Student view: View submissions and comments for all submissions

This idea has been developed and deployed to Canvas

Right now students can only view their most recently added submission to an assignment. This means that all previous submissions to the assignment are not available to students, including feedback that the instructors have provided. This is a big problem because students are losing critical information that could help promote learning and understanding.We need to eliminate this lossylearning problem and make all assignment submissions visible to students!
Community Champion

I am posting my comment from the old community. I think it is also important to note that in the old community this feature request had 179 votes!  @kona ​ you should add your comments from the old community. You had some great arguments on why this is needed.

This is unfair and confusing for students. With the previous LMS submitting assignments was confusing for students because they got very little if any feedback from the system itself about their submission. Students need to be able to see all the feedback the instructor has given. Please consider adding this to reduce student anxiety and streamline instructor/student feedback loop.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Thanks snugent​! I'm adding my various comments from the original forum below:

I think the biggest issue is that Canvas has given us some amazing tools with speedgrader and rubrics, but by not allowing students to go back and review what they've already turned in for an assignment (and have the opportunity for the deep thinking that comes with reflection) the experience turns into lossy learning. To quote Canvas' own Jared Stein, "quality of the experience is sacrificed as information is lost" and this is exactly what is happening. The quality of the feedback and reflect and improve experience is being lost when students lose access to previously submitted work. It's clear that Instructure is focused on lossless learning and this is an amazing opportunity to improve an already great (and useful) tool!

An additional problem with this is that Admins can't see annotations on all submitted assignments. As an admin I can go in and see the multiple submissions and open all the different submissions. Yet, I can ONLY see the annotations on the last submitted document; which is what the students can see as well. This got pretty confusing because we were trying to help a student and we couldn't see the annotations, but if we masqueraded as the instructor then we could. We ended up downloading the annotated file and attaching it to assignment so the student could see it. This worked, but was kind of awkward.

Community Contributor

Absolutely! Just last week a student was requesting a way to access her previous submissions, as her tutors had made valuable comments on her initial submissions. As an administrator, I can access previous documents through Speedgrader, but it would be wonderful to save a step and access them more directly, but this is most important for our students.

Community Participant

Instructors currently have the ability to review all versions of an assignment and are not always aware that students lack the same option. Faculty wish to use the Crocodoc annotation capabilities to support feedback on multiple drafts and allow students to resubmit work. Providing this capability to students would support formative assessment of writing, and help to promote adoption and use of Canvas.

Community Contributor

I agree that a lot of information is lost when not allowing students to review multiple submissions. For example, we have had instructors provide extensive feedback to students via the annotated feedback tools in speedgrader, but when the student resubmits, all that previous information is lost to the student.

In addition, Adding this feature would allow other feature requests to be resolved (such as allowing for a "journal" feature, if the assignment allowed for studnets to review previous submissions, the assignment tool could easily then be used as a journal tool.)


Agree wholeheartedly with this.  Think of students doing drafts of their writing.  What a great way for students to reflect on their growth to see submission over time.

Community Novice

There are 181 votes on the old system: Allow Students to View All Submissions for an Assignment : Help Center

Please make this happen. Those votes should count!!!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Don't worry keh2294​, these ideas only need 30 votes to get considered and at least responded to from what it says in How does the voting process work for feature ideas?

Community Champion

In fact, we just had a call on this today! Very often instructors don't realize that this will happen. They make comments, ask the student to re-submit without knowing the students will be unable to reference original comments after the subsequent submission has been made. This is much-needed!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Thanks for the reference,  @kona !

I agree. Student reflection on their learning process is important for the development of their metacognitive skills, and the ability for them to examine their previous submissions should lead to improvements in the artifacts of learning.