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Submission comments appear in Inbox indicator

Submission comments appear in Inbox indicator

(2)
As an teacher, I would like the numbered indicator next to the Inbox link include how many unread Submission comments I have. Although I keep my Canvas to email notifications turned on, a large number of our faculty turn off their email notifications. (As a Canvas admin at our institution, I hear how often this occurs.) They manually check the Inbox for submission comments.

 

This feature request fulfillment may also include displaying submission comments with Unread Messages in the Inbox, similar to Add Inbox + Submission Comments Filter in Conversations .

 

Excelsior!

66 Comments
915085611
Community Participant

I must not have seen the outcry against the old conversations model which incorporated all communication (messages and submission comments) in the same inbox. In the old conversation system, I could comment to a student's question in the inbox or in speedgrader and that message would show up in either place. If I was in conversations and saw a question or comment that the student made on an assignment, I had a link in the conversation to go directly to the assignment. I had one place to look always for any kind of direct communication with a student, and under the old functionality, I could quickly change my sort to look at all communication by a given student--which gave me a full term view of all communication I had with that one student to see if the same questions were coming up or if I had given the same replies before.

One of the difficulties with radical change in Canvas is that some people who may not even understand the beauty of what they have complain about what exists, and that becomes a call for change. The conversation changes are an example of this. It feels like several of the current ideas that are currently floating around are essentially asking for the conversation tool to work the way it used to work. There is really no way in which my workflow has been improved by the new conversation tool, and the only benefit I can see is cosmetic--and, of course, I realize that since the conversation system has now been in place for awhile there will now be disappointment with any new changes.

Just an example of some of the functionality that was lost and which is currently floating around as feature requests:

Instructors could message multiple classes at once

All interactions with an individual student were present within the same inbox

Even the sorting feature before was focused on student and teacher interaction because the drop down boxes (which were much much quicker) had class and individual student.

I may be missing something that is a benefit in the new conversations, and perhaps they work better for mega-sized classes. For awhile we had the option of new conversations and old conversations--I'd just be happy to have old conversations again.

915085611
Community Participant

Really good points--it is really important to remember that it is not just submission comments from students to teachers that are getting lost or ignored--it is all the comments teachers are giving to students which are also getting ignored.

We know that frequent and timely communication with students is perhaps the most important best practice in an online setting, and the separation of messages and submission comments ultimately hinders or obscures that communication.

stevec
Community Contributor

Can you explain what you mean about teacher comments being ignored? I comment on essays in the "Assignment Comments" box, since Crocodoc was too much trouble for my students to access. I have always assumed that they get notification in a very obvious way when I leave comments. Are you saying they don't get notification?

915085611
Community Participant

I am not quite saying that. The only way a student sees a comment you leave on an assignment is if one of the following occur:

The student specific clicks on the assignment that he or she has submitted after you have placed the comment on it.

The student has specifically set up notifications to an outside e-mail address for comment notifications (though if my own notifications are any indication, this is hit or miss in terms of noticing since depending on the way those notifications have been set up, they may come with other notifications about other things that have been changed in class--i.e. new quizzes posted for all classes, new modules opened, etc.)

or if the student specifically goes into his or her inbox and then changes the view to "submission comments."

What I am saying is that it is very easy for the comments we make to get lost in the noise of notifications or to not come through in notifications at all (students have control over which notifications they receive and when they receive those notifications). It is also unlikely for some of the students who most need to read our comments to even realize there are comments to read within Canvas itself--within Canvas, the most likely way a student will look at our comments is if he or she clicks on the assignment after it has been scored--for some of my eager students who are concerned about their grades, I'm sure this is happening, but I know that some of my struggling students do not.

In the old conversation system, students were presented with every comment from every class and every message from every teacher in their inbox within Canvas--in the default view and with an indicator that they had items that were unread.. Messages would look like e-mails and feedback would have a link to the assignment and would show the grade. This made the inbox a one-stop shop for all direct communication between instructor and student, trained students to look at the comments from instructors, and contained all the communication within the Canvas inbox (for many of my students, they are not e-mail users, so even if they are getting the notifications by e-mail, that is not something they look at frequently; in the course of the term, though, they have to access Canvas frequently).

Let me know if I've been unclear--it is the end of finals week and my gray matter is getting mushy. Smiley Happy

jnissen
Community Contributor

This is a frequent problem for me as well. Students miss my comments, and I miss their replies. To help make sure I don't miss anything, for about a week after I grade assignments, I open speed grader every day and click through every submission to check for replies. This is much too cumbersome and time-consuming. There should be a spot on the course dashboard to indicate that an assignment has new comments, the same way it indicates when there are assignments that need to be graded.

mccurdym
Community Participant

Canvas does have alert students to new comments in the Recent Feedback area. My desire for this feature request is to have an alert for instructors as well, either in the Inbox OR in the Recent Feedback area.

Excelsior!

olexar
Community Contributor

Hi  @jnissen ​. I hear ya! It's definitely confusing, which I think is why this thread has gained steam. You really don't need to go through all submissions in SpeedGrader though. From the Canvas inbox, click on the inbox drop-down menu, and you'll see submission comments at the bottom. If you click on that, you'll see them all. You can think of this section of the inbox like an email junk or spam folder. They're there, but you don't get notified about them by default.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 10.52.54 AM.png

You may also want to check out  @kona ​ post in this thread from Jan 7, 2016, 2:40PM. Setting an ASAP notification for submission comments (maybe this should be default?) and conversation messages will email you immediately, and you can reply from your email. This is actually what I do for ALL my messages, thereby combining regular college email and student messages from Canvas.

