Assignment Enhancements Project Update - October 15


Coming Soon to Production

The product and engineering teams continue to work hard on Assignment Enhancements for Students. The following items are now available in your beta environment and scheduled to be available for all in production with our October 27th deploy

  • Path from student grades page

Previously, when a student clicked on an assignment name from the student grades page, they were still directed to the old assignment feedback view. Students are now directed to the updated, enhanced view. 

  • Webcam button icon change

Our webcam button had the image of an adorable panda photographer. While this was a fun image, it was inconsistent with other button images and may have drawn student attention to the option more than intended. This image has been updated to a camera icon, which is much more consistent with the other button images. 

  • Restrict file upload types update

When file types are restricted for file upload assignments, if image file extensions (e.g. PNG, JPEG) are not accepted, the webcam button will not display as an option. 

  • Files button terminology update

When file upload is selected as the submission type, students are presented with various locations from which to upload. The files button has been renamed to Canvas Files to clearly indicate where the student will upload files from when selected. 

  • External Tool (LTI) support

External tool (LTI) submissions are better supported in Assignment Enhancements. Additionally, the placement of the External Tool buttons have been adjusted. Instead of displaying within the File Uploads option, installed tools for a course display as buttons next to all other submission types. If an assignment includes multiple tools, the External Tool options may be accessed via the More button, which we have reintroduced with this deploy to eliminate the confusion and clutter associated with many tools being available for student use.

In addition, the assignment page displays the type of file that is returned by the External Tool. For instance, if the tool returns a file, the file will be added to the draft assignment’s list of uploaded files. However, if the tool returns a link, the assignment displays a preview of the linked content. All returned files from an External Tool are retained as an assignment draft until the assignment is submitted or the attempt is canceled.

  • Studio known issue resolved

With the updates to better support external tool (LTI), the known issue for failure of Studio submissions has been resolved. 

What's Next? 

  • Immersive Reader support

Assignment Enhancements will include the Immersive Reader option when enabled with the November 10th deploy.

  • Observer support

For users with an observer role, we currently redirect to the non-enhanced assignment view across their account. In order for observers to support students within courses that have Assignment Enhancements enabled, it is best that they see the same view as the students they observe. We will continue to work on updating all observer flows to the enhanced assignment views in our next several sprints. 

Community Participant

This is great news. After looking at these new features in our beta instance, I think all if not most of my own concerns have been addressed! Thank you for sharing this @jsailor 


Community Contributor

Excellent!  Thanks for the prompt response to user feedback, and making these improvements to the new Assignments UI.

Community Participant

Hi @jsailor , We've just taken a look at the changes added to the 27/10/2021 deploy. The icon changes in themselves are great, but we have some concerns that the interface is too confusing to students. This is a really high stakes area and critical touchpoint for students and needs to be as simple as possible. 🙂 

Submission Types 

  1. Does anyone else think the 'upload' button is a little confusing? Particularly if it's the only selected submission type. Currently for file attachment submissions, the 'upload' icon looks like an execute button where students can attach a file.  For the most part submissions at our institutions are 'upload' and would be the only option on the screen for the most part, so it makes this button look a little out of place if it's the only option.
  2. The submission type icons and the subsequent icons (webcam, canvas files) for file attachment look the same. The submission type icons would be best as tabs or appear differently to the nested icons to indicate that these are seperate and where you are on a page. The sub icons e.g. file attachment icons can then sit beneath these. 
  3. If a tutor has selected all file types, we feel the 'upload' option should always come first (unless it wasn't selected).

Upload Files

  1. We also feel that the 'Canvas Files' button is confusing to students, particularly to new students who have not used the system before. We would prefer the 'drag your files here' box to appear first with the other 'upload' options sitting beneath this. 
  2. The 'Microsoft Office 365' option should also be a sub option for the 'upload' option, as it's a student uploading a file. Office 365 is not submission type when creating an assignment, so it's a little odd that it appears in the 'submission type' row of icons.

