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Generate Automatic Messages to students who do not submit work

Generate Automatic Messages to students who do not submit work

(4)

I have found the "message students who..." function in gradebook very effective to nudging students to complete assignments. I suggest an option that, when you create the assignment, you can automatically choose to have the message sent to students after the turn in deadline has passed. I compare it to a "out of office" email that you might send to your colleagues. This personalized message will allow teachers to effectively use the message system and encourage student completion of work in a timely manner, without additional messages from the teacher. 

25 Comments
Chris_Munzo
Adventurer

Hi, Lisa - We are a third-party partner of Instructure, https://community.canvaslms.com/community/answers/partnerships/aspiredu?sr=search&searchId=8d4c0b14-...‌ and we have an analytics solution called Dropout Detective.  It does a number of things that Canvas K-12 schools like:

  • Allows teachers to see all classes & all grades of a student on one screen;
  • Gives admin-level users (guidance counselors, sports coaches, special ed teachers) personalized dashboards of just the students assigned to them;
  • Provides a centralized place for users to enter notes about contact with a student;

And to your point, we can send automated email messages to students based on various criteria.  One of those triggers is "# of missing assignments".  We do require a contract with your school and we do charge for our services.  We have a good number of Canvas K-12 schools that we can provide as references.

Let me know if you'd like to learn more.  Thanks!

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Good idea, Lisa.  Maybe this feature might also allow for the message to be send X number of days before the due date?

Chris_Munzo
Adventurer

Scott, this is a question that we struggle with all of the time:  Do people want to manage activities from their email inbox?  Some do.  My son is a sophomore in college -- he hardly ever checks email.  And can you imagine what the inbox of a student would look like if he/she got an email before the due date of every assignment in every class?  Eventually, you'd get numb to the messages.  No easy answers to that question.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

True story, Chris.  My son is a high school sophomore.  I learned recently that he relies almost exclusively on the to-do list on the dashboard to tell him what he needs to do in Canvas.  Smiley Sad

bryanjos
Surveyor

I like the idea of the message being triggered a certain number of days before the due date, as long as students have the ability to turn off these notifications if it's cluttering their inbox per Chris's concern.  We could already kind of do this by creating an announcement that is delayed to post at a particular time (either before or after the due date).  It's just not filtered to send ONLY to students who have not yet submitted anything.  But how many students submit the assignment well in advance of the deadline anyway?  So the filtering itself may not be so terribly important, as long as the announcement gets out there.  The announcement approach and the "Message Students Who..." approach are both workarounds that require more work on the instructor's part, which brings up why this idea was suggested.

As for whether or not students check e-mail or submit their assignments on time, both bring up much bigger questions of how students learn organization, communication, and responsibility.  Do submission reminders help them develop organization skills and responsibility?  What about a dashboard to-do list?  Or requiring them to check e-mail?  I don't know the answers to these questions, especially since today's work environment continues to evolve with automated messaging, calendars, reminders, and more.  Consistently checking e-mail seems to be of critical importance in much of the Western work world, but that may change in coming decades as other modes of communication become more efficient.  Food for thought...

In the meantime, this is a nice feature idea, and of course it would be up to each instructor whether to use it or not.

9910503
Community Member

Having the ability to set a date for the email reminder to go out would allow everyone to customize as they wanted. I would have one go out 1 or 2 days after the assignment was due, when the assignment had truly been forgotten or not completed.

kmcgreger
Community Member

My first reaction is all for this. However, then, I  remind myself that at east half of college's value is learning to meet deadlines, time management, and acceptance of consequences when not met. Continuing to hold hands of students as in high school may be actually more damaging than helpful to the students' growth. On the other hand, it may be valuable in letting students know that in fact a submission they "know they submitted" actually did not upload correctly. Therefore, with consequences still in place, this may be a great asset.

thompsli
Learner II

Also, not everyone who uses Canvas is in higher ed. I use Canvas in an online school with 7th-12th grade students, and I definitely use more in the way of repeated reminders and various ways  of reaching out to parents with 7th graders and gradually fade it as they move up in grades and get used to the expectations.

I'm also a fan of reaching out more the first few assignments of the term (when students may still be confusing about whether or not something was submitted and need a little technical help to navigate the LMS) and fading that within the term. (It's reasonable to not know how to submit the first assignment and need a little hand-holding if this is your first class through online school and you're 12 years old, but if you're still confused by the 8th assignment with exactly the same directions then there are bigger issues in play than I can resolve through Canvas Messages.)

bryanjos
Surveyor

Agreed!  Very good point about helping students get used to using Canvas.  This holds true in higher ed too.  Freshmen especially are learning to meet new expectations while having more freedom than ever before, so it's good to help them get a successful start.

fisher1
Surveyor

Hi  @kmcgreger ‌

I agree with you that students should learn to be responsible and manage their own schedules. Before tech, people used (and are still using) paper planners, sticky note reminders, etc. Now, people are using Google Calendar reminders, the Canvas Calendar, iOS reminders, etc. Even as an adult, I am still sent reminders by others about certain meetings, events, and tasks. All of these are great things because my memory isn't perfect. To me, I see this feature request as yet another example of how technology is shaping our world and improving our productivity. If Canvas can make something better, why not do it? 

tedcowan
Community Member

I teach at the college level and students sometimes forget that an assignment is due tonight.  I would like a configurable way for Canvas to message the student if a deadline is looming and they have not submitted the assignment.  

