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:

322333_pastedImage_2.png

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!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

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
Surveyor

Thank you for asking, Katie! The difference is that when the Post Policy is set to Manual, an eye-slash icon appears over each grade column. To me, and to many of the faculty I work with, that indicates that those grades are hidden. (i.e. students can't see them.) But that's not actually the case. The eye-slash simply refers to the fact that those grades are governed by the Manual Post Policy.

Grades in that screenshot with the eye-slash icon are not hidden. They are visible, despite the fact that they have an eye-slash icon above each column.

Adventurer

I'm not seeing that as accurate in my testing. I have an assignment that is set to manual and shows the gray eye with a slash. Logging in as the test student who submitted, that student sees the same gray eye with a slash and a note that reads "Your instructor is working on grades, While your instructor is working on grades, grade and comment information is unavailable."

Surveyor

Now that's really interesting, Cynthia. Here's what I'm seeing:

When I login to my grades, here's what I see:

manual

This indicates that the grades for these assignments are set to be released manually. Here's what one of my students sees for Chapter 1 Notes (the same assignment as in the column in the screenshot above)

chapter 1

Grades are visible. Here's what the same student sees when he looks at Chapter 4 grades, which I have not yet entered:

grades

Literally the exact same eye-slash icon, but with a completely different meaning. For me, that icon means "The post policy has been set to manual" and if grades are entered, then they are visible to students.

However, for students that same icon means "Instructor is working on grades" because grades have not yet been entered.

Canvas: This is a mess. What makes it even more frustrating is that there was nothing wrong with the Mute/Unmute system. It worked fine, and people understood it. Now this new system is in place which offers no benefits (at least none that I can see) and instead makes things far more confusing.

Learner II

I agree that the slashed eye just means that manual has been turned on for that assignment. In assignments that haven't been graded yet, that means that when a grade is assigned, students can't see that grade until it's posted. However, I wonder if it matters whether you graded first and then changed the policy to manual. In other words, I wonder if changing an assignment to manual after grades have been posted will retroactively prevent students from seeing them. Another poster earlier on this thread had a similar issue and it turned out to be a corruption in her instance. (you might also want to read New Gradebook Grade Post Policy Hide Grade Issues/Questions )

I think this confusion is exactly why people in this thread have been calling for it to be simple--just let us control whether a grade is visible or not. I've been calling it an on/off switch. What we currently have is two interacting switches (manual/automatic--which controls the behavior of the assignment before a grade is assigned, and hide/post--- which controls the behavior of the assignment after the grade is assigned. Or at least, that's how I'm making sense of it). This to me seems needlessly complicated. 

Jon Fenton has been updating this post with their progress as they iron out the iconography, but he hasn't addressed yet why the two different switches, which they seem to be keeping? (I'm assuming they are keeping them because they haven't addressed the issue even though lots of people have said it's problematic.) I really wish he would explain why they have a manual/auto policy AND hide/post, rather than the simple option to change the default visibility for the course and then adjust on the individual assignments as needed. Explaining the reasoning behind doubling the complexity of a feature would go a long way toward buy-in and would help us understand their decision making. 

If you haven't yet noticed this, the original blog post has an update on 9/9 with ideas for clarifying the icons. 

Surveyor

I agree with you 100%, @Katie

just let us control whether a grade is visible or not. I've been calling it an on/off switch.

This is how the Mute function used to work, and now in its place is a much more complicated two-switch solution as you explained. I appreciate Jon's updates regarding the iconography, but what would be really useful is a return to the Muting or at least an explanation of why this new system is in place.

Surveyor

Dear Instructure,

The proposed iconography from September 9 is much improved. However, I think it still misses what's important. What teachers really want to know is whether a grade is hidden from student or not. There's no need to distinguish whether a manual policy assignment has submissions or not because the gradebook will display a submission icon in each student's row when there're submissions. Similarly, after grades are released it doesn't matter whether they were hidden from students at one point. If someone needs that information, the information should be made available in form of a report, not visual clutter.

I suggest you go the simplest route:

  • When manual policy is applied = slashed eye (regardless there's submission or not)
  • When grades are released for manual policy assignments, or when grades are released automatically = no symbol
Community Member

I so agree. I just finished grading the course I teach online, and this is terribly confusing.  I had set my course policy to Manual so I saw the slashed line, which turned red once students began submitting.  After I completed all grading, I posted the grades. 

