[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

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Community Explorer

I second (or third - or 322nd!) the 16 pages of comments on this topic made by professional educators over the years, many (including me) more than once.

If Instructure is not going to implement this feature, they should explain why.  I think it's a perfectly reasonable request, especially in light of what has happened since COVID.

We need a response on this, please!

Community Member

Adding to the request, in this case, paper-based exams that are stored as assignment images on Canvas, some students are unable to upload it: I have to scan them, send the images to students and have them uploaded into Canvas. I could do it in minutes.

Community Member

Why is this not a thing?  This would be useful for e.g. uploading scans of exam scripts or transferring in files that are collated by the educator.

Community Explorer

I already added my request to this a while ago, but wanted to add extra info.

  1. We can already batch-download but no upload
  2. We're not asking for batch uploads
  3. I'm sure teachers would be happy even if it was format limited (i.e. limited to PDF or image format uploads) or even title limited (had to be named a specific way)
  4. After this much time I'm sure teachers would even accept some way to access the student account to submit it for them without needing to have their individual password!



What this thread by itself is telling everyone is that users ideas mean nothing.

While the request in this thread may not be a huge problem for college / university instructors or professors, there is no way that any secondary (or elementary) user that access this Community network will not have this question & request. It has directly impacted almost every ELL / ESL and Special Education student I have worked with, and many of them I end up having to accept the work by email and then enter a grade for which has ho internal evidence except my own typed note as to why I issued the grade I did.

This one addition by itself would allow the product to market this option as a means to help teachers of SPED & ELL students meet appropriate modifications & accommodations.

Not addressing this with at least an excuse tells each reader that every other idea in the product roadmap will come only from the developers and we shouldn't bother writing anything up because they will be ignored, even if we are helping them brainstorm improvements that would help sell their product.

Community Member

So a 7 year old idea - and still not implemented ? What's the point in asking and this community if Canvas developers just ignore it ?

Community Member

This would be so fantastic.  Seems like such a small simple ask.

Community Member

When I search for a feature that I need and then read a forum thread such as this one it seems as if Instructure is truly tone deaf to its customers.  How is it a feature request has been around since 2015 with hundreds of requests and no response has been provided by the company.  It is disrespectful to ignore and disregard the community.  Instructure can do better, I hope.

Community Member

Today I sent this comment directly to Instructure customer service:

Since 2015, hundreds of Canvas customers have begged for a vital feature to be added to Canvas: The ability for faculty to upload assignments for students who are unable to do so.

This is both an issue of handicapped accessibility to Canvas, and of good teaching practices. So far, not a peep for anyone at Instructure regarding the feature.

You can see the comments here:


Please alert Instructure's strategic development team that the lack of this feature is a serious impediment to the use of Canvas in classrooms where handicapped students are enrolled.

Enough is enough -- fix this, now.

Community Member

Yes, this is useful for students who email assignments


Hi All, 

Thank you for sharing your feedback on this idea. I know that other Instructure Product Managers have commented in the past, and unfortunately priorities shifted. As an educator myself, I can understand the reasons for the request and also the apprehension from a few in this thread, specifically around ensuring that it is documented when an assignment is uploaded by the teacher/instructor on behalf of the student. 

I am looking to move this idea forward and will work with our awesome designers to create a prototype and then scope the work with our engineering team. This may seem like a small change, but there is much that will need to be considered to ensure it works as expected and also does not interact adversely with many places in Canvas beyond just the submissions and gradebook, such as SpeedGrader, modules (especially those with requirements), etc. 

I'll update with additional information as we make progress with the prototype and the technical planning.