Canvas Training – Issues Surface

Victoria Getis Les James and I did a series of training sessions last week for the faculty who have elected to be in the Canvas pilot for Winter quarter. In doing so, we encountered a couple of questions we couldn’t immediately answer:

First, could one integrate a Google Calendar with Canvas, so that events could be pushed or synced from both sides? In other words, the faculty member wanted her Canvas course events to appear on her Google Calendar and she also wanted to be able to post things on a Google Calendar and have them appear on her Canvas calendar, for both her own viewing and that of her students.

Second, could one separate students in a class into groups, then give an assignment to students that would have a different due date based on the group they were in? The faculty member wanted to not repeat or duplicate assignments, but rather make each assignment more nuanced, based on group membership.

We went back to our offices and did a little research. The answer to the first question seems to be that we’re not the first to think of this: two way integration with Google Calendar is a community-based feature request (see https://help.instructure.com/entries/20610351-Integration-with-Google-Calendar-). It is possible to push Canvas calendar events to Google Calendar (one directional) — see instructions on the same page. Canvas asks users to vote for feature requests they’d like to see, so that they can prioritize their development work; you can see the list of feature requests they’ve already fulfilled here: https://help.instructure.com/forums/20160923-Community-Features-We-ve-Implemented

On the second question, we found that an instructor can vary due dates for an assignment by section, but not by group. There are work-arounds, such as creating two different assignments, or creating a single assignment with no due date specified on the calendar, but they are not as elegant as one might hope for. Any other solutions people have found? Reply in the comments, below.

Also, remember the Turnitin and Canvas session on Dec. 10. Turnitin is a plagiarism detection program, much like SafeAssign, which is used with Blackboard. That session is at 11 AM in the Library Forum Room.

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