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What's New with Assignment Enhancements for Students?

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure
17 16 2,554

Over the past few months, we've been busy updating the experience in the new submission workflow afforded users when the Assignment Enhancements - Student feature option is enabled. We are well overdue on providing an update so hold on to your seats as we have a lot of goodness to share!

First and foremost, our goal with any feature is to provide the best experience possible for our users. To that end, during this time, we have been crushing bugs that have been found both as a result of the feedback provided by our early adopters and from our ongoing testing and development. Some of the most critical bug fixes include better support for Google LTI submissions, improved experience for uploading media with the addition of an upload progress bar, and ensuring students can add comments to submissions at all times, including when an assignment is set for manual grade posting. You can read more about these bug fixes and others in the Deploy Notes included in the Canvas Deploy Archive

In addition to these bug fixes, we have made several improvements. Some of the biggest and best are detailed below. 

  • Updated submission tracker. The new tracker takes much less space, allowing students to have a larger landscape for completing their assignment. The previous "pizza tracker" took a large amount of space and was distracting to users as it would shrink and expand when the student was scrolling. Also, in its minimized form, it was difficult for students to determine the status of their submission. With the newly updated tracker, the information is included next to the attempt and assignment information and remains available in the same format so students know where they are in the submission process and what step is up next. All of this is done without taking critical work space needed. 

jsailor_0-1620023247558.png

  • Updated rubric placement. In the initial work for this project, rubrics added to an assignment were included in a separate tab. We have updated the view to include the rubric as part of the assignment details so that students can simply scroll to view the rubric and their work. Given that rubrics provide critical information regarding the expectations for an assignment, it is important that students can easily view them and refer back to them as needed when completing their assignment. The new placement provides a more intuitive flow and when needed, students can collapse the rubric in order to maximize their work space. Also, when a student returns to the assignment to view feedback, the rubric will remain in the same location and default open with any scores and comments left by the instructor made visible to the student. 
  • Added static footer with action buttons. It is critical to ensure that students are able to find the submission button for all assignments, no matter the submission type. It makes sense that we follow concepts of print, therefore, the submit button is now included in a static footer and will always be in the bottom, right corner of the screen. In addition to this, all other action buttons, such as "Try Again" and "Mark as Done" will be found in the same location, replacing the submission button when appropriate. 
  • Moved feedback to comment tray. Feedback is a critical part of the learning process. Students should not have to hunt for feedback from their instructors; nor should instructors feel that they must create videos that walk students through how to find feedback, which is an unfortunate reality that we've heard, especially within our traditional assignment submission flow. To help students get the most out of the feedback provided, we've moved feedback from the separate comments tab and into the comment tray. This allows students to view feedback alongside their work and the scored rubric so that they can fully understand the feedback and make decisions about how they might improve. We will be adjusting this tray to default open when a student returns to the assignment the first time after feedback has been provided. 

So, with all these improvements done, what can our users expect next? A few things worth mentioning include:

  • Improved indication of submission options available with separate icons for each rather than only showing the available options in the text drop down under "Submission Type".
  • Added support for our new student annotation assignment type which allows instructors to upload a file on which students annotate directly and submit. 
  • Added support for submission of images taken with the webcam. 
  •  Updated assignment header to ensure space is maximized even further for students and appropriate statuses (missing, late, excused) are included.

As we continue to work on this project, we are so appreciative of the ongoing feedback from our early adopters. Thank you for helping us to improve this critical process for students. Please continue to watch our deploy notes for additional information about these updates.  We look forward to your continued feedback as these various improvements roll to your beta and production instances. 

 

16 Comments
svigallon
Community Participant

@jsailor Thanks for the update, Jody!

b_w_reid
Community Participant

Hi @jsailor 

I noticed some of these changes last week, and they are really great.😁👏 It's a much improved and better use of space, I have already provided some feedback here: https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/New-Student-Enhancements-Users/Assignment-Enhancements-New-Develo...

I love that the rubric is added at the top of the page, but I noticed that there isn't much space now for students to view work due to the 'pinned' assignment information in a kind of 'header'.

b_w_reid_0-1620117688412.png

I'm not sure this always needs to be static at the top of the page, the students can always scroll up to see this information. On my screen, I've got a 15" laptop 1920 x 1280 display, and I can only see half of the submitted work due to this header. 

Really looking forward to hearing more and your roadmap about this development!

 

erik_lysbakken
Community Participant

Thank you for the update @jsailor , its good to see that you are still working on improvements for this project. 

I see that the new assignment types will be implemented which is great! Do you know when we can expect to see some information about enhancements for group assignments? Doing group assignments "correct" has been and still is one of the biggest challenges we have with Canvas at our university, so i would love to see some info if this is something you are working on. 👍

 

dominiquel
Community Participant

Great job so far with the Assignment Enhancements, @jsailor ! 😁

I'm curious to see how other assignment features will work, such as:

  • The "Available Until" dates. Will they be displayed right under the "Due" date?
  • External plagiarism checkers like URKUND (Ouriginal), Turnitin, etc. Where will students see their text-similarity score and report?
nicki_alori
Community Participant

Hello,

We have a few concerns, namely as a learner you upload an image (submission) and now the place you go to add a comment is called 'View Feedback'. We've had so many calls by confused learners... why cant it just be called Comment again? It will then match the app... just seems weird choice...

in our instance we require learners to submit a comment describing what they were doing in the image or video (we are a workplace learning organisation)  - 'view feedback' seems as though they are reading someone's feedback. Am I missing something obvious here?

