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Allow Multiple Submission Types on the Same Assignment

Allow Multiple Submission Types on the Same Assignment

Originally submitted by Sara Wolf


Currently, instructors can choose to allow a variety of formats for assignment submission. However, when the student submits, only one type can be used, unless the student elects to resubmit the assignment. Even so, if the student resubmits the assignment, the student can no longer see his or her first submission. So, if they make a mistake, they aren't sure what need to be fixed, because they can't see what they originally submitted.


It would be helpful to have students be able to submit a file type (graphic, or URL, or word document, for example) and then be able to also use the text box feature, in the same submission, to "tell about" their assignment. Ideally, the instructor would be able to see both submission types in the SpeedGrader in a single submission, and similarly, students would be able to see both submission types in their assignment submission interface. For instance, if students have to create an image of a floor plan for a future classroom, and then provide an "annotation" of that floor plan that describes how it illustrates their teaching philosophy, having the image be visible to the teacher at the same time as the annotation would be ideal. Another example would be an assignment that requires a link to a video url and accompanying text. If the students could submit the URL to the video and fill in a text box at the same time, they would be able to take advantage of the rich content functionality in the text box submission type (that is not available to them in the assignment comments area), and teachers would be able to evaluate the link to the video and the accompanying text simultaneously in the SpeedGrader.

Community Member

In addition to allowing multiple different kinds of "Online" submissions for the same submission, Hybrid school environments (some students attend in person, some attend virtually) need to be able to allow EITHER "online" or "on paper" submissions as options for the SAME assignment. 

Currently, if we want to allow both online and on paper submissions for the same assignment, we have to either 1) check "online" (in which case Canvas automatically labels all on-paper submissions "missing" because it doesn't know the submission has happened) or 2) check "on paper" (in which case our virtual students have no "submit assignment" button, or 3) Create two duplicate assignments with different submission options and assign each to a different population-- in person or virtual students (since the "assign to" function inside a single assignment only allows a variation in due date, not submission type). 

Community Champion

External Tools for assignment submission are great. When they work. They are horrible when they don't work. Take for instance the Google LTi. If you create a Google Cloud Assignment but for one reason or another, the LTI doesn't create a copy or perhaps you need to differentiate that one assignment submission for a few kiddos, you have no options. Rather than having to create another assignment just to collect a different formatted submission, how about Canvas allows the teacher to toggle on the Alternate Submission type and allow students to submit a text entry, URL, file upload instead of using the LTI.


If you make it a toggle then teachers can leave it off, unless they really need that alternate submission type.

Now that would make Canvas External Tools assignment submissions go from great to rad. 

Community Participant

Students must be able to choose from multiple submission types!!! 

Some students want to print, others don't have printers. How do I collect an assignment where half of them are using Kami as an external tool and the other half have printed and taken a picture and need to file upload?  Super stuck!!

Community Member

Especially in times like we are in currently, we would love to the ability to allow paper submissions as well as online submissions for the same assignment.  Currently, we believe it is one or the other.  At this time we have students in each class that are virtual students as well as face-to-face students at the same time.  If we had the ability as teachers to allow paper submissions for those that are face-to-face and online for those who are doing distance learning at the same time, it would be wonderful and save on much confusion.

Community Member

This needs to be moved up the line.  In order to get around this in our virtual environment while avoiding a million emails with their URL links, I am going to have to make them save the URL of their recorded presentation in a word document and then upload that with their powerpoint as a second file.  Being able to submit the URL in the URL link along with the file as the other submission type would be so much more helpful and easier to explain to students.  I'm frustrated this was requested 5 years ago and is still in an "open for conversation" stage.  

Community Member

When Selecting Submission type, Allow for both External tool and specific file types. 

example- Student needs to hand write, it would allow for the clean edit and upload fo the external tool for 90% of students then the 10% can submit the picture of the hand written assignment, instead of emailing, their assignment which then creates a teacher nightmare. 

Community Participant

Agreed, multiple submission types should be allowed within the same attempt. It's also not clear to the tutor when creating the assignment when selecting 'submission type' that this is an OR option. Multiple choice boxes mean to me that all these submission types are allowed within the same attempt...As students have to submit these in different attempts, the assignment buttons for tutors might as well be radio buttons so that tutors can only select one file type, and students can only submit one file type.


Students may also find this confusing when submitting work. As there are multiple tabs for each type, and a submit button in each tab, it's not clear that you're only submitting the option next to the submit button you've just clicked. You may also have added something in a different tab assuming this would also be submitted as part of your attempt.

Community Member

I am a student and throughout the semester of using Canvas for all of my classes I think it would be great if when submitting assignments, if students were allowed to submit multiple different types of submissions. What I mean is I can submit a photo along with a Google Document. Additionally, I should be allowed to upload multiple photographs to a discussion. I had a discussion throughout the course of the semester and I was required to upload 3 photos to the discussion and I had to do 3 separate submissions for the discussion

Community Member

I hope this is a feature that is still being considered/ worked on. I would love the ability to have an assignment able to be turned in on paper OR online. 

Community Member

I would like to suggest that in this time of COVID, when many of us are teaching students in a hybrid class setting, that we could allow multiple submission types on assignments. For example, I have some students working from home who need to submit their work via the online submission options (file upload, text entry, etc); and others attending in person who submit their work on paper, since we do not have devices for all students in our classrooms. Currently I have to create multiple copies of every assignment to allow that, and that really clutters the gradebook. Thank you.

Community Participant

I would like for students to be able to upload assignments that include both media submissions and file submissions. For now, we have to make it into two submissions or make the students upload both videos and documents as files. It would be better if we could combine the two. Also, a lot of students get confused when they realize that the media they recorded get lost when they try to add a file to their media submission. They don't get a warning that their media content will be lost once they submit their file. It's not what you would expect as a user. 

file media.png


Community Member

So many of us are teaching hybrid - there needs to be an option for BOTH paper AND on-line submissions. This drives me insane, since students are constantly thinking work is missing and I have to go back and forth between two platforms to grade work. 

Community Member

This has been a noted issue for at least 6 years and teachers are still asking for it to be updated. I can no longer sync grades because Canvas marks all submissions "missing" even if I manually type a grade in for a paper submission. Allowing for multiple submission types would solve this. 

Community Member

Can Canvas add an option in submissions to have "on paper" and "online" in the submission types options?

Community Member

I would love to see this feature added!  I also would like to have as many opportunities for students to submit assignments as possible.  Great idea!

Community Member

Yes! Having the ability to allow paper submissions and on-line submissions would be great!

Community Member

I teach middle school and have many students out on quarantine.  Students that are in person will be turning in the work on paper since we do not have access to computers in our classroom.  Students on quarantine need to be able to turn in work online.  I need to be able to accept both paper and online submissions at the same time for the same assignment but this is NOT an option.   If I make that submission "online," as soon as the due date/time passes, all the grades that I have put in on Canvas become "missing."  Then I have to go to Speed Grader and unmark "missing" on 140 or more grades for each assignment.  I don't have time for that.  However, if I mark the assignment as "paper" submission, then my quarantined students will not be able to turn in their work.  This is a problem for teachers and schools that can't afford student computers or don't have them in their classroom but still need to help students that are quarantined or have extended absences.  

Community Member

Allow assignments to have multiple submission types at the same time for differentiated purposes.  Example: Students can submit a text box and student annotation work. Submitting a Text Box and video/media recorded response.  

Community Member

Teachers should have the option to have kids submit both on paper and online. Some of my students prefer paper after a year of remote learning. Some of my students are quarantined and can only work online. Some prefer a mix of both, or have a hard time keeping track of paper assignments. 

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