Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Community Member

Is there a bulk grading option or workaround?

Apologies if the answer to this question is obvious, I've tried to find an answer in the guides but haven't had any luck so far.

I am the admin of a large MOOC being held on Canvas (about 2000 students) and all of the discussions are simply considered pass/fail. We need to have them this way so that we have a way to track how many discussions folks are participating in to get them a certificate. Is there a way that I can "grade" any of the posts immediately, or is using the Speed Grader the only way to do it, one at a time?

Assignments are simply Complete/Incomplete at the moment. Since we are having hundreds of people responding, it would save a lot of time if there was a way to do this quickly.

Thank you!

15 Replies
Community Member

Hello @ @bah246 

I would suggest to use "grades" (left menu) so you have the whole list of students and you can see easily who has participated in the discussions (bubble icon). Just click on each line to mark them as "done".  Once you do that students will see their final score in their grades.



Hope this helps,


Community Member

Hi Rosalie!

Thank you for the reply. This does help make things a little bit easier. We currently have 1700 students enrolled in the course, so scrolling down and clicking isn't 100% ideal, but it's a lot easier than doing it manually! Smiley Happy I doubt there is really an ideal fix for this huge amount of students in our MOOC. But then again, it's good we have students!

The only other question I would have is if there is a way to order students in the gradebook by items that need completed, so that could bump all the ones I need to click into a line at the top, and leave the ones which are not answered down at the bottom and out of my way. (If that makes sense?) I attached an example just to show you. If there is a way to get all of the 'bubbles' all up to the top that would just make it a bit easier. Thank you! gbpic.png

Community Member

Hi @ @bah246 

You can try to sort the discussions column (How do I sort my Gradebook? ). I did a test and it organizes the information as follows:

- Graded

- Assignments that needs grading

- No submitted yet


Hope this helps.


Community Member

Hi Rosalie,

I had tried what you suggested, by clicking on the arrow, which moves from either pointing up or pointing down. However, while the arrow does change, none of the other information changes order. Maybe because there are so many students?

I have two screenshots attached just to show you. You can see that the arrow moves, but the configuration of the gradebook remains the same.


Community Member

Sorry @ @bah246 

Maybe it's not  working if the number of students is too large.

However, I've followed @ @kona  link and there you will find the solution for you.

As suggested by Linda, in the same column of the group discussion click on "Set default grade" > choose "complete" and all students who have a post in that forum will be automatically graded. The icon will change from a bubble to "done" icon.



Community Member

Hi Rosalie!

We may be on the right track. I went in and set the default grade to Complete for an assignment, but everyone (even those who did not yet have a response that needed graded) automatically got a check mark.

The nature of this course is that it is completely free. Some people will be taking the course more to see some of the materials, for networking, etc, while others will be doing the assignments to get the certificates while others may not. So there will be people who do not participate in the discussions at all. Because of this, we can't just mark everyone as 'complete' when some aren't.

Hopefully that makes sense! Thanks so much for all of your help and attention. Not sure if you have any more insight or ideas!

Community Team
Community Team

Hi  @bah246 ​, as someone who has been on the student side of Canvas Network courses, has taught large-enrollment courses (although I call a 100-student enrollment "large"), and has graded thousands of assignments, I can envision the magnitude with which you're dealing. 2000 clicks per discussion is a lot of clicks, and my mouse finger is now aching in sympathy. :smileyconfused:

I'd like to suggest an entirely different approach. Since you award "completed" status to a discussion simply on the basis of participation, could you design the course so that students cannot advance to the next activity (module) until they have posted to the discussion? That way, you wouldn't have to grade the discussions at all, inasmuch as subsequent course content won't unlock until the student contributes to the required discussion. Using this design approach, the certificate would be in the last module, and it wouldn't unlock until the student has completed all of the activities designated as "required" in the preceding prerequisite modules. You would only award certificates to those students who have reached the last module.

If you haven't already, take a look at the resources on module prerequisites and requirements:

How do I set up prerequisite Modules?

How do I add requirements to a Module?

And, if you choose to award the certificates manually to each individual, once you've set up your prerequisites and requirements, you could use the Module progress to see who has reached the goal: How do I view the progress of my students in Modules?

If it helps, the Canvas Network courses I've completed have taken varying approaches to the awarding of certificates. One left it to the instructor to identify those individuals who had completed the course and merited a certificate; one allowed the student to fill out a certificate PDF and save and print it on his or her own; and the third is in progress, so I can't tell you yet how the certificate will be awarded.

Would this design approach meet your needs?

I'd also call your attention to a related discussion about automatically marking a discussion as "complete": Marking Discussions as Completed Automatically? Although the specific use case detailed there doesn't address the demands of a MOOC, you might find some useful tips in the discussion.

Community Member

Hi Stefanie!

Thank you so much for the comprehensive response. In a perfect world, your fixes would be more than satisfactory. Unfortunately, the course is designed in such a way that it is nonlinear, so I can't block off future modules, because people can pick and choose what modules they want to do. Essentially, of the totality of the course content, they need to participate in 75% of the discussions in order to get the certificate.

This is all really good information to have though. I suspect we will be doing more courses like this, and it may help to influence how we plan on structuring and handling some of these issues!

Community Member

I have an alternative to this. If I'm reading your intentions correctly, you want to have discussions that show up for the students and then want to have a way to automatically award credit. This is the way I might do this:

1. Create the discussions and assign them, but put them into an assignment category that contributes 0% to the final grade (under assignments, you can create a new category called "discussions" but which is set to contribute 0% to the overall grade)--this allows the assignment to have a due date and to show up in the "to do" list and will allow it to automatically show as "done" in student view once a student has contributed to the discussion.

2. Create a super brief quiz called "Report completion of X discussion" for each discussion that has one question for the student ("Have you completed this discussion?" Yes or No--with "yes" answers automatically awarding points--i.e. whatever points you would have given to the discussion)

3. In the directions for the discussion, include a link to this point awarding quiz at the top--something like: "To add points to the gradebook report your completion of this discussion by clicking here" with a re-direct to the quiz.

This, then, places the grading step in the students' hands and removes the instructor's need to grade the discussion at all.

It is perhaps an inelegant solution but one that might serve the needs.