Also, you cannot submit a comment anymore when you are Acting As someone, as the submit button is hidden by the pink border. Is there a work around for that issue?

Thanks

Nicki

scunningham1
Community Participant

Thank you for this @jsailor !

I have a question about if a feature will be available. In the old version, students can click to upload a file and then there is an option to "Use Webcam" to photograph and submit work on paper. Will that be available in the enhanced submissions?

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Thank you for your feedback in both places, @b_w_reid. We have just been working on some adjustments to the sizing of the header and footer to help maximize the space for the student to work. If these adjustments are still not enough, we will look to some additional changes, which might include just letting the header scroll. We've heard feedback from users that they are appreciative of the ability to know which assignment they are working on by seeing the name at all times and the due date and "tracker", which is why we are trying other items first. 

@erik_lysbakken, group assignments are still a bit down our list, but definitely on it! I'd love to hear more about the challenges of you've experienced with group assignments. Would you mind if I reach out to you directly to hear more? 

Thank you, @dominiquel! I'll pass this along to our designer and group of engineers as well. The availability dates will actually be included below the header just above the details or instructions as shown in the screenshot below. Let me double check on the Turnitin question and get back to you. 

jsailor_0-1621485183564.png

 

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

@nicki_alori, thank you for your feedback. I can see where this could confuse learners. I'll explore options with the team to make an appropriate adjustment. As for the masquerade bar, we have just made one update to ensure that it is not in the way of the footer for submission. I've taken down note to adjust it here as well. In the meantime, you can use the tab key to get to the button to submit the comment, but that is still difficult given that you cannot see which button you are focused on. 

@scunningham1, yes! We are working now to support the webcam image submission. This will be communicated through the deploy notes as soon as it is complete. 

erik_lysbakken
Community Participant

@jsailor That´s good news and something to look forward to!

No problem at all, it would be great to have a chat about our experience with group assignments.

GideonWilliams
Community Champion

I have a number of assignments that are long term with multiple submissions. I would like to give feedback and grades for each submission. As a teacher I can do this and see the grading history in the grade book.

As a student, I can see individual comments for each submission but not a grade. What makes this confusing, is that the grade I see for my first submission 'disappears' and is replaced by N/A, when I review my submissions.

grade.PNG

I personally would like to see this feature in place so students see their attempt scores. It is potentially rather confusing for the student to find the score has been removed/replaced.

iwoods
Community Member

This looks good. What is the timescale for implementation of this? 

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks, @iwoods. This is currently available as a feature preview which can be enabled by an account admin if they would like to have students begin using this new flow. Given that we are still in development and have current functionality, such as peer review, that is not yet available within this new flow, we do not yet have the date set for when it will be enforced for all. We will be sure to update the timeline and documentation as soon as that date is set. 

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

@GideonWilliams, I apologize for missing your comment. We absolutely do want students to see their attempt scores, and that should not have been showing as N/A as it does in your screenshot. I've just tested with several students and see that this is working as it should now with the attempt scores displaying as expected. Please let us know if you are still experiencing the N/A as shown in your screenshot. 

duffy1000
Community Member

Hi @jsailor,
Could the Assignment Enhancement team look at and reply to:
https://community.canvaslms.com/t5/Idea-Conversations/Making-feedback-more-visible-to-students/idi-p...

I am very interested in seeing assignment enhancements for students.  I'm adding this topic here as a reference to over 150 posts regarding improvements to get instructor feedback back to the students. I am hoping that the design team will look those over and incorporate improvements. I and many others joined this particular thread because of huge frustration with the way instructor feedback is buried in the tool.

If your team is not the right home, but there more suitable projects underway, could you make that connection please?

 

jsailor
Instructure
Instructure

Hi, @duffy1000

You've come to the right place. 🙂

As an educator myself and one who has taught with Canvas, I too, understand the frustrations with students finding feedback. We have some improvements in mind that we plan to work on soon. Also, as part of the assignment enhancements, we recognize the fact that feedback (both the giving and consuming of it) is part of the submission workflow and learning cycle. With that in mind, we have the feedback tray default open for a student when they return to an assignment to see the feedback provided. This puts the feedback front and center, no longer requiring a student to click the tiny link to "view feedback". Should they choose to close the feedback tray, they do have the "view feedback" button available to reopen. Having the feedback in the tray also allows the student to look at their submission alongside the feedback, giving them a better opportunity to determine what they can do to improve before submitting an additional attempt if allowed and if they so desire.  

duffy1000
Community Member

I'm sorry to say that students are still having a difficult time finding instructor feedback.  

Can you share some with us some specifics on what is going to be changed, and when will it be implemented? 

I want feedback to be at the same level of visibility and priority as the Inbox.  A specific suggestion:  could you implement another left-bar button that implements the Submission Comments in exactly the same way as the Inbox, including flags and blue indicators for unread items?

I've resorted to making a video that shows what students need to click on, and immediate notification settings that they should consider.  But, students and I are still fumbling, badly and daily, with the whole Canvas homework feedback system.