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Parents and Students Need to know the date an assignment is assigned

Parents and Students Need to know the date an assignment is assigned


When I enter a new assignment into the calendar it is posted on the due date and NOT on the day it is assigned.  Not good.  It would be much better for parents and students using the calendar to know when the assignment was assigned AND the due date. Very important.  Many parents rely on looking at my calendar every day.  If they don't see the assignment they have no idea when it was assigned NOR when it was due.  

Simple fix is to have it show up on both the assigned date and the due date.

Please fix ASAP as I have parents emailing me and soon I am going to have to call our district office and ask them what to do...

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @mlmodelski ‌

This would be a wonderful idea, and it has been asked for before.  There really is nothing to "fix", since this is the designed behavior of assignments and the calendar, so I do not think you will see anything "ASAP" although that would be wonderful.

What you can do is manually add an event to the calendar that states something along the lines of "Assignment available" or some such thing. You can learn how at How do I add an event to a course calendar? 

I would like to add that we warn our students to not live and die by the course calendar; but rather, to always navigate to their actual classrooms to review course content, schedules, the coming up and to do lists, and all the other tools Canvas (and you as a teacher) have made available to the students to help them stay on track.


Community Team
Community Team

 @mlmodelski , by "assigned," do you mean the date the instructor created the assignment, or the date on which the instructor wants students to start work on it—keeping in mind that these are not necessarily the same thing? I'm guessing you mean the latter, in which case  @kmeeusen ‌'s solution should work well for you, and is how many teachers are currently managing their calendars.

New Member

It would be ideal for students and parents to utilize all those tools, but if we are being honest with ourselves, they won't and they want the quickest and easiest way - especially in our district where parents and students are both incredibly busy.  Also, I am working with 8th graders here.  

The other strong consideration is that if you put an assignment in as an "event" it is colored blue.  The assignments are colored red.  If I am putting my assignments in the blue part along with my events it gets a little too blue and messy. Students and parents will be confused by it.  If Canvas separates assignments and events, why would we then mix them together?  Parents will ask the same question.

Doesn't seem like major change, but I understand that these things take time.  I'll make due with whatever and will get on with it and won't complain - just wanted to help my students and parents.  Hope it works!

New Member

I would like to see it in red both on the day I assign it and the day it is due.  Parents look at my calendar to see what I did that day and what I assigned on the calendar - that is what I know my parents will use and an overwhelming majority of my students.  I don't understand why Canvas would separate assignments and events, and then expect the teacher to put them together if parents want to see when the assignment was assigned.  I'll make whatever work Smiley Happy I just want my parents and students to have something simple and easy for them to use.

New Member

Something I didn't think about is the fact that an assignment could be due on the same day you give another assignment.  Then there would be two red bubbles on that day which could be confusing.  Maybe it is best to leave it the way it is.  

Maybe it is worthwhile using 3 colors.  Blue for events; red for an assignment assigned that day; green for it's due date. 

Just some ideas. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi again, Marc:

Canvas does not use the terminology "assigned" in association with assignments. Instead, Canvas provides settings for "Available From" - most likely the equivalent to your "assigned" date, and "Available Until" - the last date students will be able to access that assignment in Canvas. These settings are available in assignments, discussions and quizzes in Canvas. This terminology is fairly consistent across all LMSs because of the nature of graded activities in an online environment. An activity becomes available to a user (student), then an activity becomes unavailable to the user.

Past feature requests have asked that the Available From and Until dates also be automatically generated as calendar entries in Canvas. You might want to revise your feature idea to reflect this more standard terminology, or to better define what you mean by "assigned", as I note stefaniesandershas already asked about.

I personally primarily teach 30 somethings looking for a new career, and if you think they are better prepared and more willing to engage in the online classroom than 8th graders, you might be surprised!  This is why I create schedules of studies, post reminders in announcements and every other trick I can find to get them to actually read the course materials.


Community Team
Community Team

Hey Marc,

Thank you for posting your idea and for coming back and continuing to think about this.  I'm wondering if we maybe even might want something besides a calendar for this kind of tracking?  Maybe in the syllabus or elsewhere have the date assigned, date due, date graded by, etc for a list of assignments?

If we were going to add multiple dates for a given assignment to the calendar they'd have to be denoted by something other than just color for accessibility.

Community Champion

As a person who works in higher ed who is also the parent of an 8th grader and 5th grader, it looks a bit like a difference in how instruction happens.  In higher ed, most faculty plan the whole semester out, with due dates for all assignments listed on the syllabus and in the LMS course. Students are mostly expected to figure out on their own when to start working on an assignment, comparing their other commitments to the due date.  When the assignment is made / created is pretty irrelevant.

In my kids' schools - and this is what it sounds like Marc is doing - assignments are made in class, as the semester progresses. Giving the assignment is understood to mean the beginning of the time when students should start working. 

I do think the "available from" date is the key to making this work for both audiences.

Community Member


I've found that looking at the monthly calendar view of the calendar is the least efficient way to keep up with a course. Students and parents should be encouraged to look at the "Agenda" view of the calendar and the Syllabus tab, where all assignments and calendar events can be viewed in a list, by date. If you have an assignment with a due date and a calendar event saying that the assignment has been given, both dates would be easy to see in the Agenda view and on the Syllabus tab. Since many instructors would find the calendar too crowded if Start dates were automatically published to the calendar, I think this would be a good solution.

New Member

Have your students and parents set an alert for when a new assignment is published and wait until you give out the assignment in class to publish it. Then, parents will receive an alert that a new assignment was published.


