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The main limitations of Canvas Collections

  1. Collections is not usable on the Canvas mobile apps (teacher or student). see more
  2. The Collections source code must be installed and active when visitors are using a web browser in order to configure Collections and navigate using "live" Collections see more
  3. Claytons (static) Collections can be used to navigate without the Collections source code (but has to be configured with the code), but some representations will require additional CSS. see more
  4. Using Collections with sandbox courses may be problematic due to issues when the Collections' configuration page is deleted. see more

Cannot be used via Canvas mobile apps, only via web browsers

Canvas Collections is custom JavaScript/CSS that modifies the Canvas modules web page and helps with navigation to Canvas modules (on the Canvas modules web page). The Canvas mobile apps do not use Canvas web pages and do not (at least easily) support custom JavaScript/CSS.

Collections must be installed and active (for live Collections)

Collection provides configuration (teaching staff) and navigation (all users) functionality.

To configure Canvas Collections you must be using a Web browser with the Collections JavaScript installed and active.

Collections provides two navigation experiences: live Collections and Claytons Collections. Live Collections requires the Collections JavaScript to be installed and active.

Claytons Collections - no code, but some CSS may be required

Navigating with Claytons Collections is essentially viewing a Canvas page with static HTML and CSS. No JavaScript is required. However, Canvas limits what HTML and CSS can be used on Canvas pages.

Some representations fit within those limits (e.g. the HorizontalCards representation), but others do not (e.g. the GriffithCards representation). The latter will not display correctly without this HTML/CSS.

Adding the required HTML/CSS is difficult if not impossible for mobile app users (see above). For web browsers, the relevant HTML/CSS can be installed either by the Canvas administrator, or by the teacher/designer where a tool like CIDI Labs Design Plus is available.

Problems if you delete and re-create the Collections configuration page

In September, 2013 Instructure introduced changes to how page titles and URLs operate. It always remembers pages, even after they are deleted. This can cause the Collections previously deleted configuration page problem, including a potential (but not universal) solution.

Raises issues with 'sandbox' course sites

This problem makes sandbox course sites - where you test new course sites by deleting all content and then copying in new content - potentially problematic.

A kludge solution would be to avoid deleting the Canvas Collections configuration page.