Making feedback more visible to students

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

For more information, please read through the  Canvas Release Notes (2021-11-20).


I'm teaching a course using Canvas. This is the second semester I've used it. I like Canvas overall, but I've discovered that my students have a difficult time reading the feedback that I provide on their online assignment submissions because the feedback is split into three different locations, and when student view an assignment that I've graded, there is no visual indication of whether feedback is present, and no unified display of that feedback. I'd like the feedback to be visible by default, or else some kind of visually loud indicator present to show them there is feedback. Let me explain:

 

  1. Say I grade an assignment that a student submitted. They go to the assignment, and can see straight-away a general comment on the lower right-hand side. That's visible by default. Fine and good.
  2. But what about all the comments embedded in the document view? Those are not automatically displayed, and there is no marker to show that such comments have been embedded in the document. There should be at minimum a big icon saying feedback is embedded, for sure, so go look at it. Currently, "View Feedback" link is always present, regardless of whether feedback has been embedded or not.
  3. Furthermore, the rubric grade is displayed in the upper-right corner, but the detailed rubric view is hidden until students think to click "Show Rubric"... yet even then, the written feedback that I have provided on each rubric criteria remains hidden from view! Students have to hunt for that feedback by clicking the easily-overlooked speech-bubble icon one-at-a-time for each criterion. But I don't necessarily write a comment for each criterion, and there is no visual sign or indication that a comment has been written or not.

 

How are students supposed to know and remember to check all of these various locations to receive the complete set of feedback provided by their instructors? It is utterly inefficient and defeatist because students don't seem to realize that all this feedback is sitting there waiting for them--and they don't know to look for it.

 

Now, from a student point of view, I don't want to have to click in so many different places to hunt (perhaps fruitlessly) for feedback that my instructor might or might not have left for me (since there is no indicator signalling the existence of written comments).

 

The fact that written feedback has been given within the submitted file and within the rubric should be foregrounded--it should be made highly visible to the students checking their grades. That feedback is part of the learning process. It is essential for students to read that feedback in order to improve their work. If they don't know it is there, what is the point?

 

Don't force users to guess and hunt for feedback. They won't do it. Make it obvious that the feedback has been given by putting some kind of big symbol or message next to the assignment doc (or by displaying the assignment by default so students can see that margin comments etc have been embedded in the file) and also by automatically displaying the rubric WITH the written feedback already visible. Don't make the students click in three hundred different places to get all their feedback for a single assignment. Please.

194 Comments
iwoods
Community Explorer

I just received a notification that the Instructure community is giving "badges." I don't want silly digital badges. I want my students to be able to find View Feedback and Show Rubric easily, without me having to create a crazy tutorial and video and remind them of where it is a hundred times. It's been seven years now. I honestly would approve of my institution choosing a new LMS when our Canvas contract expires. Their interface was good for several years ago, but they aren't making needed changes to make things easier for students. I doubt anyone even reads these comments. There has to be something better out there by now. 

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Hi, @iwoods , Instructure Canvas is currently working on a complete overhaul of Assignments, and visibility of student feedback is a critical piece of the project. To learn more about the project and its status, we hope you'll read through  What's New with Assignment Enhancements for Studen...  and join the  Assignment Enhancements Users to engage with the product managers.

Every comment under every single idea is read by someone, and many times by multiple folks, at Instructure; that's why we place such value on member comments.

And the bamboo garden is our own community initiative: many of our members have expressed interest in having it restored. It's just a bonus! We hope the garden brings you tranquility as it grows on your profile. 🙂

duffy1000
Community Member

Hi @Stef_retired, thanks for letting us know about the Assignment Enhancements project. I and many others joined this thread because of huge frustration with the way instructor feedback is buried in the tool.

I visited the Assignment Enhancement project, placed a link to this thread on that forum, and encouraged that team to look at the suggestions posted here from customers over the past 5 years.

Would you also make mention of this thread in any other Instructure projects you are aware of that are improving student feedback? There are over 150 posts here, many making very specific requests to improve Canvas, and it feels like they have been mostly ignored as we seem to be talking to ourselves -- I'd like to know that these ideas have been read and considered by the developers.

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

@duffy1000  This idea is topmost in our product teams' minds; thank you for helping us create those additional connections for our members. Every idea, and every comment under an idea, is read by someone, and oftentimes by multiple someones, at Instructure. 🙂

myoung10
Community Member

Is there any way to make the "view feedback" button both in the peer review function and in students' grades more prominent and obvious?  They should be able to look at their grade in the grade book and go directly to the in-line feedback that we've provided rather than having the click on the assignment title, and then click on a tiny icon that says "view feedback".  

KMorganPhd
Community Member

I have been teaching on Canvas for YEARS. I spend a lot of time providing feedback to students, and have always wondered why I get so little response. Well, turns out, it is NOT intuitive or easy for students to figure out how to respond or reply to comments. Even for my graduate students. I had a student show me, and it, as I said before, is not easy or intuitive. And, your directions are horrible! Please make it easier for students to see how to respond.

KMorganPhd
Community Member

I asked students to submit an assignment and also provide a comment to me in the "notes". It is not intuitive to know how to do this. Hitting on "view feedback" does not make any sense. Could it not say something else? Granted students seem to figure out eventually, but it really could be "view/submit feedback"

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: On Beta
Comments from Instructure

In the Assignment Details page, the Show Rubric and View Feedback links indicate when new comments have been added as an annotation or in a rubric. This change allows students to see when new comments have been added to a submission.

For more information, please read through the  Canvas Release Notes (2021-11-20).

byoung86
Community Member

I'm not sure how this helps because student already have to be in that screen to even known that feedback exists. So if they are already there, the little notification isn't much help. 

Stef_retired
Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Completed