Post Policy Updates Feedback

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Thanks for your feedback! We've made several improvements in the last few Canvas releases that are now in your production environment. For further questions, feel free to visit https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/focus-group-gradebook 

 

Hey everyone, 

We're grateful for all of the feedback we've received on Post Policies. The team has been working hard to address the most pressing issues and we've released several bug fixes over the last few weeks. And there's more work to come. To that end, we're looking for feedback on some proposed changes to Post Policy. Our goal with these changes is to make the feature more intuitive and reduce confusion. We also do not want these changes feel too disruptive to people who have already been using Post Policies. And we're anxious to get feedback on if we're heading in the right direction. 

Ok, let's get into it. 

1 - Updated Iconography 

The first proposed change is to the icons that we're using. Our goal here is to make the icons more streamlined between Gradebook and SpeedGrader, while still providing users the information that they need. 

For anyone who is unfamiliar with the new Post Policy feature, in New Gradebook you’re now able to set the policy for a course or an individual assignment that governs if grades are made available to students immediately as they are entered or if they are hidden until explicitly posted by the teacher. An assignment that has grades hidden by default has a “manual” policy, while the default behavior that makes grades available immediately to students is called an “automatic” policy. 

After grades are entered for students using an automatic post policy, they can be hidden if necessary; any new entered grades or changed grades are identified as being hidden (automatic hidden status). When using a manual policy, new entered grades or changed grades are also identified as being hidden (manual hidden status). Hidden grades must be posted before they can be made available to students.

This is what the new icon chart looks like:

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Here’s a mockup of what the icons would look like in Gradebook headers:

322332_pastedImage_1.png

Let me talk through the changes. First, you’ll notice that we’ve added a dot to the eye icon. We believe that most of the confusion around the eye icon has come from us trying to convey two different bits of information in a single icon. By using the eye icon to indicate the post policy for the assignment and a dot to indicate if there are grades actively being hidden, we hope to remove ambiguity and make the icon much more intuitive. The crossed out icon always indicates a “manual” post policy, while the dot will always indicate that a grade is hidden. We’ll also be updating the color of the badge in the individual cells to match the blue you see in the mockup. If an institution uses a custom color scheme, the badge will take the primary color.  

We’ve streamlined the icon between Gradebook and Speedgrader to make its meaning more consistent. In both places you’ll be able to see not only the post policy for the assignment, but also if there are grades that are ready to be posted to students. 

We’ve also changed the icon in the total column to more closely match what we’re trying to convey there, which is the total score includes at least one score that is hidden from the students. 

2 - Simplify posting to automatic assignments 

We’re proposing getting rid of the "Graded" option when posting to automatic assignments. If the assignment is set to post grades automatically, any posting that happens will have the same result if you post to everyone or graded. Since those two actions yield the same results, we can get rid of one of them to reduce any confusion.

3 - Posting to “everyone” sets policy to Automatic

When posting grades to everyone on a manual assignment, we're proposing also changing the policy for that assignment to automatic. This will get rid of the manual icon in the header and feels more in line with what users expect that action to do. We’ve added some wording to the post description to inform users that the policy will be changed:

322334_pastedImage_3.png

We will also updated the confirmation alert with similar language. Post to a specific section or only to students that have been graded will not change the policy to automatic. 

We’re hopeful that these changes reduce confusion and make this feature even easier to use. Let us know what you think in the comments!

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UPDATE September 4th

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback. We’re so lucky to have such a passionate community of users and we genuinely appreciate everyone taking the time to chime in. 

 

While most of the comments so far have focused on the icons, it does sound like we’re on the right track with #2 and #3 mentioned above. Watch the release notes to see #2 and #3 be implemented in a future release. We’re excited about these changes!

I wanted to take a minute to give a bit more context for the icon proposal that we made and talk through some of our thinking. We’re proposing 2 icons for Post Policy. 

Eye Icon

First, an “eye” icon. This will most often appear with a slash through it and will indicate when an assignment has a manual policy, which means grades and comments are hidden from students until they are explicitly made available. As has been pointed out, an eye with a slash through it conveys something not being visible. We agree. The eye is meant to convey to faculty that the grades for an assignment will not be visible to students as they are entered.

It has been suggested that a different icon be used to indicate the policy on an assignment. This is certainly a possibility. However, no matter what icon we use, there will need to be some learning for faculty initially. We feel like the slashed eye icon does convey that grades entered for that assignment will be hidden from students. 

Dot Badge

The second icon is a colored badge. As has been mentioned in the comments, this is used elsewhere in Canvas to denote when something needs the user’s attention or when something new has happened. In a similar way, the dot here is meant to let the instructor know that something is requiring their action. There are grades that are ready to be posted as soon as the faculty is ready to make them available to students. If they post all of the grades that have been entered the dot disappears, and reappears when there are more grades that need to be made available to students. The blue dot in the header will also have consistency with the individual cells in the gradebook, as well as the hidden count in the tray.

