[Assignments] Submit an assignment on behalf of a student

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

As an instructor, I'd like the option to submit assignments on behalf of my students. This feature should enable me to pick a file from my computer and upload it as a submission for a given student. I should then be able to assess the submission just as if the student had submitted it themselves. A note should appear somewhere that indicates I submitted the assignment on behalf of my student. This would help me in cases where, for instance, my students submit an assignment on paper or the submission is a performance (a speech or presentation) that I capture on video.


transferred from the old Community

Originally posted by: Bill Hanna
Special thanks for contributions by: Paul Gibbons, Sydney Cheek-O'Donnell, Kona Jones, Stefanie Sanders

Added to Theme

Community Champion

I use the "upload a pdf in the comments" method now when I need to upload scans of the graded versions of paper tests to a Canvas assignment, and here are some more drawbacks:

  • Students can't see those pdfs without downloading them (no pdf viewer as there is for student-submitted assignments) - this is my biggest complaint
  • Not recorded as a submission in Canvas when it's considering whether or not something is "missing" in new gradebook or other stats
  • Not, to my knowledge, included if you download all student submissions to grade offline (I don't use this feature in general, and it doesn't matter for my use case for uploading scans in particular, but I could see it being a major issue for someone else)
Community Member

I do like a hard deadline, but there are always cases, sometimes having to do with differing abilities, where it would be much easier (after the deadline) to get a submission from a student and upload it directly.

Community Contributor

I just noticed this very long thread. We do need this feature because we are using Arc (the video tool from Instructure). Sometimes teachers record face-to-face assignments. The video will be on the teachers device. The student can't submit the video.

At the moment we have two workarounds:

  1. Not using assignments. The teacher can share the video with the student. The problem is that this is very unpractical. The teacher can only share an Arc video if the student has watched Arc video's in the course of that teacher.
  2. Sending the video to the student with another tool (wetransfer,...) and asking the student to upload the video, but then there is no point in using Canvas.
Community Contributor

Great comments and description for this feature idea. This functionality would especially serve teachers and their students in a K-12 setting too. How many times have timed assessments been interrupted by emergency or drill interruptions? Or, the individual students who had valid excuses warranting the submission of assessments they couldn't submit themselves?

I'm happy to vote this idea up since its development would confer benefit over the entire Canvas user base.



Community Novice

It is fantastic news that this idea has been added to the product plan for Q1 2019!

This feature would be really good if the upload option includes the ability for instructors to be able to record photos/videos direct from their iPad or other device into a Canvas assessment. That way we could easily record evidence of students demonstrating practical skills or giving presentations. Options on uploading a file to immediately mark up, add notes or grade the uploaded document/photo/video would be very useful.

I agree with several of the other comments that there should be a system note automatically recording that the file was uploaded by the instructor on behalf of the student.

Community Member

This is a straightforward and useful tool for instructors for a host of reasons.  My question is why such an obviously useful instructor intervention was ever designed out of the 1.0 release?

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

The short answer is that in any project there is a limited amount of resources and decisions have to be made on what to include. Each person can have different opinions on what is a higher priority based on their situation and there is no solution that will satisfy everyone. Through collaboration and communication we can continue to improve things together by finding alternative solutions and influencing the direction the project evolves. 

Community Participant

This would be like a few other submissions and allow instructors to scan a paper assignment and upload it so as they do speed grading the comments will show up for the students along with the scan.

Community Novice

That would be nice to have the Teacher-submitted student work (work students send by email or some form other than the designated Canvas submission) to show up on Canvas with a little icon letting both the teacher and student know that it was submitted by the teacher for the student. That way, over time a teacher can have clear documentation of this.

Community Participant


This proposed feature comfortably rests in the top 3 most requested Canvas features from the faculty members at my school. That, of course, is the half-full version. 

The lack of this feature also squats annoyingly in the top 3 most griped about missing features in Canvas.

Thanks for proposing this needed addition.