I think of it as adding alerts to the To Do List, similar to those I can add to my Google Calendar.

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Nudge might well accomplish what many of you are after. Nudge was demonstrated at InstructureCon 2017 and is currently being tested. You can read one community member's writeup of the presentation here: Nudge .  @kona ‌ has also blogged about her experience with Nudge in https://community.canvaslms.com/people/kona 

tiffany_maglasa
Community Member

You should also be able to message students who score below a certain value (e.g., 60%). Because one of the first things I do, before grading, is set the grades to 0 for people with missing work... which then negates the entire function of that missing assignment message. Also, I want to message people with low scores too, not just those who didn't turn it in... In fact, I think your competitor (D2L) let me do that in my previous courses I taught using them. 

Furthermore, I HATE that the test student is included in all of these messages, statistics (mean, sd), # of people left to grade, etc. I like being able to see it from the students' point of view; I just don't think the profile should function as an actual student. If this is you, upvote my idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9636-exclude-test-student-from-statistics  or https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6082-real-student-view?sr=search&searchId=ca810cc6-98e8-4ad0-8...‌ idea. 

thompsli
Learner II

You can message people with scores below a certain value from the Gradebook (not from the individual quiz, but from the Grades page).

From the Quiz's page you can message students who have taken the quiz or who have not taken the quiz after choosing that option from the "gear" menu.

From the Gradebook page, if you choose the arrow that appears in the assignment header for any assignment (including a quiz) when you hover over that assignment header in the gradebook, you instead have the choices of "haven't submitted yet", "haven't been graded", "scored less than" (and then you choose a number), or "scored more than" (and then you choose a number). The only option you don't have from Grades that you do from Quiz is the option of messaging everyone who has taken it regardless of score. 

I have no idea why these two ways of getting to this option have different choices, but the good news is that the options for "message students who..." in the gradebook are pretty good. (I have a Tampermonkey script that I got from someone else in the community that I use to be able to add Observer Accounts of my students to those messages too. If you also work with k-12 students who have parent accounts, you may want to consider adding it. It can be found here :https://community.canvaslms.com/message/50792-messaging-observers-of-students-in-canvas?sr=search&se...‌ .)

tiffany_maglasa
Community Member

Ahh thank you, yes, I found the answer via another idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9629-how-about-an-e-mail-selected-users-function-in-the-gradeb... 

However, I want the ability to message students from the individual quiz/assignment... Why have only 2 of the options on the individual item instead of all 4 that are available in the grade book.???

thompsli
Learner II

I can think of no good "on purpose" reason, so I assume it's that the features were coded independently of each other and they happened to put in different options the two times they wrote the feature.

I've heard rumors that a "communication" overhaul will happen sometime after they finish the Gradebook and Quiz overhauls, so hopefully they'll look holistically at what kinds of messages we need to be able to send and where we should be able to send them from as part of that possible future project.

don_bryn
Surveyor

Any type of automated messages would be a time saver by default ("automated!).  This would be so useful for many things, discussions being the most important one for me right now.   Students this fall are somehow confused about having to post initial posts and replies on different due dates.   It would be great to have an automated message go out before the initial posts are due and the final posts, just to keep students on track.  

The same would be great for all of my assignments and quizzes with due dates.   1 Email warning, 1 email if students missed a due date, who knows what other options. . . 

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Generally, if this feature existed I might use it on occasion. Our previous LMS had this feature, I used it, but quite sparingly.

I am a strong fan of teacher presence in online courses, and teacher presence is not accomplished through robotic messaging - students quickly catch on that it is not a human being interacting with them. Automated reminders and alerts are fine. For more information on the importance of  teacher presence please check out meaningful Learning: Teacher Presence and Learner Engagement in the Online Classroom.

Also working in Higher Ed we are always concerned about, or should be, with student financial aid and the Department of Education's requirement for regular and substantive faculty interaction in distance learning courses. While robot messages are regular, they are not meaningful nor substantive, and do not meet the DOE's requirements. You can learn more in this article published by WCET, Interpreting what is Required for "Regular and Substantive Interaction".

vcarmer
Surveyor

I'm using the "free for teachers" version, so I'm going to assume that messaging students who have not completed an assignment from the gradebook is for the paid version.  I can do this with the quizzes, but not assignments.  If I'm wrong on this, please let me know.

Thanks

vcarmer
Surveyor

Is Nudge an option within the paid version of Canvas?