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Permission for Observers - Uncouple Discussions and Announcements

Permission for Observers - Uncouple Discussions and Announcements

  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

 

  Idea open for vote Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016  Learn more about voting...

 

As a K-12 institution, when we were setting the parameters of the observer role for our parents, we were obliged to disable the ability to see discussions to protect our students' privacy.  Unfortunately, disabling discussions also prevents our parents from being able to see the announcements our teachers and counselors post.  Many of these announcements are meant to be seen by both students and parents.

 

An improvement would be uncoupling discussions and announcements within the permissions settings so that an institution can choose to disable/enable each feature individually as needed.

 

     

  Comment from Instructure

 

For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-03-12) .
24 Comments
biray
Community Champion

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. January 6, 2016 - Wed. April 6, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

MattHanes
Community Champion

I just disabled observer abilities to see discussions because of this. What if parent observers could see discussions but only see the replies of the student they are observing? I would like that even better.

S9300807
Community Contributor

These definitely need to be separate permissions in the K-12 arena.  Observers needs to see Announcements but not discussions of other students int the class.  This is a privacy concern so we too have it disabled.

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

I agree with Matt. That functionality would be great!

lalevesque
Community Contributor

More granularity is an upgrade that Canvas permissions need in general. I'm a huge fan of anything that will get the ball rolling!

sadenniston
Community Contributor

This needs to be implemented asap. In the case of a parent as an observer, there are privacy issues around them being able to see other students' posts. In this case the ability to see a discussion should be restricted for parents. They shouldn't, however, be prevented from seeing announcements! I'm scratching my head as to why the two are in the same category - they are clearly different things.

I shall add it to the 'Canvas Quirks' list of mine!

mgsmith
Community Participant

This is a priority. We are unable to use discussions due to privacy and disabling for observers disables the announcements. It's a real weakness in Canvas as discussions is a basic tool that is essential in education. If I had known this I would have seriously considered another product.

ajbaylis
Community Member

Agreed. While there is a balance between too much granularity / complexity and ease of use, I feel we are at the simplistic end and need more control over the finer permissions. We have set up a couple of other user types to try to standardise permissions / features, but the limitations of low granularity make this less effective than it could be.

LisaCasto
Community Participant

I totally agree that this is a priority. Today's parents are tech-savvy and used to tools that help them stay involved in their child's education. 

allison
Instructure
Instructure

It's a great day when you find a feature request you're already working on! In fact, this enhancement is live on Beta. We would really love to get your feedback on the changes we've made to address this issue. You may need to work with your Canvas Admin to disable the "View Discussions" permission first at the account or sub-account level, but once you do, you should be able to see this feature in action if you are logged in as an Observer (i.e. see Announcements but not Discussions). Please check it out and let us know what you think!

MattHanes
Community Champion

Do you have any thoughts on the suggestion to allow observers to see discussions, but they would only be able to see the responses of the person they are observing?

MattHanes
Community Champion

Deactivated user​, I tried it out. As an observer, I was able to see the Announcements page and was unable to access the discussions. Fantastic!

However if another unobserved student comments on that announcement, the observer can see that comment which (to me) still has the same underlying privacy issue. I know that comments on announcements can be disabled, but I do not see that as the ideal solution.
Thanks for your work on this idea!

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

Deactivated user​ I tried this too! It's really helpful to see View Announcements and View Discussions as two separate items in permissions. (HOORAY!)  @MattHanes ​, you bring up two really good points. While the update is wonderful, it would be interesting if observers could have the ability to their student's responses to discussions or if the comments on announcements could be disabled (across the board) at the account level.

S9300807
Community Contributor

Thanks Allison.  This was a much needed feature in the K-12 world.  Keep improving this great product.

LisaCasto
Community Participant

We will look at it, Allison!  Love this!

LisaCasto
Community Participant

We will look at it! Love this!

mgsmith
Community Participant

Fantastic! Very happy with this.

allison
Instructure
Instructure

 @klundstrum ​ and  @MattHanes ​: Thanks for testing out the new feature and sharing your feedback. We are aware the Announcements do not behave the same way as Discussions. In talking with several K12 school districts, we discovered that visibility into discussion comments was the most critical privacy concern and that with the checkbox you mentioned, teachers could disable comments on Announcements as a matter of policy. We will leave that decision up to teachers and district administrators for now.

That said, you are both welcome to create a new feature idea that specifically addresses visibility into assignment comments. We appreciate all of your feedback!

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the Canvas Production Release Notes (2016-03-12) .

MattHanes
Community Champion

To further this idea, I have created a new idea that will open for voting in April:

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