A starter task automation for students using LMS, Gcal, IFTTT, and Todoist

Hey everyone, I discovered a little while ago an automation that students may find useful. I am really looking forward to improving in, but it is good starting point.

Many university systems use Canvas as the Learning Management System (LMS), and one of the great things about canvas is that when a teacher puts in an assignment, it goes into the canvas calendar, which can then go into a google calendar, and from there with IFTTT, Zapier, or other Gcal integration into whatever task management system you use. I figured I would post it since I don’t see it anywhere else on the forum.

I’ll show how I have it set up currently, but I am really looking for suggestions on how to improve it. The basic rundown is this, in Canvas, there is a button where you can get the calendar feed as an iCal URL. I put that in google calendar so that my tasks can show up there. Then, I have IFTTT setup to trigger when a new task is added to the calendar. It grabs the title and the start time, i.e. the due date of the assignment, and puts it in a special “Automations” project in Todoist. Alternatively, you could also set the IFTTT applet to trigger on addition of new event by search, and make several different applets for each of your classes, and have it add them each to their own projects. Canvas inputs events into the iCal in a very formulaic way, and it is pretty easy to get this separation.

I think you could also get IFTTT to do a little date math, and warn you a day or two before when you have to task due, but IFTTT doesn’t seem to support adding alerts for tasks at this time, nor will it allow you to add tags which I would really love to do. For now, I have it set to go to my “Automations” project, where I batch edit them with the correct tags and projects.

This is a pretty simple idea, but a really great way to get your assignments and exams out of Canvas, and into your own personal systems. I know some student agenda apps already have this functionality, but I find this method to be more versatile, and more reliable.

Let me know if you have any feedback or find this useful!

1 Like

Great idea!

Couldn’t you have the assignments added to your account and then use Zapier to watch a specific Calendar, do some date math and create a to-do list item for your task manager of choice?

This way everything is synced into a specific channel and you’re getting a to-do with a built-in buffer for each assignment.

I really like the way Rosemary uses a spreadsheet at the beginning of each semester and imports into Omnifocus. Seems a bit daunting so I haven’t gone that route yet as assignment due dates can change as the semester progresses.

That is a really good idea. Zapier’s…aggressive pricing makes me wary for now. It’s just so expensive to have more than a few Zapiers going but that is an approach I will have to try sometime.

I would do the spreadsheet thing, but lots of my professors are bad about keeping to their schedule, and changes to assignment due dates or entire new assignments are pretty common. This approach is more flexible so long as the professor plays nice with Canvas.

I have similar issues but many teachers won’t update the calendar or make the assignment available until the day or two before it’s due. too much room for error lol.

I’m at my max for Zapier right now and I really want to upgrade to the $15 /month level but that’s a slippery slope of monthly expenses :joy:

I am a student, and I use this automation system with zapier, so canvas calendar → google calendar → zapier → notion to create a checklist which I can also include other data sources into. I think zapier is free now even for multiple zaps, so I am not having any problems with it. Thank you so much for this idea, because it is working great.