put in a feature where the instructor can control or disable the student To Do list.

91 Comments
Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Thanks for sharing this idea, jmccarth; it's open for voting. Like you, when I was teaching I organized my courses and managed content delivery through the use of modules—and, in addition to hiding nearly all of the course navigation links, I used prerequisites and requirements liberally in my modules, as I discovered that this cut down dramatically on students' ability to jump around in the course from the to-do list (or from the Course Activities list at the bottom of the Syllabus page, for that matter). Setting availability start dates for the assignments also helps manage the course flow.

Steven_S
Community Champion

Now that we can add to-do dates to pages in modules, it is possible to put all those other activities on the to-do list as well, but unfortunately the order set in modules does not control the order displayed in the to-do list or syllabus.  It would help to at least have the sequence of activities in those other areas match the module sequence set by the instructor.

rdorn1
Community Member

I totally, agree. I have quiz questions at the start that ask them to acknowledge that they should start with modules. I have added pre-reqs and to-do thingers in the calendar and still they'll come to me mid quarter and appear to discover for the first time that they haven't been doing the ungraded pre-work or that they didn't know one discussion had two due dates (first post by monday, all posts due Wednesday, etc).

There are work arounds, but they are lots of work for instructors and so easy for students to stop thinking and just use the todo list.

epokryfki
Community Participant

Concurr!

The "to do list" is a big distraction from going to the Modules and follow the content, not only the assignments.

I'd love to see this gone!

seamus_hackett
Community Member

Come on. As a student, the to do list has saved me so many times from forgetting to do an assignment that is due. If your students aren't doing the required readings, thats your fault for not making the assignments more involved and requiring those readings to be completed. I can't believe you want to punish every student who uses canvas and benefits from this function simply because you can't engage your students enough to do the readings.

jennifermskinne
Community Member

If the to do list can be disabled, that would eliminate mass confusion among my students. 

Steven_S
Community Champion

Another idea has been added that would allow the to-do lists and calendars to continue to display reminders, and instead address confusion about what to do next by disabling the hyper-links.  That solution might be more beneficial to students.  https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/16391-option-to-turn-off-hyperlinks-in-calendar-to-do-and-cour... 

brittany_moore
Community Member

Enough people have requested this - from threads years ago I found online. I'm attempting to find a way to disable the to do list due to fully online learning right now and am disappointed that there doesn't seem to be a fix. My students KNOW after using CANVAS all year that they need to go to Modules, and yet they continue to work off the to do list. I have locked the modules so they have to complete them in order, so now I get emails and messages reporting that the assignment is locked. So students think, well I tried to do the work, but the teacher screwed something up in posting it, so I'm off the hook.

Unless this is software breaking code to remove I don't see what the big deal is about making this an OPTION rather than a feature we have to repeatedly tell our students to ignore.

Steven_S
Community Champion

I agree, although I prefer the related idea to turn off (or redirect to the modules page) all the hyperlinks that students use as shortcuts bypassing the modules page: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/16391-option-to-turn-off-hyperlinks-in-calendar-to-do-and-cour... That way, students still see the reminder that there is something to be done, but they have to go to the modules page to open it.

jmccarth
Community Member

You are making uninformed assumptions.  The To Do list is an incomplete representation what the students actually need To Do.  I don't want to punish "all students."   I want to benefit my students by not misleading them, some of  things they need To Do simply won't appear on the To Do list.  I give students a checklist of assignments, so they can't forget an assignment.  The To Do list is just a tempting distraction that will entice students To Do work out of order.  It is not unreasonable that, as the instructor, I should be able to control the look of the user interface.  If there is something in the user interface that is counter productive to sound pedagogy and student learning, I should be able to shut if off.  For example, if I were a in-class teacher, Instructure should not have control of my bulletin boards.

I am just requesting control over my interface.

davidh1
Community Participant

In order to be successful completing the assignments in the "todo" list, my students need to first read though the content on the pages in the module that lead up to the assignment--the todo list doesn't take them to those pages. Trying to skip past those pages by clicking that link will hurt them, not help them. 

morgana715
Community Member

The way I have my canvas page set up, the "assignment" on the to-do list is labeled in numerical order.  Logically, if you (the student) start lesson 1.3 before doing 1.1, that's on you (the student).  If you (the teacher) link everything into the assignment (including announcements, quizzes, discussions- which is possible!) Clicking the to-do assignment link makes it a one stop shop for the whole assignment.  Build all the individual pieces in the module but insert them into the assignment like a cooking recipe. Put them in order with links how you want them completed.  Problem solved.

I also "lock" the assignment with the module functions so you can "see it" but can't read it until you have done the pre-requisite module assignments.  Similarly, I also use the date-time release function to keep students on a pace within the assignment itself.  If a student is "behind", then yes- they can access the material faster (because it was already released).  

The To-Do list is a necessary calendar/organization tool that is worth having.  It matters how we set up and use that capability to help the student be visually aware that they have an assignment due/coming up.  Much like a "to-do" board in the classroom... How many reminders do they need from us?  Electronic system reminders are a tool that we can take advantage of.   They need to learn agency and independence.  

