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Re-enroll students in groups when they are re-enrolled in their course

Re-enroll students in groups when they are re-enrolled in their course

(1)

Currently, when students are un-enrolled from a Canvas course then re-enrolled in the course, much of their student information and data is retained.  Unfortunately, their "Group" memberships are not one of those pieces of information.  I would sincerely ask that Group membership be recoverable when a student is un-enrolled.  Ideally, if a student is un-enrolled, then re-enrolled in the same course, Group membership should come back as seamlessly as the other student information.  This could also work if a student is un-enrolled then re-enrolled within a certain time span or if this could be an account-level option.

Here's the case:

Background

The Student Information System (SIS) normally feeds into Canvas and enrolls students.  It also un-enrolls students when they drop the course. All seems happy, until:

The Dark Times

The SIS feed has an error, un-enrolling thousands of students.  It only takes a couple hours to fix the feed and get the students to most of their data, but vast numbers of students can no longer access their group information.  Even worse, the Canvas Account Admin has no way to recover the group membership and can't help fix the problem.  Faculty and students alike blame Canvas and/or the Admin, making for a very rough time.  :smileycry: :smileyangry:

Be kind to the hard-working Admin.  Re-enroll students into groups when they re-enroll in a course.

17 Comments
abunag
Surveyor

This whole "Dark Times" scenario seems eerily familiar.  Almost like it's what I'm going through right now. Smiley Happy

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Did you try your Beta or Test environment to see if you could recover anything from there? Regardless, this sounds like very Dark Times indeed. 😞

abunag
Surveyor

Unfortunately, we sent the bad data to all three servers.  Failure of imagination on what could go wrong when attempting to have all three environments as up to date as possible.

shauck
Surveyor II

Same here.  Dark times happened 2 weeks ago during spring break.  Apparently a Banner upgrade broke the Canvas feed.  Enrollments fixed relatively easily but groups took massive manual effort.  Yes, we still had the beta info intact (I feel for you, Anthony!) and we did pull the provisioning reports.  But, the group provisioning reports were for all terms from the beginning of time (because groups do not exist in terms like courses do), so unless I was willing to mess with updating upwards of 25,000 records effecting groups over 4 years (I was not) they were only helpful in identifying the courses that had groups in them.  Then we had to manually re-enroll everyone.  This took 3 people many hours.  So even if this has not happened to many institutions, the massive disruption that Tara outlines here should give this suggestion some extra weight!

tbunag
Community Member

Maybe you could forward to everyone you know?  I'm guessing everyone involved in the manual effort would give a little up-vote here.  Ours happened just before spring break, also 2 weeks ago and also a Banner issue that broke the Canvas feed, and that's only complicated the issue.  As faculty get back into the swing of things, it's easy to miss the messages about groups being broken.

masullivan
Community Member

I was one of those "3 people."  Luckily for us, it was over spring break! 

distance_ed
Community Member

As the third member of the team who restored our group enrollments into the small hours of the morning, insult was added to injury: not merely wasted time, but also mind numbingly boring. A bit of technological wizardry to pre-empt this before the next event would be very nice.

thompsli
Learner II

I voted up for this, although I can see a problematic use-case here in k-12 land: students who were 10-day dropped for being absent then re-added to the course when they re-enrolled. (In my state, we are require to drop students who are absent for 10 consecutive school days. We then have to add them back if they decide to show up and re-enroll in school if we're their neighborhood school, which is only an issue for my program in a corner case that it's not worth getting into right now but which does seem to happen every year.)

I get a few of these students every year, and I  might not want them in the groups I had them in before, particularly if it's months later and those groups are now in the middle of a big project. I might want the suddenly-reappearing student to instead be doing their project solo or to do a different project entirely, and definitely not to get a grade for being there on only the last day of a month-long project that they weren't around for the rest of.

However, I suspect it would be far less work for me to manually remove such returning students from their old groups as needed than it would be for admins to clean up SIS-import issues as otherwise described in this thread, so I voted for it anyway.

tbunag
Community Member

Thank you!  I think there are ways to design this to avoid issues like you mention in K-12 land. 

lopaul
Community Member

Related to this, I know group membership is lost when a student drops and re-adds a course. Does this also occur when, per say, a student drops and immediately re-adds a different section of the same cross-listed course?

Editing, to add some other information I thought of. I teach some cross-listed courses (lecture and two labs, for example) and we base student group membership off of the labs. When a student drops and re-enrolls in the course, it actually is good for us to not retain the group membership so that we can update them into another group. I like the idea of retaining it in some situations (and hate to hear about that SIS feed debacle), but I think there may be a good amount of use cases for the way it works currently.

tbunag
Community Member

Good question!  I assume that they would be dropped from the group and not re-added as it stands now, although it might depend on how the SIS feed works.  I'd suggest testing it, if possible.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

As part of the Khaki priority, Large Course: Sections/Groups, we’re excited to announce progress on this feature. Auto Group Management, triggered by drops and enrollments, is something that is currently in the explore phase.  We'll post to this thread if/when we have designs to run by everyone.

lars_vemund_sol
Adventurer

 @Renee_Carney ‌: is there an update on this feature?

The dark times described is happening way to often...

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

 @lars_vemund_sol  

Your timing is spot on.  I will have an update for the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/teaching-at-scale priority, soon.  Sadly it's not going to be the update you're probably hoping for, but that's why we call it the explore stage.  This idea was explored but has not been scoped for development at this time.

MLentini
Explorer

This is the first two weeks of every quarter for us. Our SIS (don't ask, it's older than you are) integration is only reliable with transactional data, so every time a student gets dropped and re-added, the instructor loses group enrollments. It would be great to see Canvas retain this information along with all the other student info it retains!

lars_vemund_sol
Adventurer

Thank you  @Renee_Carney ‌. It's always better with a bad update, than no update at all Smiley Wink

vbalint
Instructure
Instructure

This would save a lot of nerves from booth end Smiley Happy