I know that you can have the gradebook assume that all unsubmitted assignments are a "0", but can you do this for just one assignment?
Be careful with this, Heather; the two Gradebook functions you've described in your question are completely different in terms of what students will see. When you enable the "Treat Ungraded as 0" setting in your Gradebook, that only applies to your view of grades. Students will not see those zeros, nor will the zeros impact their grades. This is explained in How do I treat ungraded assignments as zero in the Gradebook? and this is the relevant line:
...[it] is only a visual change that does not actually affect any grades—it only helps you see the change in Gradebook calculations if ungraded assignments were given scores of zero. Enabling this option has no effect outside of the Gradebook; students cannot see any difference in their grade pages.
Turning to individual assignments, you can enable the default grade in a Gradebook column after you've graded the submissions. See the guide: How do I set a default grade for an assignment? Even though you've set the "default grade" as zero, it will only apply to cells in the column that don't already have a grade; enabling a default grade will not overwrite the scores you've entered. So in your situation, you can enter a default grade of 0 in that column to populate the grade-less cells.
Thanks, that answers my question AND gives me good information on the other option (gradebook wide settings).
I am planning to apply a work around for "drop (ignore) X lowest grades" in my Gradebook by applying "Set Default to Zero" on all assignments (so that the items grayed out in the Gradebook are actually ones that might be dropped). However, I am very nervous anout doing this, since I am not sure what to expect in the Gradebook - especially for discussion assignments that have been submitted but not yet graded. Could you please shed some light on this for me? Thank you!
Kimberly, "Set Default to Zero" will actually assign zeros to students. If a discussion assignment has been submitted but not yet graded, I can see how getting notification of a zero grade might cause considerably consternation among students, so I wouldn't use it preemptively.
Can you elaborate on what you're hoping to achieve with the workaround? Maybe you would be willing to post this, along with some elaboration on the use case and proposed workaround, as a brand-new question in Find Answers so the topic and solutions don't get lost in the comments section of a not-entirely-related question.
Thanks so much for the quick response Stephanie!! I actually posted a long question/comment to the Community about this in the "Treat Ungraded as Zero' section (just now finding this area). In that conversation, the discussion centered around students (not just instructors) viewing the 'ungraded as zero' in their Gradebook. After making that post, I spoke with a Canvas tech at our college who suggested the 'set default grade' as zero for all assignments as a solution. I realize that this proposed work around has problems of its own, especially since the semester has already begin. Bowever, I have not yet found any other solution the issue with 'dropping lowest scores' making students confused. about their current grades on assignments, as well as totals. I have pasted that original post below. Thank you!!
My other post about this issue...Along the lines of this conversation, I would like to add an issue associated with the Assignment Group rule "Number of scores to ignore for each student" (which is actually "automatically drop lowest X scores). I am wondering if there might be a way to incorporate a new feature to “treat ungraded as zero” when allowing students to ‘drop lowest’ X scores from an Assignment Group. Any suggestions on how best to manage this in the current system would be appreciated. Right now, I am just preventing totals from displaying to students in the Gradebook. Thank you! Here is my situation: I allow students to drop their lowest score from several of my assignment groups (1/14 lowest quiz score, 2/5 lowest critical thinking tasks, 1/5 lowest exam score, 1/3 video quiz scores). So, if students do well on the X number required assignments in each group they can, potentially, skip the remaining one(s) in that group. Alternatively, students can choose do all of the assignments in each group and then keep their highest X required scores in each group. I find that this not only encourages students be focused early in the semester (do well 'up-front' may = less work later), but also offers flexibility in terms of their balancing school and 'life' responsibilities. Students are allowed to miss one assignment deadline from each assignment group for any reason (sick, car trouble, have to attend a wedding, internet went down, dog ate my homework) and use that as the assignment that gets dropped from that group. It also eliminates the need for creating make-up assignments. Unfortunately, this also wreaks havoc with students' (and sometimes my) ability to understand their current course grade across the semester. Presently, in my case, as students' grades are posted across the semester, the system automatically "drops" their lowest X scores for each group (based on rules set for each assignment group). A case in point... I have a student who has already completed the required 3/5 critical thinking tasks this semester (90/90, 85/90, 90/90). However, two of these are grayed out in her Gradebook because the lowest 2/5 of these are 'ignored' – so only 1/5 is counted toward her course grade. This Gradebook issue does not resolve itself until the deadlines for ALL of the assignments in that Assignment Group have passed (near the end of the semester) – even though she is likely to skip the two remaining assignments in that group, and use those two zeros as her “dropped' scores. I realize, of course, that I could just set the Assignment Group rules at the end of the semester. But, as others have alluded to, students will think they are fine - until suddenly points (lowest scores) disappear from their Gradebook at the end of the semester. Ideally, there would be some way that the 'not yet due' scores were grayed out until the submission deadlines pass in each group. Would an IF-THEN kind of thing, integrated into Assignment Group rule option, work? Something like...IF "assignment is not locked" (in an Assignment Group) THEN "treat ungraded as zero"?This way (I think), all assignments would start out as zero (and grayed out) in the Gradebook and, early in the semester, the X number of “to be ignored” scores would (of course) be the scores grayed out in the Gradebook. However, as the semester progresses, and students’ assignments are graded, higher (non-zero) scores replace them and are included in course grade totals - while the “to be ignored” scores (I think) have no influence on overall course grades until their respective deadlines pass? Refering to the example case from above, that student's 3/5 scores would be counted in her total and the two up-coming (likely to be dropped) assignments have no influence. In that same example, if that student decided to complete a 4thcritical thinking task, and that 4th score was higher than one of the three previous scores in that group, the 4th (higher) score would replace the lowest of the first three in that group.
P.S. As suggested, I addeda version of theis to the Find Answers area
Here's the link to Kimberly's question: Student Gradebook Issues With 'Ignore Lowest Scores' in Assignment Group
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