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Publish, Edit and Delete "As New" options for Outcomes

Publish, Edit and Delete "As New" options for Outcomes


Others have suggested filtering and unpublishing Outcomes to reduce visible clutter. These ideas appear to have been kicking around for a couple years: 

That they only registered a few votes suggests the following causes. Canvas users, for whatever reason,  are not too committed above and beyond the cause, to investing their time and efforts into searching for improvements; that Outcomes are not popular, possibly because the concept is at best, noble in principle, but something that could have been thought through better. Since the community clearly gets behind ideas they believe in, my guess is the lack of votes is not apathy but the latter.

The current status is that Canvas doesn't permit the deletion of Outcomes that have assignments already submitted and neither can they be edited. I get the rationale, since no-one would like to create an Outcome, only to find that a colleague has deleted the same or edited out one's hard work. But why can't Outcomes be unpublished or hidden as a smart view (see this idea ) or edited as a new instance of the origional? Permit me to explain this latter idea further.

Other software platforms use this concept. For example, Planet eStream permits only admin the option to edit or delete original videos that have been uploaded for embedding into a VLE such as Canvas. Teaching staff have a lower level of permission that permits them to create as a "new instance" of the origional. The origional video remains in tact, but teachers can redeploy the same, edit out unwanted material and add interactive quizzes to the timeline. Even if all this was achieved, I'm still not convinced this would be the definitive solution to get buy-in from all users. May I suggest another idea related to this:

Perhaps the mastery concept with it's 4 calcuation methods is something peculiar to the US education market? The idea is certainly  a little strange to the UK FE sector and our teachers are still getting their heads around it. Why is this? Well for starters, why would average (mean) not be a consideration as one of the Outcome calculation points? Secondly, Mastery appears to be an uncessary add-on to Grades.

Why could Grades not have a colour coding (layered under or over the scores or grades; emphasis added) instead of in Learning Mastery ? A colour schema could be deployed in the same way Microsoft Excel offers the application of colour scales or colouring cells. That would render Learning Mastery obsolete and it would reduce the amount of work needed. The current setup dictates that if one requires to monitor Outcomes for the exact same criteria set out in the Rubric, an Outcome has to be deployed each time. This is surely duplication?  Mastery (or moreover the colour schema applied to the grades) should be aligned to the Rubric such that when the Rubric selection is made, the score reports to the Grades and a colour is overlaid according to the schema implemented. 

Community Member

Why could Grades not have a colour coding instead of Learning Mastery?

It fails accessibility requirements. Here is a relevant portion from Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.1 | Understanding WCAG 2.0 

1.4.1 Use of Color: Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element. (Level A)

Community Member

The ruling you cite appears to be referring to the use of colours alone. As with Learning Mastery, I was not making the case for cell colours alone. Taking the logic in that ruling to its conclusion, Microsoft, Blackboard, Google and a host of other software providers would breach accessibility rules. Excel gets around this by permitting its users apply their own cell and text colours; that is to be absolutely clear, dark text within a light coloured cell, or light text within a dark coloured cell. Blackboard and Google Docs also permit this. 

Community Member

I must have misunderstood your use of the phrase "instead of".

Community Member

It's all about context. I was assuming that the ground point is scores or grades; that this is the default position and that colour is there to enhance; that if colour was used in the GradeBook instead of in Learning Mastery, we would not have the existential duplication. Lest any one else overlooks this, I have now added an emphasis.  

New Member

I shared this idea with the outcomes focus group, as well.

 @de_millington , there is definitely some changes that could make outcomes a little easier to use. I think that delete and edit are options for outcomes now, but only before the outcome has been used. After it has been used, I don't think that delete will be an option because of data integrity. I think that at the minimum, an archive would be a great option for those outcomes that need to be changed. If the archive feature could allow the data that was collected to still be viewed, but the outcome can no longer be used, would be ideal. This would be similar to a concluded or completed course. The data is locked at a specific time.

I really like the idea of a "publish" for outcomes. We implemented institution-wide outcomes for this fall. The wording was still being finalized while we were trying to train faculty. We needed a way to be able to publish the ones that were finished, and hide or unpublish the ones that were still being finalized.

While we are discussing added functionality for outcomes, it would be really nice to have a place that an admin can go to view the actually mapping of an outcome. This would help to make sure that all outcomes that are supposed to be assessed are actually mapped without having to enter individual courses.

Community Member

Thanks for your contribution and I am pleased to see you are at least partially in agreement with the need for development. In regard your comment " I think that delete and edit are options for outcomes now, but only before the outcome has been used", surely that is already the default position, so how would that help?. While I fully agree with you about data integrity and have made that clear in my idea, picture this scenario.

You have created a Rubric or Outcome that has 25 criterion and 5 ratings.That's 125 boxes that require entries of, say, at least 50 words of text as a rich explanation.

You deploy that Rubric/Outcome to an assignment and your students submit to it. Some other teachers come to you and ask if they can use the same Rubric or Outcome for a bank of assignments, but would like 10% tweaking to their own requirements. As an Admin, or teacher, you cannot edit and use that same Rubric or Outcome and make the minor changes. You have to go through the pain and endurance of creating a bespoke Rubric/Outcome from scratch, every single time a minor change is required.

