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jblumberg
Community Contributor

Course Analysis Tool

Champlain College developed a Course Analysis Tool to be used in our QA process for online courses. The tool is built entirely on top of Google Spreadsheets and pulls data directly from Canvas via the API. We will present the features of the tool and share it with participants.

Presenter: Josh Blumberg​ - Champlain College

  Location Map & Room: SILVERADO 1

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jblumberg
Community Contributor

Hope everyone enjoys the presentation.

The Course Analysis Tool can be found here.

To use it:

1.  You will need to make your own copy of the spreadsheet.

2.  In your own copy, follow the instructions on the ReadMe tab

3.  Don't share you spreadsheet with anyone... even colleagues.  It is very important to keep your Canvas API Token secure.

Hope you enjoy, drop us a note if you find a creative use for it or if you make any cool additions!

d21585h
Community Contributor

 @jblumberg  Thank you again for a great presentation! When we QA courses, we also check our courses in various supported browsers on various supported platforms (such as Firefox on the Mac and Windows, etc.). Does this tool have a way to do that? If not, is this something you all check another way in your QA process?

Thanks!

jblumberg
Community Contributor

David,

I would suggest that you work to identify what causes issues in some browsers versus others.  It would be extremely tedious to test every page of every course in every browser.  If you can identify those elements likely to cause problems than the course analysis tool may be able to help!

Once you have identified the html likely to cause a problem, add it to the search tab... now you can search for pages containing this search term.  When found, there is a link in the spreadsheet right back to the course... this can save you time in your testing by directing you to the affected pages only.

For instance, I have '<iframe src="http:' as a search term...  this will look for iframes that don't have the https...  it also takes advantage of the fact that the WYSIWYG modifies your html moving the 'src' attribute to be the first attribute automatically.

Not a perfect solution...  but it may help.

If you do find some helpful search terms, please share them here...  I am very curious to see how other institutions end up using the tool!

Josh

jblumberg
Community Contributor

Hey all,

Instructure changed some of their code for pagination again... this broke the tool.  A fix is already posted, but if you have a copy already, then just get yourself a new copy here  (same link as before):

Course Analysis Tool - Open Source Release - Google Sheets

Josh

p.s.  Anyone at Instructure want to mention to the engineers to stop tweaking the way pagination of API calls works (All that was changed is the word "link" became "Link" ... capitalization)!

mjennings
Advocate

Really liking this so far. Is there a way to break out Quiz and list there settings instead of them being listed in Assignments?

jblumberg
Community Contributor

Matthew,

We don't use many quizzes in our online courses so we didn't add a separate tab for quizzes.

It would be a good thing now that I look at it.  All of the settings for a quiz are nicely returned by the API.  It would look a lot like the discussions tab does, there are a bunch of settings for quizzes that would be nice to check for consistency.

It wouldn't include any information about what questions are part of the quiz.  From what I can tell, I can't see a current way of getting this from the API (strange!). 

I'll add this to the backlog for the next time we do a bigger overhaul of the tool. 

jblumberg
Community Contributor

Instructure posted the video of this presentation here:

Course Analysis Tool - YouTube

mjennings
Advocate

That would be awesome. We look at the settings to ensure that instructors are using the best settings to ensure security. This alone would save me hours. The question information is not as important for what we do.

CommunityTeam
New Member

The session video is now available at:

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jblumberg
Community Contributor

Deactivated user,

When you say you "downloaded" the sheet... this makes me think this may be where you went awry.  It sounds like you lost the scripts that power the tool using that process.

1.  In Google Apps, you open the Master Copy

2.  It will be read-only.  Go to the File Menu in the spreadsheet and choose, "Make a copy"

3.  Now setup this copy.

Hope that helps.

jblumberg
Community Contributor

Brian,

You can use the sheet as is by simply:

1.  Adding your institutions URL to lists tab field J2   (keep the format: https://yourinstitution.instructure.com/api/v1/courses/ )

2.  On the "selection" tab erase the content in C2,C3 & C4

3.  Type the CourseID directly into field C5

(You can get the courseID from the URL you see on the homepage of your course)

4.  Now you can select "Repopulate All Sheets"

You can setup the pull down menus to work on the selection tab by filling out the rest of the info on the lists tab.  Without this, you cannot dynamically pull the courses in your Canvas account.  We set it up this way because the term codes and account codes at our institution are so complicated that we only wanted to use an abbreviated list and so manually maintaining them made more sense for us.  If you aren't a Canvas power user I recommend skipping this step and just typing the CourseID in.

Hope that helps.

