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Can I add weighted assignment groups so that students can choose which assignments to do?

Question asked by Adam J. Bock on Jan 4, 2020
Latest reply on Jan 10, 2020 by Adam J. Bock

Here's the question-- the detailed explanation is below.


Can I allow students to choose which assignments to do if I set assessment groups that add up to more than 100%? For example, I want students to EITHER take all the quizzes or complete the interview assignment. For example:

  • Exams: 50%
  • Journals: 40%
  • Quizzes: 10%
  • Interview 10%
  • TOTAL: 110%


Will Canvas properly calculate grades if students do not submit anything at all into one of the assignment groups (e.g. "Interview")? I understand that, in theory, a student could attempt to submit both to get extra credit, but that seems like a manageable situation.


I teach a university course with students coming from different programs, skill levels, and interests. I want to offer assessments that fit with the students' interests and abilities. Here is an example:

  • Some students are taking the course because it allows them to fulfill the credit requirement for a "certificate" (think "minor lite"). They don't really plan to use the knowledge in the real world. I am happy for these students to take 10 weekly quizzes during the semester, each worth 1% of the course grade (10% total), to demonstrate that they read the textbook chapters and can (in the short term, anyway) report and apply the ideas in the chapter.
  • Some students are in the course because they specifically want to use the knowledge in the near future or even in real time. I expect these students will read the textbook chapters, but they will benefit more by seeing how the knowledge relates to real-world situations. I want to offer them the opportunity to find someone in the local community who works in the topic field, interview that person, and submit a report about what they learned. That report would then be worth 10% of the student's course grade.


I don't think I can easily use the Mastery Path option here -- the explanation did not seem to fit. If I'm wrong, let me know.


The solution I'm aware of appears to be to assign the assessments to the individual students. That's great, except that if I have 100 students in the course, I have to deal with the administrative mess of getting the students to inform me of which choice they are making and then I have to manually assign the assessments one by one. In the case of the quizzes, that would be a true nightmare...