[Assignments] Move or Delete Incorrectly Submitted Assignments

If a student submits an assignment to say week 2 folder when it should have been submitted to week 3, currently there is no way to move that assignment to the correct location as the Teacher.  This core functionality exists in all other LCS.LMS and should be considered for inclusion in Canvas's core modules.


Brought over from the old Canvas Community

Submitted by: Michael Black

Date: 6/3/2011

Votes: 112

Community Novice

Wow! I was really blown away that neither students nor I can delete ungraded submissions. For students in a group who both submitted their paper (eager to make sure it gets there I guess), this basically makes navigating vericite results slightly obnoxious - definitely not a positive user experience.

Community Explorer

dward,  @buellj ,  @sarah_grayston ‌ and others,

Since a few people have mentioned on this thread the need to contact Canvas to permanently delete sensitive files, I wanted to chime in that admins are able to do this through the Live API page for your institution. We had to do this recently with a file a student shouldn’t have uploaded.

It’s kind of a side-door solution that isn’t in the UI but also doesn’t involve custom scripting. I’m putting instructions below in case they are helpful! In general I don’t advocate experimenting with Delete posts, but if you’re looking for a specific solution this should work.

Things you need:

  1. Permissions to “manage files and become other users” (I take this to mean Course Files - add  / edit / delete and Users - Act As)
  2. The URL for your institution’s live API page: [your Canvas URL]/doc/api/live
  3. Access token: To generate an access token, while logged into Canvas, go to Account > Settings > Approved Integrations > + New Access Token > (enter a purpose and if desired, an expiration date) > Generate Token > (copy the entire token and save; this is your only chance to view the entire token!)
  4. File ID: To find this, go to the file location in Canvas and hover with your mouse of click the file to preview; the numerical file id will be in the URL (e.g., yourcanvas.instructure.com/files/123456. . . )

How to permanently delete the file:

  • Go to the live API page for your institution (#2 above)
  • Enter your token (#3 above) and click Save Token
  • Scroll down to Files and click List
  • Find the Delete - /v1/files/{id} - Delete file call and click to expand
  • Enter your file id (#4 above) in the id field
  • If you want any previously-generated previews of the file to be destroyed, set replace to true
  • Click Try it out!

A Response Body should appear with JSON indicating that the file was deleted (look for “file_removed.pdf”) or that there was an error.

Hope that helps!


Community Contributor

Oh my goodness, thank you! 

Community Novice

This absolutely needs to happen.  Right now if a student reviews feedback in progress say on an Essay, thinks that the suggestions requires a new paper, then they submit a new paper they no longer have access to their first submission.  If they cannot access their first submission, they cannot see the instructor comments period.  A major issue, I do not know of an instructor who has the time to double grade assignments, or download annotated pdfs and forward them to the student as a better than nothing option.  IF I could delete the most recent submission my student could see the first submission and the feedback.  

Community Explorer

 @thollenbeck ‌  There is a solution for your use case—don't start grading until the assignment is closed, so that students can't submit a later draft.   If you want multiple drafts from your students, make them multiple assignments with different due dates.

The bigger problem is students who submit to HW 3 when they meant to submit to HW 2, and so have TWO problems (HW2 missing, and HW3 has wrong file).  This gets compounded if the assignments are group assignments with different groups.

Community Champion

I agree, this is a simple solution for this resubmission use case... Waiting for an assignment to close, of course, requires that the assignments have an "available until" date set to block future submissions.

Community Champion

 @thollenbeck in my testing with the test student, students who resubmit see the new submission alongside the originally graded rubric.  If you are not accepting resubmissions for a grade (and have not set an "available until" date), you can simply click "use the same grade for the resubmission" above the "view rubric" button in the speedgrader.  The grade, rubric and comments will remain the same, and the icon requiring grading will disappear from your view of the gradebook. 


If you DO accept resubmissions for a grade, students will not see the previously graded rubric after you grade the resubmission.  However, students always see the entire rubric, so they have all the details pre-entered into the rubric, even though they do not see how their previous scores. A simple comment along the lines of, "Good job!  Your (criterion) score improved from needs improvement to proficient!" will tell students how their score changed.


What students miss after you grade a resubmission are any custom comments you made directly within the previously graded rubric. In the assignment view of the rubric, students have a drop down list to see rubrics from various graders, which provides an interesting opportunity to provide access to rubrics saved for previous submissions... In the meantime, I would suggest that assignments for which you accept resubmissions for a grade, should only have custom comments in the assignment comments field below the rubric.  These comments remain available to students even after a resubmission is graded.

Community Novice

While I appreciate the feedback from the community, after the incident suggestions are almost useless and accusatory as it denotes that an instructor should be able to tell when a student is going to go against instruction and or not ever make an accidental upload at all.

The point is once the incorrect submission is done, it is done. In that specific example, that assignment submission period was closed. It was re-opened for a late admit to submit their paper. .

Hence why the student was able to submit their paper. Once that new paper was submitted, despite only assigning a grade to the first submission, annotated comments written on the paper could no longer be accessed by the student. This was verified by our eLearning staff, it was news to me as well. Which means I had to manually download the annotated pdf and forward it to the student and now the student is upset because it is hard to read and not user friendly in that mode.

Additionally, students have submitted assignments from other courses over top of assignments in my course. It seems rather than preemptively creating assignment groups in hopes that should an error submission occur or after the fact suggestions, the ability to fix the mistake is the more efficient avenue.

Thank you.

Community Explorer

I agree that the functionality of moving or deleting incorrect submissions is essential.

I also agree that students should be able to se any feedback on any of their submissions—even if they have later submitted something else (though that is a separate request from the one here, and deserves a new submission for people to vote on).

I have given  up on Canvas ever fixing their bad design (they seem to be more intent on breaking things that worked than on fixing things that are broken), so I was attempting to provide a suggestion for avoiding the problem in future.  I'm sorry if it came across as chiding rather than helpful—that was not my intent.

Community Participant

Our institution has only been using Canvas for a year and a half. But according to this email, copied over from the old Canvas Community, this issue had been brought up 8.5 years ago!!! And hasn’t been fixed yet. I’m struggling to find the right word to describe this. Incompetence?