Hi Mastery Paths users! I’m Allison Howell, a product manager here at Instructure.
I’m writing to clear up some confusion around enabling Mastery Paths, which recently moved from a feature option to Account and Course Settings. This change allowed the Mastery Paths feature option to be available for any root admin to enable; however, we did a poor job explaining what that means and how the setting functions. I hope this post will clear things up and give you the confidence to make the right decision for your own situation. Below is a summary of how the Account Setting should work:
When the Mastery Paths setting is disabled and unlocked at the root account, sub-accounts and courses are free to turn the feature on, but the default is off.
When the Mastery Paths setting is disabled and locked at the root account, sub-accounts and courses are unable to use the feature.
When the Mastery Paths setting is enabled and unlocked, sub-accounts and courses have it automatically enabled, but they may go and turn it off if they want to.
When the Mastery Paths setting is enabled and locked, sub-accounts and courses have it automatically enabled and they are unable to turn the setting off.
How to decide what's right for your institution
So, what does all of this mean in reality? Here are a few scenarios that may help you make your decision.
If you want to provide maximum flexibility to your sub-account admins and instructors, you can leave the setting alone –– no need to check either box. The option will be there for sub-accounts and in Course Settings for instructors so they can make the right decision for them.
If you absolutely do not want anyone at your institution to use Mastery Paths, don’t check the Mastery Paths checkbox, but do go ahead and lock the setting so that your sub-account admins and teacher can’t enable the feature.
If you want to push Mastery Paths as a strong suggestion or default option, but you don’t plan to enforce its use, enable the feature and leave it unlocked so that sub-account admins and instructors can turn it off if they don’t plan to use it.
If you want to force everyone to use Mastery Paths, you should enable Mastery Paths and then lock it so that sub-account admins and instructors are unable to turn the setting off.
A quick note about inheritance when you choose to keep this setting unlocked. The default value will be inherited from the root account, but once a change is made by the sub-account or course, the new value is used moving forward. For example, if the account enables Mastery Paths but leaves it unlocked, any new course will have Mastery Paths turned on. If, however, an instructor turns it off in the course and saves it, the course will always have it turned off. So, if the account admin later decides to turn the setting off and then back on again, the course setting will stay consistent. To sum it up, when you leave the Mastery Paths setting unlocked, the sub-accounts and courses default to whatever the account value is, but if they change that value, then it becomes the value Canvas uses moving forward. If you don’t want sub-account admins and instructors to have this kind of flexibility, the best path forward is to lock the setting.
I hope this sums up your options for you! We wanted to give admins the flexibility to do what is right for their situation.
P.S. If your institution is using Mastery Paths or has looked into Mastery Paths and decided it didn’t meet your needs, I’d like to talk to you! Please schedule a time with me by clicking here.