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Gradebook and Learning Mastery: Bespoke Smart views

Gradebook and Learning Mastery: Bespoke Smart views

This idea has been developed and is On Canvas Beta How do I access the Canvas beta environment?

Almost a year ago I suggested the idea for bespoke smart views in Grade Book. 

The current set up in Canvas Grades only permits the reordering of assignments (by group or date ) and the filtering of sections without the option to hide unwanted column views. Smart views would not be necessary for small GradeBooks ( i.e. few columns). The idea becomes relevant and makes a teacher's life a good deal easier when viewing a large GradeBook (i.e. perhaps 20 or more columns).

Canvas clearly understands this concept since it created section views, which permit unwanted rows to be hidden or excluded. It wouldn't be so bad if Canvas could separate columns in GradeBook with a spacer - anything to clearly distinguish where one group of assignments ends and the next begins. The concept becomes even more relevant when one considers the scenario where several teachers may share the same GradeBook, but whom only have their own group of assignments to mark.  Re-ordering assignments by due date doesn't resolve the need for a group view. Why then has this same rational for hiding unwanted sections (rows) not been applied to hiding unwanted groups (columns) in GradeBook?

This idea is not only applicable for Grades but for Outcomes in Learning Mastery. Currently, Outcomes cannot be deleted if submissions have already been made. What if outcomes were established in GradeBook for preliminary, informal testing purposes? The problem then becomes that the Learning Mastery page begins to stockpile 'junk' learning outcomes. This makes viewing Learning Mastery onerous.  If Outcomes can't be deleted following submissions

(, it would be hugely beneficial if they too, like the idea for hiding column views for grades, could be hidden via a smart view.

Although the idea only gained 22 votes last time, the timing coincided when most of our teaching staff were going on summer leave and at a time when they were still adjusting to a new VLE. We find ourselves at the same timing juncture one year on, except our staff are much better placed with product knowledge to appreciate the relevance of smart views with respect to groups. Also, previously voting protocol dictated vote closure after 3 months. New voting procedure keeps votes open for 6 months, so I believe there will be a much greater chance this would gain traction.

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please read through guide in the New Gradebook Users Group

Community Member

Smart Views would make it much easier to view only specific groups of learners and specific grades for different subjects. This worked really well in Blackboard.

Surveyor II

I am pleased to report that Canvas developers have now designed and implemented Smart views. They currently exist in the Beta stage, so you will need to have your institution admin team enable them. This could be enabled by course or for the entire institution.  

You will be aware that the previous version of Gradebook only permitted a teacher filter by Section (Rows). In the current version Gradebook now permits the teacher to filter by Assignment Group and/or Modules (i.e. by columns). It is, therefore, incumbent on the teacher to create assignment groups or module groups depending on the course aims.  

I have created a short video which I added to, which will show you how I set this up.

Screencast video clip for creating Smart Views in Canvas

Community Member

I love this new feature. Unfortunately it is not possible to see "structure" in the outcomes in the Learning Mastery grade book. I would like to have the same functionality to look at each of my Outcomes "folders" one at a time... my learning outcomes go off the page to the right, so I need to filter by category or folder. 


I like this new feature of the gradebook. Will there be a way to decide which view(s) specific custom columns can be seen in? This could go a long way to avoiding the problem that custom columns are fixed on the left and do not have a horizontal scroll bar.

Surveyor II

Essentially yes, but it looks like there is a little more work for the developers to nail down the viewing functionality from all angles. New Gradebook does show a horizontal scroll bar, but you have to scroll the vertical bar all the way to the bottom before you can see it.

To the best of my remembrance, reordering columns in the old Gradebook could be achieved with the mouse, but they were not fixed. To fix them positionally, they had to be reordered in the assignments area. In the new Gradebook, reordering assignments within their groups doesn't yet appear to change them positionally within the Gradebook. However, when moved by mouse within the Gradebook, they not only reorder but they remain there even after a refresh.

Users should therefore be able to reorder according to their preferred geo-location, relative to whether they reside West or East of Jerusalem. That said, there appears to be some randomness about the position in which the  subtotal columns appear, i.e. sometimes they appear to the right of the smart view column(s) and sometimes to the left.

All in all it is beginning to shape up really well, but will no doubt remain in beta a while longer. The new Gradebook should, I would have thought, still be a more mouth-watering proposition than the old Gradebook, even in beta.

Surveyor II

Yes Kristen, I also look forward to the day Canvas transfer these enhancements to Outcomes. By now I would surmise their engineers are aware of the shortcomings, but perhaps still rationalising how to address it. I think Outcomes presents more headaches for them than with Gradebook.

For a start, Outcomes are attached to other outcomes/rubrics/assignments and are rendered not editable once used elsewhere. This presents massive duplications in workloads, even for minor changes. 

Secondly, there is the whole rationale of the calculation method. No one at Instructure appears to have given this much further thought than the default four. Current rationale assumes outcomes are applied as a repetition, in which one would expect improvement with time (hence most recent score or n number of times). However, if you wanted to use Outcomes to aggregate scores on tests that are very different, on what basis should weighting be given to the most recent score? If the Highest score happened to be the first or second score out of 5, how meaningful is this? Surely one might want to consider the mean as a calculation method? 

Surveyor II

I have to report that Canvas developers appear to have been tinkering with the look and feel of the new Gradebook that was present a few months ago - and not for the better in my view.

A few months ago, when I switch to a smart view, I potentially got a slimmed down Gradebook showing shaded columns representing subtotals alongside white columns, demarking the filtered data (ie by assignment group or module). Now all the columns are white and the only indicators to separate the filtered assignment data from the subtotals is the column header that is shown with a blue title instead of black.Visually I find there is less contrast to separate the filtered columns from the other columns.  Furthermore the other columns refer to every subtotal - most of which are not relevant.

The problem I find, though gratefully improved on an unfiltered Gradebook, it can still look cluttered. If the Gradebook is large and there are many groups or modules, I still have to scroll alot to find the filtered column data because there are so many subtotals to traverse. It wouldn't be so bad if all the subtotals related to the filtered columns.

It would be much preferable if only the relevant subtotals and grand total relating to the assignment groups or modules can be shown alongside the filtered assignment/module data. Even no subtotals at all shown in a smart view would be preferable to the current functionality!