What throws me is that the slashed eyeball remains AFTER the grades are posted (to all students).   Students did have access to the grades (I heard from a number of them), but the gradebook did not display this information.  

Once more, I want to say that these icons need to reflect accurately the student grade view.  That is, in the end, all that really matters. 

Learner II

What is the future of Post Policies, and what are the timelines? The most recent post update was September 9th. Urgent change is needed, but every unnecessary change from this point will make things worse. What is the plan to come to a conclusion and implement it? How will the community be involved?

Surveyor

Thank you for asking this, Ian. I have been wondering also. We are reluctant to train faculty on the new Post Policy system because I'm thinking we will just have to re-train in a month or two when everything changes again. Some guidance from Canvas on this issue would be most welcome.

Adventurer

I agree. Can't Instructure just roll back to mute/unmute as it worked before? Immediately. If we want to move down the path of policies and all, fine, but this is truly a mess and tinkering around with things at this point is only leaving a very bad taste in the mouths of graders, faculty, students, and support people. Faculty are fearful of releasing things prematurely, tired of getting frustrated emails from students who can't see grades, faculty thought they published. Support folks are pulling their hairs out trying to help and justifying a system change they can't really support. Just call it an ill-conceived plan. Bite the bullet. Put it back, if you must. then move forward AFTER discussion, and testing.

Community Coach
Community Coach

BRAVO, cholling !

That same sentiment has been spoken much in this discussion.

Surveyor

yes, yes, YES!

I am support staff for my college - 450 courses a semester - and this is a MESS.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Cynthia,

I am in full support of going back to the old system of Mute/Unmute as well.  Given a switch to do that; I've flip it in a heartbeat.  But sadly I doubt it would be that easy for Canvas to do at this point without breaking even more stuff.  I don't know what the solution is without having a time machine.  

Community Coach
Community Coach

Wait, you have a time machine, rmurchshafer@unomaha.edu ?

Community Member

The hide grades feature in the gradebook is not working.  The Grade Posting Policy does not work unless you change it before any assignments are posted.  Why can't the Mute button be brought back??  Please, please, please, please, BRING BACK THE MUTE BUTTON!!!  Why was it taken away when it was working beautifully?

Learner II

My understanding is that the July release was irreversible because of the changes it made to the Grades database. It wasn't tested properly and we spent the rest of the summer toggling post policies because students couldn't see their grades and feedback. We desperately wanted a rollback and were told it was actually impossible.

You can read more about how Instructure intends to prevent this from ever happening again by reading about "release data protection" here: https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/admins/blog/2019/07/23/canvas-release-sour-notes#comment-1457... 

Learner II

Are others still experiencing issues with students unable to view grades and feedback? We still have tickets open where automatically posted grades are not visible. On Friday we shared a Canvas Grades Visibility Advisory for our instructors.

Learner II

We've been on Canvas for five years and love that the system is easy and intuitive to use.

I wonder if you could break Hide/Post into two use cases:

95% of our users want a quick and easy way to hide and unhide  the grades in a Canvas column.

i.e. two clicks.  They are not particularly interested in setting up a grade posting policy.  

1.

Prereq: You should be able to hide a column that contains no grades.  Instructors do not want any of their students to see grade information in this column.  They don't want to have to enter at least one student's grade in order to use the feature.

a). Under column drop down menu, select Hide Grades.

-Red eye with line through it appears, indicating all grades and comments are hidden from students.

b). Under column drop down menu, select Post Grades.

-No icon at top of column; like other columns in the grade book, this indicates grades and comments are visible to all students.

Intuitive and easy to use.

2.

For those instructors who would like to setup a grade posting policy, select Manually post.

-Black eye with line through it appears at the top of every column, indicating grades and comments are hidden from students.

During interim grading, as instructor is grades and releases certain grades.

-Orange dot next to student’s grade in column indicates hidden.

-No dot – grade and comments are visible.

At the end of  the process, if grades are visible to all students, there should not be any icon at the top of the column, which is consistent with how the grade book communicates that grades are visible.

From our perspective, as simple and easy to use as possible.  With as few icons as possible.

-Instructors should not need a score card of icons to figure out if grades are hidden or not.

We really need those to be simple and elegant.

