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Option to exclude Assignments from Syllabus

Option to exclude Assignments from Syllabus

(2)

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
Surveyor II

Not pro faculty having this option.  We want faculty, if they use Canvas for assignments, to provide students with a list of due dates.  That is one of the main reasons we switched to Canvas -- to give students more transparency on what is due when - and we love this feature.  If faculty don't use assignments, then Course Summary is blank, which is fine.  But if they can turn it off?????  I know we will have faculty who will turn it off and won't give students a written version of the due dates.  Yikes!

Surveyor

Even if faculty turned it off in Course summary, your students can see due dates in the Canvas Calendar, To Do List, Grades tool, and Assignments (they can order by date) if enabled. The Course Summary is NOT the only way for students to access this information. 

Explorer III

sarah-canatsey@utc.edu‌, the Syllabus tool's summary presents an additional problem in confusion not necessarily present in those other locations. ( I agree that Modules, pages, and all content items are important--or they wouldn't be there--and all of those tools you mention warrant a consistency check in terms of To-Do list, calendar etc.)

Repeat Post of Real Life Experience:

 I was a student in a course where, at the end of week 3, over 1/3 of the students hadn't found the actual course content in Modules but they thought they had. 

1/3 of the class had clicked on Assignments and Quizzes at the bottom of the Syllabus tool and attempted the Assignments without even knowing there was any other content or reading to see!   Fortunately, only 1/3 of the good students followed the directions to read the Syllabus first, so only 1/3 were angry and betrayed by the experience. 

Content pages can have a date attached now--though I haven't tested that feature through course migrations and maintenance yet.

As an instructional designer, teacher and technologist, I'd say the whole programming approach belies a mistrust of the complete course design or a subtle bias to view anything that isn't graded as superfluous "busy-work" which is not the case.

Some of the contorted design workarounds I've seen include:

  • stacks of zero-point assignments that gunk up the gradebook, presumably so the content will be auto-listed as important.
  • cramming all of the course content for an entire week into the RCE box at the top of a single assignment, thereby creating an entire course that is simply a list of bloated assignments.

Possible Solution:

A simple, friendly Homepage with a huge Start Here button.

Benefits:

  • Meets QM Standards.
  • Makes Module content un-missable. 
  • Makes it easier and more obvious for students to navigate as intended to the module content--making other shortcuts and dead ends less likely. 336912_Screen Shot 2020-02-05 at 5.23.46 PM.png
Explorer III

If the Schedule of due dates is meant to help students plan, then the Syllabus tool's Summary doesn't provide quite enough information.  

The Syllabus Summary is only as good as the well-designed Modules in a course. The purpose you are hoping to have served by the Summary is served better by the Modules.

What I learned providing Faculty/Student support:

All of these factors matter in creating transparency and trust with students:

  • Consistent, clear naming conventions in modules
  • A well-designed module Overview Page for each week
  • Considerate and predictable pacing of due dates
  • Due dates that leverage Canvas reminder systems without over-controlling
  •  Accessible Syllabus
  • Clear assignment instructions with examples
  • A Tentative Weekly Schedule 

Possible Solution:

 A separate manually maintained Canvas content page with this example format for a hybrid, Semester-based course.

*Tentative Weekly Schedule

Initial Discussion Posts are due by Wednesday 11:59 pm/Midnight each Week.  Discussion responses, Assignments, and Chapter Quizzes are due Sunday night Midnight each week. 

WeekTopic

Readings & Homework 

(Wednesdays)

In Class

Quiz/Exam

(Sundays)

Week 1

January 13-19,

2020

Intro to Geology

Chapter 1

Discussion: Introduce Yourself

Assignment: Canvas Setup (Notification settings, user photo, email your instructor)

Discuss Chapter 1

Syllabus

Schedule

Questions

Introductions

Syllabus Quiz

Week 2

January 20-26,

2020

Types of Rock

Chapter 7

Interactive Lesson: Rock

Discussion: Post your Example Specimen Pictures

Activity: Sorting mineral specimens

Discuss Chapter 7

Chapter Quiz 7 (in Canvas)

Week 3

January 27-Feb 2,

2020

Volcanoes

Chapter 4

Interactive Lesson: Volcanoes Part 1

Discussion: Reading Response for Chapter 4 and Volcanoes Lesson

Begin Group Project, Assign Roles

Discuss Chapter 4

Introduce Reflection Journals and ePortfolio

Chapter Quiz 4 (in Canvas)

Week 4

February 

3-9,

2020

Volcanoes cont. 

Interactive Lesson: Volcanoes Part II

Discussion: Group Project Outline Rough Draft

Group Project,

Outline

Submit Group Project Outline

Submit Reflection Journal 

Week 5

February

10-16,

2020

Week 6

18-23,

2020

etc.

*Benefit, a content page like this can be printed or emailed to an Associate Dean. 

kburkes

Replying to your comment specifically, as you are an Associate Dean.

All of the institutions where I work or have worked require due dates transparently shared with students, as you stated. (For whatever reason, the Associate Deans' offices also keep a copy of each Syllabus with Course Schedule on file--outside of Canvas. Occasionally, I even grab a screenshot of the Syllabus Summary area to limit double-work and retyping. ) The usefulness was to prove to A.D.s that the due dates were displayed in Canvas, not that the Summary tool itself was effectively helping students plan or faculty troubleshoot.

The first big hurdle was convincing instructors to maintain the due dates in the actual Canvas assignments, rather than just posting a WordDoc with everything in one place. I considered the "hidden" Syllabus tool Assignment Summary a bonus and a great help with quality checking course migrations. (Examples: You can see if an assignment is missing a due date or if there is some straggler calendar event from a past year that hasn't been maintained.) Unfortunately, it is a really poor communication tool by itself.

The Syllabus tool's Assignment Summary area is a helpful quality check tool for ID team & faculty, yet even in the 20% of my institution's courses that are comprised of only a list of assignments w/Syllabus and no other online content needed, that summary itself doesn't help students understand their course better. Respectfully, it also doesn't help faculty understand Canvas better or the logical flow of their courses. 

Some course types that focus on one, grand high-stakes assessment are becoming rarer by the moment for good reason. They work just fine with the existing Canvas Syllabus tool. (Example: An Algebra course with one Final Exam and a required score. Homework exists only to help students pass the exam and no amount of homework mitigates a low exam score. All that matters is the Final Exam.)

Canvas can be a great tool for an institution. What makes it work is a UX tested content model that leverages Canvas strengths and avoids its weaknesses.  That Syllabus assignment list is one of the weaknesses. Try taking a course in Canvas as a student (if you haven't lately) and you'll see what I mean. 

Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

This idea has been developed and is on Canvas Beta. For more information, please read through the Canvas Release Notes (2020-03-21) 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hi nsweeten@bruinmail.slcc.edu‌ -- now that this Idea has been Developed and is in Beta (woohoo!!) -- I'm afraid your awesome input on this Idea will go away.  You have posted super valuable information here that I think should be in a Blog post of it's own!

Surveyor

Hooray!

Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

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

Surveyor

I was hoping that I'd have the option to exclude specific assignments from the syllabus view, but it looks like it's all or nothing?

Surveyor II

Second this. This new update only allows on/off for the Course Summary. Interested in the ability to select which to include/exclude.