Give Instructors a Link to Students' *Live* Cloud Assignment Docs


The idea: 

In addition to providing a static Cloud Assignment image (created in Speedgrader at the time of student submission), provide instructors with a link to the student's live doc/slides/spreadsheet. 

The details:

In Google Cloud Assignments, at the moment a student submits work, instructors are given access to a static document created at that time. The time-stamped image is certainly useful for assuring adherence to deadlines. However, this means instructors have no access to student progress on the assignment prior to the time of submission and no direct way to interact with the live document from Canvas.

Why this is important:

The great power of the Google Tools Suite is its ability for real-time collaboration.

Here are just a few examples where instructors' ability to quickly access students' live documents would help elevate student learning and simplify instructor workflow:

(1) to monitor student progress on the assignment in real time (including access to the version history)

(2) to provide real-time targeted feedback as students work in the assignment

(3) to work collaboratively on the assignment with students in real time 

(4) to help troubleshoot technical problems with the docs in real time

The Current (unsatisfactory) Workaround: Ask students to rename and share their Cloud Assignments (either the individual assignment or the folder) with the instructor. This is not a satisfactory process because the instructor is now dependent upon the students to share their work, and share it correctly. This is no mean feat, especially at the elementary and middle levels. It also means the instructor has to spend time searching her/his own Drive to locate shared documents. 

Idea details: Ideally, the links would be generated at the time the students click on the assignment, perhaps creating a list of links (see screenshot below) for that assignment. Alternatively, but less satisfactorily, the link could be placed in Speedgrader above the static image of each student's submission. The downside to this method is that the instructor would only receive access at the time of submission. Preferably we would have access both ways, to save clicks during grading. In terms of rights to the documents, the instructor would need to have editing rights, or, at the very least, commenting rights.

Below: An example of a way a list of links could look for a Cloud Assignment. This screenshot is taken from a Google Script Add-On called Doctopus, written by Andrew Stillman. (Side Note: Interestingly, with Doctopus, the docs are generated with the instructor as owner and the students as editors. When the instructor no longer needs access to the docs, s/he clicks a button that hands over ownership to the individual students, and removes the instructor. This has the effect of clearing the instructor's Drive of now-unnecessary files.)

List of student links to Cloud Assignment

Community Champion

Still a lot of work to do with both Google and Microsoft integrations so they truly work as part of the learning platform and not just for a series of separate features.

Community Champion

This would be incredibly helpful to me. Right now, I have my assignments as URL submission assignments rather than use the Canvas Google Docs integration because I need access to the live docs themselves. (I have them submit them to be with Link Sharing turned on so I don't get a million emails about people sharing docs with me.) 

I go through their docs, leave comments, and if they re-submit I pull up the version history in the doc so I can see what they revised since the last time I graded it. I encourage them to revise and resubmit their assignments as needed, and being able to use the Google Docs version history is really, really useful in that process. 

Community Member

I like this work around.  It's still a pain to go look at version histories.  What would be fantastic is having this plus the static picture already available.  Best of both worlds and extremely useful.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I'm voting this down because it would really not work *at all* for most of our professors, and there is already the option of submitting a URL to the live document, if that's what is actually needed.  Almost all of our courses have deadlines, and the professors want to see and grade exactly what was turned in at the deadline.  I realize that not *all* assignments in every school or course work this way, but I certainly wouldn't want to confuse any professors by providing a live look at a document (even if they could use the history to see changes since the submission date).

Perhaps (I'm not even sure I'd support this fully), a new type of submission could be created for this type of assignment (in addition to file, url, text, etc).  For those who truly want this functionality, the new submission type could provide it, without altering the longstanding functionality of file type submissions.

Community Champion

There are reasons you may want access to the "live" doc alongside the "as-submitted" doc even in your "professors do not want things changed after submitted" case.

The main reason is the see the Version History for that document (only available if shared as "Can Edit", which I require my students to do).

This tool lets you see the entire edit history of a document, including which Google Account made which edits when. I have found this very useful in dealing with plagiarism cases. (I had one case where a student went into his buddy's Google Doc, copied things from it, and built his own assignment off of it to turn in late, and it was very helpful to be able to go into his buddy's live doc post-submission so I could see the copier's trail of breadcrumbs.) This can also show the process of "copy from the internet and then edit a bit in the document" used by some plagiarizers and assorted other shenanigans. 

