Community Explorer

RCE Image Embed should ignore user quota on graded activities

Before I think about submitting a feature request, I want to make sure I am understanding this behavior correctly. This has come up a handful of times for us...

Teacher has posted a graded discussion, graded quiz with essay question, or graded assignment with online submission-Text Entry. The teacher instructs the students to embed an image into the assignment response. A student trying to complete one of these assignments has exceeded their user account storage quota (they are over 100% for whatever reason). When the student tries to embed the image, they get a cryptic error that does not indicate they have exceeded their quota (I believe it just says "File upload failed"), but that is in fact the cause of the error and they are unable to complete the assignment.

We've always been under the impression that Canvas would never prevent a student from completing a graded assignment due to quotas. If these were file upload or file attachment type activities, this would be true and they would submit just fine, despite the user quota being exceeded.

However, after a recently response from Canvas support, we have learned that the RCE image embed function temporarily stores the image in the user file storage before submitting. Therefor, if they do not have space, it throws an error. We've been able to replicate this behavior. 

The release notes from 2020 are a bit confusing, but here they are:

And this was the response from Canvas support: I understand the documentation that you provided said the quota doesn't count when you submit a video or file, but embedding the file still needs enough storage to process it, but it doesn't use the actual storage after that since it's stored as an embed image at that point.

It doesn't count against their quota, but it references their quota in order to process the file. WHY?

In my opinion, this should never be the case on a graded assignment. Not only is this preventing students from completing assignments, the error message does not provide an indication of the problem (that they have exceeded their user quota).


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8 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi @Choachy 

In my opinion, this should be treated more as a bug than a feature request...  I agree it makes no sense to say things don't count against the quote after submission, but do count as the submission is being created (since the processing part prevents the submission from ever occurring).

On a very related topic, I've pushed (unsuccessfully) in the past for having all discussion content, whether graded or not, be excluded from the user quote.  Discussions are often an integral part of a course, even if the instructor does not mark them as graded (there are a lot of different mechanisms faculty might use to grade a discussion without checking the graded option for the discussion itself).  Students inevitably run into their file quote, and then need to go remove old attachments from discussions, when we really want to preserve old courses and all related content in concluded mode.


Community Explorer

Thanks for the input, Chris. I'll push the issue with our CSM and see where we can get. May open another case as well. 

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Community Champion

@Choachy and @chriscas, did we ever learn if embedded images in a graded discussion count against the student's storage quota?


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@Nancy_Webb_CCSF  the way I understand it, embedded files do not specifically count against the user's quota, but having 0% availability in the user's quota will prevent them from being able to embed the file. The rich content editor temporarily uses the user's storage when embedding, so even though it is a graded assignment, they have 0% available, so it will throw an error. And that error does not indicate that they are out of space, and really needs to be changed. 

If the user has available space, embedding an image into a graded discussion should not use more of their space.

@troy-carroll, I just tested in Beta masquerading as a student.  What I found was that embedded images in graded discussions DO count against user quota, only attaching them puts them into the submissions folder for the course, where it doesn't affect the quota.  Very discouraging.  I could see the % used change in the user's Files after uploading and embedding a very large image to a graded discussion.

If it's a group discussion, then it goes to the group discussion quota.  We have massively increased group discussion quotas to allow for courses that use a lot of images, such as art or cinema. Luckily media files do not count against quotas, but embedded images do.

@Nancy_Webb_CCSF  @chriscas  Thanks for checking this. I just spent some time going through it as well using some large size test files.

I created a graded discussion and a graded assignment. I uploaded enough files to fill a test student account to 99% of their quota. I then tried to embed a 3mb image into a reply on the graded discussion and was unable to. Then i confirmed what you said about just attaching the image, and was able to attach it successfully. 

Then on the assignment, I configured it to allow file upload and text entry. Using file upload, I didn't have any trouble. Trying to embed into the text entry box gave an error. 

I then removed some files from the user's file storage and confirmed what you were seeing, Nancy. The quota goes up with every image embed.

All that to say, both of you are correct. Any embeds using the RCE (regardless of whether it is a graded activity or not) count against the user's quota and they don't get placed into the submissions folder of the user files.

@Choachy thanks for your thorough testing and reportage. 

I would hope it is possible to cause an RCE embedded image uploaded in a graded discussion to be saved to the submissions folder rather than the student's Unfiled folder, where embedded images appear to go.  Time for an Idea?


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@Nancy_Webb_CCSF ,

I believe your latest assessment is right based on my experience as well.  Using the "attach" button will put the attachments in the course/group quote for graded discussions.  Things embedded in the RCE would count against wherever they are uploaded to though (teachers can choose between uploading to course or user space, students generally can just upload to their own user space).  While I agree that embeds shouldn't really count towards a user quota, I think it's technically almost impossible to make that happen due to the way embeds work (they are just linking to something).