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Community Champion

New Gradebook Post Policies: Release comments without grades?

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Hi folks,

We turned on New Gradebook recently in advance of the start of fall semester, and encountered something unexpected with one of our pre-term courses (a high-profile intensive simulation-based course for our incoming MBA students) related to Post Policies.

Currently, all our fall courses have New Gradebook turned on, and a course grade posting policy set to "Manually Post Grades" to provide our faculty with much-desired "default mute" state.

In the past, the teaching team for this course has muted the assignment, entered feedback as assignment comments in SpeedGrader, and then released the comments by unmuting the assignment. The teaching team did not enter grades for the assignment because the grading scheme they used in feedback didn't readily replicate with Canvas's default grading options.

We learned the painful way yesterday that feedback couldn't be released separately from grades with a manual grade posting policy. The gradebook column options show "no grades to post" until grades are actually entered.

Changing the assignment grade posting policy from manual to automatic did not help -- the on-screen information indicates that previously hidden grades won't be shown.

(This issue didn't come up in our New Gradebook testing, in part because of a bug that was recently fixed that made assignment comments visible on the dashboard, even when grades were hidden.)

In the moment, we were able to persuade the teaching team to adjust the assignment settings and set a default grade so that grades could be posted. However, many of our faculty use this same approach -- entering feedback without necessarily entering a grade.

Does anyone know of a reliable way to release assignment comments entered in SpeedGrader all at the same time without first entering a grade for the assignment?

This issue doesn't seem to be addressed in any of the New Gradebook documentation and New Gradebook Resources:

Thanks in advance for whatever suggestions you can offer.



26 Replies

 @sarah-canatsey , my understanding is that if the assignment is set to "manual" then students should not be able to see any comments or feedback, regardless of the grade being posted. It sounds like this isn't what you are experiencing, so I'd report this to Canvas support. Please let us know what you find out!


Community Team
Community Team

Hi, all,

In the discussion about the icons, please see Post Policy Updates Feedback just newly posted by our product manager.

Also, comments should be showing without requiring a grade IF the person leaving the comment has an instructor role (or a role based on instructor permissions, I think—I am checking).  @lindalee ‌ in reviewing your support case I noted that the course in question included a comment but I was not able to determine the role of that commenter. So that may be the problem?


Hi Erin Hallmark, comments were made by TAs. (It's case 04599833, if that helps.)

We had the gradebooks set to manually release grades, and the comments were made when the post policies were for manual posting.

Thanks in advance for whatever else you can find out!


Community Participant

We are still troubleshooting. It should be noted, this student saw the comments on their Canvas App, so the tech is troubleshooting that right now. 

Hi Sarah Canatsey, this is actually consistent with what our students reported. We learned that some students were seeing their comments but couldn't figure out how.

We asked the head TA to see if they could find that out, and learned that students who saw feedback did so in the Canvas Student app. With the start of fall semester, we haven't yet had time to do testing on this issue. But it's on my to-do list....

Community Team
Community Team

Hey, Linda,

We're in the final changes of testing an update for this behavior, and the update should be out soon if all goes well.

Stay tuned!


Erin Hallmark, I heard about this from our CSM! I tested it out (and finally passed along my feedback to  @kjerome ‌). I love the behavior I saw in New Gradebook and the Grade Detail Tray. Will that be replicated in SpeedGrader (where teachers/graders are often adding comments)?

Looking forward to hearing more!


Hi, Linda,

Is it not working in SpeedGrader?


Hi Erin,

Alas, no. In our Beta instance, anyway, entering comments (without grades) in either SpeedGrader or the Grade Detail Tray does not produce any visual cues for hidden grades/comments in SpeedGrader -- so, no slash appears through the eyeball, and the "hidden" tag isn't shown. And as a result, the "Post Grades" option is also not available in SpeedGrader.

The visual cues DO appear in the Gradebook/Grade Detail Tray, though. Just not in SpeedGrader.

Let me know if you aren't seeing this, and I'll gladly make a screencast to pass along.


Hi, Linda,

Okay, let me ask the team if that's intentional.