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Community Member

modules deleted from my course, how do I recover?

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Hi folks,

  Longtime happy Canvas user.  I have a course which I share with a dozen other educational programs at different sites.  I'm the Admin, the Designer, and a Teacher.  All other educators are Teachers, too, thus many people have privileges to edit stuff.

  Anyway, this morning a collaborating colleague emailed me, "what happened to the lessons on X, Y, and Z?"  I opened my course and discovered that numerous modules seemed to disappear.  I used the URL/undelete trick found reading here on the Canvas guides to find that numerous materials were in fact deleted yesterday morning.  But it doesn't say who deleted them.  Can I find out?

  I restored my deleted modules.  But restoring a module just creates the empty module with same title and settings.  It does not seem to remember the content.  My learning modules were subjects with quizzes and a few documents to read and a few links to outside materials for learners to review.  I don't remember the EXACT materials in each module.  I've rebuilt them as best as I can, but I know I'm missing at least a few things.  So my biggest question is...

-->  Can I see the details of some old version of my course, perhaps as recently as last week, so as to see exactly what materials (documents, links, quizzes, etc.) were in each module so I can rebuild the restored versions?

  Finally, for the future, can I periodically "archive" or "backup" the course as it is so that I could more easily restore it if someone by mistake deletes stuff?

Thanks,

-- Joshua Steinberg MD

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Community Coach
Community Coach

jds91md@gmail.com​, have you looked at your Canvas test environment? The content should still be on the test site because the test site only updates (refreshes) every couple of weeks or so. You could then use the test site for comparison purposes or if needed you could download a copy of the content and re-upload it into your real course. [Side note, we've actually had to do this before!]

If you're not sure how to access your test environment check out this guide - How do I access my Canvas test environment? 

Hope this helps!

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Community Team
Community Team

Thankfully, jds91md@gmail.com​, it's been a while since I had to use the "undelete" feature; my notes on the process tell me that only the last 25 items that were deleted will appear on the undelete page, and that If something is not showing up on the restore page it's best to submit a ticket as there are additional things the technical support team can do to help you retrieve those items.

In addition, since you're an admin--and if it is your intention to identify how the items came to be deleted in the first place--you can go to each individual teacher's user profile and check their URLs and page view activity during the suspect period if you can narrow that down.

You can export a backup to an .imscc file as often as you'd like; the backup will include the course content, but not the users or their assignment submissions. I try to remember to back up my Gradebook periodically as well by exporting it to a .csv file. You'll find the instructions here: How do I export a Canvas course?

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I have not used the “undelete” in a long time either. To anyone who may not know about the “undelete” feature I found a couple of links online from Western Washington University and Alamo Colleges that explains it a little bit more.  It does give you the warning “Keep in mind that some items may have lost some of their associated data when they were deleted. Make sure you confirm the results of any restores you perform”. I went in and practiced a little with it and deleted some modules and then used the “undelete” and was able to bring the modules back but without any of the content in them. The content was still there, I just needed to add it back into the module using the + (add) button at the module level but understand that it could be difficult to remember everything that is in the module (especially if you have a lot of information).

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Yes, the modules thing is one of the caveats I always give people when I tell them about undelete. I use the analogy that the module is like a cardboard box. You delete the box, and all the stuff falls out (but isn't itself deleted). Once you restore the box, you have to put all the stuff back in it.

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tdelillo@alamo.edu​, cool analogy! :smileyplus:

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Awesome Tracey DeLillo ! You know that is the best analogy I have heard for deleting a module!

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WOW

Is the undelete option limited to certain roles in Canvas?

Thank you,

C

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chastinec​, I've never had a problem using "undelete" in the teacher role (which is to say, it can be used by admins, course designers, and teachers). If your role allows you to delete a page or other content item, in theory, you can use the undelete functionality. Keep in mind, though, that it is deemed "not fully supported" and it does not work 100% of the time. The official way to retrieve inadvertently deleted content is to submit a help ticket to Canvas.

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stefaniesanders Thanks...sounds like one of those hidden gems best used by our support people than all users Smiley Happy

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Community Coach
Community Coach

jds91md@gmail.com​, have you looked at your Canvas test environment? The content should still be on the test site because the test site only updates (refreshes) every couple of weeks or so. You could then use the test site for comparison purposes or if needed you could download a copy of the content and re-upload it into your real course. [Side note, we've actually had to do this before!]

If you're not sure how to access your test environment check out this guide - How do I access my Canvas test environment? 

Hope this helps!

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