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Respecting sections when automatically assigning peer reviews

Respecting sections when automatically assigning peer reviews



Canvas does not respect the sections when assigning peer reviews when automatically assigning peers in an assignment is set. This means a student from section A might be assigned as peer to a student in section B. This is problematic in case people from Section A and Section B are not collaboratively related.

Suggested solution

  1. When automatically assigning peer is enabled, Canvas should by default, respect the section of each student separately to match the section of the peer to be assigned.
  2. An option should be available to override limiting by section. This could be done by adding the checkbox "Allow assigning peers from different sections":



Lets say the following students in different sections are assigned to the same assignment:

Student A1A
Student B1B
Student A2A
Student B2B
Student A3A
Student B3B
Student A4A
Student B4B
Student A5A
Student B5B

When Canvas is looping through all students in the assignment to find a peer it should look for the section of each student is in and select a peer from the respective section only. So e.g. Student A4 (from section A) will never be assigned as peer to Student B2.

The suggested solution would work for the following scenarios:

  • Assignment with one section assigned where peers are assigned to students from the respective sections
  • Assignment with multiple sections or "Everyone" assigned where peers are assigned to students from the respective sections
  • Assignment with one section assigned where peers are assigned to students not respective to any section
  • Assignment with multiple sections or "Everyone" assigned where peers are assigned to students not respective to any section

This feature request is related to this question Using Peer Review in a course with multiple sections, where the suggested solution appeared not to work.

Community Champion
Community Champion

This idea is so useful for FERPA privacy in cross-listed courses, for those who want to use peer reviews. It is especially onerous to need to manually assign reviews in such classes because of the large number of students.

Thanks  @stelpstra ‌ for the link to adding due dates for completing peer review. Very helpful to both teachers and students.

Community Champion

Agreed!  I think this is an important feature to have.


Likewise, we would support this feature idea. 

Community Coach
Community Coach

I would also support this, would better align the feature with the rest of the LMS respecting student sections.

New Member

I totally agree!  I think this is an important feature to have, especially for big courses (for 1000 students).. which we have a few in our university. 

Community Member

Agreed! Also, another option for allowing students to peer review across sections would be not having them marked "can only interact with their section". In fact, have you tried that? If you trigger the 'this user can only interact with users in their section' option for students, does it still assign them incorrectly?

New Member

This would also be a great feature for composition/writing-intensive classes, where frequent small-group peer review of rough drafts is a very common practice.  (And it's common for instructors of these courses to teach multiple sections per semester.)  

I write this after discovering today that I would need to spend 15-20 minutes per section manually assigning my students to review their groupmates' drafts. Taking a break right now from the repetitive, mind-numbing clicking that task entails Smiley Sad  

Community Coach
Community Coach

I would like to throw my hat in to support this change as well.  This option can both save teachers time and increase the usefulness of the peer review feature itself.  If students in different sections are given different version of an assignment, or online peer reviews are going to be followed by in-class debriefs, this could be particularly helpful.

Community Contributor

We have many large (250-1600 students) courses (where sections have been crosslisted together) and this would be much appreciated by the TAs (and probably the teacher too) who are assigned to the individual sections. 

New Member

Yes please please do this - I am faced with 7 sections / classes, and it isn't practical to manually assign all of these peer reviews - muddling through 170 odd names to assign these will be massively time consuming.

Assigning peer review across  multiple days also seems risky.

My Monday groups are submitting today, and I could assign these automatically NOW, but what happens when the Thursday groups submit and I assign peer reviews again?

Will the monday allocations be messed up?

The solution described here seems really simple and absolutely important for ease of use and also to avoid any teacher bias in the allocation of reviews (as well as the problem of manually assigning and having 1 left over unallocated!!!

Community Champion

 @stelpstra ‌ Have just found this and voted for it.

We have courses with up to 7 sections and a real frustration. Canvas allows you to set different assignments and Discussions for sections so why not have peer review per section.

It really is where we should be heading - one course, multiple sections and differentiated tasks and resources...

New Member

We do a lot of writing of essays for APUSH and love students providing feedback to one another, but I feel deterred from doing peer reviews given the fact that I have to manually assign students from 3 classes.  Respecting sections would be very useful and convenient.

Community Member

Any resolve out there on this "Respecting the Sections" need?  With coding/programming, peer review is vital and I would really love this tool if it could simply allow the assigned peer reviews to "select" whether or not you want an entire random peer connect, or period/class exclusive reviews.  It's been TWO YEARS since this topic has been brought up, but complained about a longer time within the teacher's lounge.  ??? 

Community Member

Yes... I've done this.  Made for added busy work after school and another time in class that just became dysfunctional.  Sigh.  The thought of being able to have this is super nice... but only if it's USEFUL

Community Champion

Yes this would be very useful, especially for those with a large number of sections.  Duplicating the assignment and assigning each one to only one section works fairly easily if you have only two sections, but if you have 7 or more sections as has been mentioned here that's a lot more work. I hope we can get more votes on this.

Community Participant

I also really need this ability! Any updates? 

We have Summer Workshops where we would like to have each week of the workshop be a different section of the course. This means that each section participates in the course during a different week. Therefore, if peer-reviews are assigned then (using the current system) they may be assigned to people who no longer have access to the course because their section (week-long workshop) will have concluded.

Additionally, we want the automated assigned peer-reviews because we are managing over 500 participants, 30 - 40 in each section, afternoon and morning sections, etc.

Setting groups for them does not resolve the issue either because the peer-review assignments do not respect groups and intra-group peer-reviews have not been developed. 

We have found that for assignments, discussions, quizzes (classic and new), and even announcements, we can designate the sections and contain the due dates based on sections, but the peer-review within assignments is not respecting those section "assign to X section" parameters when we create our assignments. 

Thanks! I hope we get some answers!

Community Participant

This is yet another feature that COVID has highlighted as actually essential rather than just nice to have. I just want to emphasize the part about FERPA here. Combining sections at an institution like mine is only as useful as its ability to respect the legal conditions we have to meet.

Community Member

I agree that this feature needs to be added to enhance the peer review experience.

Community Participant

I would love to be able to keep peer reviewers to the same section of the class--or even with a group. Currently, I have to create the same assignment for each section if they are to do peer reviews. This clutters the grade book, adds work, and makes managing the course more difficult.

And, a way to grade the person peer reviewing would be helpful, too!