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E-mail Confirmation Upon Assignment Submission

E-mail Confirmation Upon Assignment Submission

(5)
It would be very useful to have Canvas generate an automated e-mail response when I submit an assignment through the assignment page. This is a feature that my University's legacy system had in place and was very beneficial, especially when issues with submission arose, the e-mail confirmation was a nice comfort blanket to know that my assignment had successfully submitted.
64 Comments
kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Erik:

When you submit an assignment in Canvas, a confirmation box displays in the upper right corner, includes a big green chark mark, displays the date and time of submission, and also shows the document name submitted.

I hope this helps.

awilliams
Surveyor

I love this idea! I would see this functioning as a new notification item that defaulted to ASAP. I would also like to see the notification fire on submitted quizzes too as we often have reports of no submissions on those. This would have so many positive effects. 1) Provide a clear indication to students they submitted something in an external system (external system is important, so an issue with Canvas can't affect the submission "receipt") 2) Provide evidence for a student to use in a grade dispute 3) Give faculty a very easy solution for resolving non-submitted work grade disputes.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. November 4, 2015 - Wed. February, 3, 2015.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

awilliams
Surveyor

FYI for everyone who likes this idea, please vote for ​  so we can get this functionality added for Quizzes as well as Assignments.

snugent
Lamplighter II

I agree with awilliams​. graded quizzes and  discussions should have this as well. This is probably one of the most common help desk requests we get coming from students and instructors. It would be awesome to have good feedback when something is submitted.

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

If this feature moves forward, I'd like to see the email confirmations to have options like other notifications. (ASAP, Daily, Weekly, None) If each assignment automatically sends an email to a student, I can see how it could be overwhelming. However, if students want the back up documentation in addition to the green check-mark or the "turn in again" notification in mobile, students could opt-in with an email schedule that fits with their workflow.

awilliams
Surveyor

Yes, it would make sense to work it into the existing notification system and give the option to dial back the frequency so long as those summaries included an exact timestamp for each submission.

I would like to stress how valuable this would be not because it's a backup or secondary notification, but because it would be the only documentation outside of Canvas for a user to use to provide evidence of a submission error. As it currently stands I field many of these requests for further investigation of a student report and unless the student was forward-thinking enough to take a screenshot of every "Turned In!" message, there is never anything they can provide to back up their claim that they submitted the assignment on time.

bgibson
Community Member

Account Admins have access to the "Page Views" for each user, which is a detailed chronological listing of the URLs visited by a student (in this case).  It seems to show quizzes taken and submissions.  How about giving each user access to their own "Page Views" and this could be used as proof of activity?  This would reduce the need for extra notifications or emails.  After taking a quiz or submitting an item, the student could check their "Page Views" and see if the Canvas database had recorded their activity.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @bgibson ​, that's the problem. Just because a student clicked on something doesn't mean they actually submitted it. This would provide a confirmation to the student that they actually did submit the Assignment.

awilliams
Surveyor

Also, to clarify the need a bit further, even if the student had access to exactly what admins have, that is still information within the system. This information can not be validated with any other source other than the word of the student at the moment. With an email the student could provide evidence that not only was there an issue with the submission, but also the page views.

watsonnk
Learner II

From local experience, having a simple email confirmation to the student removes a lot of doubt and reassures students, they can prove they submitted, irrespective of any (very unlikely) problems within Canvas itself. Always good to have a receipt on submitting an important piece of work.

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

I voted for this idea, and I really hope it gets enough votes to move forward. Speaking as a teacher, I can't tell you how many times students have contacted me with detailed and highly specific descriptions of the steps they took to submit an assignment, or complete a quiz, or post to a discussion, only to be confronted with a 0 grade for nonsubmission. While some students are adept at creating such narratives, I believe that many of them were entirely legitimate, and as teachers and admins, our only recourse was to look at page views. At the beginning of each semester, I gave students instructions on how to navigate back to the assignment submission interface to see the "Turned in!" message with the big green checkmark and date and time of submission (as  @kmeeusen ​ described above)--and even take a screenshot of it--but honestly, I don't think that's something students should have to do. If there is a blip that degrades the user view information in the system, a student should be able to present independent verification that he or she has indeed submitted the assignment, and that's what this feature idea is designed to provide. I hope more people get behind it.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Stephanie:

I did vote this feature up, because it would provide a convenience.

That being said, after 16 years teaching online and 7 more as an eLearning Director, I find that the vast majority of  students like to use technology as an excuse (The computer ate my homework!), with little realization that their every move on a computer and web-application can be and usually is tracked. They are very amazed and abashed when I demonstrate to them that they did not even login to Canvas during the period that they claimed they made the submission.

But, for that 1/10,000, I am willing to work towards the benefit of a doubt!

KLM

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kmeeusen ​, when I'm working with a student whose assignments "never seem to show up in Canvas" (even though they were logged in and in the assignment) I tell them that in the future they should take a screen shot or picture with their phone for confirmation that the assignment was submitted. I can honestly tell you there's only been one student who has ever done this and then come back to me because Canvas really did "lose" the assignment (it was a couple of years ago and it was a Mac/Safari issue that was fixed pretty quickly). Smiley Wink

I voted for this feature idea because it would take a lot of the guess work out of the "did they or didn't they submit" problem!

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Yep  @kona ​, that is exactly why I voted. Searching page views is rather tedious (we typically download as CSV, then use Excel to search, but...).

