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sara_samples
New Member

Differientiation

How are you using canvas for differentiated assignments/quizzes?

When I used edmodo, I found it really simple to do this -- now, in canvas, I feel like a blockhead.  What am I missing?  Do I really have to recreate each item from scratch?  Do I really have to select each individual person for each assignment (is there honestly no way to choose "everyone except" or to excuse a student from an assignment/quiz in a way that prevents them from accessing it?)

ELI5, please!

14 Replies
joseph_allen
Community Champion

Sara,

Here is a Canvas help doc that addresses this question.  When you create an assignment, assign it to everyone.  Then click the "+Add" button at the bottom of the Assign box.  Select the one student that you want to give a different due date or even excuse and you now have a differentiated assignment for one student and 'everyone else'.  

Yes, but this does not actually remove the assignment from that student.  When I say "differentiate" I don't mean "give extended time" I mean actually present a different option.  This would allow me to give (student) a different due date, but would not actually remove (student) from the assignment.  If I go back and take (student) out, it reverts to "everyone" which puts (student) back into the mix. 

My current work around is that I have everyone but (student) in a list called "test" (which I have explained away to the students as "I was just playing with the groups feature and created a "test" group to see how they work") but actively using groups to differentiate is not really an option as groups and group memberships are visible to students, so this is not a good long term solution. 

Also, it doesn't address AT ALL the issue of how to easily create a modified assignment.  Right now, I basically have to create two assignments from scratch.  I cannot modify an already existing assignment.  Yes, I know there is an incredibly cumbersome and dangerously ineffective workaround involving exporting and importing that can be used to make a copy of a quiz, but it's incredibly cumbersome and can easily result in accidental overwrite of the original quiz. 

Sara,

On your first point, simply give the student an EX in the gradebook and it removes them being accountable for that assignment. That may be the easiest work around.   On the second point, my experience is the same as your observation in that there is no easy way to create an alternate or modified assignment.  You do in fact have to create two assignments.  We've been asking Canvas for a 'copy' button for some time which would remedy this situation and many others, but there has not been action on that front.  Canvas will often point us to using Commons as a way to copy/ duplicate work, but that is not an efficient way to do a simple copy which is all that is necessary in many situations. 

Excusing the student in the gradebook does not actually keep the student from seeing the assignment.  The assignment still exists for the student, and this is confusing for students, especially for the sort of student who needs modified assignments.  Also, I don't actually want them to know they are being excluded from the things they do not have to do. 

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kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @sara_samples ​, the best guide for the differentiated assignments feature/tool is this one - What do Differentiated Assignments look like in Canvas?. Yet, I just removed it and I can see where it might be slightly misleading at the bottom because it says "users" can see which students are assigned to which due dates, etc (this is at the very end). What is actually meant by that is that Instructors can view this information. Students can't view this information. They can only view the assignment information for themselves and if they weren't assigned an assignment then they can't even see that the assignment exists. Here are some screen shots I did today to show how it works.

Example 1a: I have two different due date settings for this assignment. One student has one due date and the other students have a different due date. No privacy issues here - these are all test students!

ClassSettings.png

Example 1b: This is how the assignment looks to the one student. Notice the student can only see the settings for himself, he can't see anything else related to the rest of the class.

StudentView.png

Example 2a: In this example only ONE student is assigned to this assignment.

SingleStudentSettings.png

Example 2b: This is the Instructor View. Notice that the Assignment is showing up (side note it also shows up like this for the one student it was assigned to).

InstructorView.png

Example 2c: This is a student view of a student who does NOT have the assignment assigned to him. Notice that the assignment does not show up at all. This is also the same for the gradebook. The assignment does not show up in the gradebook.

StudentViewNoAssignment.png

Does this help or does it not match what you are seeing? If it doesn't match what you are seeing, could you provide some similar screen shots showing your settings and the problems/what the students are seeing that they shouldn't? Thanks!!

I feel like we are all talking past each other.

--if I take the time to put each individual student into an assignment individually, yes, only the individual students I put into the assignments can see the assignments.

--BUT, that is precisely what I do not want to do, because it takes a really, really long time to enter every assignment this way for 98 students.

--If I do the everyone gets the assignment thing, then "add" the differentiated student, I can change the DUE DATE for the same assignment, but I don't want to change the due date, I don't care about the due date.  I want to give a completely different assignment.  I don't want the differentiated student to see the assignment that the other students are getting.  At all.  Ever. 

--Excusing the student from the assignment in the gradebook does not prevent the student from seeing the assignment.  It merely keeps it from impacting their grade. 

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 @sara_samples ​, thanks for clarifying what you're trying to do. I'm going to try to work through your points.

