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"Real" Student View

"Real" Student View

(3)
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For details, please read through the Canvas Deploy Notes (2020-08-12)


Okay, so the title could use some work, sorry about that.

 

Alright, so the basic idea is that the Student View be expanded to emulate a legitimate account with no special permissions. Now, within Canvas, the current option is fairly accommodating, but it is troublesome when dealing with external tools that are reliant upon additional information that is not generated for the current Student View system.

 

For example, Chalk & Wire Learning Assessment uses the e-mail address of the user to create or access the account-level intended for that user. This is troublesome for testing due to the need to masquerade or login as a student account, separate our actual accounts. Of course, for administrators, this isn't a horrible setback, but for teachers demonstrating how-to use the external tool to their class don't have the luxury of accessing other user accounts. As a result, they must "borrow" a student account to perform their demonstrations.

 

As external tools come in all shapes and sizes, I am pushing forward the idea of expanding the Student View to emulate a full user to avoid encountering similar issues that may occur with other external tools that require different information that isn't created in the Student View.

42 Comments
hasti
Community Champion

 @kona , I am unable to figure out how to access either environment. If I go to https://canvas.test.instructure.com/login/canvas I don't have an email/password combination to give it that is valid; if I go to https://canvas.wisc.edu.test.instructure.com I get an message that the site is not set up correctly.

In any case, it does not appear that I would be able to get any better of a student view than currently offered (and I could not add my TAs as students either). I need to have an actual real student view so I can see what happens when students have multiple quiz submissions, be able to know exactly what students see in graded quizzes and the grades (which is not completely accurately depicted by either the Student View or the Canvas documentation), among other things.

hasti
Community Champion

Got the answer - my university "doesn't have" the test/beta environments.

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

Strange... maybe they don't have them for faculty use because it comes with a normal Canvas installation - so it's not like it's extra - and as an admin I use it all the time and find it extremely helpful. 

Sorry! 😞

kschneider25
Community Champion
scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

 @hasti ‌,

Kori has them in the right order (I can never remember).  Were you ever able to access your test and beta environments?

maguire
Community Champion

In trying to help another teacher out with making submissions via the test user ("Studenttest") to URKUND via the beta environment the teacher gets an error message that the test users does not have an e-mail address. However, I find that I cannot assign the test user an e-mail address (in this case the e-mail address of the teacher). Is there a reason that the test user cannot be assigned an e-mail address?

The reason to use the beta environment is that the submissions will get deleted when the beta environment is refreshed, rather than being kept permanently in the production environment).

kschneider25
Community Champion

 @maguire ‌ test student is not a real user Canvas profile so there isn't an email address or SIS ID or anything unique.  If you are using beta then you can masquerade as anyone within your environment to submit the assignment. You could masquerade as each student within the course, for example.

Also depending on how URKUND was implemented in your environment, the Canvas beta might be connecting to URKUND production environment unless your school is changing the connection every week within Canvas beta and/or test to point to URKUND test environments.

tiffany_maglasa
New Member

I agree;  I wish I could see how Canvas looks to a particular student to see if they can see my feedback on assignments, correct answers for quizzes, or what things they get notifications about (see their specific 'course steam').

cesbrandt
Community Champion

That's already possible through masquerading, or as it's now called "act as user". This, however, is an administrative ability that should not be granted to anyone lightly.

This idea isn't so that faculty can see from a specific student's point-of-view, but to emulate being a student more thoroughly. It's primarily intended to make external tools, many of which require an e-mail address be included in the user data supplied, easier to test by allowing them to pull information from the Student View account, rather than needing a properly made secondary account.

maguire
Community Champion

Would being able to add the teacher's email address as the e-mail address use with the LTI call for the test student be sufficient? 

Alternatively, perhaps the solution is to introduce an LTI proxy that can add this information; then call the really external LTI provider.

Chip

cesbrandt
Community Champion

Adding the teacher's e-mail address is not likely to fix the issue for accessing it as a student if the external tool recognizes that the address is already associated with another account.

