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Word count for Speedgrader (DocViewer) grading

Word count for Speedgrader (DocViewer) grading

This idea has been developed and is On Canvas Beta  How do I access the Canvas beta environment?

For more information, please read through the  Canvas Release Notes (2021-11-20).

It would be extremely helpful for student submissions to also include a word count when we are correcting them on Speedgrader through DocViewer.

Thank you!


Comments from Instructure

Per comment:

Hello, all! Just a quick note to share that this idea is currently being worked on. There are a couple things to consider in this request and we will need to address them in iterations.

Our first step is to add word count to SpeedGrader for text entry assignments. Our currently plan is for this to be available in November.

Our next step is to do some additional scoping for how to accomplish this with files uploaded and viewed through DocViewer. More to come on this as we look into if this can be accurately and consistently made available.

Community Champion

:smileycheck:  Nifty idea,  @roniabusaad  !  May I ask which extension did you select and why?

There are three to choose from:   Chrome Web Store  

Community Contributor

It would be very helpful it Word Count could be added as a requirement for submitting Assignments or Discussion replies, or any writing that students submit through the Canvas system -- then show the word count.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

 @cmccann1 ‌, the word count requirement for discussions is the subject of , which is open for voting at this writing.

Community Participant

Please add this feature. It would be extremely beneficial to us if we could see the word count when we are grading. I would like to add a minimum word requirement to assignments but do not as I don't have the time to keep moving in and out of each assignment. Pretty please!!

New Member

Without and automatic word count, perhaps "Speedgrader" should be renamed


Community Participant

Since it counts words when typing in it, it should be able to have a final count. For now, I am using a Chrome plug-in, but it would be great if it was just in there.

New Member

The failure to make word count possible for teachers is YET ANOTHER example of how little Instructure cares about teachers. This fix was suggested how long ago? Over four and a half years? But, of course, you haven't gotten around to it yet. 

Students are always given word minimums on assignments -- when I suspect they didn't meet them, I have to copy and paste their assignment into Word or a Google Doc to find out a word count. That takes at least 30-45 seconds. That may not seem like much, but when you grade several thousand papers each year? It really adds up. It's maddening.

The SIMPLEST programs have word count, like Notepad. Yet, for some baffling reason, you all can't work this in to SpeedGrader? 

When I think about all the things I loathe about Canvas -- most of them are in SpeedGrader, where I spend way too much of my time -- I'm left with debating between the following options:

1. You don't care about your customers. One a school starts using the product, it's too much hassle to switch, so you keep customers, regardless of how inferior your product is (and it's bad.) Why bother investing in improving your products?

2. You're wildly under-staffed. You put resources into sales and marketing, but that's it.

3. Whoever runs the company had a bad experience in school or college and hates teachers. This is all a sick joke to get back at Mrs. Whatsherface or Mr. Whositwhat. If so, well played, sir. You've succeeded. Clap. Clap. Clap.

With genuine fury,

Mr. Matt Pacenza

Community Participant

Perfectly said. I feel the same fury on a regular basis.

New Member

I feel your pain! I am so frustrated with this issue. I don't understand why the word count is available for the assignment instructions I type into Canvas, but there's no word count for student submissions. I've worn out the control button on two keyboards from copying text into Word for thousand of students submissions each semester. 

New Member

From the students' perspective, not everyone is using word processing software that has word count. I have received messages from multiple students who are counting every word, since Canvas doesn't provide the count. 

New Member

My students have a minimum word count they have to post in the Discussion Board. My grading time would be greatly reduced if I could see that word count when grading.

New Member

YES! I 100% agree. I keep having to copy and paste the materials into a Word document to check on those that look close to the minimum word count. This is not best practices and slows down my grading, considerably. We need a word count in the discussions, the speed grader, and anywhere else documents are submitted. I am genuinely surprised that this is such a difficult feature to fulfill. 

Community Member

I appreciate the suggestion by a user above to use a browser extension to more quickly find word counts.  That works in Speedgrader, although it can be finicky to properly select all of the text across several pages.  At least it saves me from having to download the files.

I get that the developers use a "top 10%" approach to implementing new features, but adding a word count is really simple stuff.  In PHP, str_word_count will do the work for you.

New Member

How is this not a thing?

New Member

It baffles me!


Lara Kartalian

New Member

This would save me so much time. Right now I have to copy/paste student writing assignments into another site to see if they've met the min. word count. So many instructors use min. word counts as assignment requirements... This seems like a no-brainer. 

New Member

Unless this program is using an outdated database there are very few reasons as to why it was not included in the first build........  If it is not using an outdated database, then spend the 10 minutes it would take to read that section of the database and report it.

Or is this just laziness?

Maybe if we all sent you all of our papers that require a certain amount of words so you can copy each to word and write down the word count and then input those into the grade books.  You think the "Added Feature" will be created?

As I type this, I realize that this feature will never happen because you do not want it to happen.........  

Something so easy to do.  Something THAT would be useful.

Each csv file that I get from Canvas is mostly useless.  sis_id/section_sis_id/section_id -------------------- don't need these.

id means nothing to me.  Oh it should to a programmer and to various other parts behind the scenes but not to us.

But we have those in outputs and not a word count............

Sloppy programming........

Community Member

I think most opinions on this and reasons for having this functionality have already been posted above, but I will comment to keep this idea open and running strong. Even here in Sweden, where we are quite new to Canvas, we find that a word count would be very useful.

Trying to have teachers embrace a "one system" working environment (Canvas, Assignments, Upload, Comment and grade in SpeedGrader etcetera), which would allow for a healthier digital workplace, while at the same time having to support them by saying that they need to download the files for a word count doesn't really feel logical (there are other examples of this as well). Until it is plausible to fully make use of SpeedGrader teachers will be complaining about the inefficiancy of using SpeedGrader for the whole process.

New Member

THis would be extremely helpful!  I give word counts on assignments to give students guidelines of what I'm looking for, but it's a pain to cut and paste their submissions in Word to check.  Having this on Canvas seems like a no-brainer!

New Member

I'm absolutely amazed that a word count feature is not available and that Canvas is so insensitive to the need for it!  I see that this feature was voted on previously and "it didn't get enough votes".  How many is enough?  I agree with the previous comment that Canvas and/or their partners just don't want to do it.  Which is really sad since length/word count is pretty standard in higher education.  

I don't see how to vote here.  Is Canvas making it hard to vote too?