Facilitate timely feedback for students

Theme Overview

Instructors want additional functionality to enable timely/real-time feedback for their students.

What value could this provide to users?

  • Instructors can view student work while in progress, allowing for immediate feedback
  • Discussion posts can be annotated in Docviewer
  • Instructors see student assignment comments in their To Do List stream


Why was this theme chosen to open for voting?

October 2023 • A critical component to learning is providing timely feedback, which will enable students to stay on track and help instructors to provide guidance precisely and proactively, ensuring a more effective and rewarding learning experience for all.


Referenced Ideas (18)

Status changed to: Open for Voting
Community Contributor

Hi, all of the Ideas linked to this Theme are great - one that is missing (although I can't see anything in the community about it now?) is the ability to set a Post Date + Time in Canvas - which is then used to trigger the post process (rather like available in other platforms). This would not take away the ability of the instructor to 'manually' Post/Hide in SpeedGrader / Grades*, but would allow a specific date and time to be preset in advance, and where in place, scheduled in line with institutional policy.

*not Manual Grade Posting Policy - just clicking the eye etc.

Community Member

Hey there,


It would be great to add some energy and updating to the whole feedback workflow in Canvas. For the idea - Submission Comments w/ History of Entire Speedgrader Message Issues - I think this could go even further and remap the way students interact with instructor feedback. Currently, instructors will leave feedback in context on the assignment, but if a student responds to the feedback instructors get the notification in their inbox, decontextualized. I know the comment can be viewed on the original assignment, but finding that assignment and navigating to that assignment based on the notification Canvas gives is not intuitive. It is also a lot of clicks. Good pedagogy encourages contextualized discourse between student and instructor and Canvas should make the feedback functions follow this.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Being able to format and edit comments is something strongly desired at our university.  We have been hoping for the RCE to be used in the comment area (or at least a simplified version of it) so that formatting can be applied to comments and hyperlinks can be embedded.  Requiring students to copy and paste the text for a link is inefficient and doesn't allow for an easier to read link text when the URL is especially long.  We would also like to be able to embed Kaltura videos in the comment area for feedback to students rather than having to upload a video to Canvas Media since Kaltura is our video management platform.

Community Contributor

Already some great ideas within this theme.  I was reading @KelleyRobertson's idea and it reminded me that when I copy a loom link, or any other URL, it displays as text for students instead of a clickable link.  Would be great if any links were clickable. 

Community Explorer

Right now students have to look in multiple places to find feedback: the assignment comments, the rubric, and the written assignment itself. I know students aren't going to all that effort because they routinely don't follow through on suggestions for revisions.

Rather than a cosmetic change like adding a link to "view instructor feedback" or "view rubric" there needs to be a full reevaluation of how students can access feedback. Make it easy and clear for students to see all instructor feedback without multiple clicks. Something similar to the view instructors have in speedgrader so it is all in one window by default without additional effort that puts obstacles in the way of the student actually viewing all feedback.


Community Participant

@byoung86 You are so right - we shouldn't have to teach students how to get to all of their feedback. This should be all there on the Grades screen - if there are annotations on a paper in SpeedGrader, then this is noted as an icon on the Grades screen, and so on.

There should also be a way of capturing for students ungraded quizzes via one view, so they can see their progress across a course via formative assessments.

Community Participant

@byoung86 I agree! Right now it is a bit of a challenge for students to find their feedback, if we truly want feedback to be useful, it needs to be where they can easily find it. 

Community Explorer

@byoung86 Agree! Each term, I spend part of the first day instructing my students on where to find feedback. 

Community Explorer

There are three things here that I would find very helpful as an instructor and two of them would also enormously support student success:

  • I completely agree that intuitive and easy access to feedback would make a huge difference for students and for instructors. While there is a good Canvas guide that I link to about grading icons, navigating where and how to find specific feedback can be confusing. I think students would be more likely to take advantage of accessing feedback if it were easier to figure out and remember.
  • It would also be great to have RCE access within the comments area. I routinely avoid adding a link to a resource there simply because then I have to explain that they will need to copy and paste into their browser and I'm not sure they will even do that so why go to the trouble to explain, right?
  • Another idea here that seems extremely useful for instructors is to be able to simply click on an icon to hide grades in an assignment while grading and then another simple click to show them. I find navigating the menu for manual grade posting policy and show/hide grades to be confusing and irritating. I'm still uncertain about which option achieves my objective of simply hiding grades until I'm finished grading for everyone so I fumble with both settings each time. I did spend time looking for a clear Canvas guide regarding that, which did not help at all. Perhaps I need to search again, but there is only so much time in a day, right?
Community Contributor