UI Help

One common suggestion has been that we provide an easy way for users who are unsure of what the icons denote to learn more beyond the user guides. We’re exploring repurposing the current keyboard shortcuts model to be a more general “help” section. We could then include a key to these icons (as well as the keyboard shortcuts) directly in the UI.

 

Here’s a different view of the icon table above: 

323100_pastedImage_1.png

Thanks for your thoughts!

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

UPDATE September 9th

Hey everyone! 

 

Back with another update. First off, let me say one more time how grateful we are for everyone who takes the time to share their thoughts and feedback with us. We’ve been reading and discussing every single comment. 

 

It’s clear that using the eyeball icon to convey the policy state is confusing. It’s also clear that it will be the most intuitive to have two totally distinct and independent representations of the policy and the current visibility state of submissions. With this feedback in mind, we’ve got a new proposal that we hope will address many of your concerns. 

 

First, we’re proposing that we use the eyeball with a slash through it to indicate that there are graded submissions that are hidden from students. It will only appear in the gradebook header if there are grades/comments currently hidden from students for a given assignment. 

 

Second, we’re proposing displaying manual post policy status where muted status used to be conveyed - right below the assignment title. This will put it front and center for instructors and remove any ambiguity associated with a new icon. Additionally, this placement will feel familiar to users who used mute functionality in the past. 

 

Here’s an example of what 2 assignments would look like, both with manual policies. The first doesn't have any graded submissions that are currently being hidden from students, while the second one does.


323661_pastedImage_1.png

We will only show the policy state if it has been set to manual. Similarly, we only show the eyeball if there are graded submissions that are hidden from students.  

 

Let us know what you think in the comments! 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

UPDATE September 18th

Hello Everyone! 

 

I’m back with another update. As is always the case with this awesome community, we’ve been yet again privileged to receive so much great feedback on my previous update. We spend a lot of time reading and discussing each comment. Thank you for the time you take to engage with us and share your thoughts. 

 

Let me also take a moment to say thank you for your patience as we take in and process feedback and put a plan in place to more forward. We think the worst thing to do here would be to introduce changes that end up needing to be changed again down the road. We want to make sure we’re moving forward in a positive direction, and that admins can confidently train their faculty knowing that we won’t be ripping changes out in a few weeks.

 

OK - let’s get into it. 

 

Icons

 

Based on the feedback we’ve received it sounds like the most recent proposal is a step in the right direction. Whenever grades are hidden from students the eye with a slash will be present in the header. A manual policy will be indicated by the word Manual in the header. The slashed eye in the Total Column will remain and will be visible whenever the total score for that student includes one or more grades that are hidden from them. The “Hidden” pill will still be used in SpeedGrader to indicate a grade that is hidden from students. Watch the release notes for this to be released in the near future.

 

Goals

 

There have been questions about why this change was made in the first place. Some have indicated that mute/unmute worked well for them. We appreciate this perspective. I wanted to take a moment to share some of our thinking that went into this project and what our goals were. 

 

There were three main goals with this project:

 

1 - We wanted to make it easier for teachers to manage grade visibility preferences across an entire course. In the world of Mute/Unmute this had to be done for every assignment, one by one. With Post Policies we hoped to make it simple and quick to set something course-wide that would hide grades from students as they were entered. This can be done with a course level post policy. 

 

2 - We wanted to give teachers more flexibility around how they release grades. Mute/Unmute was all-or-nothing for an assignment. In order to give additional flexibility, we needed to separate the default behavior for grades that are entered from the current visibility to students. For example, I might want to post grades to section A before I’ve graded (or even received) submissions from section B. Even though grades are now visible for section A, I still need grades to be hidden by default as they’re entered for section B. This can be done by setting a post policy for an assignment (or course as mentioned above) and then posting grades to a subset of my class. 

 

3 - We wanted to create more intuitive language and iconography. As has been expressed in the comments here, the term “mute” can be offensive to some. Additionally, it does not translate well across all of the languages we support. On the icon front - the bell icon seemed ill-suited for what it was conveying. Now, as the bulk of this discussion attests, we missed the mark here with our initial release. We’re excited to be making improvements to the icons and taking a step forward in hitting this goal. 

 

Perspective

 

Now, if I may, I’d like to say something about perspective. Each institution has different practices and feature needs. It can be tempting to look at a feature through the lens of one’s own needs only. Let me give 2 examples from this project. 

