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Option to turn off hyperlinks in Calendar, To-do and Course Summary section in Syllabus.

Option to turn off hyperlinks in Calendar, To-do and Course Summary section in Syllabus.

(7)

At a face-to-face school, it would be painful and awkward for students to be jumping into class late through one of the many windows, continually entering the room after critical instructions and preparations have been given. Students would be continually confused and instructors would have to continually repeat their instructions and offer more individual guidance as students complain about things being confusing or interrupt class to ask questions about things the instructor covered previously in great clarity and made easily accessible. We would quickly identify that the reason they are confused is because they jumped in through the window and missed all the instructions and preparations at the beginning of class. 

However, LMS platforms have always allowed this scenario in online classes, by hyperlinking activities listed in the calendar, to-do, course summary, or other schedules. Rather than navigating through the modules and walking through the instructions, preparations, formative activities, etc., students jump right to certain pages through one of multiple windows (Calendar, To-Do, Syllabus Course Summary, etc.), missing important things at the beginning of the module. 

We hear all the time from students who are confused by some things that were clearly outlined in the module and years of analyzing this feedback has shown that much of this unwarranted confusion stems from students who use their calendar, to-do, etc. to navigate their course rather than follow the linear flow of the module, missing important things earlier in the module.

Designers and instructors have to incorporate work-arounds and employ a lot of cross-linking that can send students into confusing navigation loops. Other things like putting to-do dates on every page help a little but clutter the limited space of the to-do list and don't show up in other places where graded activities are linked.

This could be easily resolved by allowing an option for designers and instructors to choose whether or not they want activities listed in the Calendar, To-do, and Syllabus Course Summary section to be hyperlinked? Could we explore adding this option so we can choose on our end whether hyperlinks in these places are useful or not in a particular course or program? 

14 Comments
awilliams
Instructure
Instructure

Hi  @shorts . Canvas does provide a way for an instructor or designer to plan the order in which students should view learning material while still maintaining consistent functionality for students. This can be done by placing items within a module and placing module requirements that the items must be completed in order. Check out How do I add requirements to a module? | Canvas Instructor Guide

shorts
Community Member

Thank you, Adam. The problem is that the order in modules is worthless if a student jumps straight to specific items in the module from one of the multiple windows (i.e - calendar, to-do, syllabus course summary). Because many do this, they end up confused and miss the important things in the order in the module. My request is for an option for instructors and designers to be able to turn those extra windows off; keep the calendar, to-do etc. but turn off the hyperlinks in these places to the assignments and such. Make it so the only way to access the assignments and such is through the modules.

Steven_S
Community Champion

Five activities with the same due time are displayed in different orders than assigned by the modules page with to-do pages listed separately.  If they click on the first item due at that time, they are directed to a page that blocks access to the activity based on module requirements.  Many students simply do not read the fine print on that page after they link to an assignment from somewhere other than the modules page. Turning off the links (or redirecting links to the modules page) would help students more clearly observe the set order of requirements.  In fact, I would say instead of an option, any time "activities must be completed in order" or module prerequisites are selected, all links to impacted activities should automatically be redirected to the modules page.  It solves the problem of students emailing the instructor at the last moment before a due date claiming canvas "won't let them" take a quiz. 

 

I like that with this idea students still see reminders in to-do-lists, calendars, etc. 

a_utegenov
Community Participant

It is a problem not only with modules but with other things as well. We use Proctorio LTI and link it to assignments with anonymous grading (quizzes are imposible to hide, that is why it is so complicated). Even if we try to hide assignment section and modules, everything, anyway TO DO LIST appears in the right side of the screen and we cannot do anything with it.