Adding an assigned date in addition to a due date will be confusing as i can 100% say you will get parents saying 'why are you only giving them the assginment today when its due today?'    It will clutter the calendar and make it hard to see the actual due dates.  Note thar the colour coding you see is on a per user basis, you might see a class as green but the sudent could set thst to anything they like. So colour coding assigned differently to due also breaks the course associations. 

What is better is to utilise the noticifations system and the parent app or observer accounts.  When you give students a new assignment they will get notifications via a bunch of mechanisms as can their parents.  Add an announcement to be sure.

Community Member

 @mlmodelski ‌, this is a low-tech fix, but you could add the date assigned to the assignment title. For example, if you assign a book report on August 28, you could name the assignment "Book Report (Assigned 8/28)." 

Community Member

You make a good point. However, I avoid that issue by having a schedule posted in my courses that shows all the start and end dates and chapters assigned, as well as footnoting the assignments.

Community Contributor

I can provide a concrete example that would make an optional “assigned” date quite useful. I primarily teach blended courses. For an on-campus exam (an “on-paper assignment”), should I set the “due” time for the start or end of class? I believe that a lot of folks would be surprised to learn that this confuses students. It does. 

A pervious comment mentions the use of something such as an Excel sheet for the course calendar. That does solve this problem; however, if we should just use Excel, why have a calendar at all? I like the functionality that comes from using the calendar. My students do too. 

Learning management systems all seem to be designed for 100% online courses. The issue is that many—if not most—courses have on-campus components. 

Community Member

Could Canvas just add the "to-do" check box and calendar picker to assignments, like on pages? This seems like this would solve this problem and would help a ton. 

New Member

Looking at the original idea posted, and the comments and workarounds that follow, I believe I've pinpointed the problem:

"There really is nothing to 'fix', since this is the designed behavior of assignments and the calendar..."

It's this "designed behavior" of the calendar that needs to be fixed, eliminated really, because it's not the way most other interactive calendars work, and is especially counter-intuitive to the way we teach students to use an interactive calendar in school.

I think it's safe to say most school teachers post daily or weekly agendas on whatever calendar they use, paper or electronic.  We outline exactly what topics will be covered that day, and include assignments given on that day.  Furthermore, if a student misses a day of class they are not going to look at the course calendar and say, "Hm, I missed class yesterday, let me check the entire rest of the school year to see if anything new has popped up somewhere."  No, they are going to look at the assignments on the day they missed, and when they see nothing, they will stop there.  Three weeks later, when the project I assigned on the day they missed is due and they haven't even started it, the first thing they'll ask me is, "When did you assign it?"

Without this feature I'm forced to use completely unnecessary and time-consuming workarounds, like all of those suggested above, like using a separate Excel sheet (then why even have the calendar?), sorting a different view on a different tab (again, why have the calendar?), sending out separate alerts and notifications when assignments are assigned (just what parents want, MORE email from school during the lockdown).  

Moreover, during this lockdown, many students around the country have extremely limited access to computers as well as a very short amount of computer time to complete the work, much less have to try and work backwards to find assignments.  Yes, due dates are important, yes we work by deadlines in the real world - but my students are children, not working adults.  They need relevant data at their fingertips in seconds, and if it's not there, they're lost and they either give up or come to me to have them explain the calendar to you.  With the sheer amount of grades I have to record as a high school teacher, assignment dates are every bit as important as due dates. 

PLEASE implement the common sense choice of allowing posting of assignments by ASSIGNMENT date as soon as possible.  Some suggestions on functionality:

1)  Best case scenario: Let instructors be able to drag and drop the calendar item to whatever day we want WITHOUT it automatically changing the due dates in the assignment.  Just make it like every other electronic calendar we humans use.  When I add something, let me choose a start time/date and an end/time date, and show it on the event.  Just let it be a free-floating, blank box where we can then link pages, assignments, modules, documents, videos, whatever.  I can do this in Google Calendar and pretty much every other electronic calendar I've used.

2) Right now, when you hover over a calendar event, the tooltip that appears shows three things:

      a) A time, without any indication as to what that time signifies;

      b) The title of the calendar event, which is redundant as it's literally on the event right next to the tooltip; and

      c) The course the calendar event is for (also redundant, at least for the teacher). 

At the very least, this tooltip can say "Due 4/26/20 @ 11:59 PM" rather than just "11:59 PM", but adding "Assigned 4/20/20" along with the due date and time would be even better.

3) Let instructors sort calendar items by either date assigned or due date.

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New Member

This is definitely a feature that has hurt many of our students-especially if they are absent and the work assigned that day isn't due until another day. They look at the date they missed, see nothing, and think nothing is due. It would be nice to have assignments listed on the date they are assigned as well as appearing on the date they are due.

New Member

It would be nice to have the option in Canvas Calendar to show the entire range of when each assignment is available.  Right now it only shows assignments on the due date. It isn't until you go into the assignment itself that you can see the availability of the assignment. This is a major problem for me and others like me, as I don't feel the pressure to complete an assignment until I see it on the calendar.


Community Champion

One solution a local k-12 school has implemented is to have a page that is updated weekly or even daily with what students have been learning, what is assigned, what they should be working on, and what is due.  This could be linked on the home page for parents and students to access. 

As a former elementary teacher, I used to have something like this written on my whiteboard that I updated each day/week. 


Community Member

I agree that dates assigned are needed by some teachers. A "Show date assigned" checkbox and associated calendar picker would suffice for me.

In the meantime, my workaround will be a daily event:


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