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Community Member

Changes to SpeedGrader Functions

I have some concerns about the recent updates to the Canvas SpeedGrader functions. After grading one set of papers, I generally find it to be a less-functional tool than it was before.

  • When I use the strikeout tool, the only option is to place a comment all the way to the side of the page. I miss the functionality of being able to add comments directly above where the strikeout was placed.
  • We can no longer move free-text comments.
  • I am unable to delete free-text comments. 
  • When I use strikeout and highlight, I cannot control where the strikeout or the highlight stops--if I drag over too far, it highlights or strikes out a much larger portion than desired.

Is anyone else experiencing these or other problems with the latest update? Is this the final form of the latest update, or are there still changes in the works? 

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13 Replies
Community Team
Community Team

mmalone‌ and  @shdeyerle ‌, you'll definitely want to follow Canvas Release: Canvas DocViewer . DocViewer is a brand-new product that is being continuously enhanced and improved as we speak, as explained in Insights: Canvas DocViewer (you'll want to follow that blog post as well!). If you have suggestions for the tool, please refer to the for guidance on how to submit them.

Community Member

I agree with all the comments here. The changes to SpeedGrader have added keystrokes to grading and made the process considerably more time-consuming. I, too, miss the functionality of double-clicking a word for strikeout and typing the correction above. Now there is an extra keystroke involved as well as a time-consuming mouse swipe to the right to find and click on the tool to comment. 

As Steven mentioned, I, too, am considering using Word for my edits instead of using SpeedGrader, but that also adds time to my grading process. I hope these new issues are resolved quickly. 

Community Team
Community Team

Improvements are being implemented rapidly! Please follow for developments.

Community Member

There are some things I like, but I agree with the others and add that to me the worst is the Point Annotation feature. If I don't save a comment by clicking the Selection button, the comment disappears. Students were also highly frustrated by this when they wanted to comment on each other's papers in peer editing.

Community Member

I have still another comment. Sometimes when I've started grading I need to copy something to check outside the Speed Grader. In the old Speed Grader, I could turn off the tools (I don't remember how I did it, but I know that I could). Now, if I've already started using any of the grading tools, I don't see any way to get out of that mode, unless I close the paper and come back.

I've recently noticed that links I require in my student reference pages are live. However, the pointer tool is left on them after I click and I can't remove it. In fact, the pointer tool is very unstable. Sometimes I write a comment and it disappears as soon as I leave the box. Sometimes I end up with pointers where I didn't want them - to get rid of them, I have to very carefully target the trash can. And there is a black box with my name on it and the trash can that hangs around and gets in the way of reading text. Just one more tool that seems to have problems: the highlight tool makes a highlight that randomly gets much wider for part of the highlight, and someone else commented on the weird box that is created when you use some of the tools, and if there is something else wrong in that box, you can't mark it.

All in all, with a few exceptions, such as making the links work, I can't find much to like. I've already commented on the underline tool and now that I'm teaching my second summer session class, I've used the new Speed Grader enough to say that I hope that these issues can be fixed. The old Speed Grader definitely wasn't perfect, but this new version needs work. 

Community Member

I find that the tools just quit working 1/2 through an essay. I pick a tool (highlighter, etc) and it won't work. So I try another tool; it won't work either. Clicking around doesn't get me any tools to work. I have to go out of that essay, open another, then go back in order to get the tools to work. This happens about every other essay I grade.

I've noticed that is happening frequently as I grade. In order to get the highlighter to work, I have to switch to another essay and then come back--sometimes several times per essay. That is an incredible waste of time when I'm grading 20 essays.

And I'm having similar issues that others have mentioned:  not being able to make other comments in the "box" created with a previous comment, point markers ending up in random places, highlighter marks changing sizes, and so on. And the new strike out tool that doesn't allow me to make the change directly over the word I've deleted is pretty much worthless. The idea should be to make our job less time consuming with electronic tools, not more difficult. I hope these issues will be resolved soon.

Community Participant

I've also had problems like this.  Sometimes I click to create a comment box, start typing, and then it bounces me to another comment box.  Also, I spent a great deal of time creating comments on my last essay only to have the occasional student say there was nothing there.  When I looked again, there was only a colored teardrop to indicate there had been a comment there, but there was no comment box.  I type fast too, so sometimes if I don't wait a few seconds before typing in a comment box, all the text disappears.  Some of the changes are much better, but I agree that it's still too much clicking to strikethrough and then create a new box with an edited word above the old one, and the random jumpiness of the comments tool and others is causing problems still.

Community Participant

Teachers at our school have found the new doc viewer difficult to use, for the reasons discussed here.  We've sent a list of 15 problems with doc viewer to our Canvas support team, and have been advised to submit tickets (with screen shots) for each of the issues.  We were told that what the software team works on is influenced by the number of tickets submitted.  So submit tickets!  Here's the list:

  Grading Issues


  1. Increases grading time because there is a lot of clicking that has to happen to get each mark to be accepted. If you want to use the free draw annotation tool, it requires you to click a check box and save your work. This doesn’t allow you to move quickly through hundreds of student papers to grade as you would with a pen; it causes a stop and click.
  2. Only one annotation can be made per line.
  3. The text box covers the student’s writing.
  4. The text box does not wrap the text on the left margin. Moving a textbox causes it to duplicate.
  5. If you highlight more than two times in a document, the highlighter tool decreases in size and no longer highlights.
  6. The “Free-Draw Annotation Tool” becomes live the instant you click it, leaving marks all over your student’s work.
  7. Grades are not being saved.
  8. On smaller screens, students are not able to see comments.
  9. Using the “Free-Draw Annotation Tool” the annotations do not show up in their intended location.
  10. The strikethrough doesn’t go through the middle of the word.
  11. You are not able to choose a pen size when using the “Free Annotation tool”.
  12. You are not able to choose a font size (as you were in Crocdocs) for the text.
  13. When selecting a word or place to use the strikethrough tool, you can be bumped to the top of the student’s paper.
  14. After repeated use, the drawing tool simply was no longer available (“dead.”)
  15. The highlighter tool reverted to the first word on the assignment (see #13) and cannot be erased.