Submitting Multiple File Types in One Assignment

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Is there a way to submit multiple file types in one Canvas Assignment Submission?  For example, if I want a student to turn in a video from STUDIO in addition to a PDF file turn-in sheet, can both be turned in at the same time?  It seems when a video is attached through Canvas Studio, you can't also go back and select another file to be added.  

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I do not think having an option of forcing a multiple submission within Canvas is a good idea.

I completely agree with communicating any unusual directions to the student, but it falls on the instructor to do that. I still do that on multiple answer questions ("select all correct answers") because students think it's a multiple choice question despite the checkbox vs radio question.

For assignments, I use a content page for the directions about how to complete the assignment. The assignment directions provide a link to that page and then any specific directions about submitting the assignment. This includes whether it is an assignment that it submitted and graded once or one that is complete/incomplete and the students will need to fix and resubmit it.

I will say that this semester is the worst one I've had as far as students reading directions. They all want TLDR, which I don't do, but I get tired of typing the same thing over and over in the comments after they turn it back in. Those are long because the students didn't follow what I wrote in the first place and I want them to have specific feedback about what to fix (other than "this is wrong, you need to fix it"). The comments get ran together because Canvas removes the paragraph breaks in the assignments redesign. I start my comment off with a comment like "Read this message in your email where the line breaks are retained, otherwise it is very difficult to follow and you will miss some items." Students don't do that either.

The point being that if you communicate what is needed up front in a clear way, then you put it on the student and cover yourself in the case of an appeal.

That said, we should not make it overly difficult for the students, either. You want a PDF and a video and Canvas has a problem doing both at the same time. It is unlikely that Canvas will fix that any time soon, so the instructor is forced to modify how they do things. The instructor should either make separate assignments or provide clear directions, perhaps with a video if they can, of how to do that successfully.

Sometimes we do things because it's the way we've always done things. We try to force Canvas to do something the way we do it on paper before we had an LMS or we want it to work the way our previous LMS did things

For example, I students saying their professor wants them to use APA style references in their discussions. The instructor probably has those directions because they've always had those directions (pre-Canvas). Or that that APA is standard for their discipline and they want students to cite their sources. The instructor probably hasn't given any thought to how difficult it is for a student to create a hanging indent. APA style itself allows for deviations, but students don't know that. That's why I have a page about how what I will take for references and link to it from every assignment that requires citations.

When we want something different than the normal, it's important to communicate that to the students.

It's simpler (I purposefully avoid the word "better") for the students if we can accomplish our needs within the standard way of doing things. That way they may be more familiar with it from another course.

That's part of why I don't want Canvas to add an option for requiring multiple submission support. It complicates things. It also breaks a lot on the back-end. With the current system, you specify the type of submissions that are allowed. That is an "any of these" choice right now. Having a checkbox to "require each type of submission" completely changes things. It could work for submissions that require different types (example: a file upload and a text entry) but it wouldn't completely fix the issue for submissions that require two types of file uploads (a docx and xlsx file).

A single submission with multiple file types can be handled by requiring students to ZIP the files together (students in computer science classes have had to do this), but that is more work for students and we want to make it easier for them, not harder. That last statement is not necessarily universally agreed upon -- some argue we should be preparing students for real life where you need to do complex things. Canvas doesn't subscribe to that design philosophy, they want to make it easy for users. They don't want to hide a bunch of things behind options. They just want it to work, which helps minimize support costs.

For me, I've worked two submissions to the advantage of both the student and myself. I require a spreadsheet that contains the data. This is graded as complete/incomplete and the students have to get it right before they can do the other assignments that depend on it, so there are a lot of resubmissions. It's due days before the other assignments that depend on it are due. All of these are open for two weeks in case the student falls behind with getting their data correct. The benefit to the student is that they have the correct data so that they can do the next assignment. If the data is wrong, the student would lose points for the assignments that use it.

It's kind of like the idea of a checkpoint that is sorely needed for discussions. But checkpoints for regular assignments don't exist and Canvas isn't set up to handle them. Well, the Canvas way of handling it is to make them separate assignments. There are different requirements for each phase, so they need different assignments. There's nothing in the Canvas backend for specifying different requirements for completing stages.

In most cases where multiple submission types are required, I would still urge different assignments. From the student perspective, it is the cleanest way to accomplish it. It also allows faculty to provide feedback on each part separately and handles the case when one part is missing or incorrect. It can create more work for faculty, but that should be weighed against the work saved be students submitting both type successfully.

And then, in the directions, be sure to communicate that this is a two-part assignment and provide a link to the other part.

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