Discussion Checkpoints Feature Update

SamGarza1
Instructure
Instructure
14
4008

Canvas.png

Today, we're reaching out with an update on the anticipated release of our new feature, Discussion Checkpoints. We understand the excitement surrounding this addition to the Canvas experience, and we appreciate your patience as we strive to deliver a feature that meets your needs and expectations.

The journey of bringing checkpointed discussions to life has been thrilling and challenging. We want to transparently share that the feature's complexity caused us to reevaluate our initial approach to ensure its long-term sustainability and our ability to iterate on it in the future. Our development team is diligently working to build checkpointed discussions in a way that not only meets your immediate needs but also lays a robust foundation for future implementations in additional features across Canvas.

Given what we’ve learned throughout building this feature, we've adjusted our expected release timeline to the end of Q2 2024. We understand the anticipation but believe that taking the necessary time now will create a more polished and user-friendly experience for everyone. 

It's important to note that while checkpoints will be introduced within the Discussion Redesign, it is not directly tied to the body of work affecting the redesign. We want to avoid any confusion and emphasize that the delay in checkpointed discussions will not impact the rollout of the Discussion Redesign itself.

We value your feedback immensely and to keep you in the loop once our team has front-end work ready to share we will be reaching out to connect with customers to ensure that checkpointed discussions align with your needs and expectations. 

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support. We're excited to deliver a checkpointed discussions feature that adds significant value to your Canvas LMS experience.

14 Comments
JessicaDeanSVC
Community Coach
Community Coach

Thank you @SamGarza1 for a much wanted update! When is the end of Q2 for Canvas, if that differs from the "usual" quarterly system? What I'm trying to get at is, is it anticipated that the feature will be available before the July enforcement date of the redesign?

DrAJP
Community Participant

Appreciate the update. 

dbrace
Community Contributor

@SamGarza1, what does Instructure/Canvas consider to be Q2 2024? Is it the months of April 2024, May 2024, and June 2024? If that is correct, are you saying that checkpoints will be available in Discussions Redesign by the end of June 2024?

According to what is currently available atUpcoming Canvas Changes, is Discussions Redesign scheduled for mandatory enforcement/release on 2024-07-20?

screenshot provided below

Canvas Upcomfing Changes 2024-07-20 Discussions Redesign.png

JessicaDeanSVC
Community Coach
Community Coach

At my state's Canvas conference today, @SamGarza1 was present and clarified that Q2 ends at the end of June for Canvas 👍

dbrace
Community Contributor

Thank you, @JessicaDeanSVC.

I guess this means that checkpoints is scheduled to currently be available for the release on 2024-07-20.

@SamGarza1, can you please confirm that in the text (or comments) of this post?

adam_c_voyton
Community Participant

I am eagerly anticipating the opportunity to utilize the Discussions Checkpoints feature in the near future. This feature promises to be incredibly valuable, addressing a significant need for educators. Currently, I advise my students to submit their initial post to our weekly discussion board by the end of the day on Wednesday, with the expectation of at least two follow-up posts completed by the week's end, typically Friday - and this is all communicated via weekly announcements, discussion due date, instructions on the discussion assignments itself, and on the course's syllabus that's attached to the Syllabus tab/page of a course as a Word document. 

The integration of this feature will greatly benefit both students and instructors. By associating this data point as an attribute stored with discussion assignments, students will gain a clearer understanding of assignment due dates. This will enable them to easily identify deadlines at a glance, receive timely reminders, and include these tasks on their personalized to-do lists within the Canvas platform. Thank you to you and your team for developing this innovation new feature!

SamGarza1
Instructure
Instructure
Author

Hi everyone!

Our Q2 is through the end of June and we are currently aiming for a June production release but have not finalized that yet. Our team will post an additional update once we have a confirmed date. 