I think, though, in the long run those same students will come to us and say, "I didn't get the email", or "I didn't save the email", or "the computer ate my assignment and my email."

Just saying...............

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I thought of that as well... :smileyconfused:

bgibson
Community Member

Okay then, I can vote for this.  I have been a Blackboard Admin for almost 18 years and trying to verify that a student took a test, submitted an assignment, or added a discussion board entry... sometimes a month or more after the due date, and now they are just finding out that there was nothing submitted successfully, has always been a painful process.  Trying to find a common cause for this type of problem has almost always been futile.  I was hoping that Canvas would get rid of this problem, and I think the Page Views go a long way for me determining what the student was attempting.  It looks like you can actually see an "attempt" at a quiz, and each question.

I have Snagit (free version, Jing) running on my PC, so it is easy to do a screen capture when I need to illustrate (or show proof).  And, I asked that Jing be included in our PC images across campus (not sure that is still there, or working).  But, the drawback with that would be that students could take captures of test questions just as easily.  Of course they could take pictures with their phones also.  *What would you do? Not allow phones for the test, but allow them for proof at the end?

dlyons
Instructure
Instructure

From the comments on this Feature Idea it seems like the concern is that students do not have an iindependentway to prove that an assignment/quiz/discussion was submitted. Sending the student a notification email to act as a receipt doesn't alleviate this problem in my mind. First, if you're trusting Canvas to send the email confirmation then the submission details inside Canvas would be considered equally valid since both are generated by Canvas. Second, in times of disagreement (Canvas says they didn't submit but the student has an email saying they did submit) which one do you trust since they both came from the same source? Emails can be forged after all so an enterprising student could potentially use this "receipt" as a way to forge evidence they didn't previously have the ability to forge (page views.)

When one of my students claims the computer ate their homework, I first examine the class policies, then the situation, then the student, then ultimately almost always let them resubmit anyway. Unless I have overwhelming evidence the student is lying or being malicious, my objective is to get them to learn the material and interact with it, me, and their peers. If that means letting someone "get away with it" occasionally but they did the work, I count that as a win. Smiley Happy

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Bravo David!!!!!

I have the same basic teaching philosophy: I have policies, but they are primarily to make classroom management easier, but my bottom line is that I want my students to achieve the learning objectives and if accepting late submissions will help a student do that, then I make exceptions. I don't need a note from your doctor or your mommy, and I certainly don't need a note from Canvas - just resubmit the thing. And, like you, I don't give a break when I or the other students are being taken advantage of somehow.

awilliams
Surveyor

Hey  @dlyons , you do raise some good points but I want to clarify from my perspective on a few things.

From the comments on this Feature Idea it seems like the concern is that students do not have an iindependentway to prove that an assignment/quiz/discussion was submitted.

I would say it is not "the concern" but rather "one of the concerns." Or, put another way, "one of the positive effects of such a change." Also, saying "prove" is a bit too strong, but I'll address this more in the next section.

One of the other benefits of this idea would be that the email confirmation becomes part of the workflow for students to have a sense of confidence that they completed the assignment successfully. When I have investigated problems related to students claiming they submitted something, but there being nothing in the system to reflect it, the problem usually is that the student did something wrong in the submission process. Didn't click submit, closed their computer and lost their internet connection before the submission processed, etc. If this idea were to be implemented then when an email isn't received by the student they are at least alerted they may have made a mistake.

First, if you're trusting Canvas to send the email confirmation then the submission details inside Canvas would be considered equally valid since both are generated by Canvas

The possible malfunction that I see this idea addressing would be the one where some time after the student's submission occured, the submission information was lost by Canvas. In this scenario the system correctly processed the submission originally and sent out notifications, but something happened after the fact that did not leave any sort of "paper trail." So the submission details inside Canvas aren't equally valid since those are part of a very dynamic system subject to change, whereas an email confirmation is relatively static. I believe this philosophy is why most major online retailors send an email confirmation when you make a purchase. It's nice to have that email in the event that the next time you log in to that website, something has changed that seems in error. You at least have something to show to the website's support department to support the claim something changed.

Second, in times of disagreement (Canvas says they didn't submit but the student has an email saying they did submit) which one do you trust since they both came from the same source?

I do not see this idea changing the equation significantly. There is always a judgement call to be made when a human's claim differs from a technological systems information. This idea only provides an opportunity for further material to evaluate before making that judgement call.

Emails can be forged after all so an enterprising student could potentially use this "receipt" as a way to forge evidence they didn't previously have the ability to forge (page views.)

In the current situation, the best advice I've heard for students is if they want to prove something in the system went wrong, they need to take a screenshot of their submission details page. Screenshots can be forged easier than an email for the average student, so providing an email confirmation mitigates the problem somewhat. You're correct though, it is not a silver bullet. That doesn't mean it wouldn't help. Also, page views aren't usually very helpful information since in most cases students visit the assignment page but do something wrong during the submission process.

When one of my students claims the computer ate their homework, I first examine the class policies, then the situation, then the student...

This sounds completely right to me and I don't see this process changing in any significant way because of this idea. If a student had a screenshot of their submission details you would at least consider that when "examinging the situation" right? Why not provide an opportunity for the student to provide something like that to help explain the situation?

...then ultimately almost always let them resubmit anyway.

Well, you're a lot more forgiving than some faculty I know.