Now consider the possibility that Canvas locks the same  Rubric/Outcome following submissions to secure data integerity, but that when it is redeployed elsewhere by a teacher or admin, a copy or new instance of the object (Rubric (1), Rubric (2), Outcome (1), Outcome(2) etc.) is created that is no longer connected with the origional suite of assessments.  Consequently data infringement is not an issue and the user gets an easier ride when it comes to making edits, creation and implementation. It's a win win situation that other software providers have already grasped.

Community Member

As an addendum and reflection to my final comment about a grading schema making Learning Mastery obsolete, I would amend that by stating this. While there is clearly a case to have a visual aid (colour schema) to enhance viewing of Learning Mastery with resect to aggregated values in Outcomes, there is surely a case for the same applied to individual grades. This is what Microsoft Excel, Google Docs, Blackboard, and raft of other software providers recognize and provide.

Perhaps Instructure has made a decision that Outcomes carry more importance than individual grade spot checks, or that Learning Mastery can achieve the same or similar if an individual Outcome is applied to each assignment . But that would present 2 further issues.

Firstly, Learning Mastery begins to metastasize Outcomes scores that would make separation between individual Outcome scores and aggregated Outcomes scores unclear.

Secondly, for all the reasons already outlined, we would still not be able to delete or edit out mistakes once those Outcomes have been deployed and submitted against.  We have the issue of accreting clutter.

New Member

I had recently discovered Outcomes and the Learning Mastery in Canvas.  Not knowing how it all worked, I created 15+ outcomes for one of my World Language units and using the Test Student, I put in some fake scores. Even after I had cleared the test student, deleted all of the fake assignments I created it still wouldn't let me delete any of my outcomes.  As you have mentioned David, I also understand the rationale behind not being able to remove or edit them.  For me, what if the outcome was used, an error was found and then it was removed from the rubric, assignment, and so on, why could it not be edited or deleted then where it no longer has a score associated with it.

Where I am relatively new to Outcomes and not sure how to best use them in my class, I can foresee running into issues where I think it will work one way, it won't, and then have to go create a new Outcome since the one no longer used cannot be deleted or edited.

New Member

I appreciate that this idea is up for voting. My institution was just getting started with Outcomes last year and we have figured out how to improve (kinda the point of assessment, really). We need to change the language of a several of our Outcomes and need to adjust the point values, but we can't do that without starting fresh. If we could simply update existing outcomes, faculty wouldn't have to realign them. Also, now that the defunct Outcomes are a permanent part of our Canvas instance, faculty are importing the old Outcomes into their courses when they copy over old assignments. It's a mess that no amount of communication with faculty is going to fix, so it would be so great if we could just fix it on the back end. 

New Member

I dearly hope you implement this idea! As others have mentioned in various threads, if you play around with the feature by inputting sample data for the Test Student, it's too easy to get stuck with junk outcomes that confuse students and make the whole Outcomes/Learning Mastery system a trial to use.

Please trust teachers to edit and delete (or archive) wisely. A warning -- "This outcome has been used to assess students! Are you sure you want to continue? If you make serious changes, re-grading may become necessary" -- would suffice. Think of the warning that appears when you change the number of points that an assignment is worth. As it is now, Outcomes are just not flexible enough for mainstream use, and I would love to see that change. The idea has great promise, and this tweak would fix a huge functionality problem. Thank you!

New Member

Just to add agreement to the feelings that Outcomes are not flexible enough in terms of re-use, editing etc. If it was possible to duplicate whole groups of Outcomes as fresh (unused!) instances for rollover into another year, or for adjustments required for different levels would be a great help and maintain the integrity of the Outcomes which have been used to assess already.

Even enabling the Administrator to archive Outcomes would help keep it tidy and and Christina points out avoid messy and confusing Outcomes for live students.

Fingers crossed for future developments!

New Member

I like the idea of having term(s) associated with outcomes (and possibly outcome groups) that only allow outcomes to be used for courses with the same terms.  For most of us, outcomes change over time, but rarely within the same term unless an error is discovered.  When importing content with associated outcomes, if the program would simply check to ensure the outcome is available for use with the new course term, it seems much of the issue with not being able to modify or delete would go away.  If the outcome is no longer available for use (based on term), the system could indicate if there is a new outcome with the same title (would you like to use) or if there is no replacement outcome found (search for new or ignore).

Issues not resolved with this approach...

- Teachers wanting to use the same outcomes with minor modifications within the same term.

- If a course's term is changed after assessments have been made and the outcome used is not available with the new term.

This might be overkill when the archive function would also work.  But the system would need to check to see if the outcome associated with content has been archived and then allow the teacher to search for the update.

Thanks for this discussion.

New Member

Yeah, and then they clutter the learning mastery scorebook. Not being able to have the autonomy as a teacher to remove outcomes is the downfall of learning mastery. I would love to use it, but I have problems when I can't delete an outcome. I also like to test things first, but then my learning mastery gradebook is cluttered. If they won't let us delete outcomes we certainly should have more options for filtering. Why not have a term filter like gradebook.