Anything that improves the UI for the student so they can easily find feedback from their instructor would be fantastic. I find myself needing to add to the comments (in SpeedGrader) and provide instructions to the student how to find things such as annotated feedback and the rubric. Sure, I can include this in the assignment instructions and/or orientation module, but I want the student to know how to find all my feedback when they are actually looking at the comments.

The Reference Idea [SpeedGrader] Hyperlinks in Assignment Comments  would be such a help. Often I create videos for individual students providing more detailed feedback (usually screen recording, not webcam). Or I may have a generic video that addressed a specific issue the student has. These video could be on YouTube or another video platform. Currently I have to put the URL in SpeedGrader comments. Then the student has to copy/paste the URL in their browser. It would be better if I could insert a clickable link. This would increase the probability that the student watches the video.

If Instructure implements this idea, don't forget about accessibility. Don't just allow a URL and make it clickable. The instructor needs to be able to provide descriptive text for the link, not just the URL.

Community Contributor

Oh, I SO agree about simplifying the way students get to the instructor feedback! In my syllabus as well on several Canvas pages, I have step-by-step instructions on how students should view my feedback...but honestly, very few of them do because it's such a cumbersome, non-intuitive process. The result is that students continue to make the same mistakes over and over, because they're not seeing my feedback. More than once I've been tempted to just go back to them submitting hard copied of papers, and then returning the papers to them with my written comments...but of course,m that won't work for online classes, or for students who can't read cursive!  There MUST be an easier way!

Community Member

Is there a way for Canvas to more adequately enable Contract Grading? Right now, Canvas cannot handle Complete/Incomplete grades other than allowing you to use them. They do not get figured into the final grade at all.

I only use points for homework (which I only do because using complete/incomplete grades for discussions, annotations, collaborations, and so on proved to be a NIGHTMARE when it came to figuring out a student's grade), but students also have to have a certain number of complete pre-final drafts and a certain number of complete final drafts for each letter grade. I have created a scheme that gives students a letter grade for their homework that says, "Possible B based on homework scores" but then students (and I) have to manually add up their complete pre-final and final drafts to determine their grade. This might not be a problem if the student view of grades were more viewer-friendly, but as it is, it adds an extra level of complexity that causes all sorts of confusion that undermines students' initial pleasure at what they had perceived as a more equitable grading system.

Is there a way that Canvas could count up the number of complete assignments and convert that to a letter grade? Perhaps it would be a start if Canvas could count the number of complete assignments for a group category out of the total provided in that category. That would at least minimize error and maximize clarity for students. Then the next iteration could move to converting that into a letter grade (at least within the designated assignment group) based on how instructors set the parameters (e.g. 4 out of 4 complete final drafts meets the requirements for a B or C, 3 out of 4 meets the requirements for a D; likewise, other parameters could be set for other assignment groups).

I am willing to concede the futility of asking Canvas to compute an overall final grade based on this kind of system, but it would be SO helpful for students (and instructors using complete/incomplete grades) if letter grades for assignment groups could be determined with the requirement that every assignment in that group is graded complete/incomplete.



Community Explorer

« Voir le travail des étudiants pendant qu’ils sont en cours, ce qui permet d’obtenir un retour d’information immédiat. » Je dis oui, un immense oui !!


Pouvoir guider les apprenants en cours de route et confirmer ou non qu’ils le sont sur la bonne voie avant qu’ils soumettent leur devoir est très demandé.

Community Participant

As others have said, please simplify how students see all of the different types of feedback on assignments and add the RCE to the comments box for feedback.

I think the feature idea and some of the comments on New Quizzes applies to this theme also...Consider adding a feature that Show Question Feedback can be shown to the student immediately after answering a question and before answering the next question.

Community Team
Community Team
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