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How to create a signup sheet for students to pick a topic?

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I want to create a signup sheet where the students pick their term paper topic.  I have a list of about 40 topics to choose from and I want only 1 student to signup for each topic.  Is there a way to do this in Canvas?

I am having trouble finding how to do this in Google Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Doodle as well.  Even if I figure out how to do it at one of these places, it would be good to integrate this into Canvas somehow.


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This is the right answer - can we move this to the top?  I was going to post this as well...

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I am also a fan of Padlet! 🙂

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I've not tested this out myself, but here's my initial thought/theory...  What if you created a Google Form for your students to fill out where you have them select from one of the 40 topics.  You would embed this form into a Canvas page of your course.  Also, you would embed the form that is collecting all the responses into the same page (or even a linked page) so that your students could view it.  Essentially, what you're trying to get as is a "real time" view of the topics that have already been taken.  Your students could then review that list and then return to the fillable knowing what topics are and are not available to them.  It wouldn't completely eliminate the choices from the form you created, but at least students would know what topics were taken.  And, if someone did choose a topic that was already taken, then you have a date/time stamped entry from the first person who chose the topic.  Would that work for your needs?

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If you wanted to solve the issue of completely eliminating choices as they are taken, you might consider trying sign up genius or if you want to do something that is date based, try Doodle.  Both of these tools have free versions which will be two more tools in your belt.  I like the ease of a Google Doc, though and that is definitely a great and easy solution for this.  If you're school supports Office365 over Google, know that Microsoft has caught up a bit and has a similar tool to Google Forms, also called Forms that you could use.  It stores student responses in a spreadsheet.

If you want to use a Canvas only based tool perhaps using Groups where students sign up and each "Group" represents a topic of the assignment.

Community Member

I was thinking something similar! But I was thinking about embedding a spreadsheet, set up so anyone with link can edit, and students would just put their name in a column next to the topic names.

I tested it out here:

Sign Up Sheet 

P.S. Here's a screenshot; not the prettiest thing in the world, but fast and easy. I used Redirect Tool.

spreadsheet screenshot

Oh yeah...that looks like a "do-able" solution as form needed...just the embedded Google Spreadsheet.  Nice!


Databases for mere mortals. 🙂

I actually just did this for my own class today except made it with a Google Doc. I did it with the Doc because I wanted to add extra information and directions for the different groups students could sign up for. It looks like it will work quite well for my needs., laurakgibbs, and, I just read this post to get some ideas and was wondering, what would you see as the benefit of using something like a Google Doc over a wiki page in Canvas in this situation?  I have used Google Docs for some time but recently started using the wiki pages in Canvas (so far so good!).  This information would be useful when I work with faculty assigning projects where topics are selected as ametcal@clemson.edumentioned. Thanks!

Hi ericwerth‌ in my context the advantage of using Google Docs is that I can share the same doc across multiple classes (I don't combine sections, so I have two sections of one class, and sometimes I am doing something that stretches across both of my different classes), so that's important for me in general in terms of content. I use external tools over the Canvas wiki because I am often re-using content across classes and/or sections.

Specifically for sign-ups, I like the power of spreadsheets to allow me to do other things like sort by different criteria, like in this case to be able to sort for projects that do / do not have someone signed up, to take the list of projects and sort them alphabetically by students, add additional columns later for my own purposes like recording student progress on the project, etc. I really love the power of spreadsheets, and I wrote a post about my expectations for spreadsheets (by comparison, the Canvas Gradebook is a total fail for me, since it has none of the real power spreadsheets can have):