Matt Gudites

Getting around limitations of the GUI

Discussion created by Matt Gudites on Mar 11, 2019
Latest reply on Mar 11, 2019 by Stefanie Sanders

**I hope I'm not breaking any rules here; I posted something similar (not exact) over in the "Developers" area, but I wanted to get the point of view from people who are probably closer to my area of expertise, in the Admins area.**




Our institution is new to Canvas (going live in a couple months), coming off of Blackboard. I'm shocked and really disappointed at how little can be accomplished via the GUI compared to Blackboard. It seems like just about every thing I ask our implementation team about doing, the answer is always "you'll need to figure out how to do it in the API." 


Batch apply/change the Grade Scheme? Do it via the API.

Batch course-copy material? Do it via the API.

Batch publish a bunch of courses? Do it via the API.


I've been sent to this page a number of times: Canvas LMS API DocumentationWe've got an awesome programmer on staff who I know can figure this out. However, he's a busy guy and has limited time to be able to spend on this, and I don't expect him to write a script for every menial little task I want to accomplish in Canvas. The documentation listed above doesn't really give any information on where to begin, and everything in Canvas's documentation is in programmer-speak...what do we need installed on a PC to make these calls, for example? It doesn't go over the basics. We've asked Canvas how to do these things, for some baseline instruction on how to setup a PC to run the scripts, only to be told "Instructure cannot tell you that, we're not a scripting company." I don't know how they can tell us "we can't tell you how to do this" when the software seems to rely on scripting for damn-near everything.


What do you all do to get around the limitations? All these things that came so easily in Blackboard, with Canvas they become a hindrance. Surely there are schools with Canvas who don't have an army of programmers at their disposal, but still have a need to accomplish tasks that the woefully inadequate GUI can't do. I find it completely ridiculous that we have to script everything., I can't go into the "Courses" area, check some boxes and delete say, five courses at once. I can't select say, twenty courses that I want and publish them all at the same time. It's either script it, or, it's ten clicks to navigate and do anything in Canvas, one course at a time.


What do you all do?!