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Getting Started with Canvas Assignments

  • Last modification date Updated On June 8, 2023
  • Categories: Assignments , Canvas , Uncategorized
  • Categories: assessment , Getting Started , Grading

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Canvas  Assignments  are a way for instructors to provide students opportunities to practice using the knowledge and skills they have gained or to assess student performance related to such knowledge and skills. (Creating an Assignment is the  only  way to create a new column in the Gradebook.)

In Canvas there are four basic  Submission Types  for assignments. The submission types include:

  • No Submission : For assignments for which you are not collecting any content from the students.
  • Text Entry : For students to enter text directly into a text box on Canvas.
  • Website URL : For students to enter a URL (usually to a blog, video, podcast, etc.).
  • Media Recordings : For students to upload or record media for submission.
  • File Uploads : For students to upload files for submission ( Restrict Upload File Types  will allow you to limit which types of files may be submitted).
  • On Paper : For assignments students will submit in person.
  • External Tool : For assignments which students will submit through a third-party tool (such as Turnitin, Panopto Video Quiz, and PlayPosit).

Assignments tool in Canvas

Managing an Assignment

Managing assignment groups.

When getting started with Assignments, learn to

  • Create an assignment shell with the Canvas guide  How do I create an assignment? 

If you select  Peer Reviews Appear Anonymously , annotation tools in  SpeedGrader  will become unavailable.

If you change the  Assign To  area from  Everyone  to select students after submissions have already begun, and do not have a second set of Assign To dates, submissions from unassigned students will disappear.

  • Published assignments are visible as existing outside of availability dates, but students cannot see the details.
  • If looking to update the due and/or availability dates on multiple assignments, see   How do I bulk update due dates and availability dates as an instructor?
  • If choosing the option to make an assignment a  Group Assignment : If only assigning to specific groups, make sure to click the  X  on the  Everyone Else  choice under  Assign to .

tip indicator

Media Recording  Assignments are not recommended due to technical reasons. Instead, have students submit media by embedding it in a  Text Entry  assignment through Panopto .

Clearly express expectations and criteria for grading by using a  Rubric .

Be cautious limiting submission attempts, as students often make mistakes loading documents and need multiple attempts to ensure you have the correct submission.

  • Delete an assignment with the Canvas guide  How do I delete an assignment?
  • This duplication process will not work for Quizzes.
  • Attach a rubric to an assignment for grading or to communicate expectations to students with the Canvas guide  How do I add a rubric to an assignment?

Accessibility Tips

  • Use descriptive text for links, instead of long URLs or ‘click here’. 
  • Make instructions brief and to-the-point. Avoid long paragraphs and sentences.
  • Consider allowing multiple submission types to accommodate technical limitations students may face.

Assignment Groups  are a way to categorize different graded items in Canvas. For example, you may have journals, blogs, and essays which your students create in your course. Assignment Groups allow you to label and group different types of assignments separately in order to better organize and for ease when applying weighting (see  How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups? ). When getting started with Assignment Groups, learn to

  • Add and delete assignment groups with the Canvas guide  How do I add an assignment group in a course?
  • Move or reorder an assignment group with the Canvas guide  How do I move or reorder an assignment group?
  • Make rules governing grading expectations within assignment groups with the Canvas guide  How do I create rules for an assignment group?

Additional Resources

  • CTI Resource: What is the Assignments Index Page?
  • How do I bulk update due dates and availability dates as an instructor?
  • How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?
  • Canvas Student Guide

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Create an assignment in canvas.

In Canvas, any activity with an associated point value is considered an Assignment and will appear on the Assignments page, as well as in the gradebook. Assignment formats include quizzes, discussions, online document submission, and no submission, and external tool assignments. You can give an assignment to everyone in the course or target it to a specific section or user.

Types of Graded Activities in Canvas

The following table lists the types of graded activities in Canvas and their strengths and weaknesses.

Multiple submission types, alignment with rubrics and outcomes, no paper waste, easier to control content, easier to randomize, faster grading, student submission directly to instructor and TAs Potential technical problems such as network problems or internet connectivity loss, possible file size limitations, less personal feedback, learning curve for teachers or students not familiar with Canvas or technology in general
Quizzes Automatic grading and regrading, multiple attempts, instant feedback No regrading if you pulled questions from a question bank, cannot add points automatically, limited regrading options

Instant feedback, faster grading, no paper waste, faster than passing out paper surveys to hundreds of students

Points awarded based on survey submission

Potential technical problems

Not available in New Quizzes format

Discussions Discussions not limited to a single class period. Students have more time to formulate responses, keeps a record of comments for grading purposes, shy students more likely to participate. All students in the class can see the submission so students can get ideas from each other. Potentially time-consuming to read comments from large groups of students, potential technical problems, students may not do their own work after seeing work of others (can be circumvented using the requirement to post before seeing other student replies)

To Create an Assignment

On the Course Navigation menu, click Assignments

On the Assignments list page, click Add Assignment

Canvas course assignments page with arrow pointing to the plus Assignment button

On the Assignment edit page, create the assignment by adding a name, instructions, and specifying the assignment options

(See the Assignment Options table for details)

Assignment Options

The following table describes the options for creating assignments.

Option Description
Points Determines the point value of the assignment.
Assignment Group Places the assignment into an assignment group. You can use this option if you want to organize the Assignment list by assignments, discussions, and quizzes. Groups can also be used to filter assignments in the gradebook.

