It's Monday. I'm preparing for my Fall programming classes. There are three weeks left before the semester starts, so I'm still somewhat optimistic. As Fred Brooks wrote a half-century ago in The Mythical Man Month, “All programmers are optimists”. However, I've always found Charles Shultz' cartoons a cautionary brake on my enthusiasm.
What I want to do with Canvas is to try and apply the best practices of active learning and pedagogical research to my course. I would like to do what ZyBooks, Cay Horstmann's Interactive Ebooks, or the Runestone books do, but inside my Canvas course so I could keep track of their program and not have to maintain two grade books.
My first attempt was to put the content into a quiz so students could answer questions during the reading, not in a quiz afterwards. It is actually not terrible on a 30-inch monitor. However, on the student's computers (typically a laptop), it turned out to be unusable for them. Here's a picture with notes.
As you can see:
As our overlords in the Instructional Innovation Center on our campus are fond of saying: " My first rule I have for everyone is when learning Canvas, forget the others. Canvas is VERY different. YOU MUST KEEP an open mind.". OK, so maybe I can't have embedded evaluations. I'll try the Canvas way and put everything into Pages and modules with shorter quizzes added to the module between the pages. It seems like a lot of stuff; there are 25 chapters each semester and each chapter has at least 20 pages. I want to have at least two exercises or quiz questions on each page.
But, I'll worry about that later. Let's just try out the first chapter and see how that goes. Here's what I found.
As you can see:
It seems like all of these items are minor fixes. I cannot believe that there is a constituency of users (either instructors or students) who are happy with the way things are now. If you are one of those who likes the features the way they work now, then please chime in. Usually I tend to hear from those who say that it's too difficult to do.
Hello there, email@example.com Thank You for posting your questions. While I might not have answers to every question that you've posted (that's the power of the Community), I will help try and give you some resources as best I can.
My first attempt was to put the content into a quiz so students could answer questions during the reading, not in a quiz afterwards.
Do you know if your school has enabled Quizzes.Next in your Canvas environment? If so, then you might be interested in this Guide...which I think would accomplish exactly what you are asking: How do I insert stimulus content in Quizzes.Next?
The breadcrumbs which are supposed to be an aid to navigation are completely useless for the students. They click the highlighted link to go back. Canvas shows them an error message saying "This page has been disabled for this course" and they are dropped on the home page. How cruel. (BTW, I have read the discussions about path-based versus location-based breadcrumbs and realize that the designers of Canvas have a yen for location-based. What I'm trying to point out is how destructive this is to the student's user experience.)
I'm not sure if you've searched the Community for similar Feature Ideas, but you are not alone in wanting a breadcrumb trail that accurately identifies where students are in the course. In fact, there is an existing Feature Idea that is currently open for voting which you can vote up on and even add a comment to letting Instructure know why a feature like this would be important to you. It's located at: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1148-accurate-breadcrumb-trail-in-modules" modifiedtitle="true.... I would encourage you to look through this Feature Idea and vote on it if you feel it aligns with something you'd like to see in Canvas.
The sidebar menu can be collapsed using the hamburger icon at the top of the screen. Unfortunately, it is not persistent. As soon a the student navigates to another page, it pops back open again. Crazy.
For this one, I'm not entirely sure if this is "by design" or if it is a possible bug. Have you considered reaching out to the folks at the Canvas Help Desk to inquire about this? They are really good, and they would provide you with updates as needed for any ticket that you submit to them. How do I get help with Canvas as an instructor?
Since at least 2014 (5, soon 6, years) instructors have asked to have the previous and next buttons moved to the top of the screen, but no joy. Neither are there any keyboard navigation for next-previous. Contrast this with any other software that our students are likely to use. Google Photos, Google Docs, Facebook, Instagram. I cannot imagine any modern application (by that, I mean one created after 2015) where I cannot go next-previous using the left-right arrow keys or some swipe. And if you are going to force students to use the mouse, at least put the buttons where they can be found.
This is another Feature Idea that already exists here in the Community. Similar to my other statement, I would encourage you to look at this one as well: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/1936-back-and-next-buttons-at-top-of-module-items" modifiedtit....
I probably haven't covered everything you've asked, and I know some of this might not be the answers you were hoping for. However, I do hope that it helps to answer some of your questions, Stephen. Please let Community members know if you have any questions about this...thanks!