[Gradebook] Increase Gradebook Note Character limit

While a similar idea was suggested before (No Note Character Limit ), I think the Gradebook Notes column is a valuable feature that, with an increased character limit, would be even more useful.  Currently, each note is limited to 255 characters.  This is an extremely short amount of content, especially if you want to keep track of information over time.


In my situation, I co-teach a course with four other instructors, and the course enrollment extends for two semesters (one academic year). We would like to be able to use the Notes field in the gradebook as a way to keep track of information or interactions with students as a means of communicating over time with our co-teachers. This way, if I work with a student and I have helpful information about interacting with this student that would benefit my co-teachers, I can add that information to the notes field. It simultaneously serves as an additional record of the students' work and behavior. Unfortunately, the 255 character limit makes clear communication from one teacher to another difficult, and it doesn't really allow for more than one note to carry forward. With two semesters and multiple teachers working with our students, the current limit decreases the value and functionality of an otherwise excellent feature.


While I appreciate that an unlimited/open field may not be possible/supportable, but I would expect that a significant increase in the limit is possible. 1000 - 1500 characters, perhaps?


[For reference, the above post content is 1475 characters.]

Added to Theme

Improve Gradebook settings options Theme Status: Identified

Community Champion

 @ced4742  I could support this idea if for no other reason than the fact that a 255 character limit does seem small for notes for long running courses. However, I wonder given your use case and example of a 1475 character post above if even a 1500 character note would be enough, and if this might be accomplished by some other means, although the 1500 character limit might also force some to be more concise than normal.

Even if only until/unless this is developed, this might be accomplished using a table in an unpublished Page. Granted, there would be an initial set-up time investment that would not be required with an expanded notes column with this workaround.

Community Explorer

Thanks for the support, Jeffrey! My particular case is just one experience that would benefit from a larger note field; I’m sure other could reply — and I hope they do! — with their own experiences and how they would benefit from the suggested change.

Also, if you have suggestions about other Canvas features that might serve our needs as I described above, I’m happy to hear them! We’re only in our second year of moving our program into Canvas, so we’re constantly exploring ways to adapt Canvas features to our specialized needs. We’ve been keeping records and communicating in other ways, of course, but improving our use of Canvas and its features helps centralize our work for our immediate as well as long-term needs.

Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. November 2, 2016 - Wed. February 1, 2017.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.


This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

Community Contributor

I support this idea also.  I would like to be able to export a final grade and a note (we write written narrative comments for every student every term), and if we did that, we could retire our current grade & comments entry app.  Most of the data is there in Canvas already.  We just need a way to be able to add a note that can be made visible to the student.  If we created a Final Grade assignment and had a large field for comment entry, that would help us out.  Then we could upload to our SIS or elsewhere and be good to go, thereby keeping our teachers in their favorite system:  Canvas.

Community Participant

I agree that the 255 character limit in production today falls woefully short of what most teachers need to track meaningful notes on student performance. In my idea submission, I advocate for more of a CRM approach in addressing this shortfall. While expanding the character limit is helpful, it does not provide the ability to track, assess and share student performance with teaching partners or assist in wrapping up semester grading. Online classes present a steeper challenge for student engagement and I think Canvas should provide more robust methods to allow teachers to manage and cultivate this engagement. I see some areas that should be codified to add real management functionality for teachers, for example:

  • Late assignment count, why, permitted?
  • Student communications on assignment issues/difficulties
  • Does student apply suggestions from student teacher meeting? If so, how?
  • Ad hoc conversation/observation notes
  • Is student part of a project group? Name of group? Who else is in the group?
  • Flag for follow up on xxx date with alarm and comments

This could be a simple form that presents questions and archives input, perhaps even allows for custom questions and responses as determined by the teaching staff. 

An even larger scope would entertain a single view of the student, their assignments, conversations, notes and grades. I'd much rather review a CRM record for each student than the line items currently employed in the gradebook. 

At the end of the day, I'd gladly take more characters but I believe there is a great opportunity to truly enhance student engagement with a more serious look at CRM types of functionality. 

Community Explorer

Yes please. I want to use notes to track student interactions/concerns. Now I have to create a spreadsheet to track this information which is much less useful than having it built right into Canvas.

Community Explorer

@Renee_Carney I can't seem to find any recent updates around increasing the character limit in the note section of the gradebook. Is it possible to increase this limit?

Community Team
Community Team

Hi @detour-jenn 

I'm not aware of any planned development on the notes section of the gradebook at this time.  Sorry.

You can track what's being built on the product roadmap and hear directly from the product managers building in the product blog!

Community Explorer

Thank you!