In arecentreview of assignment set-up and structure within Canvas at our institution, we haveseenanincreaseinlimiting the submission availability window for file-upload assignments to not allow for late submissions and setting theassignment‘availableuntil’ dateand timeto be thesameas the‘due’dateand time.
While this isadvice providedby Canvasas a way tosystematicallyreject late submissions, it canpose difficultiesfor studentsparticipating inassignments with small submission windows (for example1-24hours) where theymay have beenexpected todownload an assignment, complete the assignment and thensubmit in the last couple of minutesof the submission availability window.
This type of assignment set-up does notconsiderfactorsthat students may inadvertently encounterin an online environment - such as latency issues or the time it takesona computer tolocate a file for upload. When these factorsare encounteredandittakesthe student longer than expectedto upload their submission, it may push the student submission time past the‘available until’time and close theassignment submission windowin the background without refreshing the page to show the assignment as closed. As the assignment won’t allow late submissions, it will instead present students with a submission failure error.
Assignment set-up demonstrating the problem scenario is below:
Canvas views and scores theaboveassignmentset-upasfollows:
Canvas opens the assignment to all student submissionson May 5 at 14:00
In the Gradebook, the assignment is on time if submitted byMay 5at 15:00
Canvas closes the assignment to all student submissionsand student submissions will failto uploadfromMay 5at 15:01
Students whosubmit in the last minute and their upload timepassesthe threshold submission time will be presented with thisadvice which can lead students to misbelievethere isatechnical error:
My request is:
If the availability window passes while a student is on the assignment page and the assignment closes, please remove/ change the submit button (real-time) so they cannot submit and it reads ‘This assignment is now closed’ or similar. If this cannot be achieved without a page refresh, please instead update the wording used on the error message shown to students if they submit and this scenario occurs, for example, something along the lines of: "This assignment is now closed" instead of 'Submit failed, please try again'.