Canvas Assignment

Canvas Assignments are a good option for assessments that require file submissions, e.g., a Word document for an essay, video files, audio, images.

Uploading scanned documents

For assessments that require students to draw/write and then take a photo of answers for uploading into Canvas, prepare students in advance to download a document scanning app for their mobile device (e.g., Adobe scanMicrosoft Office Lens or Camscanner). In the case of designing the Assignment for an online test, students must have an opportunity to complete a practice exercise (e.g. Assignment of type File Uploads) prior to the assessment date to ensure they are familiar with the technological requirements for uploading files.

Canvas Assignments also have the option to use Text entry for students to type directly into the assessment box, but it may be safer for students to create and save their own document on their computer for file upload in case of internet difficulties when inputting content into the text entry field.

If you would like to contain your entire assessment in a Word document for upload via the Canvas Assignment dropbox, here is a sample answer booklet that may help.

Academic honesty declaration

Please make sure you add an academic honesty declaration to all online assessments. Please also ask a colleague to review your Assignment in advance—add them to your Canvas course with the Teaching Support role.

Layered PDFs

Please familiarise yourself with the layered PDF problem so that you know what to do if you encounter it.

Setting the Assignment timing and duration

These examples demonstrate the use of a Canvas Assignment for a mid-semester test, for students studying off-shore, approved to be studying remotely, or enrolled in online courses. Online, non-invigilated tests may also occur for all students if we move to COVID alert level 2 or more. Teachers should also consider using Inspera for mid-semester tests. To set the timing in Inspera, check out the quick reference guides from the Inspera Staff Development Hub.

Setting the availability of the Assignment

Difference between assignment due dates and availability dates.

Assignments should be made available for the duration of a test sat under normal conditions, with the addition of 15 minutes to cater for the online delivery mode. Below is an example of a 1-hour, 15-minute test, starting at 1pm. Add an additional 15 minutes as a ‘grace’ period in case of technical difficulties but do not publicise this to students as it can lead to confusion. Students that submit outside of the 75-minute test window, but within the 15-minute grace period, will have their submissions flagged as ‘submitted late’.

  • Set the availability of the Canvas Assignment by clicking Edit, then scrolling down to Options.
  • Set your Due date for the end date and time of the assessment, e.g. for 2.15pm NZST, use 14:15 in Canvas.
  • Set Available from for 13:00 on the date of the start of the assessment.
  • The available Until time should be set to 15 minutes later than the Due time to act as a grace period for any technical issues. Set ‘Until’ for 14:30 for the same day.*
  • Don’t forget to Save and publish your Assignment when ready.

If you require different start times for different groups of students, or individual students, please see the other options below.

Screenshot of Canvas Quiz due dates

Note: You may encounter some error with setting up the availability times if the assessment ‘due date is set after the course term ends’. To fix this, you will need to ensure the ‘Ends’ dates are entered correctly and the option ‘Students can only participate in the course between these dates’ is checked in setting. Read the full instruction on solving the due date problem on the Canvas blog.

* Ensure that 15 minutes is also added as a grace period for any students with approved special conditions of extra time. Please see the heading below for setting the availability for individuals.

Setting the availability of the Assignment for students in different time zones

Assignments should be made available for the duration of a test sat under normal conditions, with the addition of 15 minutes to cater for the online delivery mode. Below is an example of a 1-hour, 15-minute test, starting at 1pm. Add an additional 15 minutes as a ‘grace’ period in case of technical difficulties, but do not publicise this to students as it can lead to confusion. Students that submit outside of the 75-minute test window, but within the 15-minute grace period, will have their submissions flagged as ‘submitted late’.

Online tests will need to cater for students in different time zones. For example, the students in Southwest University in Chongqing have their test time set to four hours later (NZDT), which is 1pm in their time zone. Please note, the Canvas website describes how to determine offshore students in your course and to understand their group ‘section code’.

  • Set the availability of the Canvas Assignment by clicking Edit, then scrolling down to Options.
  • For multiple ‘sections’ (offshore students) that require different start times, click the ‘+ Add‘ button and add these times under the ‘Assign to‘ section.

