Kenneth Rogers

Media Submission Types and SpeedGrader

Blog Post created by Kenneth Rogers Employee on Nov 16, 2017

Recently I had the privilege of supporting a faculty member on a number of issues over the phone, and he got to the question, “Why do media files sometimes have a link, and other times have a thumbnail to preview in SpeedGrader?”


I. Was. Stumped.


What a great question, and something I had noticed before, but never thought anything about it. But to this instructor, it is convenient to have the preview in SpeedGrader as opposed to having to download a file. So I got to investigating.


The first order of business is looking at what ways students can upload or attach their assignments. I found there are really three ways that an assignment could be created for a student to submit a media file (video for this example).


So, my next step was to break down each of the assignment options and the two ways students can submit assignments: via the web and by mobile. Here are the results that I found:

Text EntryAs with other text entry submissions, students have access to the Rich Content Editor. With this option, they will essentially be “embedding” the video file within the RCE, and then the instructor will see the media as a playable thumbnail. This is true in both mobile and web.
Media RecordingsThis option asks for a student to upload an audio or video file for their submission, both on the web and in mobile. What is beautiful about this is that Canvas will recognize that it is a media recording and provide the instructor with the preview thumbnail.
File UploadsUnlike media recordings, this can be any file a student would upload - it is not related to media. Because of this, I will assume that Canvas doesn’t recognize file uploads as any type of media, no matter the file type. When this option is selected, instructors receive a link to download the file as opposed to viewing inside of SpeedGrader.


So, what does this mean? Well, if it doesn’t matter to you how media submissions are displayed inside of Speedgrader, then this doesn’t mean much! If you are wanting to preview video submissions inside of Speedgrader, then I suggest you use a Submission Type of either Text Entry or Media Recordings.


Admittedly, I have not tested limiting file types on file uploads, and I also haven’t tested what happens if a student provides a URL. I can make my assumptions, but would prefer to stick to what I know works. And in my experience, the best user experience for a student is the Media Recordings Submission Type.