DocViewer Instructor Feedback Download

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

The old version of Crocodoc allowed students to download a pdf of their assignment with Instructor annotations and feedback.  This should be added to the DocViewer as well so that students don't loose this feature.

Comments from Instructure

For more information, please see Canvas Production Release Notes (2018-03-10) 

For more information, please read through the DocViewer Plan.

Download annotated PDF:  Done 3/20/18
New Member

This is particularly important as students can't access past submissions. Thus, if an instructor gives feedback on a submission and then the student resubmits, the student has effectively lost all previous feedback. There's no way for the instructor to provide that to the student via an annotated pdf.

New Member

Instructors place high value in the time they invest in providing students feedback. The smart students place equal value in that feedback, and may want to take it away in a download to digest and learn from it. This download was a key piece to effective learning.

New Member

This is also important because sometimes when students are assigned to work in groups in a single document, one student might upload a document that the entire group contributed to, and in some situations is it more efficient when I can comment and make annotations on that one uploaded document, then download and send (with annotations and comments) to the other students in the group. I know there are other ways that students can work jointly on a group document, and see feedback, but there are times when it is most efficient for me to do what I have described here.

If instructor feedback cannot be downloaded, it reduces my productivity for such situations.

Community Member

But please make it so that it is easier to download the annotations than it was in the past. Students had to select special options in their pdf viewer, I believe, for the annotations to actually print.

New Member

Relatedly, it's a key piece to several of my instructors using Canvas at all.

New Member

The amended feedback viewer is too small and students need to be able to download annotated pdf feedback. The new viewer requires too much scrolling, making it less likely for students to view and integrate needed feedback.

New Member

Canvas updated Speed Grader this Tuesday, and in the process, removed the Feedback Download option.  This has greatly affected my work. In the past, students had a hard time viewing the document comments since these comments only show up on a small window on their laptop. To work around, I would save my comments in a pdf and upload them to the students under assignment comments. Ever since the Speed Grader update, I am unable to do so.  I can’t even save screenshots because the “lines to the comments” are now only visible if the mouse is hover over the comments.  I am very frustrated with this latest version of update. I have already contacted Canvas on Wednesday and opened a ticket, but there is no ETA of when the Feedback download option will be back. 

A suggestion to the IT team: when you put this download option back, please also have it be available for our students.

Community Contributor

As others have mentioned, students and instructors both need the ability to download annotated submissions.  This has greatly affected our instructors and they are grumbling.  At this point we are not real happy with this change. We'd like to see this functionality return. (Pretty please.)

New Member

Since it is basically a waste of time to put annotations on students papers if they can not download them later, this absolutely MUST be added.

New Member

This is imperative for several reasons:

  1. Students are far more likely to incorporate feedback into future assignments if that feedback is printed in front of them. If a student has to log in, navigate to the page, and then keep that open while working on the next project, they just aren't very likely to do it. In my classes, I give students a very small extra credit boost if they show me downloaded and printed feedback from their papers. Right now they can't do that, and this update hit right in the middle of one of my classes, so students started the summer session getting these extra credit points, and not I've had to develop a workaround.
  2. Many students don't have access to personal computers. I teach in a low-income area with students who can only work on campus computers. If we hit a long weekend or a college holiday, the building shuts down and students have to work in advance to prepare for that. The inability to download their feedback severely limits these students.
Community Champion

I realize Instructure was under the gun with this one in light of the fact that Crocodoc was no longer going to be supported by Box by the end of the year, as spelled out in the blog post announcing the new DocViewer.  Additionally, I gather this is all a part of the new, improved Speedgrader 2.0 .  But I'm afraid that the DocViewer seems rushed out before the product was finished, in light of this alarming oversight. As Kael points out as the very first comment here, this is especially important in light of the fact that student resubmissions means the student can no longer view the instructor comments.  I'm sorry, but this simply should not have been released until one or the other of these issues was fixed.