Josh

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Beth_Young
Community Contributor

I can't figure out why not, but I can't seem to make a copy. The "file" menu is grayed out. I'm logged into my google account. Is there something else I need to do?

grayed out tool.JPG

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Beth_Young
Community Contributor

I figured out my problem when none of my other spreadsheets (including sheets I created and own) would let me do anything to them either. The problem is somewhere in Chrome. The sheet works fine in Firefox, and that's as much troubleshooting as I am willing to do right now. Smiley Happy Just putting this comment here in case anyone else runs into a similar problem.

Laura_Orsetti
New Member

Wow - why didn't I find this sooner! This is an amazing tool and I want to thank you for your kindness in sharing it with others, as it's not something I could have ever done myself!  The information this pulls up is a gold mine!  Thank you so much!

I did have one question though.  I can get the tool to work if I directly enter the Course ID on the Selection page, but when I try to set it up to use the drop-down list I can't seem to get it to run. Before I even select anything from the "Account" or "Term" or "Course Name" fields, they are marked with a message that says "Invalid content This cell's contents violate its validation rule."  What could be the root of this issue?  Perhaps I don't have things set up right on the "Lists" tab?  I currently only have one term listed, and when I do select the items from the "Account" and "Term" dropdowns, the cell for "Course Name" endlessly says "Processing", even though I selected Repopulate.  It's not a big deal because I can get it to work without the dropdowns, but thought I would ask...

tool.png

Thanks,

Laura

jblumberg
Community Contributor

 @Laura_Orsetti ​ Glad you are liking the tool.

Setting up the drop down menus is institution specific.  It requires you to populate the "Lists" sheet which is a sheet in the spreadsheet that is hidden.  It can be a bit of a pain to populate the account and term codes, so some people will just use the tool by entering the courseID as you have.  If you have a few people at your institution who will use the tool then it is worth the time to set it up fully.

Josh

Laura_Orsetti
New Member

Thanks!  I tried replacing our institution's info where yours is on the Lists tab, but it just doesn't take when I try to use the drop-downs.  It's quite possible I am not entering the correct info as we are relatively new to Canvas.  I may touch-base with my CSM for help, but since I can run it by just entering the Course ID, it's not a big deal.  Thanks so much!!

jblumberg
Community Contributor

You need to get your actual account and term codes from Canvas.  The directions below will only work if you are an admin

To get your account codes:

Go to the account or sub-account (you'll need to be an admin).  Copy the code from the URL

To get your enrollment terms you can make an easy API call by just going to this URL.  Change the to items in all caps.  For most institutions your root account likely has all of your enrollment_terms, but that may not be true at all institutions:

(once you have your accounts)

https://YOURINSTITUTION.instructure.com/api/v1/accounts/ACCOUNTCODEFROMABOVE/terms?per_page=100

You can find the enrollment_term code in whats returned as the "id"

Josh

Laura_Orsetti
New Member

Thanks!  I am an Admin and tried this and got it to work.  It's so wonderful!  Thank you!

jlondon
New Member

Just tried using this. Took me a while to figure out how to configure it, but eventually I got it to work, except for populating the modules sheet. On that script, I get the following error:

Message details
TypeError: Cannot call method "split" of undefined
Any thoughts on that? 
Thanks,
JL
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jblumberg
Community Contributor

Replying directly so you have my email.

Can you try this against a different course and see if you get the same

error. We are still using the tool quite a bit here in house and no-one

mentioned an issue to me so I am curious what is breaking it.

I haven't updated the code in quite a bit but it does seem to keep chugging

along. The person who wrote the majority of the project moved on a few

years ago and I rarely find the time for coding in my role.

Josh

--

Josh Blumberg

Director of Academic Technology

The Center for Learning and Technology

Champlain College

802-383-6678

Jblumberg@champlain.edu

http://clt.champlain.edu <https://clt.champlain.edu>

On Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 3:18 PM, jlondon@bellevuecollege.edu <

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ldix
New Member

Anyone know if this continues to work?

Mine seemed to stop working so I am wondering did it start to fail.

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jblumberg
Community Contributor

 @ldix ‌

My guess is that the API key you created expired.  You may need to generate a new API key in Canvas and add it back to the spreadsheet.

I know a bunch of staff here at Champlain College who continue to use it daily, so I would hear if it stops working.

We haven't updated the code in a long time, but Instructure also hasn't changed the Canvas API, so the tool continues to be quite reliable.

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ldix
New Member

Josh,

Thank you so much!

I will work on that. 

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ewidemark
New Member

Hi Josh, this seems like a great tool and I'm looking forward to using it.  I tried to use it but keep getting a "Syntax Error: Unexpected Token".  I created first a token with an expiration date and typed the information into the Credentials sheet on my own copy in my googledocs account.  When I received this error, I tried a token with no expiration date so I could leave everything but the B2 field in the Credentials sheet blank.

I appears that I do have the correct institutional link because I tried to change that and got a different error.  No sure what I am doing wrong?  The token is listed in my account settings as being there and active.

Thanks,

Erich

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