Thanks,

Kevin Nolan

Colorado State University Canvas Admin

Surveyor

Exactly!  Why is the icon still there after the grades have been made visible??  I do not need to know that at one point I set it to manual and hid it from students.  

Surveyor

95% of our users want a quick and easy way to hide and unhide  the grades in a Canvas column.

i.e. two clicks.  They are not particularly interested in setting up a grade posting policy.  

 

1.

Prereq: You should be able to hide a column that contains no grades.  Instructors do not want any of their students to see grade information in this column.  They don't want to have to enter at least one student's grade in order to use the feature.

admin_nolan‌ Thank you! This is *exactly* the same problem we are having at Oklahoma State University. Most of our instructors want their gradebook to work with what is now called the Automatic posting policy, but want the option to hide grades for specific assignments. A typical instructor might enter grades such as:

• Weekly homework

• Quizzes

• Attendance

• Lab reports

All of which (generally speaking) work fine with the Automatic policy. I addition to this, instructors often have one or two grades that they want to hide from students such as:

• Presentations

• Essays

• Research papers

• Midterms/Finals

In the prior system this was easy: just set those columns to Mute, enter grades, and then Unmute when done.

This simple setup is, by far, the most common workflow for our instructors. It worked great before. Now there is literally no way to do this at all, unless the instructor changes the Post Policy for the entire course from Automatic to Manual. And then after entering grades for the assignment they want to hide, they have to change the Post Policy for the entire course back to Automatic.

It's a mess, and it's very difficult for us to explain this to our instructors. It's not an issue of iconography (though the eye-slash icon above each grade column is certainly confusing as well) but an issue of workflow. I feel like we now have to ask our instructors to jump through a series of hoops for what used to be a simple operation (Mute/Unmute) and it's not going over well at all.

I don't want to just say "Let's go back to the old system" because that doesn't seem helpful. I do understand the changes being made, and I think a few tweaks might help. The one thing that would be most helpful is to give instructors to keep the Automatic Post Policy but then hide grades for any given assignment (preferably within SpeedGrader too) on an as-needed basis before any grades are entered.

Learner II

Hi sringsmuth‌,

In my experience, no changes to the global policy would be required for what your instructors need.  Leave the global policy on automatic.  Then for the columns that need to be hidden by default, change only those columns to the manual posting policy.  When ready, they can go to the column and post the grades to students.  It's technically two more clicks (click posting policy, then click manual, then save) compared to the previous mute/unmute, but it's not that bad.

Our instructors were generally happy with the old mute/unmute, although the name was confusing to many.  That being said, I understand why the post policy was developed, as there are a lot of different Canvas use scenarios and requests for more control of grade posting.

Overall, I don't think the post policies are bad.  I believe the confusing iconography and bad roll-out of the feature to begin with are the main issues here.  This feature also highlights the difficult balance Instructure has to do to try and satisfy their customer base.  The simple features probably work for 90% or more of people, but trying to satisfy requests from the other 10% without ruining the experience for the 90% has to be exceedingly difficult.

-Chris

Surveyor

That actually does help, Chris, and I appreciate your explanation. I think the confusion here is that the same term is used for changing the individual assignment post policy as well as the overall course post policy. The term "Grade Post Policy" is used for both, but once you get the hang of it it does make sense.

Thank you!

Learner II

Unless there are two or fewer assignments that the instructor wants to change to manual (have grades hidden by default), then actually the method that sringsmuth‌ described would be quicker, I think (my head is still spinning by the complexity). With Simon's method, there are 8 clicks according to my testing, not including the clicks involved with posting the grades once that is desired. With the other method, changing the posting policy to manual per assignment, it is 4 clicks for each assignment. Therefore, unless there are only 1 or 2 assignments that an instructor wants to have grades hidden for, this other method for changing the policy per assignment would involve more clicks (again, I did not factor in clicks to post the grades since that comes later in both scenarios). As we know, some classes can have a lot of assignments so I think that would be a very tedious task.

I actually liked Simon's suggested method quite a lot because of the fewer clicks, and hadn't even considered it before. However, I don't think it would work for most of our instructors, because it would mean they would have to enter the grades for ALL of the assignments that they wanted grades to be hidden for, before they could change everything else back to "automatic". In most cases, I don't think that would work.

In some cases, it might be better just to set the entire course to manual, and then post the grades when finished grading (for the ones that would have been automatic), and wait to post the grades on the other assignments when the time arrives that you want to release them. That would be probably a little more straight-forward, and the least amount of clicks in most cases (I think).

