A way to save a draft for Text Entries

Text Entries are how most of my teachers do their assignments. If I want to start an assignment when I have a little time, and then continue working on it later, the only real way to do so is by writing it in an external application that I can copy and paste into the text box when it's finished. It would be incredibly convenient if I could start writing an assignment in Canvas, and save a draft of it if I have to go before I finish. This would save the trouble of needing to log into Google Docs or a similar application in order to save my draft, and then later needing to find what I've written again and the assignment it was for on Canvas. A way to save drafts could remove the hassle of using an outside application, allow me to work in as short of time periods as needed, and conveniently keep what I've written connected to the assignment that it is for.
This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through Canvas Release Notes (2020-03-21) 

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thank you for your submission,  @emersoncall ​. This idea will be open for vote in the next voting cycle. Smiley Happy

Community Novice

This feature would very much help move Canvas forward - on par with WordPress for composition capabilities. However, we still try to steer students to use Word processor for long form composition.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea is now open for voting!

Community Novice

This would be really helpful on quizzes too.  Sometimes we use the quiz option as an assignment if we want kids to answer multiple questions.

Community Novice

This would be helpful on discussion boards as well!

Community Contributor

Two points in favor of a saved-draft capability:

First point: the ability to save a draft during text entry submissions would decrease accidental losses due to device failure, power outage, etc.

The ability to save drafts is especially important during assessments. Some of our teachers use Canvas assignments for text-based, in-school, timed assessments.  Other teachers are hesitant due to the additional risks while managing these already stressful situations for students. I'm aware of at least one student who lost work during an assessment. (Perhaps through her own error, but the ability to save drafts may have prevented it.)

Soon, our NYS Ed Dept. will be piloting in-school online testing, and our state is not alone. Second point: Making online testing in Canvas the norm could give us a big leg up in normalizing the process. That would be a plus for students and teachers. Thanks for considering this idea!

Community Member

Losing work is a huge deal and I'm in favor of any updates, including this one, which help solve the issue. However, I would rather see Canvas implement an autosave feature so that the user doesn't even have to think about it at all.

Community Contributor

Brilliant, julie.ryan!
Simplify, simplify, simplify. I love this idea.

Maybe a manual and an auto save feature, for instances in which a student needs multiple sittings to complete an assignment? This would accommodate the accidental loss scenario and  @emersoncall ​​ scenario of multiple sittings to complete an assignment. 

I'd also add that for those on mobile devices, autosave for text entry is even more essential. (Jumping to Google docs or Word on a phone or tablet, then uploading to Canvas -- not gonna' happen!.)

Community Participant

I agree with the need for auto save.  The other part already exist, doesn't it?  When a student types in text entry and saves and then clicks resubmit it causes there to be a link on the right hand side which they can open.  That link shows their previous answers.  They can copy and paste from that page into the new empty text box.  It would be nice if their previous answers automatically show up in the text box, but the work isn't lost it is on the link on the right.   Also, if they have turned in the assignment multiple times using this technique when you use speed grader there is a drop down option that lets you swtich between their multiple submissions.

Community Novice

YES PLEASE!  Text Entries are how most of my students do their assignments. They currently have to upload from Google docs in order to make test corrections efficiently.