You may want to add calendar events to indicate when initial posts are due for discussions or for other reminders in the course. While calendar events can work they come with inherent problems. The purpose of this job aid is to give a work around for creating calendar events that will prompt students to fulfill activity requirements.
Note: We still encourage instructors to use the Zoom plug-in to set up Zoom Meeting events in Canvas. Follow the tutorial Create Secure Zoom Meetings in Canvas.
Why Canvas Pages and not Calendar Events?
Calendar events in Canvas are a great way to communicate dates but come with drawbacks:
- Calendar events come in four types for courses. Below is an explanation of each type and why they are not entirely suitable for use due dates in courses:
- Event: these denote a date for a meeting as well as a time span for the meeting meaning it needs a start and end time. These events will be displayed to students in the course the event was made for. This is ideal for class times. Zoom uses these for its Canvas plugin. Something like a due date has a singular date and time, not a period of time meaning this type is not suitable for communicating due dates.
- Assignment: This will generate an assignment for the course for the due date. While this fits the criteria of giving a singular due date/time as well as being available for students, it creates an assignment instance in the course that will show up in the assignments page and in the grade book due to the settings. Thus this is a less desirable method for a simple due date prompt.
- My To Do: These allow for a singular due date/time but these events are only visible in the calendar of the user that created the event. (hence the “My”) For that reason this is unsuitable.
- Appointment Groups: This is a very niche event type that is meant to communicate meeting times with a teacher and student allowing to create open blocks that students can sign up for. For this reason it is unsuitable for posting a due date/time.
- They create problems for updating staff because do not copy forward and shift their dates like assignments, discussions, quizzes and pages. Also they require the updating staff to participate in the course in the instructor or designer Canvas roles. This creates unnecessary complications during updating.
Pages in turn fulfill many of the requirements:
- Singular todo date that acts as a singular “due date” that shows up in the course calendar, the Canvas syllabus, and the “Coming up” and “Todo” list in the dashboard/course home page.
- Dates copy forward during updates
- They don’t require developers or instructional designers to add themselves to courses
- Unlike assignments, quizzes and discussions they won’t commonly show up in the grade book or assignments page. This is great for an event date that does not need points attached to it.
Step 1: Create New Page
Go to Pages in the left-hand navigation menu.
Then click on the button View All Pages.
It will bring you to the inventory of all the pages that exists in the course. Select + Page from the top right to create a new page.
Step 2: Create Content for Reminder
On the new page you will need to fill out the information to create the reminder.
- Page Title. This is going to be what students will see immediately in the Calendar, Syllabus and Todo listing on the homepage. Best practice is to place a call to action like "Due" or "Reminder" along with the name of the assignment.
- Page Content. When they go to the page give a short description of what needs to be done. Link to the relevant assignment or discussion using internal links. To learn how to make proper internal content links, please see the Adding Internal Content Links tutorial.
- Turn on Add to student to-do. A box will appear where you can enter a date and a time. This is where you want to put the due date.
The best practice is to be consistent with both the title and content in the page. Also let the Add to student to-do date be the only place with the posted due date since that will be updated each semester. The page does not need to be added to the modules page since by adding the Todo date, it will appear in the course calendar, the Canvas syllabus, and the “Coming up” and “Todo” list in the dashboard/course home page.
Once complete, click the blue save button at the bottom to create the reminder.