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SIS Upload: Map & Display institutionally defined fields on the user profile and class roster (such as pronouns, class year, etc.)

SIS Upload: Map & Display institutionally defined fields on the user profile and class roster (such as pronouns, class year, etc.)

(1)

We would like the ability to populate a handful of custom fields via the SIS upload process and have these fields be displayed on the user profile and class roster. Specifically, the requests that we have received are to display class year and personal pronouns for each user.

I suggest that institutions have up to five custom fields in the SIS Upload mapping where we could pass arbitrary values and a configuration page in the admin interface of Canvas where we could assign a label for each institutionally defined field or allow for the ability to pass a label/ value pair. These custom fields would be displayed on the user profile and, optionally, the class roster, with the defined label and the value from the feed. The ability to define a label independently from the value would allow each Canvas school to display the fields important to that institution, and with a label that makes sense in the local environment. 

There is an existing request for pronouns specifically here: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/5500-add-a-field-for-preferred-pronouns-to-the-profile-page and it is on the Instructure radar. This would be a great start! However, a more general implementation would allow institutions to customize labels and display additional custom information, such as the student class year.

9 Comments
chriscas
Adventurer

I'm really torn on this one, so I'm not going to vote at this time, but I'll share some of my thoughts...

Generally speaking, I think some flexibility for different institutions/schools using Canvas could be useful.  I'd love to be able to set some default settings for newly created courses without having to use blueprint/api.  I also think it would be useful to be able to give a custom name to some fields in Canvas (like sis_id, as we really call the data in that field a person's UMID here).  That being said, I know customizations like these can be a nightmare for tier-1 support, as it would be almost impossible for them to decipher all of the customized options and names.

I've said in the comments of some other feature ideas that I'm not crazy about adding many more SIS-like fields into Canvas for a number of reasons...  I think this request comes really close into adding SIS-like capabilities into Canvas.  Even if the fields started out as read-only in Canvas (just fed from your SIS), I think this would start down the slippery slope of requests to be able to modify the info inside of Canvas, then sync back to the SIS, etc...

I have even more thoughts about some specific fields (pronouns, class year, etc), but since this request says institutions can define what fields they have, I'll leave those thoughts out for now.

jenn_stevens
Explorer

Our faculty are strongly requesting pronouns, so I approve this message!

rake_9
Learner II

I had a couple of feature requests (now on the radar) related to our need to display a different user identifier and/or institutional email.  I like the spirit of this request, since it let's institutions have the flexibility to display what they find locally meaningful.

Boekenoogen
Learner II

This is a very interesting dilemma. The one thing you might want to think about is everytime you want to make a global change, you will have to test in every three weeks when Instructure updates the production code. It might make any difference the first 100 times, but sooner or later, something might change in the code and your item will not work.

cph2
Learner II

Thanks, John, for your thoughts.

My idea above is for Canvas to implement this flexibility and manage any

code dependencies. Perhaps limiting the size of the text displayed for the

labels/ values or trimming them to a particular length will allow for ease

of maintenance and visual testing.

Best,

Cheryl Handsaker

Academic Application Developer / Project Manager

Office of Information Technology, Williams College

On Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 5:07 PM, john.r.boekenoogen-1@ou.edu <

jleamon
Community Member

Good points, Christopher, but I think the OP's request is a manageable task - it's quite a bit more limited in scope than a request to modify default course settings or provide custom names to existing fields - and is constrained enough to avoid making many problems for support. I get the concerns about keeping Canvas focused on being an LMS and out of SIS territory, but I don't think they're applicable here, or rather, there are some fields that are better left in an SIS but equally, there are some fields that have both institutional and pedagogical relevance that really need to be in the LMS.

thompsli
Learner II

This would be very helpful for us. My school has a lot of concurrently enrolled students who are taking 1-4 classes with our online school while their "main" enrollment is with another brick and mortar school in our district that they are taking 4-8 classes with. Being able to quickly see which school is a student's main school would be useful for us a lot of the time, and is currently something we need to go into our SIS to see (pretty much all of us use the Canvas Gradebook Notes column to track this information as well, but that's a manual data entry task for each teacher each term for something that would be easy for our SIS to automatically provide). Class year would be really helpful to us as well, since a lot of the time I'm asked questions like "are any of your seniors below a C?" and Canvas does not have any data about which of my students are seniors so I end up having to have both Canvas and the SIS open to answer that (and I'm already using the only Gradebook notes column for something else...).

Additionally, I'd like to see each of these fields having an admin-set visibility toggle, since some of the things we might want to use them for are not things that should be visible to other students viewing each other's profiles. For example, we might want to use a field for whether or not a student gets accommodations as part of an IEP or 504, which is NOT something that would be ok to have visible to other students, bu I assume that the people advocating for a pronouns filed would like that information to be generally visible.

cph2
Learner II

I would encourage folks that are supportive of this approach to speak with your Canvas Customer Success Manager about your needs. Every voice helps!

cph2
Learner II

I have just discovered that Canvas is not including a pronoun field in the user SIS Upload csv! This is a great step forward! However Canvas is still validating the pronouns against a predefined list.

I have made a request here on this thread to have this corrected:

https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Idea-Conversations/Add-updating-Pronouns-field-to-the-Users-API-a...

Thanks!