Assignments in Canvas

Assignments include Quizzes, graded Discussions, and online submissions (i.e. files, images, text, URLs, etc.). Assignments in Canvas can be used to challenge students' understanding and help assess competency by using a variety of media. The Assignments page shows students all of the Assignments that will be expected of them and how many points each is worth.

Assignments can be assigned to everyone in the course or differentiated by section or user. It is recommended to hide the Assignments Index Page from students’ view and use Modules to add Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions to create a course flow. Set your Assignment Groups based on your course grading policy and how you will be weighting your assignments. 

When would I use Assignments?

Assignments can be used to:

  • Assess how well students are achieving course Outcomes
  • Set up online submissions that can be quickly graded in the SpeedGrader
  • Grade online as well as student work submitted "on-paper"
  • Create differentiated assignments for sections
  • Set up peer reviews
  • Grade Discussions, either by the whole class or student groups
  • Open Quizzes for a limited amount of time
  • Record attendance
  • Create ungraded activities that align with course Outcomes
  • Assess submissions with moderated grading and multiple reviewers

This article contains the following topics:

Add Assignment Shell

Assignment shells are placeholders for Assignments that only include the assignment type, name, due date, and point value. You can choose to save the assignment as an unpublished assignment and edit the Assignment details later.

Assignment shells can be created in an assignment group in the Assignments index page. New courses include one assignment group by default. If you want to add your assignments to another assignment group, you must add assignment groups before creating an assignment shell.

  1. In Course Navigation, click on the Assignments [1] link.
  2. Assignment groups house the assignments you may want to keep in your course, such as Assignments, Discussions, Quizzes, etc [2]. If you create assignment groups in your course, students can filter their assignments page by assignment type to view the same groups.
  3. In an assignment group header, click the Add icon [3].
  4. Set the Assignment type by selecting the type drop-down menu [4],
  5. Enter the Assignment title in the Name field [5].
  6. Click the Calendar icon to select a due date [6].
  7. Enter the number of points for the assignment in the Points field [7].
  8. To edit the assignment details, click the More Options button [8].
  9. If you want to save your assignment shell and edit the details later, click the Save button [9].

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Add Assignment and/or Edit Assignment Details

  1. To open an existing assignment, click the Assignment name [1].
  2. To create a new assignment, click the + Assignment button [2].

  3. Click the Edit button.
  4. Type the assignment title in the Assignment Name field [3]. If you created your assignment as an assignment shell, this field would be populated for you, but you can change it if necessary.
  5. Use the Rich Content Editor to add images, text, links, equations, or insert media [4].
  6. Enter the points for your assignment in the Points field [5].
  7. Select the Assignment Group for the assignment in the Assignment Group drop-down menu [6].
  8. In the Display Grade as drop-down menu [7], select the method you want to use for grading.
    • You can grade your assignment by percentage, complete/incomplete, points, letter grade, GPA scale, or set as not graded.

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Select Submission Type

In the Submission Type drop-down menu, select the type of submission you want to accept for the assignment.

  • By default, the submission type will be set to Online.
  • Submission Types are:
    • No Submission is when you do not want students to submit an assignment in Canvas. This assignment type can be used to create extra columns in the Gradebook, or when you want to create an assignment that involves multiple scores. Submission Type does not apply to Not Graded assignments.
    • Online is when you want students to submit their assignments using Canvas.
    • On Paper is when you want students to submit an assignment to you but not through Canvas. This assignment type applies to traditional face-to-face courses or hybrid courses when you want the assignment turned in during class, but you still want to create a column in the Canvas Gradebook for grading purposes.
    • External Tool is when you want students to submit their assignments using an external app (LTI) enabled for your course. You must enter a URL for the external tool.
  • Assignment settings are persistent to always remember and display the settings created or edited in the previous assignment in the course. Based on prior assignments, one or more of these options may already be selected for you.

Note: No Submission and On Paper assignments still appear to students on their Assignments page. To avoid confusion, it is best to make a note in the description about the assignment so students will know whether or not a submission is required and if so, how they are supposed to submit it.  

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Select Submission Attempts

If you have selected the Online submission type, you can limit submission attempts for the assignment.

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Create Group Assignment

As part of an assignment submission, Canvas lets you set up an assignment as a group assignment. You can also choose to grade students individually in group assignments.

  1. Click on the This is a Group Assignment checkbox [1] to begin configuring your Group Assignment.
  2. You'll be prompted to Create a Group Set., or, you can click on the New Group Category button [2] to create a new Group Set. Please follow these instructions to manually create a Group Set in Canvas.

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Require Peer Reviews

If you want to require students review each other's work, you can create a peer review assignment.

  • When requiring peer reviews, you can select whether to assign peer reviews or automatically assign peer reviews manually.

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Edit Due and Availability Dates

  1. By default, Canvas will set your assignment dates for everyone in your course [1].
  2. Create a due date for the assignment in the Due Date field [2].
  3. The due date will already be populated for you if you created an assignment shell, but you can change it if necessary.
    1. You also have the option to add availability date fields [3].
  4. To assign the assignment to an individual student or course section, click the Add button [4].

Note: If a date does not include a time, the listed date defaults to the course’s default due time.

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Save Assignment

  1. If you want to notify users about any future assignment changes, click the Notify users that this content has changed checkbox [1]. '
  2. Click the Save button [2].

Note: If your assignment has not yet been published, the assignment will show the Save & Publish button [3]. The Save button will create a draft of your assignment so you can publish it later.

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Assignments Index Page

You can view all your course assignments on the Assignments Index page. As an instructor, you can add assignment groups, create an assignment, and modify assignment settings. You can also reorder assignments and assignment groups.

  1. In Course Navigation, click the Assignments link.

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View Assignments Index Page

The Assignments Index page is designed with global settings at the top of the page [1], followed by the Assignment groups [2].

Individual assignments are nested within each Assignment group [3].

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View Assignment Global Options

Global settings include searching for assignments [1], adding a new assignment group [2], and adding a new assignment [3].


To weight the final grade with assignment groups or bulk update due dates and availability dates, click the Options icon [4].

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View Assignment Type Icons

The Assignments page displays all assignments in the course.

Each assignment type displays an icon representing the assignment type:

  • Assignment [1]
  • Classic Quiz [2]
  • New Quiz [3]
  • Discussion [4]

Discussions and quizzes also display in their respective index pages in Canvas.

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View Individual Assignment

Each assignment displays the assignment name [1], due date (if any) [2], the number of points the assignment is worth [3], and assignment draft state status (published or unpublished) [4].

You can also set varied due dates for an assignment and create due dates according to course section. Varied due dates appear as multiple dates.

If an assignment is associated with a module, the module name will appear on the individual line item of the assignment [5].

Note: Due dates are not required for an assignment.

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Manage Individual Assignment

To view an assignment, click the assignment name [1].

You can also use the options drop-down menu to edit the assignment [2], duplicate the assignment [3], move the assignment [4], delete the assignment [5], send the assignment to another instructor [6], copy the assignment to another course [7], or share to the Canvas Commons [8]. 

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Manually Reorder Assignment

You can also manually reorder an assignment by hovering over the drag handle next to the assignment and dragging the assignment to the desired location.

Note: If you are using Multiple Grading Periods, you cannot move assignments and quizzes that are part of a closed grading period to another assignment group. However, you can move open assignments and quizzes to another assignment group.

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Article ID: 148155
Wed 12/7/22 4:25 PM
Mon 3/6/23 2:49 PM