Canvas Parent 3.0 iOS Beta

Instructure
Instructure
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Here’s a public link to download the Canvas Parent 3.0 iOS beta from TestFlight:

https://testflight.apple.com/join/JDVOYyT9

We recommend uninstalling any other version of Canvas Parent installed on your device before you install the beta. You can connect to production and/or beta environments to try it out! Here’s what’s new in this version:

  1. Grades list support! This list includes support for grading periods, and it’s now the default view for each course in the parent app! If it looks familiar, that’s because it’s identical to the grades list in the student app.

    3.0 grades list

  2. Improved syllabus! If a teacher chooses a syllabus as their course home, that syllabus appears in the parent app, and it now includes the associated assignments/events list (“Summary” tab) visible from the student app. And get this: links from the syllabus now function!  Smiley Wink

    course syllabus in 3.0

  3. Front page support! If a teacher chooses a front page as their course home instead of the syllabus, that page now appears in the parent app. Links from the front page also function. (Already noted: the current beta version misspells “front page” as "frontpage." This will be fixed before release.)

    course front page in 3.0

    Other notes that won't apply to most courses: Syllabus and front page cover most course homes in K12, so those are the two course home types supported by parent app in 3.0. If another home page type (like “Course Activity Stream”) is selected, we’ll attempt to show the syllabus. If a syllabus doesn’t exist and a front page isn’t set to course home, the parent will only see the grades list in 3.0.

Go play with it! If you notice any wonkiness, you can “Send Beta Feedback” through the TestFlight app, or reply to this community post. Once we're through testing 3.0, we'll release it and move on to Canvas Parent 3.1: messaging!

(Android beta link coming before long, I think. If you want to know more about the Android parent app release plan, check out the fall update.)

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7 Comments
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

DUDE! So excited for this update. So pumped about this for our families. pcraighill@instructure.com

WHAT I LOVE :

I have tested it out and already love the GRADES/ASSIGNMENT view. I love the front page support with the ability to open PDF and other links. This was one of my huge requests for this app to be more functional. 

FEEDBACK :

  • I need to be able to view Rubric scores and Learning Mastery please. We use Learning Master in all 21 of our elementary schools and parents will greatly need this view. We also use LM in some of our high school classes.
  • Not sure why I need the summary tab.
  • Will this app display global announcements? 
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hello!   We also are very excited about improvements to the Parent App, pcraighill@instructure.com!  

A colleague who is also a parent (and the parent of a child in our Canvas Grading Pilot) downloaded the Beta version from TestFlight.  I haven't seen it myself, but she has shared info with me.  I will visit with her Friday to check it out myself.

But my immediate concern is that apparently parents can see their child's submissions.   We think students need some level of privacy.  The concern is that students may not express themselves fully if they know parents can see everything they've written/submitted.   Our preference is that parents only see what the Assignment is, and the Grade.  

My colleague also shared that the Filter starts perhaps at Assignment Groups, maybe?   She had to figure out to change the Filter to Quarter 2.   And it seems that the filter doesn't stick?  It sounded like she had to keep changing the filter.   She recorded her screen for me to look, and it also looks like each change of view take a long time to load.

Parents have asked for a Calendar view of Assignments that wasn't week by week -- that's their biggest request with our pilot group.

I second bmoser02@bluevalleyk12.org‌ -- many of our school are doing Standards Based Grading, so we are just starting to experiment and explore using Outcomes and I anticipate we will use it more next year and grow from there.   We look forward to seeing the Master Gradebook in the Parent App.   Does Mastery Gradebook appear in the Student App? If not, it would be important to have it there. 

Thanks!!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hello again,

I was able to play with the Test Flight/Beta app.    Here is feedback:

GRADES TAB

  • Really like the improvements to the Grades tab.
  • When the parent chooses Filter => Quarter 2, if they want to switch Quarters, they have to click Clear Filters before choosing another view.    Might be easier to simply switch the view instead of having to clear (it's like an extra step).
  • Love that parents can read Assignment directions and even click on links to view files or URLs, etc.
  • Since parents can see Grades, it would also be nice if they could see if the assignments was graded with a Rubric, and how it was scored.

SYLLABUS AND SUMMARY TABS

  • The Syllabus tab is fine, but the info on the Summary tab doesn't seem necessary (actually think it's confusing).  The course summary info seems like something a Higher Ed student might look at, but they won't have parents using the Parent App.

