Learning Activities - Spring 2020 Update

Instructure
Instructure
5 13 2,210

It's been several weeks since my last update , and wow - things have changed a little bit. I wanted to share an update on the latest developments in the Learning Activities realm, as we're refocusing and getting back to a normal-ish routine. 

 

Lots of you are asking about the RCE enforcement date, and we're discussing new dates internally. We haven't been able to spend enough time polishing things up so we won't force that on in July as previously planned. More info to come. LTI favorites, access to external media tools, and accessibility features remain at the top of the list for RCE development.

 

I am most excited about our new feature to edit Assignment dates in bulk! This project has been on the team's plan for awhile now, and we've been able to accelerate the timeline. The first phase of the feature is released in production, with additional capabilities in development. Phase one includes editing all assignment, discussion, and quiz dates in a single page in a table view. We've been mindful about how to display assignments with multiple due dates, adding date validation as things shift around, and how to indicate assignments when the user may not have permission to make edits (like those in closed grading periods or with moderated grading). We really wanted to build a foundation with flexibility to add more options down the road. A few things in the immediate pipeline include:

  • selecting multiple assignments and shifting dates by a number of days
  • removing due dates and/or availability dates
  • filtering assignment items by date range
  • publish/unpublish multiple items
  • deleting multiple items

 

Other items for consideration are editing assignment time, handling peer review dates, filtering by assignment type, and whatever else you can think of! 

 

As part of the COVID-19 response, we know that many instructors may be creating new courses and/or need to quickly share information and course materials with their students. One way that happens might be through Files. So we did two things:

  • We made improvements to the Files section of Canvas so that it's clear that you can drag and drop multiple files into that area. And the previous drag/drop area was a bit finicky, so now you have a much bigger target on the page. This change was highlighted in the Ready Release Notes (2020-04-18) 

 

canvas files drag and drop area

 

  • We made some small changes to the new Course creation workflow. This is still in development, but very close to release. In today's new course workflow, you have an option to create Modules. With the new feature, you'll be able to quickly add files and create new module items, either by dragging and dropping files onto the Modules shell, or by hitting +Add Item to Module dialog. This will be a quicker way to share course content if you already have files ready to go on your computer. 

 

All the best to each of you in these wild times, and let us know what you think!

13 Comments
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Deactivated user, thanks for the hard work of your team! It is greatly appreciated!

How will your bulk editing of assignment dates handle Mastery Path dates? Due Dates and Mastery Paths are a bit of a struggle for us as you can see in the comments of this Idea: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8543-friendlier-mastery-paths 

Adventurer

I really like the style of these blogs as they are much more interesting to read than just a presented list of pending features.  Both are surely needed but the blogs have more of a human touch to them.

And I must say the idea to enable the setting of two LTI favorites to appear in the toolbar is a welcome addition.  Kudos to everyone who is making that a reality.   Cheers!

Adventurer

We are very excited about the bulk dates change, and it sounds like there is plenty more cool stuff planned for it. We've been dreading the forced on for the new RCE because of the external media tool questions, so we're also a bit relieved it has been pushed back, although I think once the LTI favoriting becomes a reality, we'll be able to manage the new RCE well too...and good thing because we are looking forward to the auto-saving feature of the RCE. Thanks for all of your hard work on all of this great stuff!

Lamplighter II

Thank you for the update. It is huge relief not having to deal with the rce change during this time of remote work conditions. I really want to love the new rce so I hope you fix the issues I identified in this post, Rich Content Editor Feedback

Surveyor

Thank for all the updates!  I agree with @susan nugent, I am relieved to hear that the RCE Enhancement enforcement date is getting pushed back since we're all dealing with a lot of other changes right now. 

I'm also very excited about the future updates that will be happening with the RCE Enhancement.  Do any of those updates include adding the feature to disable inline previews for youtube links?  That option is available in the current RCE (see image below). 

347028_RCE image - youtube.png

I know we can disable it in the HTML, but our students and faculty aren't familiar with HTML. 

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

diane.meterko@bpiedu.com Thank You for bringing up the inline preview. I'm teaching a class right now on how to teach and one of the participants asked how to disable that. We're using the old RCE but I thought I'd check how to do it with the new one and discovered it requires peeking behind the wizard's curtain. So I ended up making two demo videos for both situations and wrote a blog entry with the step by step: Inline Previews in the Rich Content Editor (Old and New).

Instructure
Instructure

Hi Matt, Thanks for bringing up the struggle with Mastery Paths due dates. We've got some planned tech debt work around Mastery Paths that should help stabilize the feature and allow us to make improvements down the road. Definitely adding that date feature idea to our list to consider! For the bulk edit project, we had to do some thinking about how to display assignment dates that fall outside the norm. I did a quick set up in my sandbox and this is what edit dates looks like for a Mastery Paths set up. It's not a perfect alignment, but you should be able to tell which assignments are in a path, those due dates, and how many students are assigned. We're not able to display specific student names in the table at the moment, as the API returns an aggregate number. Hope this helps!

348474_Screen Shot 2020-05-22 at 2.30.17 PM.png

Instructure
Instructure

Thanks for the kind words. Hoping to have LTI favorites out to you soon!

Instructure
Instructure

External media is a lot to tackle, but we are up for the challenge and want to get it right! I'm sure I'll be sharing more here and gathering feedback as we make progress in that area. Thanks for the support!

Instructure
Instructure

Hi Susan, 

Thanks for the detailed feedback. I do read it all, and most of those things are on the list of improvements. One big item we're tackling soon is the static toolbar. Our RCE is built on top of TinyMCE's platform, and they recently released an updated version that offers a "sticky toolbar" plug-in. We started looking into that last week so that we can upgrade to the newer version and access that feature. 

Instructure
Instructure

Hi Diane - yes! We are planning to make that update around YouTube videos so you can turn off the preview if you wish. 

Surveyor

Related to the RCE changes, to lessen data storage pressure and satisfy accessibility requirements, we still need:

  1. The ability to hide the built-in Record/Upload Media menu so we can guide users to our preferred tool.
  2. The ability to specify the placement of the favorited LTIs in the toolbar. Right now they are off the far right.

This impacts not just users of Kaltura in Canvas, but also those that use Panopto, YuJa, and even Instructure's own Studio (formerly Arc) product.

Surveyor

Alex wrote:

Related to the RCE changes, to lessen data storage pressure and satisfy accessibility requirements, we still need:

  1. The ability to hide the built-in Record/Upload Media menu so we can guide users to our preferred tool.
  2. The ability to specify the placement of the favorited LTIs in the toolbar. Right now they are off the far right.

This impacts not just users of Kaltura in Canvas, but also those that use Panopto, YuJa, and even Instructure's own Studio (formerly Arc) product.

100% in support of this - it is vitally important that we not let this critical feature be forgotten!

About the Author
I started as a high school science and engineering teacher. I'm now working in the field of Instructional Technology.