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tmckamey
Community Participant

What is the "real" difference between "Submit on Paper" and "no Submission"

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Besides informing the student of submission expectations, what is the difference when choosing between these two options in Canvas? I can't find this information. The Canvas Guide (as usual) is way to basic. 

The reason I have this question is I never know what to choose when I have an external tool that I want to use that is not integrated into Canvas and does not get recognized by Canvas even when I choose that option (basically that option is worthless to me because it requires that Canvas can recognize the tool). I would love to be able to choose "External option" and either just give any link that I want or Canvas not require a link...I can put that in the assignment description. At least that would be the most authentic way students would know they need to go to another link to do the assignment.

Now the other thing that I want students to do is click on something in Canvas to let me know they've done the assignment in the external tool. I've used to just be able to pick "on paper" (i thought) and they would have a "submit" button which would notify me. But that doesn't seem to be the case, or I remember wrong. 

The best work around I've seen from reading some other posts is that I should just choose "submit online" and instruct students to just use the textbox to say they did the assignment in my external tool, but it would be nice if we didn't have to jump through all these hoops. 

So this circles me back to my question. Since I can't select "external tool" and get what I want out of it, I'd like to be able to choose some option that allows students to click "submit" in Canvas to let me know they've done it. Submit "on paper" is the closest thing. I feel like "no submission" would be misleading to students, and surely there would be no "submit" button in that case. But all of this got me wondering, what is even the difference between those two options other than the words they say? 

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scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi @tmckamey,

First I will say that Canvas doesn't have a submission type for when you want the student to turn something in, but not on paper and not via Canvas but instead via an external tool that you'd really rather have show up directly in Canvas when it doesn't.  😂  To be serious, I get how frustrating it can be when an external tool doesn't integrate the way it should.

The only difference between 'No Submission' and 'On Paper" is that with the latter you want students in a hybrid or maybe correspondence course to understand that they are expended to physically hand in an assignment vs 'No Submission' where you are maybe evaluating a live performance or other in lieu of an assignment submission.  Maybe in the 13 years, give or take, since this distinction was designed it has become a bit archaic. Maybe now it should be 'No Submission' vs 'Turned in Outside Canvas' or something equally more inclusive.  What do you think?

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8 Replies
scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

Hi @tmckamey,

First I will say that Canvas doesn't have a submission type for when you want the student to turn something in, but not on paper and not via Canvas but instead via an external tool that you'd really rather have show up directly in Canvas when it doesn't.  😂  To be serious, I get how frustrating it can be when an external tool doesn't integrate the way it should.

The only difference between 'No Submission' and 'On Paper" is that with the latter you want students in a hybrid or maybe correspondence course to understand that they are expended to physically hand in an assignment vs 'No Submission' where you are maybe evaluating a live performance or other in lieu of an assignment submission.  Maybe in the 13 years, give or take, since this distinction was designed it has become a bit archaic. Maybe now it should be 'No Submission' vs 'Turned in Outside Canvas' or something equally more inclusive.  What do you think?

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tmckamey
Community Participant

Thanks @scottdennis! To answer your question, I never like using "No Submission" because what assignment in the world doesn't have something to show for it? It's misleading...even if it's a presentation....I "submit" to you that a presentation is also a submission...just not a good old fashion piece of paper one.  I don't know what a better word would be, but I do think those two options are individually unnecessary.  Maybe "No Canvas Submission" would work? but then I would want some subtext that said, "See instructor for details" or something of that nature. 

I also don't like that there's no option for students to alert me to a submission if it's not "online". Another example when students might submit something other than on Canvas is maybe via email (I don't usually do this, but I can see it could be useful) and an instructor might appreciate that the student could signify they'd done something by clicking a button in the assignment page to notify the instructor. 

I think my real issue is with the limitation of the "external tool" option.  Why does Canvas force you to choose an external tool that it can recognize? Is that necessary? Why can't it just create a URL field when you choose that option that I can enter any URL that I want and it will load that page in a new tab? Students can manually click an "I'm done" button or "submit" to keep it simple afterward. I don't NEED Canvas to do that part for me for everything...

tmckamey
Community Participant

Oh. I just thought of another option to replace "on paper": "external to Canvas". 

In order not to be confused with "external tool" maybe that option could be renamed "Canvas integrated tool" (which seems to be more accurate to what it is). 

I have to admit that it is a bit of a reach, but when I was a trainer years ago and explaining the "No Submission" assignment option, the example I used was a drama or public speaking course where the student didn't submit any work but needed to be graded none the less.  I like the 'external to Canvas' idea although it occurred to me last night that whenever you change terminology in a system used by millions of people you run the risk of causing confusion, incurring retraining and documentation costs, etc.  Although it may seem like a small change, probably the best course would be to 'submit' the idea as a feature idea conversation and see if it garnered an upswell in approval by others.

I can see what you mean about a way for students to notify the instructor that they had done something in another system.  Ideally the teacher would get that notification triggered when the student performed an action in that other system without the need to go two places but we are talking about a theoretical other system so who knows.  As far as how and why the external tool assignment option was originally designed, unfortunately I don't have much insight into the goals design strategy so I can't comment further on that.

tmckamey
Community Participant

There are multiple ways this problem could be solved. The point is that the current options are (a) not clearly distinct and (b) don't provide a solution for the scenario I described, so they are not comprehensive. None of these options represents my case, and I think my scenario can't be that uncommon. 

My larger frustration is that the Guides are too basic and don't dive deeply enough into how to use the provided options and what behavior an instructor can expect when using them. They are limited to like. Click here to turn this on. the end. Very little discussion of why you might want to or not want to choose these options. Anyway, I think you answered my question essentially. 

nwilson7
Community Champion

@tmckamey  It sounds like it would be helpful to add a new option for your "external to Canvas" that would allow students to indicate they have done it.  I am curious what the tool is and if maybe there is a LTI that could be connected to Canvas so it could be done through the current External Tool option.

For what it is worth, we use "No Submission" for grades that do not actually have a submission such as attending an event, class participation, and some use it to dock points for attendance.  "On Paper" is when there is some sort of submission outside of Canvas, which in most cases for us, is on paper.  "Online" obviously is a Canvas submission, and then "External Tool" is any tool we have an LTI for that integrates with Canvas (I think we have around 20 now active).

-Nick

James
Community Champion

"External to Canvas" is confusing since LTIs with grade passback are external to Canvas.

For me, I use "On Paper" for anything turned in on paper, which means I haven't used it at all since March 2020, and reserved it for exams before that. It lets students know that they should be turning something in on paper.

I use no submission for external tools without grade passback (like Kahoot). That is, "no submission" means that you are not submitting anything directly to Canvas.

The key, no matter what method you use, is to write good instructions and communicate with your students what is expected.

My Kahoot instructions say that I will have to manually transfer the grades from Kahoot to Canvas. I used to use a mathematics homework system where I would download the grades from the system, process it, and then update it in Canvas. I did that process every couple of weeks and told them to check the online system for a more up-to-date grade. My current system updates the grades after every question is answered so it's immediate, but I have other systems where I have a script that automates grade transfer once an hour. All of those are "no submission."

tmckamey
Community Participant

If you type a response and you are not logged in, this Canvas Community platform will give you a chance to log in, but it won't save your well-thought out message 😞 and return you to where you were after doing so...

So, I had replied, but it's gone forever. No time to repeat.