From the Drive-Thru Window: Non-features in Canvas

Many of us being forced to switch over to Canvas are coming up with metaphors, such as my idea of your old LMS being like your old house, and your new LMS like moving to a new house where nothing’s in the right place.

drive-thruBut you can eventually set up your new home the way you like it, so this analogy doesn’t fully work for an LMS. For me, Moodle was like running my own restaurant, with table service. Canvas has reduced me to a drive-thru window. It is difficult to present your meal attractively or in an appetizing way through that window, though I can package it for you conveniently so you can take it with you in a box.

I can now get a little more specific about what I would need in Canvas that isn’t there, just by looking in the Canvas Community for what people want to add. Ideas are submitted, evaluated, and then some are voted on and moved forward.

I have marked the ones I’ve been accustomed to having in Moodle, or very much need in Canvas, with a *.

List of features open for voting in Canvas include:

*Create a student-accessible rubric for self-assessments
Allow two-part quiz questions
*Add subject lines to discussion posts (I have them edit them by putting their thesis there for easy searching)
Tables in Canvas (request for actual WYSIWYG in Rich Text Editor)
Batch question editing in a quiz
Assign peer reviews by student group
*Custom canned comments in SpeedGrader
Context help
*Add, Create or Modify a Calculated or the Total Colum in the Gradebook
Time between quiz attempts

And under consideration: (not likely in six months)

*Allow students to upload an image directly to discussion (crucial for my Primary Source posts)
*Make attendance visible to students
*Compile all essay reponses to a quiz questions on one screen for grading (crucial for my writing assignment and primary source grading)
*Create a more simple, intuitive way to offer extra credit
Warn before leaving unsaved item
*Show quiz as percent score in Gradebook
*Warning when submitting quiz
*Assessments – add more than just quizzes
*Override final grade (critical for getting attention and adjusting grade upward)
*Treat zeros as ungraded for both teacher and student views
*Make polls available in the desktop version of Canvas, not just as an app

This is the start of the list of things I’ll have to find workarounds for!

Would you like fries with that?

3 thoughts on “From the Drive-Thru Window: Non-features in Canvas

  1. Ouch, reading this I am very glad that I keep my LMS use to a minimum (self-reporting of grades through T-F quizzes + gradebook), so our move to Canvas is not really going to affect me. Although now I’m thinking I really should go set up a few sample quizzes just to make sure my minimal use of the LMS will in fact work more or less well in Canvas…

    FWIW my interest is the way that Canvas courses can be fully public (no log-in at all required), and the ways that content from the outside Internet can appear in Canvas by means of embedding — Twitter, Diigo, blog posts, etc. If you’re interested in such stuff (annotated Diigo bookmarks might be handy for supporting student research…?), I’ve experimenting here:


  2. Yes! I can click and go, all public and viewable! Super! I really hope that at every step we will be encouraging faculty to make their courses public. That is the one real advantage for us over D2L: absolutely zero possibility for public courses in D2L. Because Diigo widgets are javascript based, I opted for doing Inoreader display of Diigo RSS… but now that I figured out how to do javascripts in Canvas after all (silly workaround, but it does work), I might play with some of the Diigo widgets this week. I’m trying to be better about using Diigo and having Canvas to play with is a good motivator. 🙂


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