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Stop Canvas Modules from Auto-Publishing All Content Inside a Module When a Module is Published

Stop Canvas Modules from Auto-Publishing All Content Inside a Module When a Module is Published

(11)

My university is finding the fact that publishing a module auto-publishes all the content in it quite annoying.

I would like to be able to just publish a module and then choose what features of it that I wish to publish.

I know that I can set a limiter on when a student can actually see and interact with materials-but if a professor is uncertain about publishing certain content all at once, they have no options.

This has been asked about several times in the community-I snagged two of the best examples below.

Thank you all for your time and your vote! Smiley Happy

58 Comments
chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @khearn1 ...

FYI ... you can paste in the links from the two examples you shared...similar to this:

Auto Publishing 

https://community.canvaslms.com/message/118953-how-to-stop-discussions-from-publishing-when-publishi... 

khearn1
Community Member

Thank you Chris.

I know that I can link to them, but I already had the screen captures that I had sent to another person, so I just thought I'd use them instead of getting the links. I appreciate the assist, though-I'm still a little new to Canvas and the Community. Thanks again! Smiley Happy

Stefanie
Community Team
Community Team

Thank you for sharing this idea,  @khearn1 (and a slightly belated)  Welcome to the Canvas Community! You might be interested in this related idea currently open for voting: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6173-publish-unpublish-all-option (from the idea description: "select or highlight a large group of multiple items (though not necessarily all of them) to publish or unpublish all at once").

stelpstra
Adventurer

The https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/6173-publish-unpublish-all-option is indeed a nifty idea (I voted too), but that idea does not necessarily solve the issue in this idea, because this could potentially be implemented apart from the module publish button, not solving this issue.

My suggested solution for this idea is to at least get the choice to publish all items too or just the module itself.

Many people work gradually before the start of the course and also during the course and have many items in draft mode (unpublished). To have all those not yet ready to publish items to be published without any choice regarding that is a serious usability issue for many. I thought it was not always working like this, does anyone know if this is in one of the release notes? I couldn't find it though...

cholling
Adventurer III

I'm not seeing that behavior in my course. I often have multiple items in a module and publishing the module doesn't alter the state of the individual items. I just checked it again to make sure my memory wasn't playing tricks on me.

Cindy.

barish_golland
Community Member

This is also annoying for us at University of British Columbia as well. What is especially annoying is that, if there are a mix of published and unpublished items in a module, and you go from unpublishing to publishing the module, then there doesn't appear to be an immediate change in the items being changed from unpublished to published. However, if you refresh the screen, items that were previously unpublished appear published. So it is unintuitive and misleading to instructors who publish a module with a mix of published/unpublished items, but don't see the immediate affect of all items switching to published. 

abolghasemimirs
Community Member
I voted to stop it but still, I don't know why "voting for it"?! I had this problem for a long time but today I really got tired of it and had to follow it up. It published all the quizzes in a module and therefore, the related emails were sent to students. 
Why they should be automatically published when I intentionally made them unpublished?? It's against the instructor's privacy and the items should remain unpublished! 
kbink
Adventurer

I've had at least two instructors bring me their frustration with this function.  They unpublish modules so that they can set things up before students see it.  That would be updating content, fixing assignment instructions and many other things, include having their keys ready to go but unpublished.  They are then ready to publish the module and voila!  all their hard work is gone and they have to remember that everything shows and they must quickly rush to unpublish things before students accidentally see them.

And besides, why would publishing a module publish all the items in a module when unpublishing a module does not unpublish everything in the module?!

evanp
Surveyor

This is also my situation.  Faculty are publishing inadvertently publishing content they deem time sensitive.   

aleverton
Surveyor

I see that we haven't had any input from Canvas lately.  @kona ‌ can you help us with this? I haven't seen this before today but I have two faculty up in arms about it now.

cholling
Adventurer III

I didn't remember this working this way in the past, but just tested to confirm on our system and see that you're right. However, I was able to unpublish individual items after the module was published to keep them restricted. Granted, if I didn't realize that publishing the module would publish all contents, that would be a big problem, but I'm glad to see that I can easily restrict items and still publish the module.

