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Community Member

Organizing Pages

I am new to Canvas and building my first course, but it seems to me that it would be useful to be able to organize Pages in Groups (as with Assignments) or Folders (as with Files). Again, it's my first time designing a course in Canvas, but it seems to me that the platform invites significant use of Pages (e.g., my syllabus offloads much of the content to other pages using clickable links in the main syllabus, and I am trying to move a good deal of supplemental reading material to pages, instead of downloadable PDF documents). If so, I can already see content management issues with a lot of Pages (nicely alphabetized, but not well organized). If I am missing an obvious solution, help would be appreciated. If not, it seems to me that the Pages function could use an organizational feature. For what it's worth, I am not currently planning to display the Pages link on the left hand menu, so my issue is not with the student interface. It's purely one of course design and maintenance. 

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Community Member

Hi jgraves@tourolaw.edu‌, and welcome to Canvas Community! One of the great things about this place is you can indeed ask a question like "is there an obvious solution..." (or even an un-obvious one) and find out from people with tons of experience. I happen to know the answer to this question which is, alas, no: you cannot put Pages in folders. Very extended discussion here because this is a serious problem, and many people are hoping that Canvas will do something about this. 

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7532-allow-folders-in-pages 

Lots of up-votes but, as far as I know, it's not a feature coming anytime soon; someone else in the know can correct me if I am wrong about that.

I really don't see how people do serious content development in Canvas. I use wikis, blogs, Google Docs, etc., and then focus on ways to display that content in Canvas. Since I have no desire or need to keep my content private to my students, using real content creation tools on the open Internet works fine for me.

There are others here at the Community who do serious content development in Canvas. I admire their patience and stamina.

Meanwhile, don't be shy to ask questions. There are lots of people here who will help if they can! 🙂

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Community Member

Thanks, Laura. I was afraid that might be the answer, but very much appreciate your thorough and thoughtful reply. My experience with posting in this community has been remarkably positive thus far. For what it's worth, I added my vote for https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7532-allow-folders-in-pages?sr=search&searchId=cff8c937-9c6f-4... and note that it has reached the "Radar" stage. I don't know enough to know that that means (though I read the basic linked explanation), but at least it suggests the possibility that someone is considering it.

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Community Member

One very cool thing about Canvas is something called Project Khaki: twice now, and the plan is to do it every two years, they have brought a group of active participants in the Community to Salt Lake, and they actually have Community members vote on how to allocate a percentage of their engineering budget (and it's a pretty big percentage; I think it was 20%, but don't quote me on that; I don't remember exactly). I got to participate in the second Khaki which took place this spring. 

So, it's worthwhile to participate in the Community on a day to day basis for purely selfish reasons, and there is also a larger purpose: when we voted on the projects to prioritize, we could be confident that those specific projects would get the engineering resources they need to move forward. There is always more that COULD be done, and I thought it was very impressive that they actually had users making those decisions.

In my case, I'm a minimalist, and I use very few features of the LMS, but one of the items I strongly endorsed — course-wide search and across-course search — got voted as a Khaki priority. I was pleased, and also surprised, because compared to some other feature requests, that was a very costly one both in terms of software development and also the ongoing overhead costs.

I mention that just because global search within a course and, even better, across courses would also be a big plus for serious content management. Trying to do content management without real search options is a big drawback; if there is any way for you to make your courses OPEN, that means you can use Google Search to search your course. Otherwise, there is not a good global search. And using Google Search has many drawbacks too, esp. if you update often, but it is better than nothing. 🙂

awilliams‌ has a support course for his faculty that is open, and he uses the Google Search embedded in that course.

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Community Member

Thanks, Laura. I hadn't heard about "Project Khaki," but agree that there are plenty of purely selfish reasons to become active in this Community. First, I've found a great deal of help and useful information relatively quickly. Second, my institution is in the early phases of piloting, and I hope moving, from Blackboard to Canvas. The more I learn and more involved I become in the Canvas community, the more I can likely control (or at lease influence) my own fate in the process of establishing institutional standards and approaches for Canvas use.

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Community Member

YES! I agree completely. My school did a soft roll-out (opt-in) from D2L to Canvas last year, after 10 years with D2L. I was really glad I opted in for the first semester. I learned so much from working with the students during that very first transition semester when they were using Canvas for the first time also.

I am a big fan of asking the students.

Ask... and they will tell! 🙂

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Community Team
Community Team

We are happy to have you participating here, jgraves@tourolaw.edu! You can learn more about Project Khaki at https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas/blog/2017/04/22/khaki-2017 and Khaki 2017: Priorities & Related Ideas

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Community Member

I agree, Laura. I have no idea how anyone does ANYTHING in this awful thing that is worse than software from the 1970s. Everytime I have to do anything with Canvas I am newly astonished - I expect someone with a mic to pop out from behind the desk yelling, "PRANK!" as if everyone should know that such pitiful software can't really exist.

Can't sort pages. Can't take old stuff off thing for good. Can't do much that one needs to do.  My question: what is it that makes administration buy this stuff? I just saw that a popular question is actually, "HOW DO I LOG IN?"!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello jgraves@tourolaw.edu...

Many people use "Modules" in their course to build the structure of their courses.  Think of "Modules" as the place where you take content from other areas of a Canvas course ("Discussions", "Assignments", "Quizzes", and "Pages") and organize those parts in a way that will keep your content together the way you want.  Some people will separate out their content in "Modules" by unit, chapter, etc.  For example, at our Technical College, our courses have Learning Plans, and each Learning Plan within a Module covers a specific topic for the course.  This Guide can give you a much better example of how to use "Modules" than I could describe: How do I use the Modules Index Page?.  Also, here is a whole set of Guides for you to look through as it relates to "Modules":

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10460#jive_content_id_Modules 

Here's a video-based Guide:  

Oh...and by the way...you can hide the "Discussions", "Assignments", "Quizzes", and "Pages" buttons from your course navigation and sort of force your students to use the "Modules" page one you have things set up.  This way...they don't have to go to those separate areas to view the content...as everything will be listed on your "Modules" page.

I hope this is of some help to you, Jack!  Please let the Canvas Community know if you have further questions about organizing the content in your course.

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Community Member

Thanks, Chris, and I am indeed driving the course largely through Modules, and I agree that's the best way to do it. That's why I'm not worried about Pages organization from the students' perspective (they only see individual Pages through Modules, the Syllabus, and a couple of other button links on my Home Page). My sole concern is the organizational challenge for me. If I can remember what I call each Page, it's no problem, as they are alphabetical. However, if I come back to it later, I will likely forget and have to comb the entire list. I suppose for now the best approach is to work on some standard naming conventions in Pages.

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