 

First - There have been some comments suggesting that the policy state on assignments does not need to be indicated. This is actually how our initial designs were set up. The only thing that was readily visible to teachers in the gradebook was the current visibility of grades. In those early designs a teacher needed to open the Post Policy tray in order to see the policy status. However, in our user testing we received universal feedback that the policy state was critical for teachers to see. As they enter the first grade for an assignment, it needs to be very clear whether that grade would be visible to students or not. Based on the prevalence of this feedback we adjusted our designs to make the policy state visible in the gradebook. 

 

Second - Some have suggested that an all-or-nothing approach to posting grades is sufficient and that adding more granularity only creates unnecessary complexity to a formerly simple feature. It is true that posting grades now requires a few more clicks. It is also true that there are now 2 pieces to this feature instead of one. However, the desire to have more control over whose grades are released is a request we’ve heard repeatedly. Since releasing Post Policy we’ve received positive feedback from institutions who welcome this added flexibility. And there are some who would like even more. The Post Policy work sets us up to offer more granularity in the future, like posting/hiding for an individual student.  

 

Our overarching goal is always to deliver features that are flexible enough to cover the vast array of needs, while still being easy to use and understand. It’s a hard line to walk and we obviously don’t always hit the bullseye. Sometimes features aren’t flexible enough, other times they are overly complex. We’re always looking to adjust as we get feedback.

 

Thank you again for all your input. Have a great day!

214 Comments
Learner II

I'm not keen on the legend. I always understood the good UX should require not a legend to understand what the icons mean or how they are used. 

I'm also not a fan of just the thick vertical line next to the selected nav item. The dark background button used before was quicker to spot and understand.

Learner II

Thanks for sharing the video. You explain much of the confusion around the eyeballs. I hope Canvas comes up with a better solution. I don't think the proposed icon legend is the best solution for this at all. 

Community Member

Just want to add my feedback regarding the New Canvas Gradebook.

 

As a background, I am coordinating a huge class, with over 700 students, across 7 sections, all in one Canvas. Our course grade posting policy is set as: Manually Post Grades.

 

After our first class, I uploaded iClicker scores to Canvas – then click on Post Grades to make them visible to all students. Then, in order to check what students see, I tested this with our “Test Student” in Student View.

 

The Grades are properly showing in the Student View – but they are still noted with grey Crossed Eye icon on the Gradebook – which leads us to believe that they are NOT visible to students.

 

Similarly, the grade column which has NO GRADES yet, has the same grey Crossed Eye icon on the Gradebook.

Problem here is that we have SAME ICON but different STATUS in these two grade columns!

 

My point is that once you Post grades – this icon should change into clear Eye icon or NO icon at all – to give visual cue on the status of grades in any given column – otherwise, we are not sure if the grades are visible to students or not?!

 

In my view, this is not the best user interface – the icon should clearly identify if the grades have been posted or not!

The old version of Gradebook was much more clear and required only one click to mute/unmute all the grades in one grade column. Less clicks are always better Smiley Happy

Zorana

Explorer II

YES - exactly zorana.svedic@sauder.ubc.ca ! These confusing grading policies/icons are making me feel like...

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Learner II

We are right here with you. We have been hesitant to tell our faculty at large about the changes since we aren't sure what the tool will look like once the final (next?) round of changes has been applied. 

Surveyor

Here's the tl;dr (more detail below): There really must be a way to hide grades *before* any submissions have been graded. Otherwise, there will never be any completely hidden grades at all, and the tool will be useless. Also, but not less important, is the fact that the Canvas Guide on hiding grades currently suggests hiding the grades after they're graded--but the tech and I tested and verified that grades posted before the "hide grades" option is turned on will never be hidden because the option doesn't work retroactively.

I spent an hour on the phone with Canvas Support last Friday, and this particular aspect is really complicated and, it seems, just doesn't work. The Support agent I spoke with and I tested different scenarios over and over. Here were the upshots: 

 

You can't hide grades until at least one is posted. To me, this means that "hide grades" is functionally useless. My faculty don't want any students to have a chance to see their scores or comments before the other students in the class. After looking into it, the tech told me that this aspect was designed this way on purpose, and it will remain this way for the foreseeable future. PS--adding a grade for the test student doesn't work to allow you to hide grades. To circumvent this problem, I've taken to adding myself as a student in the course, assigning a grade to myself, and then hiding the grades for the assignment. This is not sustainable.

 

You could try to post one student's grade, then hide the grades for the rest, but that first student will always be able to see his or her grade because the grade hiding option doesn't work retroactively. Two of my faculty who are co-teaching were trying to hide comments after they began making them, and no matter what the tech and I did, we couldn't hide those first two comments that were made before the option was triggered to hide grades. I'm not sure how this is compatible with the Canvas guide on hiding grades that says that hiding grades is designed to be done once you've finished grading an assignment. From the testing we did on Friday, that won't actually hide the grades at all. But also, in many instances, hiding grades will be much less important if the grading is complete.

