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Import calendar from ICS file

Import calendar from ICS file

(13)
I am aware that we can export our canvas calendar feed to another calendar but it would be nice to import calendar feeds too.

 

For example, I would like to be able to import my institution's academic calendar into canvas. I find myself having to re-enter important dates so that I can see them as I schedule assignments and tests--it seems silly to have to retype them when they are available as an ics file, if only I could import it.

 

Originally suggested on the old forum by Michael Young.

54 Comments
scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Thanks, Beth!

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Thanks, Beth! (linking back to the old thread, for reference)

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @SethBattis ​ - you may consider posting something on the old thread referencing people to this thread and asking them to comment - if you haven't already. The old thread will be unavailable after the end of May so if you want to capture specific comments or information it would be helpful to have it added here.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

I don't know the exact date that Zendesk will go offline but the best estimate will be the end of June.

SethBattis
Community Contributor

Fair enough,  @kona ​ Smiley Happy

The gist of that thread is:

  • Lots of schools are also on Google Apps -- integrating existing calendars into course calendars for teacher/student planning would be a convenience.
  • Some folks who would like to be able to have an institutional calendar feed that was visible everywhere (holidays, exam dates, etc.). [I note that this could be accomplished by enrolling everyone in a single course that had a calendar feed synced into it.]
  • If information is split between Google and Canvas, which becomes the go-to?
  • The Canvas calendar interface is "insultingly crude" -- so the flexibility of adding recurring events, for example, is much easier in a more mature calendar interface (and then generate the ICS feed to populate Canvas).
  • We can export and ICS, why can't we import?

In addition, or perhaps as an addendum: it's not like it can't be done. I've done it and we use it live at St. Mark's. (And so can your Canvas admin, if you want to connect them up with me and this script.) Problem is, I haven't had time to polish up the code for self-service use by my own users, let alone others. And there are some improvements that I'd like to incorporate before asking people other than me to interact with it.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Just FYI there was a similar, well written feature idea (not to imply that this one isn't well written) with more use case info submitted

charles_woolum
Community Member

Most definitely a feature Canvas needs to have. We use OASIS for scheduling purposes and evaluations for our medical school students and would like to be able to export that calendar into Canvas to accomplish a couple of things. First, minimize the number of places a student has to look to see their schedules and meetings. Second, avoid any unnecessary redundancy. I do hope this feature idea garners enough support to implement!!

anchalee
Community Participant

Too bad that this thread got moved to this new community. In the old thread, Import and display organization/school calendar events on all Canvas calendars : Help Center there were 107 votes. In this current one so far we have less than 100. According to Instructure, "if three months go by and an idea doesn't get a net sum of 100 up votes, it will be archived." This means if by Aug 15, 2015 this thread received less than 100 votes, it will be archived.

The old thread was started on June 24, 2012, exactly three years ago today! So if this thread falls off to being archived, I doubt it will see any daylight.

DRBROOKS
Community Member

I just added a vote. I imported the .ics file into Microsoft Outlook. You are correct. It is almost just easier and more accurate to manually create entries into the built in Outlook calendar. The one from the Canvas .ics file is not very useful, bulky, and there are a lot of duplicates. They are also all in green, so it doesn't help differentiate what course or type of assignment/quiz/exam/discussion it is.

zachw
Community Participant

As Instructure looks into the viability of this feature, I suggest bundling it with the global calendar suggested elsewhere. If I could import my school's ICS calendar into a form where every student could see it, that would be very helpful.

peytoncraighill
Instructure
Instructure

This is something we really wanted to squeeze into an intern project this summer, but it's not looking promising at this point. The story is created (with this thread attached to it), and the work is estimated...just trying to find capacity. I'll bring it up again in workshop next week.

DRBROOKS
Community Member

Hopefully, it will get at least enough votes. In the Gathering Info phase, are you looking for more real-life details on what is needed/ideal? Screenshots/examples? Pros/Cons, Which specific calendars, etc?

You can send me a PM. The Personal Info I can try to redact.

DRBROOKS
Community Member

For an academic calendar, it would be important (last day to add/drop, holidays where the school is closed,...).

biray
Community Champion

 @Beth_Young ​ - Have you watched andersonj​'s presentation from a past InstructureCon called "Adventures with Rest API" where he talks about adding calendar events (such as the examples you mentioned - school events, holidays, etc.) across multiple courses at once. Check it out at timecode 16:25

Adventures with the Canvas REST API | InstructureCon 2013 - YouTube

Hope that helps! Smiley Happy

Beth_Young
Community Contributor

Have not seen it yet--will check it out. Thanks!

buffalosoldier3
Community Member

Nice

hauckc
Community Member

Too bad, yes. I am getting the sense from reading this thread that this very obvious and IMPORTANT feature is not very important to Canvas and/or the Canvas team. And it's really a shame because so many Canvas features are calendar driven. If I could figure out how to vote, I would.

canvas_admin
Community Champion

Christina, to vote you have to be logged into the Jive platform and you can click the up (or down) arrow next to the number to vote up (or down) for a feature idea.

talagad
Community Member

If you have code that maps the canvas calendar DB to an export file format, then you should be able to quickly write the code to do the reverse process. I have a hard time imagining that a good coder would take more than a day to write it. Of course you would need to work to try to break it before rolling it out as a feature, so that process would take quite a bit more time.

However, Many features in Canvas (and I'm thinking of importing features in particular) are not particularly robust. So, it's not like it needs to be perfect to be useful.

I would create a set of test calendars from various sources (or ask users for examples) and verify that they import properly. Again, a good person or two could get through it in a relatively short period of time.

This is a relatively minor feature compared to the other import options that exist.

peytoncraighill
Instructure
Instructure

The bad news: this doesn't fit neatly into any of our development plans in the next six months. The good news: it's small enough that it doesn't need to fit neatly into any of our development plans to get done. I'm archiving this idea because we can't commit to it, but know that it's still on the radar (in my brain, and more formally, in the backlog). This thread is attached to the backlog item, so feel free to continue posting additional thoughts/questions/rants/ideas/complaints/reflections.