Anonymous peer reviews should be able to use markup bar


When students do anonymous peer review, they would be better served to be able to use the mark up tools to leave comments in the page, indicate where wording, errors, etc. need work.  It would make it a much better experience.  I am please that instructors will be able to use the mark up soon for anonymous peer review assignments, but students should be able to use them too.

Community Champion

Voted!  @browning339l , our institution really needs this.  I just made a link to here from a similar idea which was archived two years ago. In case you're interested in seeing the comments on the old idea, join Cold Storage and then view:

Community Novice

I think this has come up more than once now. I myself made a similar request but this was for some reason archived or pushed to another thread. The anonymous peer reviews are not anonymous (as you can download the student's work and check file properties and presto you know who they are).

Then as the tool allows a student to download someone else's work (might I add without their permission (I am not sure how that sits with current GDPR rules as the doc carries their personal details)) and allows them to keep the file and potentially plagiarise some of its content.

PeerMark from Turnitin allowed you to set everything as anonymous plus to use PeerMark grading/annotation tools. This is exactly what I asked a while ago. Why can't Peer Review? All the tools are there so it is not a new development. It is just making use of existing functionality....


Hi @Karen!

I'm excited by your comment:  " I am please that instructors will be able to use the mark up soon for anonymous peer review assignments, but students should be able to use them too."       Do you know if this feature is coming soon?  I have a teacher who is using Peer Review a LOT with her students, but is frustrated because she herself cannot use the Mark up tools.  

Community Novice

I completely agree! I suggest that they be able to annotate, and comment, and that the name in the comment simply appear as "anonymous user." 

Community Participant

I'm curious about this too. I just ran into this problem with an instructor and was going to create the idea. Any info on this would be great!

 @Hildi_Pardo ‌ I just found the instructor one to up-vote:, this is not in production. 

Community Contributor

So far there is not any new information on this, but it seems that since the capability exists, it should be possible to enable this feature for anyone (peer reviewer or instructor(s)) to be able able to annotate in anonymous mode.

Community Novice

It's discouraging to read this suggestion from a year and a half ago, and yet no progress has been made on something that should have been a default ability.

Community Member

As the DocViewer is a Canvas created tool, this should be a change that can be moved forward for the community.

Community Explorer

A faculty member just asked about this. With more and more universities moving to online teaching, this feature needs to be implemented in order to meet the needs of the evolving online classroom environment.

Community Novice

I absolutely agree with this!  I think students would be much more willing to give candid, useful feedback if these tools were available and it was anonymous.  Thanks for posting this!

Community Novice

Yes, students--even in anonymous peer reviews--should be able to mark up their peers' drafts of documents.

Community Participant

Fully agree  @jrumpff ‌.

This would appear to be a quite simple feature to enable and would dramatically improve the peer-review learning experience for both reviewer and reviewed. I am curious as to what might be delaying its implementation.

Community Explorer

Bare minimum, this needs to be added to official help documentation. There is NO information from Canvas that turning on anonymous reviews will disable the docviewer toolbar.

Community Explorer

@RebeccaReaRoss They mention it in the peer review guide, but it was just a "note." Not something I remembered until it was too late.

Community Explorer

@mehall Yeah, a "note" isn't enough.

It's terrible UX, and it's such an easy fix--their team just needs to add it to the official documentation on using DocViewer.

Community Participant

Guide says "Canvas DocViewer does not support anonymous comments, so it cannot be used for annotated feedback on assignments with anonymous peer reviews."

But in non-peer review assignments, instructors can make anonymous annotations.

What's the difference? Why does anonymous peer review mean that neither students nor instructors can annotate?

Community Member

Can we please get Canvas to allow Annotations on files submitted for anonymous peer reviews? I think it would be a great feature. I am trying to have my students annotate their peers work, but it is difficult without the annotation tool. Still keep the names anonymous, just allow them to annotate a classmates file submission. If this is not possible, how about just allowing the instructor to annotate a submission. 

Here is my situation, I am a language arts teacher and I have my students submit a rough draft of an essay. I would like my students to read other classmates essay's and give them some feedback. As the instructor, I can make comments in the comments box, but I cannot annotate the file that was submitted. 

Please consider this addition to allow students the opportunity to annotate another classmates work on Canvas thank you!

Community Contributor

It has been a long time since I made this request and now I am retiring without any help from Canvas to make anonymous peer review easier to use for me or my students.  Very sad.

Community Explorer

Should we start making bets on whether this will ever be addressed? I think we know the real "solution" they will implement: replace it with something new which is even more broken and limited. 

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

As part of the new Ideas & Themes process, all ideas in Idea Conversations were reviewed by the Product Team. Any Idea that was associated with an identified theme was moved to the new Idea & Themes space. Any Idea that was not part of the move is being marked as Archived. This will preserve the history of the conversations while also letting Community members know that Instructure will not explore the request at this time.