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Surveyor

Assignments extending several days

Hi,

A great teacher asked me this question and I still don’t have a solution. Maybe someone in the community has a suggestion. 

The teacher has assignments which extend over several days and she wants all of the days showing on the calendar. For example, if a project starts August 7th and ends August 9th then she wants all three days showing on the calendar. Currently only the due date shows. 

She’s adding events to the calendar but this seems like extra work. 

How do you handle this type of assignment?

5 Replies
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Community Coach
Community Coach

lph, greetings! As far as I'm aware, what you're currently doing - adding events to the calendar - is the best way to handle something like this.

Kona

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Surveyor

Thank you. I will let her know. 

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Navigator

Since this is a discussion, here are my thoughts.

Feedback (direct questioning) from my students has indicated that they don't want things like this on their calendar because their calendars get too crowded. Instructors approach the issue from their perspective, thinking about just their course, and wanting students to do well in their course. Students have a different perspective and their calendars have information for many courses.

My students (community college students in a calculus class) told me that they just want to know when something is due, not when we're working on it. Sadly, many of them don't start working on it until it's due. But that's an argument against having calendars at all, not one for overloading the calendar with extra information. 

Sometimes what great teachers want or think should happen isn't best for the students. I don't pretend that I'm a great teacher, but I care and want my students to succeed. I was just trying to be helpful by reminding them in Canvas to be working on their homework in another system.

My statistics class did a project on how to be successful and those who use the calendar did better than those who didn't (self-reported). Do we want to make it so that students are less likely to use the calendar? I don't know how to make those who live off the To Do list use any other approach -- my efforts to force students to implement good study skills repeatedly fails. Every attempt I make to work the system results in them spending more time and clicks to get around the measures I've implemented so that they can still turn things in at the absolute last minute.

Is the calendar really the best place for it? Would it be better as part of a module or just perhaps in the assignment instructions?

If there are milestones that they are supposed to hit each day, then would it be better to split it up into mini-assignments? In this case, you could use a non-graded assignment. Those show up in places like the calendar and To Do list, but they don't populate the gradebook with extra columns.

I'm just pondering here. I realize that each course is different and what doesn't work for me might work for someone else. What works for me in statistics may not work for me in calculus.

Sometimes Canvas does make hard to do good things (such as almost anything related to quizzes and the math or sciences). Other times the instructor wants to do things that probably shouldn't be done.

When a teacher says "I want to do something but Canvas makes it hard," it's an opportunity to at least ask the question whether that's the best thing to do.

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Navigator

There is some similar discussion in this feature idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/9314-parents-and-students-must-have-urgent 

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Community Team
Community Team

When I was teaching, my solution to this was to create a one-page PDF checklist listing all of the course assignments and their availability/due dates dates*. I encouraged students to use the document to keep track of their work so they could start early if they chose. I directed students to this resource regularly. I also included this information in the course syllabus.

*The checklist also showed students how much each assignment contributed to the course grade. I know that's not directly germane to this particular discussion but adds to the utility of the checklist; students could plan their schedules and prioritize their time so as to skip an assignment with little course weight in a pinch.

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