  • If I take the time to put each individual student into an assignment individually, yes, only the individual students I put into the assignments can see the assignments. BUT, that is precisely what I do not want to do, because it takes a really, really long time to enter every assignment this way for 98 students. To be clear, you want a completely different assignment for all 98 students?
  • If I do the everyone gets the assignment thing, then "add" the differentiated student, I can change the DUE DATE for the same assignment, but I don't want to change the due date, I don't care about the due date.  I want to give a completely different assignment.  I don't want the differentiated student to see the assignment that the other students are getting.  At all.  Ever. I'm confused. (1) If you don't want to assign a due date you don't have to. You can leave the due dates blank and just use the differentiate feature to select which student(s) see an assignment. (1) If you don't want a student to see an assignment, then just don't add them to the assignment (under the differentiated feature). (3) Would this feature idea help with this? " modifiedtitle="true" title="Assign to everyone except selected students
  • Excusing the student from the assignment in the gradebook does not prevent the student from seeing the assignment.  It merely keeps it from impacting their grade. I agree and didn't suggest this.

Rereading your original question again, with your clarification, it really does seem like this feature idea is what you are looking for - " modifiedtitle="true" title="Assign to everyone except selected students - and no, unfortunately, this feature doesn't currently exist. This feature idea has already gone up for vote and been commented on by Canvas (that it's not currently something they are planning to implement), so my recommendation is to comment on why this feature is so important to you and your work flow and also follow it (so that way you'll be alerted to any updates).

Hope this helps!

  • If I take the time to put each individual student into an assignment individually, yes, only the individual students I put into the assignments can see the assignments. BUT, that is precisely what I do not want to do, because it takes a really, really long time to enter every assignment this way for 98 students. To be clear, you want a completely different assignment for all 98 students?
    • No, I want an assignment for 97 students, and then a different assignment for one.  Or, more realistically, an assignment for 94 students, and a couple different assignments for the other 4.  What I do not want is to have to add the names of 94 students individually to the assignment that I want them to do, because that takes forever. 
  • If I do the everyone gets the assignment thing, then "add" the differentiated student, I can change the DUE DATE for the same assignment, but I don't want to change the due date, I don't care about the due date.  I want to give a completely different assignment.  I don't want the differentiated student to see the assignment that the other students are getting.  At all.  Ever. I'm confused. (1) If you don't want to assign a due date you don't have to. You can leave the due dates blank and just use the differentiate feature to select which student(s) see an assignment. (1) If you don't want a student to see an assignment, then just don't add them to the assignment (under the differentiated feature). (3) Would this feature idea help with this? Assign to everyone except selected students
    • 1.  This was not based on your suggestion, but on Joe Allens'
      • "Sara, Here is a Canvas help doc that addresses this question.  When you create an assignment, assign it to everyone.  Then click the "+Add" button at the bottom of the Assign box.  Select the one student that you want to give a different due date or even excuse and you now have a differentiated assignment for one student and 'everyone else'.  "
    • 2.  BUT, it appears that the only way to do that would be to add each student to each assignment individually.  This is what I specified that don't want to do and why I was asking for suggestions regarding in the first place.
    • 3.  And yes, that's precisely what I'd be looking for.  Precisely. 
  • Excusing the student from the assignment in the gradebook does not prevent the student from seeing the assignment.  It merely keeps it from impacting their grade. I agree and didn't suggest this.
    • Again, this was not based on your suggestion, but on Joe Allens'
      • "Sara,  On your first point, simply give the student an EX in the gradebook and it removes them being accountable for that assignment. That may be the easiest work around. '"

I guess I am frustrated because I keep asking "how do I do this without having to add every student one at a time?" and I keep getting "just add every student one at a time!" as a response. 

Yes, I think we've finally gotten somewhere. Unfortunately it's not where you wanted to be, which is that you are correct that if you want to assign an assignment to every student BUT a student (or a few student) you would have to add all of your students individually to the assignment except the ones you don't want. :smileycry:

The only other way around this that I know of, and for my Institution wouldn't even work, is that if you know there are a few specific students that are the ones you don't want to have the same assignment as everyone else (ex: students who get accommodations) then you could create different sections and then manage the differentiate feature by sections. How this would work is that you'd create a different section for the students that you know get different assignments. If you would sometimes need to assign something to only one of these students then the best bet is to create a different section for each of these students. Then create a section for the rest of your students.

Example:

Section 1: Student A (needs various accommodations)

Section 2: Student B (needs various accommodations)

Section 3: Student C (needs various accommodations)

Section 4: Student D (needs various accommodations)

Section 5: All other students in the course EXCEPT students A-D (so 90 students)

Then, when you go to differentiate the assignments you could select "Section 5" for the assignment for most of the class and you wouldn't have to individually enter the names of 90 students. If you need to assign an assignment for a specific student you could either pick their name or their section. If you did have an assignment for all 94 students then you would just add all 5 sections or "Everyone" (which is the default).

The only downside to this is if your Institution doesn't allow you to create your own sections or if your Canvas administrator won't create them for you. This is determined at an Institutional level based on many different things, but if it's possible then would definitely do the trick for you!

Hope this helps!

Yes, you are correct that I can not make sections -- I can make groups, so that's my work around for right now, but it's not a good work around, since students can see what groups they are in (or not in, respectively).

You are 100% correct that groups are NOT a good work around. Smiley Sad

And yes, I had voted on and commented on that idea. 

clong
Community Champion

I feel your pain on this Sara! I hope they reconsider the timeline on implementing Assign to everyone except selected students.

I've read all the posts in this thread and I wish I could add something that would be of use to you but unfortunately I think we will have to wait for this feature (or something like it) to be developed.