Canvas is full of features for making digital assignments. Canvas also makes it easy to provide feedback digitally (and thus directly) to your students. These are the highlights:

  • Canvas meets the Iowa State University’s standards for security and privacy, including Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA). Review ISU’s FERPA page.
  • Online Assignments may be submitted using multiple formats. Text entry, embed a Studio video or large file, or file upload (5 GB). Most likely, you will only use the file upload possibility (online Assignment guide).
  • Assignments may be assigned to individual students, groups or sections.
  • A benefit for students using Assignments is the Syllabus (in Canvas). This feature lists all deadlines for all assignments, and the grades for assignments will appear on the personal Grades page.
  • Use SpeedGrader to provide feedback, marking, and grading. Learn more from the Canvas SpeedGrader guide, or view a video about SpeedGrader.

Canvas makes grading Assignments fast and simple, saving you time. Canvas maintains Assignment integrity by enabling uploaded submissions, time-stamped entries, auto-graded, instant feedback, annotations, automatically weighted assignments, and much more.

To gain additional information, watch the Instructor Assignment Overview Vimeo video (above), bookmark the extensive documentation found on the Canvas Assignments guide.

Begin with these seven steps below:

  1. Go to your course in Canvas.
  2. Choose the Assignment link from the Course menu (left side of your screen).
  3. Consider providing the following Assignment details:
    • Purpose: Does your purpose statement specify a skill or skill set that students will gain? What content knowledge will students practice?
    • Tasks: Clarify steps on what to do and how to do it. Does your description help students to focus their time efficiently on producing the highest quality work possible in the time given? Would students benefit from some practice exercises (in the form of a pre-task) in class to prepare them to perform the task outside of class?
    • Criteria: How will students determine whether they are completing the assignment efficiently and effectively? (e.g., how many words, or pages, you expect; if it includes calculations, specify if you are interested in an outcome, or the calculation steps). Finally, provide examples and strategies for students to improve their work.
      (Step 3: Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TiLT) framework)
  4. Select the method you want to use for grading. You can grade your Assignment by percentage or points, but also with complete/incomplete, or as not graded. Use Canvas rubrics when grading student work because they help to make grading more transparent and offer context for feedback.
  5. Choose different types of submission for an assignment. Typically you should select the submission type Online (view the student online submission guide). This approach means that students submit their assignments through Canvas, which makes it very convenient for you to mark and grade. Furthermore, you then choose which the students can submit file types.
  6. Create a due date for the Assignment so that it is clear when students should finish it. Every student will be informed on due dates through the Syllabus of your course (view the student Syllabus guide). You furthermore have the option to set availability dates that restrict the times that an Assignment can be submitted.
  7. When you create Assignments, they’re going to be unpublished initially. What does this mean?
    • “Published” means visible to students and included in grade calculations.
    • “Unpublished” means invisible to students and excluded from grade calculations (nothing in your Gradebook, not shown or included in any way in each student’s individual Grades).

Note: If your assignment has not yet been published, the assignment will show the Save & Publish button. The Save button will create a draft of your assignment so you can publish it later.

  • If you do not need plagiarism detection for an assignment, or the assignment is not a written assignment, then use a Canvas assignment. If you do need to utilize plagiarism detection, then use a Turnitin Direct assignment.
  • If you wish to provide a grade for something that is not tangibly submitted, e.g., a participation grade, then create an assignment with the submission type “no submission.”
  • For anything that will be turned in offline and in-person, e.g., a pop quiz or a paper exam, create an “on-paper assignment.”
  • If you want your students to submit a video assignment, then use the submission type “text-entry”: Your students can create a video that is uploaded to Studio, and then embed the Studio video into the text box of the assignment using the rich content editor.
  • Be aware that columns are created in the Gradebook if you added an Assignment in Canvas. If you need to create a column in the Gradebook to use for manual grading, you can create a No Submission or On Paper assignment.
  • If you need to adjust a due date for a single student, follow the directions in How do I assign students different due dates for the same assignment?
Short instructional videos: Assignments Overview, SpeedGrader Overview, DocViewer Overview, Rubrics Overview