What I'd like to see is a way to have the student's "at submission time" document archived when they submit (as is the case with the Google Docs submission type now) but with an additional link to the "live" version of the doc that's, ideally, already been vetted to be shared with the instructor's Google Account also provided as part of the submission. (I'd settle for just the link and having to do my own reminders about sharing permissions as I do now.)

Community Participant
I understand your concerns, but I think many teachers/instructors are evolving toward a more 'iterative' learning environment, trying to move away from some of the "one and done" types of learning tasks in favor of providing students with feedback throughout the work. It's more valuable (and efficient) to the learner if we're able to intervene early when a student's efforts are 'going off the rails'. This is why we need to have the ability to easily access and collaborate with students in their Google Drive documents. 
Community Contributor

I understand both points of view here (chriscas‌,  @thompsli ‌). In my mind, it all comes down to what's the best use of the limited engineering capacity that Instructure can devote to feature development on a short-term basis.

While it would be cool that a teacher could click a live-URL link to the student's submitted Doc (Slides, Sheet, etc.), Chris is correct that this is a very available option currently via the Website URL submission option. Here's an example of steps that we've used in the past to show students how to 'Get Shareable Link' to submit that intentionally does not put share the Doc with the teacher by name (the teachers I know hate that student Docs clutter up their Google Drives). See example.

Given that teachers accessing 'live Docs' is a ready option via Website URL submission, I'd rather Instructure spend that engineering capital on other related priorities, like making the attachment of a rubric to a Cloud Assignment easier and more visible AND getting the 'Comments' field added as an option at the point of student submission of a Cloud Assign... like it is on all other Canvas assignment types.

Community Champion

I currently use the "Sharable Link"/submit as a URL option in my classes. I teach 7th-12th grade math, and have students as young as 10 years old taking some of my classes as an accelerated elementary option. It takes weeks of training every year to teach my students how to submit assignments since they have to go through so many steps to get a sharable link, change it to "can edit", and then paste the link. It's a lot of steps to go through that students get little feedback as to whether or not they've done correctly (since they will see their document either way, and the Google "shared" icon doesn't change when a document has view permissions versus edit permissions), and it's a hassle I'd like to see work more smoothly. (Particularly since Canvas has no way to "mark as not turned in" an assignment on a student's behalf when they make a submission error, so I end up giving them a zero and sending them a Canvas Message asking for a new submission, which feels pretty harsh.)

I would find it very valuable to also get the "fixed" version as one does with the Docs integration to go with the link, and to have a system where students have fewer steps they have to remember to do in Google when submitting assignments.

I just need the ability to comment and see revisions on a live Doc even more than I need the "as submitted" snapshot, so since I'm stuck with one or the other I chose the link. I really want both.

Community Explorer

This challenge is stopping some of my teachers from making the full shift to Canvas.  I am working in an elementary environment (K-5).  Teachers are used to being able to share templates and make collaborative documents.  Not having the ability to do this in a simple process is stopping them from making the shift.  

Community Member

This function is extremely lacking for middle school teachers.  Live docs and ongoing feedback has been an incredible tool to help students revise and edit their work.

Without this function and being required to use Canvas via my district, I am extremely discouraged, as all scaffolding projects and papers will be impossible to assign as of now without recreating everything as steps in a module, and then having students copy and paste into one doc at the end.

For all the functionality Canvas has to offer, it does not match the available functions from the "limited functionality" of Google Classroom.

Community Member

I would love to have this feature available.  While i don't see the need on every assignment, I would like the option to do this.  As there is an increase in project based learning, teachers will need the ability to do way more with google cloud assignments.  I am an elementary teacher and my students are working on a biography project.  Some of them need a lot of assistance and I am not able to do that.  Having a little box I can check to make it a live doc would be amazing.

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

As part of the new Ideas & Themes process, all ideas in Idea Conversations were reviewed by the Product Team. Any Idea that was associated with an identified theme was moved to the new Idea & Themes space. Any Idea that was not part of the move is being marked as Archived. This will preserve the history of the conversations while also letting Community members know that Instructure will not explore the request at this time.