 

If you have an assignment grading policy set to manual and the course grading policy set to automatic, the assignment grading policy is supposed to override the course grading policy. However, that didn't seem to work, either, though the tech assured me it was because the faculty had posted grades before turning on the "hide grades" option.

 

The tech ended our call by suggesting I post an "idea" about allowing faculty to hide grades before they've actually graded anything. I refused. To me, the idea space is a place for additional or enhanced features. This is just a poorly designed release, and I don't think it works at the most basic level. In practical terms, it means faculty can no longer "mute" assignments because at least one student will always be able to see their grades.

PS--I just discovered that the assignment grades won't stay hidden if you add a grade, hide the assignment, and then delete the grade. As soon as the assignment reverts to no graded submissions, the ability to hide it is removed.
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

I agree to an extent, but I also think that regardless of the design, some user somewhere will not understand what the symbol means. That's why (at the very least) a screentip is the ideal, but if there is no possibility of a screentip there simply has to be a key somewhere.

Learner II

I have posted a concern in the community on what really triggers the ability to hide grades since it doesn't appear to work consistently and to the benefit of the instructor (New Gradebook Grade Post Policy Hide Grade Issues/Questions). It is important the functionality is simple and allows hiding before ANY grades are entered for a student, otherwise it defeats the purpose of actually being in a grading period for ALL students. 

In addition, icon indicators should be used minimally. Too many makes it confusing to what students can actually see. I would rather the eye icon just indicate whether the grades are visible or not visible (no more color changes or dot indicators too).

For distincting between automatic/manual, I am not sure it is necessary to even have the two different kinds. The idea should just be, "can instructors hide their grades or not when in a grading period?". I do not think it is necessary to consider hiding grades if they are going to "automatically" post to the students right when the grade changes. Then just DON'T hide the column and enter the scores....?

Please consider scenarios/processes of what teachers actually do/need when grading and avoid too many clicks/functionalities. Simple is better. 

Surveyor

The grey crossed-out eye means (I think) only that your grade policy is set to manual. If the crossed-out eye is red, then grades are actually hidden. I think the reason both of yours look the same is because neither is currently hidden.

Explorer II

I heartily second what 932099 ...

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PLEASE Canvas... could we please just revisit this whole thing? As you see from some of these comments here,  even the school techs are struggling with this roll out. 

Learner II

Two small comments:

1. I am in support of Jon's Sept 9th update proposing the display of MANUAL status.

2. I am not in support of the fact that you can't hide grades until at least one grade is posted. This defeats the entire purpose of hiding grades. This functionality needs to be re-instated.

Explorer

932099‌, it was my understanding that the only way to keep all students from seeing their grades before you start grading is to change the setting to manual before you grade.

  1. You say you want a way to hide grades before grading. Did manual on the assignment not work for your instructor? 
  2. Are you saying that if the instructor starts grading, realizes after grading one that students can see their grades and then changes the policy for that assignment to manual, even that doesn't retroactively hide that student's grade?
Surveyor

Setting the grades to manual first still doesn’t hide grades unless one submission has already been graded. I tested it last week and again this week.

Sent from my iPhone

Surveyor

And yes, that is what I’m saying.

Sent from my iPhone

Explorer

Sorry, just trying to understand--if it's manual, shouldn't they all be "hidden" already (students can see their grade)? Like, isn't the point of manual that is "hides" the grades until they're posted? 

Surveyor

You’d think so. But when I tested, even though an ungraded assignment was set to manual, the grades were still not hidden. The tip-off is the eye at the top of the column. If it’s still grey, the grades aren’t hidden.

I would be thrilled to be proved wrong or shown to have made a mistake. But I just tested again yesterday, and the only way I could get the eye with the line through it to turn red and thus to actually hide the grades was to submit a grade first.

Sent from my iPhone

Explorer

tl;dr: manual does seem to prevent students from seeing the grades until they're released, at least in my environment.

But...if there hasn't been a grade posted, there's no grade to "hide," right? Like, students shouldn't see anything because there are no grades. The red eyeball is an indication to the instructor that grades have been submitted in that column that at least one student can't see.

I'm testing this with a test student and also I'm the instructor in this sandbox.

This assignment is manual, but the gradebook is set to auto.

Before Grading

What I see before the assignment is graded as the test student

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What I see as the instructor before something is graded:

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After Grading, Before Posting Grade

I didn't do anything here other than grade the assignment--I didn't click hide or anything like that. Student still can't see the grade. 

 

Student 

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Instructor

orange/red eyeball. Student still can't see the grade, though.

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After Grading, After Posting Grade

Student

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Instructor

Notice the eyeball reverted to grey even though the student can see the grade.

