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john_barbour
Surveyor

Embed Canvas page within Canvas Assignment?

Is it possible to embed a Canvas page within a Canvas assignment (both being from the same course)?

 

Longer version:
When I create an assignment, I make it the *only* page on Canvas where students can access the assignment instructions as well as the only place where they can submit the assignment.

However, from a design standpoint, it seems advantageous to maybe have a page with an assignment's instructions separate from the place where that assignment is submitted. But then it creates the problem of having assignment instructions in two places (and thus having to make sure both are correct). 

Being able to create a single-source document that can populate both pages and assignments, or simply being able to embed a page within an assignment, would solve this issue. 

I tried using iframe and linking to the Canvas page, but it attempted to insert the entirety of the Canvas view (including menus, etc.). I haven't been able to locate a URL for just the page, and even if I do, I'm not sure it'll work for students. 

Thoughts?

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4 Replies
chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there, @john_barbour ...

I'm not sure I completely follow the reasonings for wanting to do what you are describing/asking.  It seems to me that having a separate page that contains your assignment directions and then trying to embed that page within an assignment is unnecessary...and could be a bit confusing.  Maybe I am interpreting your question wrong, but when you say that you have an assignment that you make as the "only" assignment where students can submit things (for the sake of our conversation, let's call this assignment "Submit Homework Here"), is that the only thing that is in your Gradebook?  Then, when the next assignment is due, you are then wanting to swap out a page of directions with new set of embedded directions but yet keep it in the "Submit Homework Here" assignment?  If that is the case, then that isn't something I would recommend...because everything is still being graded in the "Submit Homework Here" assignment.

To keep things simple, I would recommend that you just use assignments as they are intended...and put all your directions in each assignment so that your students know exactly what you expect from them.  You can use "Pages" content pages for other parts of your course...such as reading passages or other activities.

I'm sure I've completely "missed the boat" here trying to answer your question, but just trying to get a better understanding on your scenario.  So, apologies in advance.  Any extra details from you would be helpful...thanks!  Take care, and be well.

john_barbour
Surveyor

I don't mean only having one assignment in the course for which I can change out the content. 

I mean that currently I create a Canvas Assignment for every assignment that is due in the course (so, like 5 major assignments, not counting weekly discussion posts, etc.). Each Canvas Assignment includes detailed instructions for that particular assignment, plus it's (obviously) the place where students submit that assignment. 

The issue is that if I create a weekly schedule that includes "Read instructions for Assignment X," I can't do any sort of a reminder for students. If the assignment instructions were a separate page, I could add it to the student "to-do" list, and also list it separately under a "Readings" heading in a Weekly Module (particularly useful if I want them to read the instructions on Monday and submit the assignment on Friday). 

It seems like currently there are three potential solutions:

  1. Leave things as-is and stop overthinking it. Students will (and do) figure it out.
  2. Create a separate page for each assignment that provides instructions and also links to the final assignment submission. The problem with this is that there are now two Canvas documents to keep up to date. 
  3. Use Google Docs or Microsoft 365 to create all of my assignment documents. The Google/Microsoft doc is the single-source I can then embed wherever I want to on Canvas. I only have to update one set of instructions to place it anywhere within Canvas. The problem with this is that I'm dealing with a separate app. 

If I could embed Canvas content like I can embed Google or Microsoft content, I'd have more flexibility without having to leave Canvas. 

Basically I want a way to embed content from one Canvas document into another, and/or create a single-source document within Canvas that can be utilized across multiple instances without creating the need for multiple edits. 

Hope this makes things more clear.

Hello again, @john_barbour ...

So, I did a bit of testing.  While this is probably technically possible, it's not something I would generally recommend...though I do see how this could be helpful for you.  I used a code snippet from this website: HTML Iframes (specifically the one under the heading "Iframe - Set Height and Width" where you can change the pixel height and width of how big you'd want to display your embedded page).  My result looked something like this in an assignment:

PageEmbed.jpg

Here is where I can see some issues for you and your students doing it this way:

  • Although you cannot see it in this image, there are actually two sets of vertical scroll bars.  The inner scroll bars (which you can see to the right of the Baseball ipsum paragraph text are the inner scrollbars within the assignment.  But, there is another set of scroll bars that I would expect to see for the browser itself...on the far right edge of my screen.
  • You'll also notice that within this embed, you can see some of the same buttons you'd see for "Published", "Edit", "Immersive Reader", etc.  If I would scroll down within this frame, I would see "Previous" and "Next" buttons ... which are the "Previous" and "Next" buttons from the "Baseball Ipsum" page...not the "Baseball Page Embed" assignment.  So, that would be quite confusing for students trying to figure out which set of "Previous" or "Next" buttons to click on.

Here's an example which seems similar to one of the scenarios you've suggested which I've built out in Canvas.  I am a Canvas administrator, and one thing that we do for our instructors is build their curriculum into Canvas for a consistent look/feel.  I've built some courses where there are several discussion topics...each with a different subject matter.  But, the instructor also included a separate page that had more generic instructions that were to be included with all discussion topics.  So, what I ended up doing for this instructor was creating a separate page in Canvas.  Then, I linked to that page within each discussion topic.  So, if the instructor ever needed to modify the page of generic instructions, she only had to do it one place.  I've never heard that this isn't working...so I assume all has been going well.  I think you could do something similar with your assignment.

Anyway...I hope this might be of some help to you and give you some additional things to consider as you build out your content for your students.  Thanks...

john_barbour
Surveyor

I tried the iframes html previously but the resulting embed included the left-side Canvas menu, which would be even more confusing. Your testing shows that if you narrow the frame width, Canvas will embed the page as if it were (I think) being viewed on a mobile device, so the left-side menu is eliminated. 

This is certainly an improvement, but you're right about the "next" and other links leading to more potential confusion. 

Keeping the Canvas Assignment submission page brief but adding a link back to the Canvas Page with full instructions is always an option, and I've done that when designing grad-level courses. But with undergraduate courses, I want to make sure students can see all the relevant assignment details without having to click elsewhere. 

So I'll probably stick with my current way of doing things for now (Canvas Assignment with full instructions) and hope that my single-sourcing idea catches on. 

Thanks for your help.