 

Screenshot of Canvas Quiz due dates

Setting the availability of the Assignment for individuals

Assignments should be made available for the duration of a test sat under normal conditions, with the addition of 15 minutes to cater for the online delivery mode. Below is an example of a 1-hour, 15-minute test, starting at 1pm. Add an additional 15 minutes as a ‘grace’ period in case of technical difficulties, but do not publicise this to students as it can lead to confusion. Students that submit outside of the 75-minute test window, but within the 15-minute grace period, will have their submissions flagged as ‘submitted late’.

Assign a different duration for a test for those with approved special conditions.*

For this example scenario below, John Smith requires an extra 15 minutes added to the 75-minute test. This also shows the 15-minute post-deadline window (grace period).

  • Set the availability of the Canvas Quiz by clicking Edit, then scrolling down to Options.
  • For students with approved extra time, click the ‘+ Add‘ button and add the time extension under the ‘Assign to‘ section.

 

Screenshot of Canvas Quiz due dates

* Student Disability Services advise teaching staff of any students in their courses with approved special conditions.

Assignment settings

Set the submission type

The Canvas Assignment tool allows a few different options for submission.

  • From the dropdown menu select Online.
  • From the Online entry options, select File Uploads to enable students to upload documents.
    Screenshot of the Canvas Assignment options for text entry and file upoad

    Click to enlarge

  • Do not limit the number of attempts in case the student uploads the wrong file by mistake or they need to correct something before trying again.
  • Include this instruction the Assignment blurb: “We strongly recommend you download your submitted document from Canvas, after submitting it, to verify you have uploaded the correct document. It is your responsibility to check you have submitted the correct document.”
  • Alternatively, you can use the Text entry to enable students to type directly into the assessment box.

Note: If you are asking students to attach images to assignments, please inform them that Canvas only accepts GIF, JPEG, PNG and TIFF for image attachments. Read more about compatible file types in Canvas. Also, familiarise yourself with the layered PDF problem so that you know what to do if you encounter it.

Using Turnitin Framework to review plagiarism

We recommend that you activate the Turnitin plagiarism detection tool for your Canvas Assignment. Due to some potential issues with the Turnitin API tool (the external tool), it is recommended that examiners use the Plagiarism Review Tool built in to the Assignment options.

Canvas screenshot showing the Assignment setting's Plagiarism Review drop-down set to Turnitin

Click to enlarge

From the ‘Plagiarism Review’ dropdown menu, choose Turnitin.

When you have selected Turnitin, more options will appear on screen. We recommend the following settings: Select ‘Store submissions in’ as Standard paper repository. Make you ‘Compare submissions against’: Student repository, Website content, Periodicals, journals and publications. The ‘Similarity Report’ should: Exclude bibliographic materials and quoted materials.

Canvas screenshot showing the options for Turnitin assignment submissions.

Finally, you can choose whether you want students to be able to see their ‘Similarity report’ immediately, delayed, or never. It is worth considering whether you want your students to be able to receive this feedback so they have the opportunity to correct the issues and resubmit during the assessment period, or if you do not want them to receive such feedback at all.
Canvas screenshot showing the Turnitin Similarity Report options

Read about extra settings required when marking assignments using Turnitin LTI external tool to avoid releasing marks to students before intended dates.

Supplementary materials should be locked

If you have material that is supplementary to the Assignment, e.g., images, PDFs or media files, these files should be locked and scheduled for release to students only during the time of the assessment.

Do not reveal the grade to the students during the assessment time

To make sure Canvas Assignment grade is not posted to the students during marking:

  • From your Canvas course, go to Grades, locate the Final Assessment(s). Click on the three dots beside the name of the assessment.
    Canvas screenshot of the Grade Book with the assessment options visible
  • Click on Grade Posting Policy and choose Manual, scroll to the bottom and click Save.
    Canvas screenshot showing the Grade Book options for setting the Grade Posting Policy to manual

 

See also

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