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Availability period and due date

In order for students to be able to submit an assignment, Canvas has to know which students are going to have access to the assignment, and when they should have it. There are three date and time settings that handle the availability and due date for an assignment, and here are the instructions on how they should be used.

The three fundamental times

In order to assign an assignment to someone in a course, click on the option “Assign to” and then choose the people or sections you want to assign to the assignment. “Everyone” is the standard option, and it will give everyone in the course access to the assignment.

You now have the option to set three dates and times: Due, Available from and Until.

The assign and date menu with numbers at the different fields.
1: Due date. 2: Available from. 3: Available until.

Due

The due date is the deadline you want for the assignment. An assignment submitted after this deadline will be shown as a “late submission”.

If the assignment is completed in an assignment shell it will already have a set date, that you can change if needed.

Available from

"Available from" is the date and time the assignment will become available for the students. The students will be able to read the content of the assignment and submit it.

Before this time, the students can only read the name of the assignment.

Until

The "Until" time and date is when the student no longer can submit the assignment. Quizzes and assignments that the students already started will automatically be submitted at this point in time. Assignments will still be visible after this date, including all of its information.

Please note that if you have courses in another time zone than the local one, you have to adjust the times for the assignment according to the given time zone. You will be able to see both the course time zone and your time zone underneath the different date options.

Edit multiple assignments at once

After you have created assignments, you can edit the due dates and availability periods on multiple assignments at once.

  1. Go to Assignments in the course menu.
  2. Press Assignment Settings (the three dots at the top right).
  3. Select "Edit assignment dates".

There you can see a list of all assignments and their due date and availability period. In the list, you can edit all dates one by one and press the save button when done.

Batch edit: shift or delete dates

In addition to editing the list, you can also press the "Batch Edit" button to choose to:

  • advance the dates of all assignments with a ticked box at once. The dates are moved in full days and the time is set at 23:59.
  • delete dates from all assignments with a ticked box at once. You can choose to delete the due dates, availability dates or both. Nothing else in the assignment is affected.

Remember to save!

Different availability periods in the same assignment

Some students might need a longer time for assignments than other students or earlier than others. Students with compensatory support will for example get a 50% longer time for writing exams, i.e., they will get 6 hours to complete a 4-hour exam. Sometimes different sections are assigned the same assignment, but at different times. Instead of creating separate assignments, it is possible to assign the same assignment to different people/sections if you click the “+ Add” button in date settings.

Assign and date menu. The button "+Add" is marked

A second setting box will appear underneath the first, where you can add the alternative date and time for availability. Remember to add the right people or sections under the “Assign to” box.

If you want to remove a secondary setting box, click the little X in the upper right corner. You need to have at least one setting box.

Screenshot of double assign and date menu, the cross to remove the second one is marked

Possible warnings and error messages

The most common error messages you may receive when setting the availability period and due date are explained here.

Section missing

Screenshot of warning popup with a list of missing sections. Buttons Go Back and Continue are marked

If you don’t assign the assignment to every section in the course (e.g., if you only have assigned one person) and try to save it, a warning will pop up that encourages you to add the missing sections. 

In order to ignore the warning, you can press the continue button [1]. If you want to add other people or sections you can press the go back button [2] in order to change your settings and add the missing sections.

Error message for the chosen date

If you choose an invalid date and try to save it, an error message will pop up explaining the issue. Issues with the date could be that the “available from” date is after the due date, the due date is not between the lock date and the availability date, or the dates are after or before the course dates.

Assign and date menu. Error message that says the due date needs to be within the available time

Correct the date and save the assignment again.

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Last changed: Oct 17, 2022