Learner II

Hi jfenton@instructure.com‌,

Thanks for your recent update to this thread. I for one really appreciate the thought that has gone into unpicking and simplifying this new feature. I also recognise that some institutions require a much more granular approach for releasing grades - and this new workflow is now a great tool for them to use. We're just not one of them. Ideally new bits of functionality, particularly surrounding the assessment process would ideally be managed through feature options. It's a win-win for everyone. I hope you will take this forward when implementing new assessment features.

Thanks 

Bethan

Surveyor

As much as I appreciate the attention being paid to the comments in this thread, is Instructure doing any actual user testing? I hope these proposed changes are being put in front of users to see their behavior and to identify points of confusion.

Is there any timeline for when these changes will hit beta? Since old gradebook is going away in January, this is forcing everyone into several significant UI changes in a short amount of time. 

Community Member

It seems to me that a grade must be entered for at least 1 student for an assignment before it can be hidden. This negates the purpose of hiding grades since at least 1 student will receive notification that their assignment has been graded. When they can't see their grade, I get an email from a frustrated student. 

I'd like to see the hidden function reworked so that I can choose to manually hide a column of grades for an assignment WITHOUT having to enter at least 1 grade first. I don't want to set the grade posting policy for the course to Manual (auto hidden, manual posting) as I want the grades for my multiple choice online quizzes to post immediately after students have completed the quizzes. Students get 2 tries on each quiz and would need to know whether they scored perfectly on the 1st attempt or need to review the material and try again for a better score in a 2nd attempt.

[If anyone knows how to do this in the current gradebook, please let me know.]

Learner II

Grace, the way you do this, as far as I understand it, is to change the grade posting policy on the individual assignment, not the entire course. How do I select a grade posting policy for an assignment in the New Gradebook?  However, there have been two cases in this community that I've read where that didn't work as the guides suggest. In one case, it was because the instance was corrupted. 

"Hide" and "manual" are not the same things, which is confusing. 

You're not the first person to have this question on this thread (actually, I was also confused about this, as was the T1 support person I spoke to back in July), which is part of the reason I would like to see Canvas change the language--calling a setting for a single assignment a "grade posting policy" isn't intuitive, whereas hide and post are more intuitive. Also confusing is that the tray that opens for the assignment grade posting policy looks almost exactly like the tray that opens for the course grade posting policy; unless you notice that the tray has the name of the particular assignment at the top, you don't realize you opened it for just the assignment. 

Surveyor

Has anyone managed to create 'easy' directions for their faculty?  I would love to see an example if you are willing to share.  What most people want is the equivalent of the Mute/Unmute so if you have directions for the new gradebook that accomplishes that I would love to see.

Adventurer

I have seen a lot of comments about not being able to hide grades until at least one is posted. I haven't found that to be the case. I created a one page document that my faculty use to "Mute/Unmute" grades. I decided I would share this with the community and it is accurate until some of the changes mentioned in this post happen. I hope this helps. 

Using Grade Posting Policy to Hide and Post Grades.pdf - Google Drive  

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

tross‌ - I remember one posted a few weeks ago by rsasso@utk.edu  1-page documentation for New Grade Posting Policy .  There may be more out there, but that's the only one that comes to mind.

Navigator

tross and others, feel free to adapt ours:

Learner II

Teri, we posted something on our blog about the GPP. We will update this as they revise the icons and process.

Grade Posting Policy Use and Scenarios  

Learner II

tross‌, early on I created a video for our instructors: Canvas New Grade Hiding and Posting and have had very few questions from them.

Learner II

 jfenton@instructure.com   I really do appreciate your efforts at transparency here.  I'm sorry to be late to stumble on your blog, but my concerns are longstanding and have been expressed to our CSM and in other venues.  I think they are relatively straightforward:

1) Can you explain to me, so I can provide a satisfying answer when I'm asked, why in Automatic mode,  a grade column can't be hidden until a grade is entered?  For people who use Canvas at the basic level, this has been and will be a disconcerting change. "I can't hide this column before I enter my grades like I used to be able to.  Canvas must be broken"

2) Much lower on my list of concerns, but equally straightforward, I think: "Why can't I get to SpeedGrader anymore from the column menu?"  Would it clutter things up so badly to have one more item in that menu?  