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It works for me as advertised...this is in the production environment, not Beta. But I think you're pointing out the very problem with this policy--it's so confusing that even Tier 1 support doesn't understand it. The grey eyeball for the instructor just means, I think, that there's a manual policy applied to that grade--it doesn't have anything to do with whether a student can see the grade or not. The red eyeball means there's a grade in that column that at least one student can't see.

On the student side, the grey eye means they can't see it. The symbols are inconsistent, which is part of the problem.

I contacted Tier 1 support about this in July, as well, and they told me the same thing they told you--you can't hide a grade until a grade has been posted. But they didn't tell me (possibly because they didn't understand this themselves) that when something is set to manual, you don't need to also click "hide". Students can't see it until the grade is posted.

This is exactly why I and so many other folks have been advocating for a simple system of visible/invisible (or whatever binary system there is). I don't need to know whether something is invisible because I've "hidden" it or because I changed it to manual. I just need to know whether students can see a grade or not.

This policy is confusing and Tier 1 support has not been adequately trained on this change. 

Back to  my testing, I hid the grades and graded one other student:

Instructor View

back to orange eye.

323717_pastedImage_15.png

Student View

The grade is hidden in student view for the first student, so it does seem to work retroactively.

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Clearly, part of the problem--a large part--is inadequate training for Tier 1 support. Could it also be working inconsistently across environments? You said you couldn't get it to hide retroactively, but that worked for me.  

Surveyor

Right, it may be that it's varied across instances. My school does not have any option to hide grades from within Speedgrader, and somebody yesterday on this forum had a screenshot from within Speedgrader that does not exist in my instance. 

The tech and I tested it repeatedly last week. We were masquerading as students to see what they could see after we set the assignment policy to manual, which should theoretically hide the grades from the students before any grades are entered. The tech told me the reason that they weren't hidden was because comments had been entered before the policy had been set. And we tested and re-tested this in production, with a live class. The only way we could hide comments from the students whose submissions were commented on before the policy had been set was that I copied the professors' comments, deleted the comment submission, logged out and in again (just to be safe), set the policy, then masqueraded as the teacher and pasted the comments back in. Based on that testing, I have to conclude that the policy does not work retroactively, at least in my environment.

In terms of whether a grade must be submitted for the grades to be hidden, we tested it and masqueraded as students and saw that the grades weren't actually hidden for an assignment where the policy was set to manual--in fact, it was set to manual at both at the assignment and the course levels. That's what led us to this problem in the first place. I masqueraded as a student in a live class last week and sent a screenshot of what she saw to the professors to indicate that another assignment was finally hidden. There was a notification that she had feedback on an assignment for which the policy was set to manual, not automatic. That's what led me to contact Canvas Support and spend an hour testing various scenarios with them. I don't know what accounts for the difference in what I was seeing and what you're seeing. Maybe there is a bug in that particular class on my instance? 

It's worth noting that the tech wasn't just riffing when he told me a grade had to be submitted for the grades to be hidden. He was reading a note in the system from July that "the engineers" had written when someone suggested that this was a bug. The engineers note said that the system was designed intentionally so that a grade had to be submitted first before the grades could be hidden. That's what the Canvas Guide says, too, if I was reading it correctly, so it's not just a mistake being perpetuated by lack of training--it might be a mistake, but it's one that's baked in pretty deeply. 

Regardless of these details, as you say, Katie, all of this points to a level of absolutely ridiculous complexity. Either the grades should be hidden/unhidden, muted/unmuted, or visible/invisible. I don't care what the nomenclature is. This needs to be streamlined considerably.

Surveyor

This may belong somewhere else; however, with all the discussion of the new terminology I haven't seen this issue mentioned. While most places have changed from "mute/unmute" to hidden etc, when you look at the individual view it still says “Muted?”. Why is this the only place that still uses the old terminology? If you click in the radio button next to this "Muted?" the alert that comes up also uses mute/unmute as the terminology. This needs to be fixed asap. The new levels of terminology are confusing enough without keeping a single place where the old term still exists.

Explorer

uff da, that is troubling if it's acting inconsistently. 

FWIW, the way I was testing it was I was logged in as instructor in one Chrome window, and opened an incognito window to test the student view. 

Could browser be an issue (which would be troubling, also, if it worked differently in other browsers)? I'm using Chrome. Did not have to clear my cache. 

Learner II

Re: Sept 9 Update 

This should work much better!! From what I've personally seen and what I've been told by instructors, having the eyeball reflect the visibility of the grades and the word "hidden" reflect the policy will work much better for us than either the blue dot idea or the initial eyeball only. 

Thanks for listening to us! 

Learner II

I've also noticed that the muted term is still showing up in the Teacher App as well. Teacher App (ios) and new grade post policy

Explorer

Sept 9 update:
I believe this will work better. We can work with this. The eyeball is consistent with what it means in the navbar redesign, which is that the thing is hidden from students, so that's a big plus. And the "Manual" note is clear that it's manual. 