We've attached a really simple wire frame or a possible configuration to help put our point across, which we hope addresses these issues.



Community Participant

I would like to see a change for the Website URL option when students have the option of using Google Drive as the Link. When students share a link (the first tab), Google Docs do not embed properly in Speedgrader and the teacher often has to open the doc in a new window to review student work. When using the Google Drive tab for the link the doc embeds properly and you get all the benefits of Google Docs in Speedgrader. Can we make these two behave the same or give the option to remove the Website URL tab so that students share the doc properly. This would benefit teacher grading in Google and Chromebook districts a great deal.



Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 8.43.05 AM.pngScreen Shot 2021-10-22 at 8.42.54 AM.png

First Tab when Shared via just pasting the link:

Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 8.55.14 AM.png

Second Tab with Google Drive embeds live doc, way better outcome!

Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 8.55.48 AM.png

Community Participant

@jsailor this is great,

I do have a question though. Some of my faculty liked to view submissions in the old feedback view. Is there a way they can get that back? Currently, when they click on the name of the assignment, it just takes them to the instructor view of an assignment. Am I correct in thinking that submissions are now only viewable in the Speedgrader for an instructor?

Second, if a student submits a Studio video, the Reassign button is not available. Will this be fixed in a future update?

Reassign missing..png

Community Member

Hi there, very much looking forward to investigating this feature.  However, I understand this can be enabled on a per-course basis, but I cannot find the relevant Feature Flag to update via the API. Any help greatly appreciated! Many thanks

Community Participant

I was also hoping for a more obvious "Google Drive" button (or Microsoft for some districts). It still exist under "More," but seems like those are common submissions that could benefit from a clear button either under File Upload or as its own button like Studio has.

Community Champion

+1 @KaelynB. As a Google district I would really like to be able to prioritize Drive rather than having it buried under the 'more' button. Likewise, Studio is primarily used for content creation by teachers not for student submissions, so I'd love to be able to move that under the more button (or disable it all together until Canvas lets us turn of video sharing for student accounts). More often, my staff are using media recorder for quick video submission types or students are using a 3rd party video tool with more robust video editing tools for longer form video submissions, and those files would be submitted as regular file upload submissions.

Community Champion

@jsailor are the planned Observer support updates going to carry over to the Parent App? I know a goal of the Assignment redesign has been to make feedback easier to find but currently in the Parent App observers are not able to see teacher comments.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi @audra_agnelly,

I am the product manager of the mobile team. Thank you for the question. The feedback visibility within the parent mobile app is independent from the assignment enhancements projects (this thread is about). We are considering to add the feedback viewing capability in the parent app, but this is not in front of the development team yet, so at the moment I cannot tell reliably if it comes and when it would come. We have heard the same feedback from other customers too, so it won't be forgotten, unfortunately only this is what I can reliably promise today.

Community Champion

Thanks for the resply @jozsefdavid. If you could take a look at ticket 09325663, this was an email one my parents sent directly to Instructure articulating the issue and frustration around the inconsistencies between web and app around Feedback comments and the challenges that has posed for them in supporting their child.

Community Participant

I tested this today and I am disappointed with several features. First, the previous Website URL Submission Type allowed users to select Google Drive and the full Google document was included in Speedgrader. Now you can only paste a URL. Under the new implementation, Google assignment links just give you a screenshot and you have to click out of Canvas to view the submission in its entirety. This is super annoying and a downgrade from the previous implementation. Second, the File Upload option coverts Google Drive files to Word and PPT docx. This is also disappointing but does mirror the previous implementation. 

Bottom Line:

1. It would be great if admins could make Google or Microsoft an option that isn't buried under the More button. It would also be great if you could have the Google Drive option shown to prevent confusion.

2. It would also be great to have Google Docs fully embed in Speedgrader no matter if the submission is a URL link share or a FILE upload. The best thing about Google is the revision history. Students that cheat love file upload because it obscures how the file was actually created and edited. Revision history allows you to see if the submission is the actual work of the student or if it was a copy/paste job.