Sometimes it's necessary to crack an egg or two to make an omelet, but these two changes strike me as insufficiently well motivated and unsympathetic to the human tendency to get established in our ways.

Community Member

Thank you, @Jon Fenton and all who have posted their documents and videos to help explaining this to faculty.  I think the issue that has been most disturbing to me has been the presence of that slashed eyeball even when grades are posted. Having it appear ONLY when there are hidden grades makes it much easier to explain.  

I have determined that we will follow @Sarah Finney's lead (thank you, Sarah, for your great video) and train faculty to use Grade Post Policies (at the course or at the assignment level) rather than ever hiding grades.   

If you could sneak one thing into the fix that you are rolling out, I would suggest making the assignment post policy really clear - since it looks so much like the course post policy wording and screen.  Maybe label it "Assignment Post Policy"  and "Course Post Policy" versus "Grade Post Policy".    (That allows one to set the olicy for the assignment before any items are submitted.)

Surveyor

Hey hesspe@bc.edu‌, thanks for your comment. Great questions. 

1 - This is certainly a change in thinking for users who were used to Mute/Unmute and I apologize for the confusion that it has caused. The way to ensure that grades will be hidden as they are entered is to set the Post Policy to manual. This can be done at the course level AND at the assignment level. So, for example, if an instructor wanted all assignments to be have grades hidden by default except for the final paper, they would set the course Post Policy to manual, and then change the assignment post policy to automatic for the final paper. If, on the other hand, the final paper was the only assignment that they wanted to have grades hidden by default on, they would leave the course Post Policy unchanged and change the assignment Post Policy to manual for the final paper.

Hide is intended to be used after grades have been entered. For example, if an instructor realizes that a TA made an error when entering grades and needs to go in and make corrects to grades that are currently available to students, they could hide the grades while they make changes. 

2 - You touched on one of the main issues that we grapple with in the Gradebook - how to convey as much information to instructors as possible, and provide as many options as possible, without the GradeBook becoming a confusing mess that is overly cluttered. That being said, we want frequent actions to be easily accessible. I appreciate your feedback here. Navigating to SpeedGrader from Gradebook (and frankly getting around once in SpeedGrader) are frequent topics for us. 

Surveyor

Great suggestion, nancy.lachance@adtalem.com

Explorer II

This is my latest version using speedgrader and applying the grade posting policy to the entire grade book. I usually try to keep all my videos under 2 min; I managed under 3min which was a struggle. Ringling speedgrader video

Surveyor

We made two videos about the Post Policy for faculty as well:

Course Grade Post Policy

Assignment Grade Post Policy

These will be added to our online Canvas Video Archive for faculty:

https://itle.okstate.edu/Canvas.vbhtml 

I left some wiggle room in the Assignment video to allow for any future iconography changes, but overall I think they explain this new Post Policy well enough for our faculty to understand.

Surveyor

Excellent videos Simon!  May I share them to Iowa State users?


I think they are best viewed in the opposite order with these points (you mentioned) reinforced:

Assignment Grade Post Policy - https://vimeo.com/362801783
- replaces old Mute/Unmute Column process

Course Grade Posting Policy (for Entire Course), https://vimeo.com/362801806
- best to set BEFORE any grades come in – i.e. at beginning of semester.

- eye icon = manual grading policy is in place and does NOT indicate whether grades are visible or not (a non intuitive meaning)

 - Karla

Surveyor

Oh for sure, embleton@iastate.edu‌. Go ahead and share them! I'm glad you think they will be helpful for you, and feel free to share any of our other videos or even the link to our whole archive.

Some of the videos are a bit dated but we try to update these continually throughout the year. I'm actually working on a couple new ones right now...

Explorer II

These are fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Learner II

Jon, I appreciate the explanation here about why you can't hide a grade when it's set to automatic before a grade has been posted. It can't be easy wading into interactions with users who are frustrated with a new feature. 

I just want to make sure you read the previous comments from other IDs and instructors  (aka, power users) in this thread who had the same concern as Peter Hess, which suggests that the new system of changing and assignment to manual and not hide is not intuitive and others will struggle with it as well.

