[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 Member

Thank you for taking this on!

I'm afraid I'm the troublemaker who took this to the corporate boardroom of Instructure and the IT moguls at California State University last week. I have several students whose university experience will greatly improve once this project hits Canvas.

I appreciate that this means shifting a few other deserving projects, but (to me, at least) this is a front-line issue, affecting the ability of some of my students to fully take advantage of Canvas while they are here at Cal State Fullerton. It will also improve my own ability to fully use Canvas's features in a secure way for every student.

I hope that the result is functionality that Instructure can also use to advantage when you are courting prospective customers.

Again, many thanks!

--- Walt

Community Explorer

Thank you both!

As wbaranger mentioned, this is actually an educational equity issue for a number of students:

  • Students with federally protected Individualized Education Program (sometimes referred to as Individualized Education Plans or IEPs),
  • Students classified as English Language Learners or Emergent Bilinguals (students who often resulting from the choice of a family member are now trying to learn grade-level content while also learning what is to them a foreign language), and
  • Students living in poverty, experiencing homelessness, or who simply have limited technology access away from school. 

Canvas represents an opportunity for many of these students to begin to address the digital educational divide, but only if they do not create the perception that they are being left behind their privileged classmates resulting them in giving up.


I think this is a critical enough issue that the community will understand if its rollout comes in steps. 

For me, I would personally not be worried about the system's ability to document who posted it as a roll-out requirement if that slows down the implementation. While I do understand the long-term need for that information, working good soon is better than working perfect later. 

Community Participant

Thank you very much @jsailor for taking this idea on. Our institution has recently transitioned from Blackboard to Canvas and as a member of the LMS Support team for the institution it has become increasingly disappointing having to inform academics that we can no longer upload assignments on behalf of students.

Please do keep us updated as the work progresses - I for one have bookmarked the thread and will be keeping a close eye on it in anticipation.

Community Novice

Fully support this. Hard to see why it hasn't been done already.

Community Member

has this gone into development yet???

Community Member

This would be extremely helpful at the elementary level as well. Thank you for posting this idea!

Community Participant

This has been under discussion since 2015 and still no action on it???  Placating us by giving us a place to "discuss" things and then ignoring what we've taken the time to share our ideas is the definition of disingenuousness.  

I would love to chat with the person that suckered my university into buying this LMS.  It's a good thing we don't teach the way you all do business.

University of Washington


Community Explorer

This is a huge barrier for ELL, McKinney-Vento (i.e. students with insecure homes), or technology limited students as well as students with IEPs ... and even more so if these are combined. It is a simple accessibility issue making use of this product a barrier for the most underserved students that the teacher could help accommodate to but currently has very limited ability to document what the student did other than adding a comment that it was turned in ... not much evidence in that.

Community Novice

I don't understand why this wasn't already done. You have to figure students are going to occasionally have problems uploading items or not follow instructions. I'm in a summer class and don't have time to wait for students to re-submit work or struggle with uploads. Common sense apparently is not prevailing here.

Community Member

I am so surprised that this very well-engineered and designed program is missing this very useful and oft-requested feature.

Without being able to upload late assignments for my student, I have to force a student to go to the library to upload their assignments to Canvas because their laptop is too old.

Or I oblige them to get a new laptop.

Or I accept their assignments via email with no record on Canvas and no ability to annotate unless it's through MS Word.

Edit: I'm shocked and saddened that this conversation was originally started in 2015. I went back a few comments.

Can Canvas put some engineers on this and make it happen please?