All this being said, if you (the teacher) don't set up your Canvas page to fit within the programmer's scaffold and how they built the logic of Canvas, then that means the system doesn't "think like you".  So, we are left with the question of who needs to adapt?  The tool or the teacher?  Having control over the "to-do" list seems like a logical functionality- because (afterall) we can manipulate the system to remove the assignment link and have only the module link shown on the student dashboard/page.  

Alas, I am NOT in favor of abolishing the to-do list.  I feel that it is a necessary function and tool that can be used well-provided we adapt to the logic framework of Canvas.  We need to have consistency across the platform so that students are not mentally spent trying to adapt to 6 shades of Canvas.  Their home page has a to-do list for all courses of upcoming assignments.  Eliminating your class from this to-do list (essentially) could have the negative effect of de-prioritizing the workflow of your course from their mind. I would rather they see my assignment on the to-do list and teach the workflow than have them NOT do the work altogether because they "didn't see/know" there was an assignment.

Steven_S
Community Champion
Logically, if you (the student) start lesson 1.3 before doing 1.1, that's on you (the student).

Unfortunately not all assignments in all courses are allowed in any order, and not all students are mature enough to understand the "that's on you" policy.  The module settings that require activities to be completed in order makes a big improvement in student participation in ungraded activities, which ultimately improves grades. 

 If you (the teacher) link everything into the assignment (including announcements, quizzes, discussions- which is possible!) Clicking the to-do assignment link makes it a one stop shop for the whole assignment.  Build all the individual pieces in the module but insert them into the assignment like a cooking recipe. Put them in order with links how you want them completed.  Problem solved.

When I first started setting up my own online courses, I used this approach.  However, when it came time to copy my course into a new section, I discovered that internal links within assignments often default to pointing to the previous course (which I have access to, but the students in the new course do not.)  This results in a time consuming hunt for which links are broken.  However, if you (the teacher) set up module requirements that are required to be completed in order, canvas automatically creates the same list for any student who clicks on the assignment before completing the prerequisites. 

So then you might wonder why the problem is not solved by that list supplied by canvas.  The page displayed by canvas gives them the message that they cannot yet access this assignment first and students react to that instead of scrolling down to see the list of what still needs to be done.

 

I agree that the to-do list serves an important role for students, and it helps that I can add pages to the to-do list.  However, until everything that is a required activity in the module shows up in the to-do list in the same order as set in the module, with no omissions or re-ordering, the to-do list is consistently confusing some of my students.  I believe that the solution is to redirect all hyperlinks to activities for which prerequisites are not yet met to the modules page or to turn the links off entirely as suggested in https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/16391-option-to-turn-off-hyperlinks-in-calendar-to-do-and-cour...

Their home page has a to-do list for all courses of upcoming assignments.  Eliminating your class from this to-do list (essentially) could have the negative effect of de-prioritizing the workflow of your course from their mind. I would rather they see my assignment on the to-do list and teach the workflow than have them NOT do the work altogether because they "didn't see/know" there was an assignment.

That is exactly why I believe everything should still show up in the to-do list, but with any links aimed at the modules page instead of at the individual activity.

cmiller-starks
Community Member

Please make this change!  I want students to go directly to modules and the TO DO LIST distracts them from that.  I want ONE PLACE to go to see the assignments that are upcoming.

justinjoslin
Community Member

Not only does the To Do list need to go away, the whole side bar needs to disappear. I want to set my Home to a page that I have designed and that includes the information that I want my students to see, not what Canvas thinks my students should see. Every one of those features is, quite frankly, a waste of screen space that could be dedicated to actual course content. At a minimum, this content needs to be forced to the bottom of the page so that the page can be displayed over the full width of the screen.

emilyreagan
Community Member

Yes Please Make this Change.  It is okay sometimes to have it I understand but at some times I would like to turn it off and then go back and turn it on.  Give us the option at an instructor level.  PLEASE

george_franz
Community Participant

The to-do list is horrible.  I just started using new quizzes, and even though the quiz was NOT published in the page (IFRAME workaround to use Next button), and it was in a LOCKED module, with a future open date, but it was somehow published in quizzes.  Students found it in their "TO-DO" list and started it.  Since I can now not unpublish, I had to delete the entire quiz and reimport from a sandbox.

The "To-Do" list is the bane of just about every teacher on my campus.

Make it go away or let me turn it off.

It entirely removes my ability to control the flow of my own course.  

csanford
Community Member

This is a great idea!  Students focus on completing quizzes and etc from the to-do list when those are NOT the important part of a module. 

If I could add modules to the to-do list, that would be great.  Or if there was an option to redirect assignments on the to-do to the modules those assignments are in. 

george_franz
Community Participant

You can put pages onto the to-do list, there is a button for that in the page/edit view.  Still - this isn't the way I prefer to do things.  I want control of stuent navigation, not way's students can get around it.

perez_m
Community Member

Hi Fellow Teachers! I know we have all come across this! I would really like for canvas to allow teachers(give them the option) to either disable or enable the to do list from the student's view. It would allow students to go straight to the module or subect button and complete assignments from there instead of them trying to go out of order and complete from the to do list.