I still foresee my faculty being confused about the difference between automatic and manual and hide and post. My preference is still for just having 1 two-option switch rather than 2 two-option switches. That you can't click on "hide" until something has been submitted, and instead you have to change the grade posting policy to "manual" is more confusing than the simple mute/unmute button. However, if nothing else, it will be clear which grades students can and can't see, which is necessary. 

Thank you.

Learner II

Sept. 9 Update - Yes, this is much more clear. Thank you!

I have a question, though, about the meaning of the crossed out eye in the mock-up. Will this mean that all grades are hidden for that assignment, which is what muted used to mean and which is what would be assumed by my faculty? Or would it mean that possibly all, possibly just some grades are hidden which seems to be how the current icons work?

I truly hope it is the former. However, if it is the latter, I would like to see some indication on the specific cells which contain hidden grades. Currently, a dot appears in the cells that have hidden grades ONLY when you click on the "Post Grades" button. To me this is somewhat useless in its current iteration. An instructor would want to be able to see at a glance which students have hidden grades without having to click a button.

Navigator

The September 9th update is a definite improvement.

The use of the word "MANUAL" is not intuitive, though. I know that muted was clear to (at least) United States English speakers, but some people were concerned about the Derogatory implications of the use of the word "Mute". The word "manual" by itself doesn't imply posting. To me, it implies a place where I can find instructions or perhaps a standard transmission on a vehicle.

Is there a reason you can't say "Manual Post"?

Learner II

I think the September 9 update is a much better direction for the display of information in the gradebook header than what's currently in production and the previous ideas shared here.

I do have some feedback about a few other things that have come up in the comments though:

  • Please don't change a policy from manual to automatic if someone chooses to post grades.  Just because the grades are posted does not mean the teacher would want any future grades or changes posted right away.  Changing the post policy between automatic and manual should be a completely separate change from grading.
  • Could there be an option to display a hidden icon in the individual grade cells?  The icon in the header showing some grades are hidden is nice, but the only way to see which student's grades are hidden is by going to the detail tray.  An grade column option to "Show grade visibility" or something along hose lines would be great.  The default could be to have that disabled so it wouldn't make the interface too busy for most people, but for people who selectively release grades to specific students or sections, this option could really help!

Thanks for all of your work on this!

-Chris

Adventurer

RE: September 9th Update

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Explorer II

Regarding the Sep 9th proposal:

First... thank you again for considering our comments as you propose making changes to these policies, icons, etc. 

I agree the proposed change is an improvement, but also second the comment by rsasso@utk.edu (e.g. I am not in support of the fact that you can't hide grades until at least one grade is posted... This functionality needs to be re-instated).

I also like the suggestion that james@richland.edu makes (e.g. use "Manual Post" instead of "Manual") - but for a different reason. That is, I think some of the confusion may be because we, as instructor's, associate automatic with "This assignment is automatically graded by the computer for me" (multiple choice quizzes, etc.), and manual with "I need to manually grade this assignment and then manually enter the grades" (via speedgrader, uploaded via csv, etc.). As such, I might also suggest adding "Automatic Post" (for when grades display to students immediately after they have submitted the assignment) - clarifying that these are about grade visibility/posting.

The [new] use of these terms (automatic/manual) - with their familiar meanings in the context of grading - asks us to redefine what was once familiar nomenclature. This (at least for me) makes the New Gradebook much less intuitive. Add to this the whole 'a crossed out eyeball does not actually mean hidden', plus the inability to hide grades for an assignment before at least one grade is posted, and many of us have been left scratching our heads.  

Surveyor

In conversations with our instructors and support team, we tend to agree with the most recent comments. 

Note the grade posting policy in the top of the column with 'Automatic' or 'Manual'.  Use a eye with a slash to note a column has hidden grades.  Have no icon to note a column with visible grades. Use this system for both policies so it is consistent.

Instructors just want to know if the grades are visible to students or not.

Suggested Posting icons

Learner II

In terms of the hiding grades before they any are entered, that would really be changing the post policy to manual.  I can see how the current menu setup is confusing though.  I wonder if it would be possible to hide the post/hide buttons when they are not applicable rather than graying them out and changing the text to "no grades to hide".  If those options were completely gone, the Grade Posting Policy option at the bottom might be a more obvious thing for teachers to click on.