TrinaAltman
Community Participant

@SamGarza1 (cc @mloble)

Thank you for the update on the Checkpoints rollout. If the Checkpoints timeline slips again, it could put it near or after the July 20th enforced rollout of the Redesign. As it stands now, even if it is ready by the end of June, that doesn't leave much time for testing, usage, and working out issues before the Redesign enforcement. A lot of instructors would be drawn to use the new Checkpoints feature understandably, and to pair an untested (in the real world) significant feature (that you have acknowledged is also complex) with the enforcement of the redesigned discussion tool where it will be made available seems risky. This doesn't even take into consideration that many schools (like ours) will likely need to default the redesign to enabled in May or early June, along with change management for that, since the current enforcement date is before the end of our summer term.

I would once again like to plead with Instructure to change the enforcement of the Redesign tool to the end of the year. This would give schools the opportunity to encourage instructors to try it out in summer courses, time for more testing over the summer for the new Checkpoints feature, and then we can default on during the Fall term prior to an end-of-year enforcment. That would give instructors in the much bigger fall term the opportunity to roll back to the classic design if they find they need to rethink workflows because of how the Redesign changes things (which has been a common theme in feedback for the redesigned tool).

This would make the transition to the Redesigned discussion tool much more friendly, sane, and welcome for schools and instructors, rather than forcing something on them which may cause issues they aren't prepared for. I do know the Discussion Redesign has been available for years - but initial reception was quite poor and Instructure stopped development for a while (there was a year and a half gap in the change log). Some of the bigger issues with it weren't resolved until more recently, so it's not something that has high adoption yet. The improvements to the tool, combined with a more fully vetted Checkpoints feature, could really help drive much more willing and happy adoption.

leward
Community Contributor

@SamGarza1 , another approach that might address @TrinaAltman ‘s valid concerns would be to keep the enforcement date as is and make checkpoints a feature option.  

TrinaAltman
Community Participant

@leward (cc @SamGarza1 ), great thought, but it really would still work better for us (and other schools who have expressed similar concerns) if the Discussion Redesign enforcment itself were scheduled for the end of the year. Making Checkpoints a Feature Option would allow us to disable it, but then we'd be holding back a feature that many faculty want.

I (and others) have posted elsewhere along the way (e.g., herehere, and here) our reasoning for delaying the enforcement. Allowing Checkpoints in the summer in an optional tool makes a lot of sense. Enforcing the Discussions Redesign tool with a significant new feature that is untested in the real world, to me, does not.

leward
Community Contributor

@TrinaAltman .  Yep, I totally agree.  I suggested the feature option because it sounds like Instructure is planning to push forward with the July 20 enforcement date. Having the ability to disable checkpoints until it's been thoroughly tested and vetted might at least address your concerns about releasing that functionality too early.

MelRizzuto-JHU
Community Member

I have been waiting for this to happen since 2011. It has been promised numerous times over the past decade in various forms. PLEASE make it so!

TrinaAltman
Community Participant

I just wanted to point out that last fall's blog post announcing the enforcement of the redesign:
Discussions Redesign Coming to Canvas LMS on July 20, 2024!

says:

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The enforcement dates for the Discussions Redesign are:

Beta: June 17, 2024

Production: July 20, 2024

This doesn’t mean we’re done working on discussions though. Upcoming features that will be added to the redesign before it's enforced (emphasis added) include:

Checkpoints: Allows instructors to set two due dates for discussions; providing greater clarity to students on when initial responses and replies are due.

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The enforcement date has persisted even though this significant piece of functionality (the one that would get our faculty more excited about having to change) was delayed, with a statement in this post that "It's important to note that while checkpoints will be introduced within the Discussion Redesign, it is not directly tied to the body of work affecting the redesign. We want to avoid any confusion and emphasize that the delay in checkpointed discussions will not impact the rollout of the Discussion Redesign itself. We value your feedback immensely ...."

My feedback continues to be the enforcement would have been a much easier pill to swallow if we had Checkpoints as a selling point. We are now preparing to enable the Discussion Redesign tool in May in advance of the start of our summer term. We don't have any other option if we want to avoid an interface change of a major tool during the term.

knoxd
Community Coach
Community Coach

I appreciate this update.  Our staff is really looking forward to the checkpoints and I am excited to be able to test it this summer before our 24-25 school year begins.