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Display most recent announcements on a Page

Display most recent announcements on a Page

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

 

 

     
  Idea open for vote Wed. August 3, 2016 - Wed. November 2, 2016  Learn more about voting...

 

Having set up an informative home page that displays all the important course information when students open the course, the only thing that is missing is the most recent announcement(s) displayed. A small horizontal widget bar would be ideal and could be placed under the course title or at the top of the page.

 

Announcements are vital to the running of a course, reminding students of a  room change, to bring something with them to a certain session etc. While they can subscribe to receive announcements to their email or subscribe to the rss feed (which are both encouraged), it would make so much sense to have the most recent important announcement appear on the Home Page too. This most recent announcement would be visible immediately to all users when the student opens the course, without having to navigate to the announcements page.

 

I have tried displaying the announcement RSS feed in an iframe on the home page, which seemed like the perfect solution, but unfortunately Chrome and Firefox (not sure about Safari) don't automatically support this without add-ons - only IE does. So that wont work for 95% of students.

 

I am certain students would find this useful and instructors would feel much more confident that their most recent message is reaching everyone if it is front and center, regardless of whether a student forgot to visit the announcement page or did not subscribe to an rss feed or email announcements visit the announcement page.

 

Maybe there is already a widget out there that I am missing that will fill this gap. Or other solutions or ideas out there to solve this?

        

Comments from Instructure

 

For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-01-07)

33 Comments
nathan-swailes
Surveyor

An early gift for the holidays! Thank you Renee - can't wait to use this! Smiley Happy

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

While Announcements on the Home Page has just been announced in the latest Beta Release announcement, I am announcing that I will continue to use  @rkelley1 ​'s great work-round for awhile at least. As an adjunct teaching the same course at more than one college (in more than one account), I have found that I like the ability to post one announcement, in one course, in one account and have it populate to my home page in every course I am teaching in any account.

This in no way negates the importance of this new Canvas feature for both students and faculty. It is an awesome new tool in our arsenal, and it originated from this Canvas Feature Idea submitted by the wonderful Community Member,  @nathan-swailes ,  and supported by so many other Community members - thanks everybody!

I hope that other adjuncts in similar situations will find Robert's work-round, and be able to take advantage of it.

KLM

nathan-swailes
Surveyor

Absolutely. The workarounds provided by community members are amazing and essential. I am personally thankful that you guys exist to share your extensive knowledge to help me make my courses the best they can be. I appreciate you and so do my students.

The fact that Canvas is flexible enough to allow us all to develop workarounds like this means we can ensure our courses address our own personal needs and the needs of our students. The  Instructional Designers group is a treasure trove of helpful resources like  @rkelley1 ​ workaround and if community members keep pushing the envelope by posting about elements of their insightful course design, genius fixes, coding tips and workarounds then great things will continue to happen.

I have tested the new Announcements on the Home Page feature in the beta release and, while it may not meet the specific needs of everyone's course(s), the ease at which you can now implement the display of recent announcements on the front/homepage of a course  will make it a valuable addition for many and I do encourage you to check it out. (Course Settings > more options > one click to switch it on/off > set your preferred max # of visible announcements [or here's the official how to])

In addition, it is also hugely encouraging that 'Canvas' actual listens to its community members. Now we just need to put our collective heads together to develop a widget that automatically distributes royalties to everyone for their incredible ideas... just kidding (not really Smiley Wink:smileylaugh:).

Keep up the amazing work, Happy Canvas'ing and all the best for the Spring semester when it rolls around.

- Nathan   

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Wait, you were kidding about the royalties  @nathan-swailes 

Bummer!

I've already played with the new feature, and gave Kudos to it in my post, but I'm still looking for that big fat check in the mail!

Bummer again!

KLM

rkelley1
Surveyor

Of course : )

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2017-01-07)

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

ROI.png

Thank you to  @nathan-swailes  for submitting this idea, as well as,  @kmeeusen ​,  @mpilati ​,  @rkelley1 ​, stefaniesanders for your contributions. Your investment in this idea helped refine a feature which is now part of Canvas! Smiley Happy

nathan-swailes
Surveyor

This is awesome! Thanks to everyone involved in getting this useful feature deployed with the latest Canvas release. You are all amazing.

stevensons
Learner II

This is a great feature, and I'm thrilled to see it! Definitely an improvement on cutting and pasting each new announcement into the home page.