That being said, I do at least partially agree with Instructure that some training will probably be needed around the terminology changes.  I'm an admin so I don't use some of the terms daily, but I can say that in my reading and interacting with the Canvas community, it doesn't seem like there is really a true "universal" terminology for many things in the education world.  I know when we started with Canvas back in 2013, the mute/unmute terms were very confusing for teachers, but with a little bit of training it quickly because a standard part of their vocabulary.  In my New Gradebook training sessions over the summer, I just let faculty know the basic terminology was changing from the mute/unmute to hide/post, and the manual policy was the name for hide by default.  We've had little, if any, confusion over this change so far (even though I've posted quite a bit about the iconography making little sense).

-Chris

Explorer II

Yes... what erica.hill@sauder.ubc.ca said! 

Community Member

I would definitely state that faculty do not care about the history of an assignment's status (hidden/not hidden or manual/automatic).  I actually do not believe anyone cares whether all grades or some grades for an assignment are visible.  The assignment should be able to be hidden during grading and then unhidden afterwards.  (I will note that I like the option to choose manual vs automatic  as a deafult for ALL assignments and then individually hide or post scores at the asisgnment level).

The ONLY thing that matters to most of my faculty is the current state - is the grade visible or not visible?

Explorer

Yes. I would say that rather using the language of manual/automatic, it seems simpler to just talk about what the default state is for the entire course--visible or invisible (or hidden and posted or whatever). And then adjustments can be made to the individual assignments as needed. 

Community Member

I would agree IF things were 100% consistent.  But I am seeing strong evidence that they are not. The complexity, I believe, creates a huge margin for error.

I would argue that the posting policy should be removed from the assignment and be set only at the course level.  Then individual assignment grades can be managed using Hide/Unhide.

I would argue for two icons. Period.  Slashed eyeball says grade not visible (whether hidden or set to manual grading).  Unslashed eyeball means grade is visible. 

Simple. Done.

Adventurer

I think this Sept 9 change is headed in the right direction, and I, too, really appreciate the team taking the time to review and consider the responses we all make.

I like the use of the terms "hidden" and "not hidden" -- makes it very clear what is happening.

james@richland.edu‌ I hadn't read or heard about "derogatory implications of the use of the word "Mute." That is ridiculous. The definition of the verb mute is to "deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of." Anyone who reads more into than that is silly. I agree that the word "manual" alone doesn't imply posting, and may be particularly difficult for other language speakers. Can't we just be very direct and say "Requires Posting"? 

I agree with several of the others that an assignment should be able to be hidden before any grades are posted. This is critical.

nancy.lachance@adtalem.com‌ -- great points -- faculty don't care about the history. They want students to not see grades as they are being entered, and when grading an assignment is finished, they want to "flip a switch" and have the grades visible.

Community Team
Community Team
Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Yes, cholling‌...I agree with just direct wording, whatever it may be.  Something like All Grades Posted or Some Grades Need Posting (I know...that's a lot of words) or All Grades Need Posting.  Something like that.  I pointed out earlier (somewhere) that when the New Gradebook first came out it very clearly said MUTED on the column heading.  No bell icon, no eyeball icon.

Learner II

I've been following this thread from the beginning, and don't recall that the following issue has been addressed yet, so here goes...

I would like to see the same funtionality for modifying the grade posting policy that is available in "Grades" to also be available in "SpeedGrader". Aside from the currently confusing iconography, one of the biggest issues we are having is that many of our faculty use SpeedGrader to enter grades, and if they have not explicitly gone ahead and changed the course or assignment grade posting policy ahead of time (which means that their assignments are set to Automatic as this is the default), then they are unable to enter grades and have none of those grades show to students from within SpeedGrader.

The only way to do this is by way of a very click-heavy process. You must get out of SpeedGrader, go into Grades, change the grade posting policy, then go back into SpeedGrader and pick up where they left off. Yes, you can currently "Hide" grades from within SpeedGrader, but only after you have posted one grade, which as we have already heard from many is not a workable solution. You can also "Post" grades from within SpeedGrader. Why can you not also change the grade posting policy there as well. It would save clicks and make it much more functional in my view.

Surveyor

Karen, that is my sentiment exactly! Faculty are already overwhelmed by the options and settings in Canvas. Trying to explain a Post Policy makes little sense to faculty members who don't use Canvas day-in and day-out. Add to that the fact that the word post can either be a noun or a verb, and it gets even more complicated. (I'm not kidding, this is genuinely confusing for faculty.)

Literally as I'm typing this I got a phone call from a faculty member about how to do show/hide grades. She wants to know where the Mute option went, and now I'm having to explain Posting Policies to her, and she is so confused. I can feel her frustration, and I really hope Canvas can fix this soon.

Surveyor

I agree that having the function in speedgrader is important.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

My faculty in general haven't been very happy about the change.

The consensus seems to be that the process for "muting"
 the gradebook was made more complicated.

I have to agree with them. There are now several more clicks for a feature that I feel was really great in its original form.

