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Community Participant

Restricting student access to instructor's folders

I want to create two Journal folders, so my students can add specific "homework" files to each of the folder.  However, when I go to Files it show all my course files/folders--some of which I do not want my students to view.

How do I restrict access to specific instructor folders, but  allow students access to their Journal folders?

Thanks .

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @howardmichaelda ... my students can add specific "homework" files to each of the folder

Unfortunately, your students will not be able to upload files to folders you create in the "Files" area of your course.  The "Files" area is really for you to add folders and files for your students to access/download.  You'll see that in the Student Guide for Files, there really aren't any Guides specifically for students on how to upload files themselves to a given course...which is by design.  You might be saying, "But there are two Guides that mention uploading files.  How do I upload a file to my user or group files?  and How do I upload ZIP files as a student? "  Yes, that's true.  However, those Guides are specifically for course Groups and your personal "Files" area...two separate areas that are different than your course "Files" area.

So, what are the alternatives?  Though I do not teach myself (I am an administrator for our school's Canvas environment), I have seen suggestions here in the Community where instructors have used services such as Google Drive or to create a folder structure similar to what you were creating in your Canvas course.  You'd need to set up the permissions via those websites in such a way that you'd allow students to upload files to those folders.  Do you think that would work for your needs?  I realize it's not utilizing the Canvas "Files" as you had hoped, but this might be a good alternative for you.

How do I restrict access to specific instructor folders...

Here are the Guides on how to do that:

How do I restrict files and folders to students in Canvas? 

How do I set usage rights and user access for a course file? 

How do I set usage rights and user access for a course file folder? 

I know this might not have been the answer you were looking for, Howard, but I do hope that it helps to answer your question.  Please let me know if you have any questions about this.  Thanks, and have a good evening!

Community Participant

Thanks, Chris.

Here's what I'm trying to do. I want students to keep a Journal, which is both private and public. And for almost every assignment, they'll be asked to take their Journal notes/reflections/ideas/etc. and post them (all or select parts)  in response to a specific Discussion question.

So, if students are "storing" files in GDocs, or on their computers, how do they upload  their file to a Discussion, for example? Copy and paste? Is there a way to upload an external file?

Generally, how do students submit "content" in Canvas in response to Assignments, Discussions, etc.?

Hi  @howardmichaelda ...

In your course "Settings", within the "Course Details" tab, you will find a link near the very bottom called "more options".  When you click on that link, a bunch of check-box options will appear.  One of those options is "Let students attach files to discussions".  Do you have that option selected?  If not, you might consider checking that option on and then clicking "Update Course Details".  That way, your students can attach a file with all or part of a journal entry to discussion replies.  They would not be uploading files directly from Google Drive via this method...rather they would be uploading files directly from their computer.  Would this work for your needs?

Assignments operate a bit differently, and you choose the submission method when you create the assignment.  For example, if you want them to submit a written paper, then you would choose the "Online" option when creating the assignment.  You can further tell Canvas that you'll only accept specific file types (such as *.docx or *.pdf files), but you don't have to do that.

Hope this helps.

Community Participant

Yes, I do have that enabled (just realized that), thanks,  That definitely helps!

I wA also checking the Assignment submission option, and set it up.  Test file seems to come into grade book (default?), but when I tried to open it I didn't get very far. I clicked upload, but that brought up a Browse option, which is only for files on my computer (not in Canvas). And I get the message, "Choose a CSV file to upload. Help is appreciated. Suggestions?

 @howardmichaelda ...

It sounds like you were in your Gradebook trying to use the import function ... but that is only to re-upload grades that you were working on offline.  That's not meant for assignment submissions or other things like that.  Check out these Guides:

Current Gradebook

How do I export grades from the Gradebook? 

How do I upload changes to the Gradebook? 

New Gradebook

How do I export grades in the New Gradebook? 

Community Participant

Hey Chris, Thanks for the responses.

I'm trying to figure out where a student file ends up when they submit an assignment.  I created a sample assignment file and submitted as a test student, but I didn't know where to find the student's submission. I'm not interested in the Gradebook, per se, at the moment--unless that's where the file end up.

So how do I find and look at a student's submission? That's the question.

Good morning,  @howardmichaelda ...

As an instructor, you can access files that students have attached to an assignment via your SpeedGrader.  How do I view the details of a submission for a student in SpeedGrader?  Depending on the kind of file submitted (such as an Office file or a PDF), those will display in main portion of the SpeedGrader window, and you'll have the opportunity to download a copy of submitted files to your computer for each student submission.  There is no "Files" area you go to in order to see all student submissions.

From a student perspective, when he/she submits a file as part of an assignment submission, that file is stored in his/her own personal "Files" area (accessed via the "Account" button and then selecting "Files".  Every student should have a "My Files" folder at the root level, and within that folder there will be a folder called "Submissions".  This folder is locked so that files cannot be deleted.  Also, the size of files in this folder do not count against the personal file storage limit.  In the "Sumissions" folder, a student should see additional for each course he/she is taking.  The actual files submissions for those courses are in these folders.  You can learn more about user files here: 

I hope this information is helpful to you, Howard.