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.

Some assessments require students to draw/write and then take a photo of answers for uploading into Canvas. In this case, you may want to prepare students in advance to download a document scanning app for their mobile device (e.g., Adobe scanMicrosoft Office Lens or Camscanner).

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 template that may help.

Check 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.
  • Alternatively, you can use the Text entry to enable students to type directly into the assessment box.
    Screenshot of the Canvas Assignment options for text entry and file upoad

    Click to enlarge

Using Turnitin Framework to review plagiarism

If you wish to use Turnitin to check for plagiarism:

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


Setting the availability of the Assignment

Please note the difference between assignment due dates and availability dates.

  • Make sure that you set your due date, available date and until dates appropriately.
  • The ‘due date’ for the Final Assessment should be the date and time the Final Assessment will close. It indicates the deadline for completion and submission of the Final Assessment.
  • Final Assessments should be made available from 1pm NZST (use 13:00 in Canvas) on the date of the assessment and close 24 hours later.
    • Under ‘Assign’ set your Due date for the end date of the 24-hour cycle of your final assessment at [date] 12:59.
    • Set Available from for 13:00 on the date of the start of the final assessment.
    • The available “Until” time should be set to 30 minutes later than due time to act as a grace period for any technical issues. Set Until for 13:30 for the date of the end of the 24-hour cycle for the final assessment.
  • For example, if the 24-hour cycle of your final assessment begins on the 29 June 13:00, set the Due time for 30 June 12:59, the Available from time as 29 June 13:00, Until 30 June 13:30. 
  • Don’t forget to Save and publish your assignment when ready.

Canvas screenshot showing the assignment availability settings

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 for setting the end date on the Canvas blog page.

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