weaverj
Community Member

I find it very frustrating that all of the content within a module is published when I publish the module. Like many other teachers, I create my Canvas pages over the summer. Each module is full of content that I would like to open for my students in a certain order and at a certain time in my curriculum, which is usually not when I open the module. I know that I can quickly unpublish files when I publish the module, but in the meantime, students (and sometimes their parents) have received emails about all of the assignments and new content added. This can create quite a bit of confusion. It would make sense for a teacher to be able to choose whether to publish everything within a module or just certain files.

fmarchetti
Community Member

What really puzzles me is why do we have this issue in the first place. If I have an unpublished module which includes published and unpublished pages, why in the world would I want everything to be published when I publish the module? If I kept items hidden, I had a reason to do so, and can always open them up later, if I want to. It's just common sense to fix this bug.

slynch3
Surveyor

I agree, Kevin! This quirk in Canvas is extremely annoying, indeed. I have asked Canvas Support several times over the past three years to please express my concerns about this problem. I want to echo what Jaap wrote: "Many people work gradually before the start of the course and also during the course and have many items in draft mode (unpublished). To have all those not yet ready to publish items to be published without any choice regarding that is a serious usability issue for many." And as Mirsraeid says of the items in a module, "Why they should be automatically published when I intentionally made them unpublished?? It's against the instructor's privacy and the items should remain unpublished!"

I do not view this quirk in Canvas to be the result of intentional design. I see it as a design flaw. I believe Canvas has the responsibility of correcting a design flaw and should not ask its users to try to win a popular vote to get their design flaw fixed. That's ludicrous. If publishing a module publishes ALL of the content within it, then setting each item to either be published or not be published is pointless! Those settings get overridden. It's worse than pointless when the newly published items that were selected by the instructor to be unpublished are then sent to students. I'm tempted to have bumper stickers printed that say, "Canvas, fix yourself."

And, with only 51 "votes" as I write this, this issue will be ignored until 48 more people even notice that there's an ongoing vote about it. Bad business practice, if you ask me.

hasti
Learner II

Please, please, please Instructure: fix this BUG / design FLAW as soon as possible!!!

It is driving me crazy and making it a huge pain to try to reuse previous classes since I either have to

  • copy my previous course and make changes to it
  • unpublish everything
  • publish the class
  • then every time I release a module, do the quick remember what I previously had unpublished in that module and re-unpublish it again before students notice it

or

  • re-create the module structure from scratch for the current course
  • copy over my pages, files, quizzes, assignments, etc. and modify them
  • re-create the entire modules page by adding things individually (literally a couple hundred items to individually add to the modules page)

or

  • copy my previous course
  • remove (not unpublish, remove) about 150 items from the modules page (so they don't get republished when I publish the module)
  • add each of the 150 items to the module page individually

This is a Learning Management System; please put some effort into this management issue!

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @hasti 

A short history of life, the universe and everything - I call it "42".

Not a bug, not a flaw; but rather a planned design in response to large numbers voting for a feature idea for just that a few years back.

Users wanted everything in the module to publish when the module was published..

Six of one/half dozen of another. You say tomato, I say tomahto.

True Story, except the "42" part. I stole that from Douglas Adams. Now you know why software engineers have such a short lifespan, and spend half of it in a room with nice soft walls.

Kelley

hasti
Learner II

Seriously  @kmeeusen  ? How many votes did that idea get? When was it implemented? How big were those users' classes (who voted for it)? Were the users K-12 or did it include higher education users too?

hasti
Learner II

This "feature" is driving me insane. I'm certain my employer (university) would rather I spend my time with my 500 students and 12 TAs than tediously publishing/unpublishing/copying/removing/adding on my modules page!

slynch3
Surveyor

I appreciate your "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" reference, Kelley, especially as it underscores the absurdity in a design-by-popular-vote approach. Imagine if car manufacturers were not compelled to correct malfunctions until "enough people" voted on the issue, then calling the issue it an "idea," and placing it on some hard-to-find ballot like this.

Often, there are multiple similar "ideas" running simultaneously waiting for "enough votes." Vote splitting makes this process even more absurd.


I find Canvas's practice of minimizing their design conflicts by suggesting to users that they take the initiative by posting  an "idea" in the Canvas Community totally irresponsible.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

OMG,  @hasti  , I'm old and don't remember what color socks I put on this morning!

But it is still serious as a heart attack. I will see if one of the two original Community Managers might know. They have access to all the back doors, and are practically teenagers when it comes to memory capabilities.

 @Renee_Carney ‌ and  @scottdennis ‌, do either of you know the answers to Beck's question?

Kelley