It may be that this is something that users will get used to, as you note in your blog post, but I wonder how many people will flounder before the point of that understanding. This is what happened with the folks on this thread like Peter Hess, Grace Kwan, etc. Others may try to consult the documentation on GPP but remain confused (this happened to another ID in my group, who read the documentation several times and still didn't understand that manual could be used to preemptively "hide" a grade). Others may consult T1 support and have it confirmed that you cannot "hide" an assignment until a grade has been issues, and still not understand the difference between hide and mute (which is what happened to me--although now I understand it). 

I appreciate your explanation of why Canvas made the changes you did in the blog post update and for engaging with the Canvas community, but I think the comments on this thread indicate there is still some confusion over the basic mechanics of the tool that may not be solved by making changes to the icons. 

Surveyor

jfenton@instructure.com‌ and others...here is a screenshot from an email I received today. We're taking steps to alleviate these issues, such as sending out the videos we created which I shared last week on this thread, but I wanted to show an example of the kinds of confusion this has caused. This particular professor has tried to solve the problem on her own, but it's just not very intuitive and I can understand her frustration.

As others in this thread have mentioned, if grades on an assignment (i.e. the Assignment Post Policy) could be changed to Hidden directly from Speedgrader I think that would go a long way towards dealing with some of the confusion. Alternatively, if grades could be set to Hidden before any grades are entered I think that would help a lot too. I realize that the Assignment Post Policy can be changed before grades are entered, so maybe this is simply just a matter of educating faculty on the new system, but it's clear to me that there is still some improvements to be made here.

Post Policy

Surveyor

No we haven't Teri. We were going to try to have faculty use the individual view of the gradebook where they can just mute and unmute the assignment but that doesn't match the gradebook settings and is part of the problem.

There is no good way to tell faculty when the transparent eye icon has two meanings. If they want to fix this issue one icon cannot have two meanings.

Karen Matson

Surveyor

I don't mean to be the squeaky wheel here, but I just got off the phone with another faculty member who was grading assignments on her mobile phone. She said something about "Mute Grades" and I thought for sure she was thinking about the old system because it has now been changed to Post Policy, as we have been discussing in this thread. After our phone call I logged into the Canvas Mobile Teacher App and was quite surprised that the faculty member was correct: it still says Mute Grades. The screenshot below is what I took from the Canvas Mobile Teacher App a few minutes ago. I went to my Assignments, then tapped on an individual Assignment, and then tapped on the Gear icon at the top of the screen:

mute grades

I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but I assume that the Mobile App will be updated soon to reflect the changes to Post Policy. I know the Canvas developers have a lot of things on their plate right now, but inconsistencies like this between the Mobile App and the web-based version add a new layer of confusion for faculty. Incidentally, the faculty member with whom I spoke was on an Android phone but I verified that the same issue was happening on iOS as well.

jfenton@instructure.com‌ I know you and your team are working hard to deal with these issues, and I appreciate your efforts as well as your work to keep us updated here. Thank you for all you are doing.

Surveyor

Jon,

 No hide is not what we do after we enter grades. We hide first thus the reason this isn't working for faculty.

Karen

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

Hey Everyone, 

I appreciate this page to provide feedback and I am liking the direction we are going now. I have two items I wanted to make sure to voice.

  1. Please make sure the word "Manual" will display in the column header even if the column width is extremely small. 
    Though I try to show faculty how they can filter and sort their gradebook, many of them still use the column width to make a column less noticeable. So when it is time to turn in grades and there is an error, we had a really tough time finding which column showed "Muted".
  2. Please differentiate the naming of "Grade Posting Policy".
    The Grade Posting Policy found in the gear at the top right is for the entire course, please name it that way.
    The Grade Posting Policy found from the gradebook column drop down menu is just for that assignment, please name it something different to explain that. 

This goes along with some other confusions as to the Hide/Post Grades portions. I would recommend taking these out of the column drop down and placing everything that has to do with the visibility of grades in one menu location named Hide/Post Policy.

As others have described, I don't see a reason to have a  separate feature that hides grades after I have started grading. I want to be able to set the assignment to Manual/Hide, grade, then Post grades. 


Again, I appreciate this update and can see the reasons for it. I also really appreciate your request for feedback and promptness to our needs.

Community Member

love this blog! but wasnt sure where I can vote for adding a word count facet to speedgrader!!!!! so needed!

Community Team
Community Team

ldilibero@neit.edu‌, this is the idea that is currently open for voting requesting word count in Speedgrader: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/3454-word-count-for-speedgrader-docviewer-grading