[Assignments] Limit Number of Files Submitted for an Assignment

Our university used Moodle for many years, and faculty were able to limit the number of files each student could upload for an assignment. This was useful so that each student would upload the same number of files for each assignment. For example, if the number of files allowed to be submitted was set to 1, students could only upload one file instead of multiple files. Extra files requires extra downloads for teachers which can be confusing.

Idea originates from Vincent Bonini and the Math Department at Cal Poly.

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Instructure Alumni
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If I've told students once, I've told them a thousand times: "your homework should be one single file when you upload it". So, of course, what I get is half the students uploading a separate file for each page of their submission.

A multiple-file submission takes longer to grade in SpeedGrader, because the annotations take a few seconds to re-load when I switch between files in a single student's submission, and I can't scroll up to remind myself what I wrote on the student's previous page (because it's in a different file!). It also makes the likelihood almost zero that a student will read all of my feedback/annotations across their different files. (Why would they, when they already see their number-grade and they'd have to click through 10 different files to see all of my comments?? Remember, the SpeedGrader is slow to load files with annotations!)

How can I insist that students upload just one single, solitary, lonesome file when Canvas is always helpful enough to provide the "Add Another File" button? At the time of creating Assignments, can instructors be given the option of disabling this infernal "Add Another File" button?

Community Novice

I agree if we could remove the  "add another file button" it would avoid a lot of confusion when marking as only one file would be available to mark 

Community Member

I created a Community account just so I could log in and second this request.

Grading would be much simpler if I could force students to put all their images into a single file.  When they are separate files, I run into the following problems:

  1. Files are often not in order.
  2. Files from a mobile device often have unintelligible naming schemes that make it difficult to find the content I am looking for.
  3. Even without the loading times, clicking randomly through the list of submitted files takes more time than scrolling through a single file.  When you factor in the loading times, searching for a particular piece of content becomes huge time sink.
  4. As mentioned in other comments above, I cannot see my previous handwritten comments without waiting through loading the other file, and then after reading, I need to reload the file I started with.

I would love it if there was an option to limit the number of files that can be uploaded for a given assignment to a desired number (only 1 for me) for any one submission.  Currently we can limit the number of submissions, but this doesn't solve the issues discussed above.  

Even better would be an option in Canvas Student to take a sequence of pictures, and have the app turn them into a single jpg or pdf file.  Without this second feature, students would need to resort to a third-party app whenever they wished to combine their images into a single file.  I'm fine with asking my students to do this, but it would be great if it could be done directly through the Canvas Student app.

Community Explorer

Yes, please add this feature. Having students submit multiple files adds a lot of extra time to the grading. 

Community Novice
Contrary to clear assignment instructions to the contrary (one PDF per assignment), some students upload one PDF per page. Paging through multiple PDFs adds an undue burden on the grader.
I'd like a new feature to prevent multiple PDFs from being uploaded to Canvas for a given assignment.
Community Member

Is it possible to restrict the number of files students upload for an exam/ assignment submission per attempt? If not, could you kindly develop this feature to avoid students submitting individual pages for an assignment that requires only one file upload.



Community Member

This would be a great feature for courses with larger enrollment. It does help with grading in speedgrader.

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