(Ping dreesd​ Haven't seen the latest training course, but maybe folks at the college are also confused about this - even scouring SpeedGrader. Just thought I should ping ya in-case you want to send out an email or something.)

jnissen
Community Contributor

Awesome tip, thank you SO much! I just discovered 3 comments from older assignments that I had missed.

stevec
Community Contributor

One problem I have with much of Canvas is that there are so many ways to do any particular task. We often assume that other users interface with messages in the same way we do,  but that's often not the case. For instance, I didn't use my Canvas inbox at all until yesterday. I relied on the forwarding of all messages to my school inbox. 98% of the messages I found lurking in my inbox  were things that had been sent to my school account or announced on the course home page.  I now know better, but there are a lot of users who interact with Canvas in the same way I did. They aren't going to know that there is a problem because they don't read "feature ideas" and they aren't aware that they are missing messages.

A person who doesn't use the Canvas inbox won't be able to scroll down to "Submission Comments."

thatcher_bohrma
Community Participant

Thumbs up for this, WAY up.

johnpj
Community Contributor

Those interested in commenting functionality may also be interested in: Import Grade Comments

allison
Instructure
Instructure

Really great conversation going on here! This is one of those threads I know we will return to because you've all pointed out a variety of pain points and possible solutions. This isn't something I foresee fixing this summer, but it is something I'd like to take up again in the fall, if possible. We will archive for now, with the intent to solution later. It is vital that we make it easy for instructors to stay on top of inbound communication from their students. Thanks again, everyone!

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Well stated!

ephraimross1
Community Participant

Whatever the ultimate change is, what's clear is that right now we need a way for instructors to clearly see whether they have any unread submission comments. Is there a reason we couldn't do something like this:

inbox_update2.png

Which can clearly indicate both incoming messages in the inbox AND submission comments, separately?

ephraimross1
Community Participant

In addition, we'd also love something like this for instructors:

NAT 211 Anatomy and Physiology II May 16 to Sept 4, 2016 Youngstrom.png

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
greg_swan
Community Member

This is one of a few Canvas issues I've had to resort to telling students what to do as a workaround.  Here is my workaround.  This is easier for my students and I than trying to remember to manually change the inbox filter to Submission Comments and look to see if there are any there several times a day. (And yes, I do know how to set up email notifications for Submission Comments.)

I know you have a lot thrown at you at the beginning of the semester.  However, Canvas has had a problem for about two years that is so confounding I send out this special announcement every semester.  

When you view many assignments, the page will include a Submission Comment box with this message: "Teacher and submitter will be notified of all comments."  That statement is misleading.

AddAComment.png

If you place a comment in this box on an assignment page, I'll see your comment only on the odd chance I someday view that specific assignment page. Even if I see your comment and reply to it, YOU won't see my reply until the next time YOU look at that particular assignment page.  

So what is the Submission Comment Box for?  Purpose 1: It's a way for you to include a personal note along with an essay when you submit it.  When I grade essays, I'll see and read your personal note.  Purpose 2 for the comment box: When I grade your essay, I may want to explain the grade or provide other feedback.  I type this feedback in the comment box and you will be able to read my comments when you look at your essay after I've graded it.  NEVER type anything into the submission comment box on a quiz or exam, because there is never a reason for me to look at your quiz unless you message me through the Canvas Inbox to look at it.

If you ever wish to ask me a question about the class and want a quick answer, NEVER USE THE SUBMISSION COMMENT BOX.

Instead, use the Canvas Inbox messaging.  You'll find specific step-by-step instructions for messaging me on the Home page, together with pictures.

The short summary:

Fast response: Use Canvas Inbox Messaging.  I'll be alerted immediately.

A response within two days or so: Use email.  I look at it every day or two during the work week.

No response: Submission Comment Box.

jeskinne
Community Participant

I found out about this thread and voting in Canvas community because I contacted the Canvas-heads at my college.  I am also concerned about missing student questions and comments and requests for help that appear in the submission comment box.  I would love there to be a way to easily see (in a crosslisted course) whether any student has made a comment back to me on a comment I gave on an assignment or discussion.  I'm finding those linked in the daily Canvas update emails but sometimes I miss one -- I get a lot of email.  It's not like "inbox" where an alert will show when I log in.  

stevec
Community Contributor

Why hasn't this gotten anywhere? I just checked, and somehow my carefully checked box requesting that student comments on assignments be emailed to me unchecked itself and once again I'm missing student communication. I'll ask again for what I asked for earlier in this thread--make email notifications of student comments "opt-out" instead of "opt-in."  I'm sorry about folks who feel their inboxes are cluttered, but that clutter is made up of students attempting to communicate. Student grades are on the line here. 

lee_knowlton
Community Participant

 @scottdennis ‌ Do you know if there have been any updates on this?

Allison had planned to follow up last fall and we're over a year since the last update.

At my institution, we're having quite a bit of trouble with students not seeing instructor comments on their assignments. And since our entire Canvas curriculum is based on qualitative feedback with complete/incomplete assignments, students knowing when they get feedback is absolutely essential.

In terms of design, I'm a fan of  @ephraimross1 ‌'s mock-up of the inbox counters. 

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