I do have a suggestion, though--it would be nice if the announcement widget appeared BELOW the header that displays the course name, or could be moved elsewhere on the page somehow. It looks odd from a design perspective to have it above the course header...

mpilati
Surveyor II

I am thrilled to see this - and delighted by how simple it is. I do, however, have to agree with Sarah - it seems a little odd for it to be floating above the Home page.

Having said that, perhaps some think that makes sense and they don't want to clutter their formal landing page. In a perfect world, one would have the option of having it above or below.

Note - none of this takes away from having this feature. I let my faculty know it was coming last month - and am delighted to not have done so too soon. Yeah!

natalie_norton1
Community Member

This looks great, but we use the syllabus for our homepage template on all courses - is it possible to enable this when using the syllabus as the homepage?  It would be really useful if we could!

mpilati
Surveyor II

I'm with you Natalie - as soon as I shared this functionality, one of my colleagues wanted to use Modules as their Homepage - and it did not work. While I am personally an advocate of not using these pre-defined Canvas elements as a Homepage, I respect the interest of others in doing so. It's not clear why that functionality would not be permitted. I'm betting that there is a reason??

sheldonj1
Community Member

This function, provided in the update, is very useful to me particularly.

There are two sections to this comment: a) background of my desire to use it b) comment on enabling the function

a) My students actually checked Blackboard (tm) because I actually "took to heart" the education thing about "when one provides quick, and hopefully positive, feedback the students respond positively".

To that end when I updated Blackboard(tm) IN ANY WAY, the student grades, that I had uploaded a new module, etc. I posted an announcement, with a changed image and changed colours on the folders of the left menu. 

In that manner the student had an immediate visual notification that something "new" had happened in Blackboard(tm) and that they should read the announcement.

Again, to that end, I explored different ways to "simulate" such on Canvas, at first thinking that I could change the "landing page" away from the "home" page to the "announcements" page, which, I found, is not able to be done.

So, searching on the site I found a "workaround" of a "yellow box" which can be added in the editable HTML which, does, indeed, produce a "box" which can be edited to provide a "text announcement" on the home page.

That is fine, except that it is not also enabled on the regular announcement page, and therefore it does not provide an e-mail announcement to the student

NOTE

There is, of late, a discussion at the college that the students are being "swamped" with e-mails and there is a suggestion of having a "portal" for all e-mails that are not directly to individual students.

END NOTE

b) From the latest release:

 

To enable this feature, instructors can select the Show Recent Announcements checkbox in Course Settings and specify the number of recent announcements that should be shown (up to 15). By default, the interface displays three announcements unless the number is adjusted.

i) When an announcement is made in the announcement page an identical announcement is made on the home page.

ii) When the announcement title is clicked the text of the announcement is displayed, if the text is coloured the colour is displayed.  A clickable link is provided that will take one to the announcement on the announcement page.

ii) If one places an image in the announcement itself the image will not be displayed in the announcement on the home page.

iii) If one places an image "in the announcement" BEFORE THE TEXT the image will be displayed in the announcement box on the home page but any associated text will not be displayed.  If an image is placed after the text in the announcement the image will not be shown in the announcement box on the home page.

MY PARTICULAR USEAGE AND FORMAT

a) I have enabled two (2) announcents to be shown. This will allow the previous announcement to be seen below the new one to emphasize that there is a new announcement.

b) I change the text colour to a different colour as opposed to the announcement which is below, again, to visually catch the attention of the student.

c) I place the date in all caps at the beginning of the title of the announcement: SATURDAY 28 jan. yada yada.

d) in the body of the announcement if the student does not need to actually "view" the "whole announcement" I place the following:

"Don't click link: I have entered grades.

If there is an image or whatever in the announcement I place the following:

"Click the link" I have uploaded an image from class.

The above are just my particular musings and are not necessarily recommended for the community at large.

Congrats to the development team for deciding to enable the function and congrats to the OP and the commenters. Smiley Happy

james