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Option to exclude Assignments from Syllabus

Option to exclude Assignments from Syllabus

(3)

It would be good to have an option to exclude the Assignments Summary from the Syllabus page.  Many faculty wish to only have the Syllabus with a course description, lecture schedule, grading, and other policies.  Now if you have any assignments they are automatically put on the Syllabus page - this should be an option only.  Why have an Assignments page if you force a link also on the Syllabus page.  Other ideas describe how some faculty like the assignments on the Syllabus page, so it should be simply kept as an option.

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-18528-canvas-release-notes-2020-03-21 

80 Comments
cking4
Community Member

I agree with  @kmeeusen ‌:  I don't want students going straight to the assignments without seeing what else is on the pages I've created.  For example, my chemistry "assignments page" has tips on answering some of the hard questions, and links to online videos.  Some of the students never discover those resources, because they go straight to the list of assignments in the syllabus.  Those students do not do well in my course.

The students can also bypass an "assignments page" by going to their grade page, which also has links to the assignments.  I would like an "assignments page" to be the only place for students to go to get to assignments, so that the students will see the extra resources I've provided.  (Going along with that philosophy, I hide both the "modules" and "assignments" menu items from the students, so that they can't bypass the "assignments page" that way.)  So, please include deactivate links in the students' grade book to assignments in the option to hide the assignment summary in the syllabus

Of course, students should be able to click in the grade book to see their previous work.  For this option I suggest that, in the students' grade book, the assignment name not have a link to the assignment, but, when an assignment has been completed, the assignment score will link to the student's submission (if made available by assignment policy).  If the assignment has been started, but not completed, then the student must go to the appropriate "assignments page" to resume work on that assignment; that way, the student will have easy access to any extra resources made available for that assignment.

The simplest way to implement this would be to have an option, probably in course Settings, that says, "Hide 'Assignments Summary' in syllabus, and hide links to assignments in grade book."  If this was implemented, you could wait and see if users wanted it broken down into two options (I suspect they wouldn't).

jew21
Community Participant

PLEASE!!!!!!!

Jeff_F
Community Champion

I might prefer an indication of which assignments are not published on the syllabus page.  This way the instructor can see them all on a single screen.

acompton
Community Participant

I would like to see this as an option to make the list a static list so it can be used as an outline of course activities, but still not clickable. I, too, don't want students to go to this list and click on assignments and quizzes and complete them while skipping course content intended for them to read, process, and review before attempting those activities and assessments.

jew21
Community Participant

Thank you!

mouldera
Community Participant

I am disappointed with the fact that this is still going on after two years. How hard is it to change something in the Syllabus tool? We instruct faculty here not to use it because of the problems of students not going to the modules, but using the Syllabus tool to by pass the course content and only do the assignments. In many cases, the assignments are NOT in order because there are no due date. We are an open-entry, open-exit school, so we can't use due dates for assignments. 

gwk
Community Member

I agree completely. I started this string two years ago by suggesting this

simple option to exclude Assignments from the Syllabus. It made no sense

to me why this was built into Canvas in the first place. I and everyone

else I know also just avoid the syllabus option in Canvas because of this,

which is really crazy -- if you designed a course management tool from

scratch, what would be the first functionality? To be able to list a

syllabus. In my experience with Canvas, the organization is much more

interested in stimulating discussion on chat boards and getting input from

users than they are in simply fixing basic issues. This last point has

been raised many times in this Community forum...

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Perhaps hit up your IT shop and ask for CSS or javascript that acts to strip the hyperlinks from that section of the syllabus page. Yes, I know, Egad!!   Removing links from a web page.... 

Of course doing so would probably be an all or nothing proposition for the subaccount vs. a course level opt-in feature.

How to Disable Links | CSS-Tricks 

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

bwaters
Community Participant

I can't believe this feature has not been added by now. We have been using Canvas since 2013 and have wished for this to happen from day one. It's as if the Instructure has no idea as to the real function of a class syllabus, particularly a section syllabus which is how I suspect most users would utilize the syllabus tool. Come on Instructure, get with the program. Just include a toggle with the default option set to not include assignments. 

mouldera
Community Participant

I agree with you, Bill. Now that things have changed on the process, I believe this idea will be put back into Cold Storage never to see the light of day. I will continue to tell faculty NOT to use the Syllabus tool when assignments are not even listed in the correct order that students must complete because of the lack of due dates. Not everyone uses due dates, especially CBE or open-entry open-exit programs. We are simply asking for that option of turning it on or off. Not a complete redesign! This is one case where the majority does NOT need to RULE in order to make something more functional. 