It will be great if the to do option will be optional.

emilyreagan
Community Member

Yes Please Make this Change.  It is okay sometimes to have it I understand but at some times I would like to turn it off and then go back and turn it on.  Give us the option at an instructor level.  PLEASE

jmccarth1
Community Member

The To Do list with live links sabotages my desire to have students read introduction information before clicking on an assignment link.  I use 3rd party programs like SIMnet and if a student clicks on the link on the To Do list, they miss important information on the Module.

jmccarth1
Community Member

I totally support the ability to have numerous distracting shortcuts links splattered all over Canvas.

Third party assignments links do not show up on these shortcuts so students get a false sense of completion or are tempted to do things out of order

stacey_duke
Community Member

We are new to Canvas this year and this is our #1 faculty complaint. 

Faculty don't mind the To Do list, but they would like to remove the hyperlinks. Students are by-passing the lessons, videos, and other activities that faculty spend hours creating. 

Thanks! 

Stacey

Heather_EdTech
Community Member

I completely support this idea. With the way we use Canvas, the to-do list sabotages our teacher's efforts. PLEASE give us the option to set this at the instructor/admin level. 

ttscott
Community Member

Our instructors would like to  disable the calendar for their classes. The argument is that is that it is their class and pedagogically they should be provided the option.  In Blackboard they were able to control this setting. One example is they have a discussion and there are multiple parts like a grade for an initial post and then another for replying...students only see the one due date on their calendar and sometime miss the fact that there are two parts to the assignment.  Being able to turn off the calendar items should be left up to the instructor.  It is not a one size fits all so some level of customizability would be appreciated. 

BobbieGrey
Community Member

PLEASE give me the option to turn off the calendar. It is SO obnoxious! I want students to read the syllabus and follow the directions in the modules that I put a lot of energy into creating. 

mia_taylor
Community Participant

I agree - an option for designers and instructors to choose whether or not they want activities listed in the Calendar, To-do, and Syllabus Course Summary section to be hyperlinked? Could we explore adding this option so WE CAN CHOOSE on our end whether hyperlinks in these places are useful or not in a particular course or program? 

~Mia👩‍🏫

Jennifer109
Community Member

Having the option to turn off these links would be very helpful.  Students do complete work ahead of schedule and miss important required reading/EAQ's.  

PLEASE give us the option of removing these links.

 

 

 

kerry_osborne
Community Member

I have an additional issue that makes the ability to turn off the Calendar, To-do, Syllabus, etc. features with their hyperlinks crucial for the success of my students. Some of my assignments cannot have due dates because of the nature of the scheduling of presentations and analyses. I have to publish a schedule and try to make sure the students read it, keep a copy of or know where to find it in the modules, and adhere to it. These are the most significant assignments in the course, and there are submissions, recordings, and real time presentations in Zoom meetings. No amount of course orientation materials, reminders, announcements, and preparatory assignments keeps all of my students from failing to complete these assignments and show up for the Zoom meetings. Every single student who has missed these assignments in all my sections this semester has blamed the Canvas Calendar and To-Do list for their failures.

Let's be clear about this. My design, orientation, preparation, student agreement forms, course rules quizzes, etc. do not replace the Canvas assignment links for them. When I discuss this with the students who missed their assignments and are faced with low grades or dropping the course because they missed their assignments, they are angry and feel betrayed because Canvas didn't give them the assignments. As a feature of Canvas, they expect it to work for them, and that expectation trumps anything in the course design. "All my other courses. . . . " "Why is it there if we aren't supposed to use it?" And so on.

I think their complaint is reasonable. We do loads of Canvas training and professional development on effective online course design. They aren't immersed in these "behind the scenes" matters and aren't going to process a course guide with the same familiarity and understanding of the LMS we have. And as we all know, the more we can manage their use of the LMS rather than issue guides for using it in spite of itself, the more time they and we spend on course content mastery and less on course administration issues.

Canvas development need to recognize that this is an issue that impacts student success and prioritize it as such, not just as an instructor wish-list item for our own convenience.

Meanwhile, I will be contacting the author of the original post to request permission to share that post with my classes. Thank you for an excellent explanation and analogy.