Survey Says: Consistency, Please!

Calendar and Announcements

Family feud game board with Consistency as the category and Calendar/To-Do List and Announcements as the two items revealed

Calendar

The Calendar is an important organizational tool in Canvas for instructors and students. It is a reliable way for users to keep track of upcoming to-do items across multiple courses. Student feedback was overwhelmingly positive in cases where faculty used the Canvas Calendar well in their courses.

“Canvas’s calendar easily laid out all my assignments so I could view my month at a glance and pace my work.”

“The calendar allowed me to see assignments that were due in the coming weeks.”

“Not all teachers do this, but when every teacher takes advantage of setting a due date through Canvas our To-Do Lists automatically update and we see an up to date list of what needs to be done and when.”

Screenshot of a student calendar in Canvas in Month View

“The calendar, especially the agenda function, was very useful in helping me keep track of my assignments.”

Screenshot of a student calendar in Canvas in Agenda View

The Calendar is a great way to view all obligations by day, week, month, or agenda list; particularly when users, especially students, add the Canvas calendar to their personal calendar. It allows them to see all of their personal appointments and course to-do items in one place.

Screenshot of the Calendar Feed link in the Canvas Calendar tool

As a one-way feed, the Canvas calendar essentially becomes “an ongoing subscription, so that any changes teachers make to the schedule automatically appear in the students‘ personal calendars as well.”

We encourage instructors to stick specifically to items that have a due date/time to cut down on the amount of information students see on their calendars across courses.

“As a time-management expert, Allen (2002) specifically recommends that the calendar be reserved for things which absolutely have to be done by particular deadlines or meetings and appointments which are fixed in time and place. Reading and writing assignments and exams fit Allen‘s (2002) recommendation very well, and these dates need to be marked on students‘ calendars.”

“McWhorter (1988) advocates the importance of writing all assignment deadlines and exam dates on a calendar; referring often to a calendar with these important dates, he points out, will help students keep focused on their goals in order to achieve these goals successfully.”

Jianyang Mei, M.A.

Announcements

The Announcements tool is a powerful communication aid for instructors. We recommend thinking of it as a one-way communication device to send important updates to students. Feedback received in the survey stated that students struggled when instructors added course documents as attachments to announcements.

Adding files only as attachments to announcements makes them very difficult for students to find at a later date.

“Or they attach … to an announcement which doesn’t save on the main page so anytime you want to access the document you have to go back to that specific announcement. Would recommend standardizing how sites are setup, and encouraging professors to not store items in announcements.”

Instead, post the files and content in the Modules, and then use the Announcements tool to let the students know about the update. You can even link to a Canvas Module or Page inside an announcement message using the Link tool in the toolbar.

Screenshot of the text editor in the Announcements tool with the Link drop down menu and Course Links options selected.

Sources

Mei, Jianyang, M.A. (2016). Learning Management System Calendar Reminders and Effects on Time Management and Academic Performance. International Research and Review: Journal of Phi Beta Delta, Honor Society for International Scholars Volume 6, Number 1, Fall 2016. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1148410.pdf   

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