cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
kenro
Surveyor II

Large file submission in Assignments

Jump to solution

We are seeing some student and teacher frustration with large files as File Upload submissions in Assignments. I confirmed the problems with a brief test of my own and found that a 100MB file took ~100sec to upload. Of course there is no progress indicator in Assignments, so it is a bit of a leap of faith to wait that long. It is, of course, possible to have them use, say, a Google Form with a file upload response (~6sec for 100MB file), but there are a couple downsides: 1) that particular item type does not allow an embed code, which could be used in a Canvas Assignment 2) it requires a teacher to create a form / folder on their own account for each course they teach every term, and then delete it after the term - in other words, it doesn't scale well. 

The assignments are for short videos, which are quite common in language courses, and becoming more so with the advances in the personal mobile devices that students own. Media Submission item type has even more disadvantages, even with the new HTML5 recorder. 

Is there a way to do file upload items directly to Canvas faster and with a progress indicator?

1 Solution

Accepted Solutions
stuart_ryan
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @kenro ,

I wanted to jump in as I have seen this and provide you some additional details which, I will say up front, like  @chofer ' response will not resolve the issue, but will hopefully give you additional insights.

The Canvas file upload tool is designed for everyday use, as you have encountered, it is not great for file sizes in excess of a certain limit (say 50-100MB). I can surmise that the logic here is using the best tool for the best purpose. With very large filetypes especially videos, the technology that captures, stores, houses, and serves such content is usually optimised very differently to the ways that Canvas would be optimised for optimally capturing and serving a wider range of course content.

Additionally, these tools often have significant additional features (such as Canvas Studio) which is Instructure's product of choice for multimedia storage and streaming, such as optimising the delivery dependant on the available bandwidth among other behind-the-scenes optimisations.

I can absolutely appreciate your frustration with the gap between self-exploration and up-front notification that possible options may be available. One difficulty here is this largely depends and changes between institutions. One institution may have Google Docs/Drive, another may have Office 365, another might have neither, and some might have Canvas Studio or even Kaltura (a competitor tool). Chris was on the mark when he suggested lodging a feature idea, that is the way that Instructure gauges input from the community as it enables the voting process and collecting information on use cases, needs, and support on a global scale. In addition to the links Chris provided, you can also see the overview on  How does the feature idea process work in the Canvas Community? which should provide additional insights on how the feature idea process is the mechanism you seek.

I hope that clears things up for you, I am going to re-mark this as answered, as, this is not a currently available feature and unfortunately, that is sometimes the answer. You can read a little more about this at How we keep your questions flowing! 

I hope that helps!

Stuart

View solution in original post

9 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @kenro , greetings! In the past we've had students upload their video to other sites like YouTube and the add the link to the assignment. Do you think something like this would work for your students?


Kona

kenro
Surveyor II

Hi Kona,

Thanks for the idea, but YouTube entails lots of privacy considerations and is usually not appropriate for student work. As I mentioned in the original post, Google Forms is a possibility. Our documentation for using this method is at https://community.canvaslms.com/message/134010-large-file-submission-in-assignments .

Ken

kenro
Surveyor II

So, it seems that, in addition to the lack of a progress indicator for file uploads, there is no error if the upload takes a long time. It is very difficult to see this as anything but a design flaw. To make matters worse, the documentation for the file upload item type only warns against files larger than 5GB. This is misleading at best. 

klundstrum
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi Kenneth -

Does your institution use Google Apps for Education? We frequently use Google Drive to save large files, and then adjust the sharing settings on the large file so that "Anyone with the link can view". Students then copy and paste the URL into the assignment submission. (How do I add or edit details in an assignment?‌ will illustrate where the instructor needs to adjust the Submission Type to Website URL.)

I really like the flexibility that this workflow provides.

I hope this is helpful!

Kristin

Hi Kristin,

Yes, we do have Google Apps ... that was the part about the Google Form.