As for setting up a proxy, while that is a institution-level solution, it does nothing for expanding the functionality of the Student View feature, which is the key to this idea.

ronmarx
Community Contributor

I didn't find this reference when I posted my same/similar idea, but want to memorialize it here with what I hope is a useful infographic.

As an UX/UI instructional designer, I like to view what I'm creating in the Canvas RCE after short intervals of work, and view what I've created within STUDENT VIEW.

We all know the sole circuitous manner to do this now, that requires publishing the incomplete assignment/quiz/discussion (1 click), leaving our work for the Settings page (1 click), selecting Student View (1 click), then rerouting back to the assignment/quiz/discussion (1+ clicks) to view as a student.

Extra screen real estate exists in the right margin to put the Student View (and the Share to Commons) feature on all assignment/quiz/discussion elements. Such a enhancement would save teachers and designers time, and make keep the the design task focused on the creative process rather than a mind-numbing, repetitive one.

Student View available on all assignment, quiz, and discussion "Canvas consumables."

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

glewd
New Member

I'm coming to this discussion late, but would love a "real student view". Some things I can't see in the test student:

Attendance

Conversations

Collaborations

Differentiated assignments

External apps

Groups

Peer reviews

Profiles

And I imagine more …

I'd just like to be able to see Canvas exactly as my students see it. It's impossible to tell students what to do/where to go when you don't know what it looks like to them. ANY software company knows that the developer has to be able to see things from the end user's side. We are using Canvas to develop our courses for students. Please let us see what they do.

PSU_Tony
Community Contributor

This idea seems like it would really solve the need for a secondary or "dummy" account in Canvas for instructors or instructional designers. We have many, many people with duplicate accounts and some of them are for this reason, but when trying to clean up the accounts that are not needed many of these become casualties. Either way it is a security risk. Would be nice to get an update.

blangston
New Member

Three years and another feature not added to Canvas.

ryan_cloyd1
Community Member

  I fully agree that there needs to be a full and more realistic test student account (like a blank alias account) rather than just a test student view. I do instructional design work and at many times need to focus on user experience design that goes beyond the "test student"'s course limitations (for example; being able to demonstrate and manipulate third-party tool integrations like badging systems that require an actual account). I think the ability to have multiple test accounts would be crucial to better developing group assignments, discussion functions, and collaborative third-party tools.

  Unfortunately the university that I'm currently at has a strict rule against allowing "dummy" accounts (shared guest accounts) and I'm finding the current "student view" has a great deal of limitations in its ability to help in structuring course design. Maybe an Instructional Design / User Experience (UX) account could be implemented for specific administrative level access within Canvas. 

Stef_retired
Community Team
Community Team
Comments from Instructure

The Test Student in Canvas is supported in LTI launches with the Test User role. This behavior allows external app providers using LTI 1.3 and LTI Advantage services to implement the Test Student and provide a different view of their app when activated by an instructor via Student View in Canvas. When instructors view their courses as the Test Student, the test user role claim will be added as part of the LTI launch.

For more information, please read through the Canvas Deploy Notes (2020-08-12)

maguire
Community Champion

I have found that a useful way to explore such functionality is by setting up a Canvas instanced (built from source code) and actually creating fake users in it. In this way, the fake users can have whatever property I need them to have to be able to test code.

For example, I have created fake users that have information stored as custom user data (to store the information about the name of the student's program of study and their track/specialization).  Using this I was able to demonstrate the value of adding this information to Canvas - as currently, this information is in a completely separate student information system that I could only access via a web browser and lots of pointing and clicking. I was able to show that if this information were available, an LTI application could do an adaptive survey or quiz that could take into consideration the student's program of study and track to adapt the questions to suit the student's program and track.

In some other testing, I have found that I really need to have a lot of other information to fully emulate a real student - such as sis_integration_id for the student and course. In the case of interacting with a SIS that only has real users in it, this breaks the fully fake user model as there has to be some actual real data included in the fake user's configuration.

cesbrandt
Community Champion

I'm not really sure that fits with the original concept of the idea, but I also can't fault the logic of bringing it into standards of the version.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how this plays out with the many vendors we contract with, but I'm grateful to see this hasn't been forgotten! :smileygrin: