[Rubrics] Allow Importing of Rubrics from csv Format

Similar to a previously archived idea here: (Create rubrics offline and then upload.), it would be very, very helpful to be able to create a rubric offline and then import it into either the course or to a specific assignment.


The interface to create a rubric requires extensive clicking and is very time-consuming, especially if I am working off a rubric provided by publisher (it contains maybe 30 different criteria).


If we could create it in say Excel, export it into .csv format, and then import it into either the course or a specific assignment, it would be much faster. In Excel, we have a complete grid available so we can enter points and titles very quickly.

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Improved rubric creation and usability Theme Status: In Development

Community Novice

I would also like to store multiple rubrics to select for various assignments. I have three major assignments for which my students can choose from several options. Each option has its own rubric. As the Canvas rubrics are now, students have only one rubric option per assignment. When I click on the rubric button in the SpeedGrader, I want a menu of options to show so that I can select one that matches the assignment the student has chosen.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

I really wasn't imagining too much manual creation which would require following a lot of special formatting rules. I also imagined this would be done in some spreadsheet software and saved as need and then uploaded. Certain sanity checks would have to be in place (reasonable number of rows and columns, numbers where there should be numbers, etc) of course, but I'm thinking this would be something many if not most of my faculty would be comfortable with. They've had to encounter the dreaded CSV beast before when downloading grades from some silly system that doesn't do grade pass-back.

I think a template is a really great idea. Perhaps in the same dialog around uploading, there could be a link to download a base template. If we expand this idea to support .xlsx, then that template could be quite powerful.

Community Contributor

Point taken,  @garth ​.  Not being a techy tech person (just a tech person), I now have a better understanding of what this fix would entail. The original feature idea speaks to the difficulty in using the rubric creation tool. But maybe the solution proposed, an Excel upload, is not the best answer.

Maybe an improved rubric editing tool is more to the point?  I also find rubric creation slow and tedious, and many colleagues steer clear of it. So what are its shortcomings, you ask? (OK, I asked.. Smiley Happy)

To start, most rubrics I've used or seen have a uniform number of quality ratings for every criterion (Exceeds expectations, meets expectations, etc.) Choosing a standard number of quality rating columns as you start the rubric would save quite a few clicks. (And if only two, as opposed to four ratings for all other criterion, make sense for a particular criteria, perhaps the extra cells could be deleted for just that row.)

Also, it would be MUCH easier to create, edit, and read Canvas rubrics if the column width was uniform — like an ordinary spreadsheet or table. As is, Canvas rubrics are very tough to grok. (Interestingly, the cell heights are currently uniform.) I've heard many teachers grouse when they see a Canvas rubric for the first (and often the last) time.

That's a shame because once established, Canvas rubrics are invaluable for rapid assessment and feedback, as well as common standards across departments and faculty. If only they were a little easier on the eye and carpal tunnels.

Third, the checkbox choices at the bottom of the rubric are not intuitively clear. They need tweaking. For instance,

  • "I'll write free-form comments when assessing students" might be clearer as something like "Hide rating descriptions; write free-form comments instead"
  • "Use this rubric for assignment grading" might better be described as "Automatically record rubric total to assignment score."
  • I'm not sure what "Hide score total for assessment results" means. I'm sure I'm missing something, but I can see the score total on the rubric as a teacher and in Student View.

 @cchambers ​, thank you for posting this feature idea. I don't mean to highjack the direction, but if there would be more tech problems with an Excel upload solution as Garth and Kelley suggest above, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Would these improvements also achieve your goal?

Community Participant

Turnitin has a feature when you add a rubric into an assignment.  If you open the rubric manager, there is a button to download a template.  Thus, you have the option to manually build it or download a template to upload a rubric. 

Faculty I work with balk at building the rubrics.  This feature would be so helpful!

Community Contributor

How would this work with Outcomes for Learning Mastery?

I'd love to be able to create my rubrics offline, but all of mine are aligned to Outcomes in Canvas. Could this lead to creating Outcomes offline too?

All of the Outcomes have an ID, they're kind of hard to find, though. You have to go to Outcomes in a course, and then click on an outcome and then copy the link from the title that shows up.

(The link looks something like: https://canvas.instructure.com/courses/COURSE_ID/outcomes/OUTCOME_ID)

The other thing is that they already have a set format, so the offline rubric designing is kind of useless for the Outcomes unless we can have all of our Outcomes setup in the format too.

Community Coach
Community Coach

If you are following this idea you might be interested in a new canvancement‌ by  @James ‌ that allows you to create a rubric in a spreadsheet and import it into Canvas - Importing Rubrics from a Spreadsheet.

Community Champion


Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

We really appreciate everyone that took the time to contribute their thoughts and experiences in this thread. While I know we aren't going to be able to add this specific request in the next six months. We are doing research to determine what is the best way to get rubrics in Canvas. Maybe redoing the workflow that currently exists would fix the problem or creating a new magic rubric creator all together....more work needs to be done before we have the answer. At the end of the day we need to make it as easy as possible to get the rubrics that educators already have in Canvas so you can utilize the rubric tool to gather data and give students valuable feedback.

Community Novice

Teachers should be able to import from word excel. Would be a big help!

Community Coach
Community Coach