Surveyor

I also want to add that in addition to the iconography, the wording is confusing as well. And I say this as someone who works day-in and day-out to train faculty across campus.

The term "Post Policy" can be interpreted in a number of ways, with the word Post being either a noun or a verb. There is nothing about the term that indicates it is related to grades. It can very easily be interpreted as:

  • The policy for posting grades
  • A call to action for instructors to post their policy. (Policy on what? Expected in-class behaviors?)
  • Guidelines for discussion board posts.

For faculty who use discussion boards, of which there are many on my campus, the term Post Policy sounds like you are setting rules for discussion posts. So when we tell instructors to go to Grades and then adjust their Post Policy, they get confused because they think we are talking about discussion boards.

I'm not just making things up here. These are issues we deal with on a daily basis, and I just want the people working on this at Canvas to know. I appreciate the work that is being done to resolve this.

Surveyor

We are just now having faculty start to grade stuff for the new semester, and I can tell you that this change is a real problem.  The procedure to hide/show/post/whatever is not consistent between tools. 

What a mess.  I think the programmers took a good thing (mute/unmute) and drastically over-complicated this.  Did we even want this to change?  Was this requested?  My faculty don't want it to be rocket science -- just a consistent way to hide/show the grades to students.  I hate to say it, but Blackboard did better than this. 

Way Way over complicated...

overcomplicated

Surveyor II

Cynthia, thanks so much for your comments.  I agree about your comments re to mute something does not mean it is derogatory. Given that the word is so widely used in technology as indicated, you can take the same sort of twisted logic about "hidden":  something someone or a creature does when in fear of something; or something that one does when you have something to conceal from someone.  Yeah, nah, let's just focus on getting grades posted and hidden easily and simply first time every time.  Phrasing is always important to consider but first things first.  

Kate Burkes , love the comic strip! Coming back from a short holiday break in the Gippsland Lakes region recently, we made the mistake of trying to buy a barista coffee at McDonalds.  Two staff stood next to an online touch screen helping customers to order rather than just taking the order - five minutes to order! My heads hurts thinking about the experience, never mind the last six weeks of frustration and lost productivity...

Learner II

I've just noticed that the 'student group filter' in this months update is an option in the settings page. Please consider doing the same for grade post policies, it would make everything so much easier! Those who want to use it, can then switch it on, but we have the benefit of not explaining it's complexities to academic staff who want a much simpler process:

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-17625-canvas-release-notes-2019-09-21#jive_content_id_Stude...

Surveyor

You're exactly right, Kate! There was nothing wrong with the Mute/Unmute process, and it feels like this was an arbitrary change made just for the sake of change. It has caused (and continues to cause) a great deal of confusion among our faculty, and I fail to see the benefit of the change at all.

Navigator

kburkes I believe there was substantial community interest in these two ideas which became part of Post Policies:

Explorer II

Because assignment scores cannot be hidden until after at least one student's grade is entered, I am currently using the 'Manual' grade posting policy to "hide" multiple choice quiz scores from students until after the assignment deadline has passed. Once the deadline has passed, I release (post) all the grades for that quiz. 

However. I just noticed that when a grade has been entered for an assignment that is set to the 'Manual' grade posting policy - and a student submits the quiz (so the eye with the slash at the top of the column for that quiz now displays red - 

324080_pastedImage_2.png

the cells for those students' scores in the Total column now also displays an eye with the slash through it (not red).  

 324073_pastedImage_1.png

Would the eye with the slash in those cells mean that those students cannot see their current Total score in their Gradebook (minus the unposted quiz) until after I have released the scores for that quiz (e.g. 'Post Grades')? The reason I ask is because some students will work ahead - and so wonder if this means there will be no Total (minus scores not yet posted) displaying in their Gradebook?

Surveyor

I've got some papers to grade and I'm trying to get used to the new system, so I went to the Post Policy section and changed it to Manual. So far so good. Then I look at my gradebook and start to freak out because it looks like Canvas has just hidden all my students' grades!

grade post policy

I actually had to come back to this thread to find out that no, in fact, my grades were not hidden. Instead, the eye-slash icon is an indicator of the Post Policy. But even knowing that, I still had to click around on some of the menus to be certain.

Trying to explain this to faculty is going to be a real challenge. The eye-slash icon looks like it means grades are hidden, not that it's an indicator of the course-wide Grade Post Policy.

What I don't understand is that the Muting system worked fine. There was, from my perspective, no problem that needed to be solved. But now we have a situation that is worse, with no clear benefit that I can see, and I'm reluctant to do a lot of training on it because it seems like Canvas could possibly just change it again in a few months after all the feedback they are getting.

Explorer

Simon, what's the difference for you between manual and hidden? Because when you changed it to manual, it means students can't see the grades or feedback you give them (which I would say means it's "hidden"). But for you those have different meanings?