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Surveyor

Are Discussions a Back Door for Students Into Hidden Areas?

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When students post in a discussion or anywhere they can access the editor, they appear to be able to use the "Insert Content Into the Page" panel, which includes links to the Quizzes, Modules, Assignments, etc., areas even when those areas are hidden on the course index column. Is there a way to prevent this?

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Surveyor

I just heard back from support with the following -

"Looking into this, it looks like we currently have an open issue tracker regarding this problem (unpublished items displaying to students in the content selector) and we are working to get it resolved."



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Community Member

Well, that's an interesting observation smedshammerm@yosemite.edu​!  At first, I thought:  well, what's the big deal...the most they can do is create a link to an item and see the same message they would normally see about the item not being available yet, etc.  But then I noticed this:  not only can they see the disabled menu items, but they can also see an unpublished assignment!  On the screen capture below, I have a class where I'm logging in as a student.  This student can "see" an upcoming, unpublished assignment.  (And I also disabled the Assignments menu item):

discussion links.jpg

Again, any link they create from using the sidebar will not work, of course, if they add it to the discussion post, but the fact that they can see an unpublished assignment--in addition to an unavailable menu item, as Michael mentions, is rather troubling.  This may be worth a ticket to support to report.  Anyone else out there noticing this?  I wonder if it is a side effect of the work Instructure is doing on the RCE and new sidebar?  If so, I'm not sure if this was the behavior under the old sidebar or not.  I never noticed it myself.

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Surveyor

I unfortunately second this. :smileyshocked:  I've submitted it to Canvas Support (case #01606424 - feel free to reference it) and I recommend others submit this to support as well.

The first view is the Instructor view and shows that not only the Module, but the specific discussion is unpublished from students. The second view is the Student view (I actually masqueraded as one of my students) where a student is posting in an open/published discussion and in the Content Selector they can view the unpublished discussions shown in the Instructor view.

ViewUnpublishedContent.jpg

**This does not allow students to access the content, but in some cases I don't want students to see or even know something exists. For example, I had some secret extra credit last week at the end of one of my videos. I had the assignment for the extra credit hidden until after the extra credit opportunity expired. If students saw that the opportunity existed - so saw the extra credit assignment - then it would have ruined what I was trying to do, see if students were watching my videos.**

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Navigator

Given the small number of students who requested the extra credit, I don't think they've caught on that they can see the information in the links.

I don't have time to check this out right now, but is this specific to discussions or does it happen any time the student has access to the Rich Content Editor (for example essay questions on a quiz)?

I'm pretty sure that it used to be that things didn't show up in the RCE content links until they were published. Has anyone checked this out without on the old sidebar?

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Community Member

Oh, good thought, james@richland.edu​!  I just tried checking, and indeed it appears that this occurs ONLY in Discussions.  I tried an essay question in a quiz, and all the student sees is the usual sidebar showing the progression of questions.  I also tried it in an Assignment that allowed a text entry-type of online submission, and they do not see the sidebar at all.

And now that you mention it, I just realized that the Feature Option of "Use remote version of Rich Content Editor And Sidebar" is no longer with us at all!  Interesting....that must have sneaked in during the last update.  "Use remove version of Rich Content Editor" is still there (and enabled), but not the previously-existing Sidebar option.

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Surveyor

I just heard back from support with the following -

"Looking into this, it looks like we currently have an open issue tracker regarding this problem (unpublished items displaying to students in the content selector) and we are working to get it resolved."



View solution in original post

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Surveyor

Thank you kona@richland.edu​ and everyone for following up with this and seeing it through. Hopefully this loophole will be addressed soon.  --Mike

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Adventurer

Hi Kona,

Any more news on this issue with students seeing all content in a discussion RCE?

The other day, I was working with an instructor who was not able to see see any of her *unpublished* pages when she was trying to include a link on one page to yet unpublished content; we had to go to the original page, publish it and then go back to the page we were editing to add the link. I never realized this was an issue because my permissions always allow me to see everything.

I thought man, how horrible that the teacher can't see her own unpublished content but her students editing in a discussion forum can!

Alas,
Shar

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Surveyor

Nope, haven't heard anything else on this. 😞

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Community Member

Actually, Sharmaine, I'm fairly sure that the specifics of what you are describing just now has always been true, though I would not stake money on it.  Though I could not find it in the documentation, I believe that you were never able to create a link to an unpublished page.  While I could see where that is annoying from a course development perspective, I could also see it as a bit of a safety valve in that you would not want to create a link to something that is not published.

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