Community Contributor

Yes, this is causing problems for students who are unable to successfully view the full comments and now there is no option to download.  The "comments" side of the View Feedback window can end up expanding to such an extent that students only have a tiny view of the actual document.  Apparently this is caused by long links being included in the Comments exchanged by students and instructors.  I have reported this to support who escalated the issue.

Community Champion

141 votes in 5 days!  This is clearly a must-have.  I hope it's easy to add this feature and that Canvas takes note - summer is a great time to test things out but by Fall a lot more students will be effected.  I also like  @beerline_n ‌'s comment about making it easier to download the pdf with annotations.

New Member

I could not agree more with these comments. Annotated submissions, including suggestions, corrections, edits, and kudos should be a learning tool for students moving forward. It is a must have for students if we want them to improve their writing, for faculty records (how else would I realize that the same comments I am writing now on a dissertation are exactly the same ones I wrote on that student's first paper in his PhD program??!), and for accreditation artifact data.  Please add!!  I am new to SpeedGrader, but a long time advocate of Turnitin GradeMark where the download option is available to both students and faculty (as is the ability to save custom common comments). I put a great deal of time into feedback and don't want it to evaporate into the cosmos once the course is complete. This about quality and efficiency for teaching/learning. Thank you. 

Community Team
Community Team
Idea is currently in development

Greetings all.  

I notice a lot of anxiety over this feature idea, and I want to refer you back to the conversations in the Insights: Canvas DocViewer blog post.  This topic has been covered exhaustively, and it is in the works.

Here is a very clear comment posted by Erin in that thread.

And yes, DocViewer matches Crocodoc functionality with a few limitations—for now. Features that we've noted as coming soon (annotation downloads, colors, and free text) will be available as close to production as possible. Our engineers know these features are important and want to get them to you just as soon as they can.

Production release was officially Saturday, June 24, 2017, so we'll let you know when we know downloads is getting closer.


Thank you Renee!  We'll keep our anxiety under control...for now Smiley Wink   

New Member

The new Croc Docs is not user friendly.  We need the ability to download our student's papers.  Thank you.

Community Member

I agree!

I have been using bulk downloads, converting non-PDF documents to PDF, then uploading annotated documents to individual students or teams for many years now. I do a lot of math stuff, so I'll probably continue this for a while. However, I want to comment on the importance of the student being able to download an annotated copy.

Because the vast majority of my students are distance students, we rely heavily on electronic communication. The ability of the student to have a copy of the annotated work on their own computers has been very useful. Because both of us can just bring up the annotated copy on our own computers without having to go through Canvas, we can use canvas to communicate. We can use chat without having to open multiple windows while each of us is referencing the same document. Also, many of my students frequently access Canvas from their cell phones. Being able to print the document makes things a lot easier for them. Finally, I archive all student work because some students ask questions after the semester is over.

The current free version of Adobe Reader includes markup tools. That means, I can grade from my home computer or laptop without having to get an additional Acrobat license. Also, students can use the free version to write their comments on the marked-up documents I sent them and email me an annotated copy of my annotated copy to clarify a point. Even though the conversion process I use involves extra work, in the end it saves me more time that it costs.

From an academic standpoint, I would add that most of all, we keep telling students we expect them to remember what they learned in a course after taking the final. Students not being able to download and archive their graded work undermines that effort.

New Member

This feature is critical! I'm surprised canvas removed it with the "update"

Please get this working again soon. Thanks guys, Canvas rocks. 

New Member

I would like to add to this conversation as a user. Trying to view annotations by instructors/professors in a browswer is IMPOSSIBLE! Downloading a PDF is okay (I guess) but I loose the ability to edit the documentation as I read the notes, as some are simple comments on spelling or add more detail. I have to print it out, go to my original document (thank god I saved it) and them flip back and forth between the pdf printout and working document on my computer to edit the document. I have to submit my document in .docx format, I should be able to download my document in .docx format.