Interactive Feedback and Grading

Interactive Feedback and Grading

Providing interactive feedback means that students will likely use it to make actual, practical gains to improve their work. While this may seem obvious, many standard feedback practices do not lead to this end. Canvas has several tools that instructors can use for giving quality feedback. However, no tool is genuinely effective on its own. When feedback is used well, all students – regardless of where they began – can demonstrate their learning, improve, and grow because of the assessment.

Feedback tips for an inclusive classroom

  • Give individual feedback that is frequent, timely, and specific.
  • Encourage perseverance while focusing on developing efficacy and self-awareness.
  • Emphasize effort, improvement, and achieving a standard rather than relative performance.
  • Model how to incorporate evaluation, including identifying patterns of errors and wrong answers, into positive strategies for future success.
  • Offer to meet with students regularly throughout the semester to provide performance feedback, encouragement, and suggestions.

Effective methods to provide feedback

There are times when audio or audio/video feedback may be a quick and easy way to provide quality response to students. Many people feel they are able to make themselves clearer through speech than through text and for most of us, it is faster to say something than to type it all out.

Audio/Video feedback may be a good option if:

  • The student for whom instructors provide feedback do not have a disability that would make listening and processing audio feedback difficult (e.g., hearing impairment, audio-processing disorder, some forms of attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
  • The feedback is general to the submitted work, rather than focused on grammar corrections, etc.
  • The instructor is adept at gathering thoughts and providing clear, organized verbal commentary.

To provide audio feedback

Use Chrome’s speech recognition feature in SpeedGrader guide.

To provide audio/video feedback

Instructors may use the built-in tool available in SpeedGrader.

1. Navigate to the SpeedGrader for the assignment you want to leave audio/video feedback on.

Go to SpeedGrader

2. Under the “Assignment Comments” text box on the right menu, click the “Media Comment” icon. A pop-up window will appear.

Click the

3. In the pop-up window, make sure the “Record Media” tab is selected. See below on how to upload an existing media file.

4. Click the “Mic” button to select which microphone you wish to use.

5. Click the “Webcam” button to select which webcam you wish to use. For audio only, you can select the “No Video” option for “Webcam”.

Note: Adobe Flash Player Settings may appear to allow access to the microphone or webcam devices.

6. Click “Start Recording” when you are ready to begin. This will start a countdown to begin recording. Click “Finish” when you are done.

Record Media

7. When you are done recording, playback the audio or video for review. If you are satisfied with the recording, you can name the recording and click “Save”. Otherwise, you can click “Start Over” to try again.

Save or Start Over

8. Once you are satisfied with and have saved the recording, your feedback will appear under “Assignment Comments”.

Feedback appears under

Screencast feedback may be a good option if:

  • The student for whom instructors provide feedback does not have a disability that would make listening and/or watching a screencast difficult (e.g., hearing impairment, visual impairment, audio-processing disorder).
  • The feedback may be general or have some specific focal points, so the ability to use visual demonstration and audio commentary would be useful.
  • The instructor is adept at gathering thoughts and providing clear, organized commentary.

Canvas features for feedback may be a good option if:

  • The feedback provided is fairly straightforward and clear without need to elaborate.
  • The assessment has a rubric (built in Canvas) with clearly defined “cells,” each with corresponding appropriate point values.
  • The instructor is comfortable with providing feedback via “comments” in Microsoft Word (or similar) and wants a less restrictive/less involved medium to provide such feedback.

Key concepts for grading in Canvas

  • If you are using Canvas to distribute grades to students throughout the semester, carefully read through each section of the Key Concepts for Grading in Canvas guide to ensure that you are using the gradebook appropriately.
  • It is important to note that Canvas uses a grading scheme to assign letters to percentages. Once this is in place, the score is calculated based on all points accumulated in the course or on a weighted total of the assignment groups.
  • Additionally, specific how -to information on the sections below may be found in the Canvas Instructor Guide.

If anything is unclear or confusing, please contact Canvas Support – Canvas offers 24/7 support options listed in the ? Help  icon on the Global Navigation to the far left or call the Canvas Support Line (call 515-294-4000 then follow the prompts to connect to Canvas).

SpeedGrader is a Canvas’ tool for grading and providing feedback on assignments, quizzes, and discussions.

  • Use the SpeedGrader Canvas guide for an overview of the tool and how to use it. It can be used with or without rubrics (which are addressed next!).
  • The SpeedGrader enables instructors to give holistic feedback quite quickly. Detailed feedback (e.g., grammar correction) using annotated in SpeedGrader if students have uploaded a file submission using a DocViewer supported file types can be viewed.
  • For more information about detailed feedback in SpeedGrader, see how to use DocViewer in Canvas.
  • Instructors find that leaving audio or video feedback enables them to provide more natural, personal and complete feedback more quickly; it is more like talking about the work rather than writing notes about it.

Watch the SpeedGrader Vimeo video below.

Canvas Rubrics

A Rubric is an assessment tool for communicating expectations of quality. Rubrics are typically comprised of rows and columns. Rows are used to define the various criteria being used to assess an assignment. Columns are used to define levels of performance for each criterion. Rubrics can be set up as non-scoring rubrics, which allows for assessment-based and outcome-based grading without points. Watch the Canvas Rubrics Overview Vimeo video. Rubrics may be created using the Manage Rubrics in a given course page. (Optional) Upon using the Canvas Commons, you may import a Rubrics from there into your course.

406 – Rubrics from Instructure Canvas Community on Vimeo.

Then, the rubric can be added to one of the assessments in the Canvas course: Alternatively, instructors may make a rubric at the same time they create an assignment using the same methods described in “add a rubric above, except that the new rubric is made on the spot instead of being located and attached. Once a rubric is attached to an assignment, it will be available for use in the SpeedGrader.  


Tiered Feedback Approach

Simply put, there is no value in feedback—regardless of how good it is—if a student fails to read it. This approach matches your effort as the instructor to students’ needs. When using this approach, students feel a sense of agency because they choose what their feedback looks like for themselves.

  • Level one. Assessments are graded using a rubric within Canvas.
  • Level two. If a student cannot determine what they could do better based on the rubric feedback, they can request annotated feedback. Instructors provide Level two feedback using SpeedGrader features (i.e., annotation, voice, or video tools) to give additional details based on the rubric.
  • Level three. If a student is still unclear, they may request to meet with the instructor during student/office hours to receive in-depth feedback and guidance for how to be more successful in the next assignment.

Tiered Feedback Approach section on the Interactive Feedback and Grading, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Tiered Feedback Approach secti0n is a derivative of Collegestar’s Using tiered feedback in a large college classroom retrieved (October 29, 2020) from

Interactive Feedback and Grading, by the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) at Iowa State University is licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0. This work, Interactive Feedback and Grading, is a derivative of E.J. Moore’s Implementing UDL on Canvas course retrieved (May 20, 2020) from