The default group is Assignments, so Canvas places all assignments, discussions, and quizzes in that group unless you specify otherwise. For more information, see Create an Assignment Group.
Display Grade as

Determines the method of grading.

Methods include points, percentage, complete/incomplete, letter grade, GPA Scale, or Not Graded.

Submission Type Indicates how you want your students to submit the assignment. Submission types include No submission, Online, On paper, or External tool. For more information, see Submission Types.
Group Assignment Makes the assignment a group assignment. You can indicate if you will give a group grade or an individual grade.
Peer Reviews Requires the students to have the assignment reviewed by another student.
Assign Assigns the assignment to a specific group or to everyone. Sets the due date for the assignment.

Canvas - Get Started

The following list of pages will guide you through getting started with this tool. The current page is listed in bold.

  • Log into Canvas
  • Notification Preferences
  • Access your Course
  • Create an Assignment
  • Create a Quiz in Canvas
  • Add a Syllabus to Canvas
  • Early Course Access for Students
  • Communication
  • Five Keys to Grading
  • Prepare Final Grading

Canvas @ Yale

  • Creating an Assignment

Updated on Dec 03, 2021

Instructors can use Assignments to create and track graded and ungraded assignments, including online and offline submission, no submission, discussions, and quizzes.

Table of Contents

This article will address the following information:

Assignment Settings

Creating the assignment.

  • Click on " Assignments " from the course navigation .
  • Click " +Assignment " at the top-right corner.

assignment on canvas

  • Name your assignment in the top box.
  • Enter a description or assignment details in the Rich Content Editor.
  • For more information on using the Rich Content Editor, review the " Using the Rich Content Editor " article.

assignment on canvas

Below the Rich Content Editor are assignment settings that you can selected to fit your assignment's specific needs and configuration.

  • Points - Set the number of points the assignment is worth. If ungraded, enter "0."
  • See the article " Creating Weighted Assignment Groups " for more information.
  • Complete/Incomplete
  • Letter Grade - Uses the grading scheme
  • GPA Scale - Uses the grading scheme
  • Not Graded - If the assignment has no submission AND is ungraded

Check off the " Do not count this assignment towards the final grade " option below the " Display Grade As " drop down if the assignment has a submission, but should not be counted towards the course's final grade.

  • No Submission
  • Website URL
  • Media Recording
  • File Uploads
  • External Tool
  • Group Assignment - Select to designate the assignment as a group assignment.
  • Peer Reviews - Select to have students review their peers' work to provide feedback.
  • Assign - Select who and when will see the assignment, as well as set the due date.
  • Click " Save " or " Save & Publish " when finished.

assignment on canvas

For more help, please contact  [email protected] .

Assessments, Feedback and Grades

  • Building Assessments in Canvas
  • Creating a Media Recording Assignment
  • Creating an Ungraded, No-Submission Assignment (Reading Assignment)
  • Submitting a File to a Canvas Assignment on a Student's Behalf
  • Implementing Peer Review Assessments
  • Duplicating an Assignment
  • Setting Lock / Availability Dates
  • Due Dates versus Display Dates
  • Checking a Canvas Activity in Student View without Releasing It to Students
  • Assignments (Vendor Guides)
  • Turnitin: Creating a Turnitin Assignment
  • Turnitin: Assignment Settings Options
  • Turnitin: Viewing the Similarity Report / Originality Score (Instructor Guide)
  • Creating a Discussion Board
  • Implementing Online Discussions
  • Discussions (Vendor Guides)
  • Strategies for Delivering Exams / Quizzes in Canvas
  • Introducing New Quizzes
  • New Quizzes (Vendor Guides)
  • Quizzes (Vendor Guides)
  • Supporting and Using Feedback in Your Class
  • Submitting Audio / Video Feedback to a Student
  • Grading Assignments Using the SpeedGrader
  • Utilizing Anonymous Grading
  • Accessing the SpeedGrader from the Gradebook
  • Gradebook Overview and Features
  • Understanding Gradebook Views and Filters
  • Using the Grade Posting Policy
  • Changing Grading Schemes / Grade Letter Ranges
  • Creating Weighted Assignments Groups
  • Importing Grades into Gradebook
  • SpeedGrader (Vendor Guides)
  • Rubrics (Vendor Guides)
  • Gradebook (Vendor Guides)
  • Feedback & Accessibility Barriers Tool: Overview
  • Enabling / Viewing the Feedback & Accessibility Barriers Tool
  • Mid-Semester Feedback: Overview
  • Disabling / Enabling the Mid-Semester Feedback Tool in Your Canvas Course
  • Timing of Mid-Semester Feedback
  • Managing Mid-Semester Feedback Survey Questions
  • Viewing / Downloading Student Mid-Semester Feedback Submissions
  • New Analytics (Vendor Guides)
  • Analytics (Vendor Guides)
  • Outcomes (Vendor Guides)

Other Resources

  • Accessibility
  • Inclusivity
  • Canvas @ Yale Settings
  • Enrollment & Permissions
  • Technical Support Guides
  • Updates & Known Issues
  • Canvas @ Yale Admin / Registrar
  • Instructor Getting Started Guides
  • Course Management
  • Canvas @ Yale External Applications
  • Discover Instructional Tools
  • Instructor FAQ
  • Student Getting Started Guides
  • Student Assessment Guides
  • Student FAQ


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