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

mouldera 

I think you are misinterpreting the changes to the process.  If this idea makes it to the top 10% of ideas and the official response is that it will not be developed, then it will be archived with an explanation of why--it would not be sent to cold storage.  And please don't read into this that I'm implying this would be the response.  Not at all - just clarifying the process.

Bill & Annette.  I'm totally neutral on this idea, but I want to play a bit of devil's advocate, since this idea also has a fair amount of down votes.  What would happen with a toggle like this if instructors used it on a substantial amount of assignments and students were blindsided by assignments that were listed later and they weren't prepared for them?  I can see where there is good intention in trying to simplify things, but I feel like the question does need to be asked!

bwaters
Community Participant

Hi Annette. The solution is simple. Don't place any assignments in the syllabus, ever. I just don't follow the logic in including assignments in a course syllabus. Here's an idea: Create a page called "Assignments" and list them there. Or, how about using the Assignments feature provided in Canvas (for the purpose of listing assignments). I certainly understand that some instructors might want to use this feature. However, since it's obvious others would rather not, it seems to me the compromise is to make the feature optional.

mouldera
Community Participant

If the course was designed with Modules or even if it only used Assignments, there would not be any blindsiding the students as long as the instructor has published the assignments with dues dates or linked them to the modules.

The issue lies in the fact that the assignments are listed in alphabetical order if there are no due dates. My faculty use modules and have all the assignments listed in the modules in the order that needs to be done without due dates because of open-entry open-exit and CBE programs we have for our students. Having links to the assignments in the Syllabus tool where they are listed in alphabetical order just causes confusion for the students and allows them to by-pass the modules altogether. For some programs, that is a safety issue. Would you want a student who is learning how to draw blood to skip all the important information and just go for assignments without looking at the content? That's what the assignment list in the Syllabus tool is causing.  That's why there should be a choice give on whether or not to show the list. It's that simple.

I am not misinterpreting the changes made to the process. I have seen this idea put forth several items only to see the idea go to the archive. It's been two years since this idea has been presented and was able to get more than 100 votes under the old process. It's been on the radar since then. Now, the process has changed which to me means that this idea needs to get more votes in order to get this back on the radar, or it is going to be archived ( put in cold storage).  I get the feeling that for such a simple fix that Instructure is not interested in doing this. 

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

mouldera‌, as you've pointed out, assignments in the Course Summary at the bottom of the Syllabus page that don't have due dates appear in alphabetical order, and I can see how problematic this could be for open entry courses. Have you considered placing numerical prefixes at the beginning of each assignment title? I just checked this, and the assignments display in the Course Summary according to the numbers: 01, 02, 03, ... 10, 11....

Maybe this will help in the interim?

mouldera
Community Participant

Stefanie Sanders,‌ It still does not stop students from going straight to the assignments instead of going to the modules first to get the content before the assignments. We tried module restrictions, but there were too many issues with how the open-entry open-exit and CBE programs work. Most of the time, the restrictions didn't work well enough and actually caused students to get stuck.

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team

I didn't think of that, mouldera—but even if the Course Summary were hidden from the Syllabus view, they could still access the assignments directly from their Grades tab, could they not?

bwaters
Community Participant

Renee, if I understand your comment below (in quotes) please consider this:

  • "What would happen with a toggle like this if instructors used it on a substantial amount of assignments and students were blindsided by assignments that were listed later and they weren't prepared for them?" 

I see this as one more reason to exclude assignments from the syllabus. While minor changes to the syllabus can be made when necessary, I think most instructors try to avoid doing so after their course begins.

mouldera
Community Participant

stefaniesanders‌ Yes and the assignments there will be listed in the order that they are listed in the Modules. At least there, it does make sense, but still, I would not like to see the links were students can skip the module content. In the Grades, I would only like to see the links become active after the student submitted an assignment that would have to be a later battle that someone else can take on.

Boekenoogen
Community Contributor

I think one of the strong points about the way Syllabus is set up in Canvas is the fact that all of the assignments are listed with links to the assignment and due dates shown.