The problem here is that Canvas does not give any warning or feedback about this problem, so teachers have to fail multiple times before they just give up. They can, of course, use Google Apps but forcing them to fail on Canvas before they realize they have not choice is is not fair to users. The UI should have a file size warning, a progress indicator and (most importantly) a time-out error. The documentation should state clearly that upload times are slow, 1sec / MB at best. And, on a more basic level, it is pretty disappointing that Canvas has this much trouble uploading files.

Ken

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @kenro ...

I have been reviewing older questions here in the Canvas Community, and I stumbled upon your question.  I wanted to check in with you because I noticed there hasn't been much activity in this topic since your response on February 25, 2019.  Based on what I've read above, it sounds like this might still be an issue with file sizes for you?  Or, have you been able to find an alternative solution within the past few months that you'd be willing to share with us back here in this topic?  I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" for now because there hasn't been any new activity in this topic for over five months, but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional questions and/or comments below that are related to this topic.  Also, if you feel that one of the above responses has helped to answer your question, you can click on the "Mark Correct" button next to that person's feedback.  I hope this is all okay with you, Kenneth.  Looking forward to hearing back from you soon.

Hi Chris,

The fact that we have no choice but to find an alternative solution IS the issue. Upload speed in Canvas is 10-20x slower than any other service, effectively preventing students from submitting anything but small documents. If they try, there is NO progress bar or any indication that the file is actually uploading. So, no, this issue has not been answered. Please fix it as soon as possible. Why hasn’t this been noted in your documentation yet? Perhaps Canvas support doesn’t actually read these forums?

Thanks,

Ken

chofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @kenro ...

As much as I would like to fix this for you, I cannot.  I actually do not work for Instructure.  I work at a Technical College in Wisconsin.  I am one of the Coaches here in the Community, and so I was checking in on people who had some postings from several months ago.  The best thing I can suggest for you is to consider searching the Community for existing Feature Ideas that would add some sort of progress bar or a percentage indicator to show the file upload status.  See How do I create a new feature idea in the Canvas Community? for more information on this, too.  Also, Instructure employees do read these forums.  When you see a response from someone that has a little panda icon to the right of his/her name, that is an Instructure employee.  (Even if you don't see responses from Instructure staff on every posting, I know that they do read our feedback.)  I've gone ahead and unmarked your question as "Assumed Answered" for now because you're still looking for a solution.  Thanks for replying, Kenneth.

stuart_ryan
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @kenro ,

I wanted to jump in as I have seen this and provide you some additional details which, I will say up front, like  @chofer ' response will not resolve the issue, but will hopefully give you additional insights.

The Canvas file upload tool is designed for everyday use, as you have encountered, it is not great for file sizes in excess of a certain limit (say 50-100MB). I can surmise that the logic here is using the best tool for the best purpose. With very large filetypes especially videos, the technology that captures, stores, houses, and serves such content is usually optimised very differently to the ways that Canvas would be optimised for optimally capturing and serving a wider range of course content.

Additionally, these tools often have significant additional features (such as Canvas Studio) which is Instructure's product of choice for multimedia storage and streaming, such as optimising the delivery dependant on the available bandwidth among other behind-the-scenes optimisations.

I can absolutely appreciate your frustration with the gap between self-exploration and up-front notification that possible options may be available. One difficulty here is this largely depends and changes between institutions. One institution may have Google Docs/Drive, another may have Office 365, another might have neither, and some might have Canvas Studio or even Kaltura (a competitor tool). Chris was on the mark when he suggested lodging a feature idea, that is the way that Instructure gauges input from the community as it enables the voting process and collecting information on use cases, needs, and support on a global scale. In addition to the links Chris provided, you can also see the overview on  How does the feature idea process work in the Canvas Community? which should provide additional insights on how the feature idea process is the mechanism you seek.

I hope that clears things up for you, I am going to re-mark this as answered, as, this is not a currently available feature and unfortunately, that is sometimes the answer. You can read a little more about this at How we keep your questions flowing! 

I hope that helps!

Stuart

View solution in original post