FRONT PAGE TAB

I guess I didn't realize this was being added to the App, and this is something our district really does *not* want.   Parent gets a web browser view with Global Navigation and Dashboard.  And the entire course, including student submissions, teacher feedback, student comments -- if we had wanted them to have full access, we would give them access to the Web version.      The App for us was giving them basically what they can see in Synergy, with a little more (assignment details).       

If they have this browser-type view, why bother building an app?

Our Canvas instance is behind our one-login/rapid identity, but this gets parents behind that (our parents don't have one-login accounts).  

Finally, we are looking forward to the CALENDAR VIEW instead of just Week view on the app.

Surveyor

Downloaded and testing Canvas Parent 3.0 Beta iOS app as a parent. 

Grades tab works fine. It would be nice to toggle between quarters without having to clear the filter first every time. 

Front page - interesting to see the course as a parent ..... but I can get to the Grades navigation link and see all student submissions, teacher comments and student comments. As mentioned above there may be a privacy issue for some teachers and students especially at the secondary level. 

When teachers use the Syllabus view instead of Front Page the Summary page appears. I'm not sure why I might need the summary page. In addition to assignments and quizzes all calendar events show up in the weekly calendar. 

If the assignment has a rubric attached it would be nice to see the rubric. 

Thanks

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

The new updates coming out for the Parent App are looking great, Peyton Craighill‌!

Glows:

  • Grade List - The grade list view has allowed parents to easily scan through an entire grading period worth of assignments and focus on those that need attention instead of looking through the week by week view. 

Grows:

  • Student Submissions - We have seen issues in the past with other platforms (Google Classroom, etc.) when parents are able to see student submissions. Students tend to not voice their real opinions, worrying that their parents won't approve. We'd like to see some degree of privacy in the teacher/student relationship when submitting assignments. For example, we have several teachers that have created assignments where students journal about their lives in a free-write type format. This new development exposes all of this writing to their parents without any level of discretion.
  • Course Access - The front page allows parents to see entire courses even without a login to the Canvas instance. In the past, this was not possible and teachers have created courses with this assumption. I'd second what hildi.pardo@apsva.us and katherine.leon@apsva.us mentioned - this creates a security concern for us as teachers were under the impression that the information inside their courses would be kept private. Parents would now have access to see other students' comments/discussion posts that they are not directly attached to. 
  • Mastery and Rubrics - We have several teachers (especially those using standards based grading) that use the mastery gradebook and rubrics on every assignment. Being able to see this type of grading and feedback in the Parent App is essential to parent communications in these courses.  
  • Global Announcements - I also second Bradley Moser‌'s question about global announcements. It would be great to be able to use this app as an additional way to communicate announcements/news with parents!

Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for the feedback, everybody!

  • Global announcements can be viewed from parent app by enabling the "Institution Announcements" alert threshold (see this Canvas Guide). We're going to enable course announcements and institution announcements by default starting in 3.1, which means there soon won't be any need to mess with that setting to view announcements in parent app.

  • The calendar redesign is currently planned for 3.2, and it's going to be much more fully featured than today's week [weak] view. More on that release coming in a future post.

  • I'll reach out individually to those who raised concerns about too much parental visibility in 3.0 to make sure I understand the situations. We're trying to strike a balance where parents can be informed and students can be free to learn and Canvas doesn't serve as an absolute replacement for communication between the two. The right balance may depend upon the district. I think we're closer in 3.0 but evidently we haven't totally arrived!

    My gut reaction is that the more native views we support within the app, the fewer reasons we have to link to Canvas in a browser from a front page. That may be an option for limiting parental visibility.

    (Just to clarify, the parent app uses Canvas observer tokens, so theoretically there's nothing parents can see from the parent app that they couldn't also see from a web browser or access via Canvas API...They just may not know how to get to Canvas from a web browser, depending on how your district sets up authentication/portals.)

  • We'll have to work with our outcomes people to see what we can do for learning mastery in mobile from student and parent perspectives...good thoughts!

Thanks again!

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Rad! Thanks for sharing about the updates. I have toggled on the Institution and Course Announcements. Glad they will be on by default. 

I have three students that I observe. I noticed when I open the app it always opens with the same student, instead of with the most recently viewed student. I have two elementary and one secondary student and I would rather have it open to my secondary student by default. Is there a way to indicate which student the app will open to? 

Also, I still love love love that we can get at the Syllabus or Front Page. That is a rad addition. 

About the Author
I’ve worked in product management at Instructure for five years. I love my teams, and Canvas, and solving problems to make Canvas better.