Commons Favorites & Why We Got Rid of Ratings

Community Member
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We’ve had a few questions about the removal of the rating system in Commons, and we wanted to provide you all with some insight into our thought process.

  1. The rating system didn’t see wide adoption. Only 6.8% of resources in Commons had a star rating. Of those resources with a rating, 88% of them received 5 stars. We weren’t the only ones who noticed that the ratings weren't being used in a way that truly provided value. Here is an actual review of a resource in Commons:
    (rating: 5) "I'm going to give a five star rating to anything I find that is offtopic because nobody else is going to use the rating system in commons and that lets me game the system to ruin everything."
  2. Rating content in Commons is a lot of work and quite outside a normal workflow for most educators. It seems, for the most part, folks weren’t taking the time to import content into Canvas, evaluate its quality, and then return to Commons to rate the quality of the content. And this behavior is pretty understandable! That’s a lot of steps to take as a busy educator, when there is not direct benefit to your own process.
  3. We wanted a shorter route to surface valuable Commons content for you in Canvas. Commons contains some awesome resources to include in your Canvas course. Currently, that process requires that you launch Commons, locate the content, and then send the content to the Canvas course you were building.


So if ratings aren’t proving to be super useful for identifying valuable content, we asked ourselves: What could we do to help identify valuable content in Commons without requiring our users to do extra work? Taking that problem a step further… how can we help identify that valuable content and surface it in Canvas?


From Canvas, very soon you will see an option to pull up your list of Commons Favorites and directly import content that you’ve identified as valuable. First, we’ll give you that option in the Rich Content Editor (RCE). From the RCE, you’ll be able to choose any video, audio, images, or files that are in your list of Commons favorites and directly import them. Next, we’ll give you the option to add content from your list of Commons favorites on the Index and Modules pages. We’ll also be adding feedback about how often things are favorited and imported to each resource. “Most Favorited” and “Most Downloaded/Imported” will be added to the “Most Relevant” sort options in search results.

Because adding resources to your Commons favorites will allow you to keep track of your favorite Commons content and makes it easier to import content into your Canvas course easily and efficiently, we expect favoriting to see greater adoption than the rating system did. We also feel that number of downloads/imports and favoriting numbers provide a better indication of effective content than a subjective and poorly adopted rating system did.

Tags (1)
Community Member

This explanation makes sense. Will there be a way to see the number of downloads (or other analytical info) on your own uploaded items? This is valuable information for those posting to the commons. 

Community Member

I'd love to see download stats on my own work. Also, I would love to click a username and see all of their products shared. I often find a user who has a great grammar lesson, and I wonder if there are others similar; however, searching a username pulls up very little.

Community Member

I know this post was from a month ago, and the upgrade to the Commons even longer, but I wanted to THANK YOU for explaining the reasons behind removing a feature that Canvas users once had. Whenever a decision to remove a feature is made, it's always best practice to provide a sound reason, and your explanation is sound. Listening to opinions with a grain of salt is another always-do; when working in the digital media realm that adage becomes gospel.

I hope your due diligence, Deactivated user, in posting this thread is replicated by your colleagues across the Canvas LMS platform:

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