Canvas Feature: Annotation Assignments

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Canvas has added a new way for students to complete assignments – annotating a document you upload. In this kind of assignment, students have access to all the annotation tools you use in SpeedGrader and create the annotations in the same kind of view. This assignment type can only be used for individual assignments – it will not work for a group assignment.  

But you might be thinking “Okay, this sounds cool. But what would I even use it for?” Having your students annotate a document is flexible and can be used for a myriad of assignments. You could have your students interpret lab results or statistics. They could practice peer editing of a paper draft or do a critical reading of a short story or article. They could even annotate a piece of sheet music. But you’re definitely not limited to only those uses. Think through the assignments in your course, and you might find you already have something there that would benefit from being swapped to this assignment type.  

To set up an annotation assignment:  

  1. Create an assignment or go to the settings page of an existing assignment.  
  2. Under “Submission Type,” check the box for “Student Annotation.”  
  3. Use the “Upload File” button to add the document for your students to annotate.  

Canvas does recommend you also allow at least one other submission type in case your student is not able to create annotations (for example, if you student is working on the assignment exclusively through the Canvas Student mobile app, where this assignment type has not yet been implemented).  

If you’re interested in using this feature, Canvas has created a document to walk students through annotating a file in Canvas. “How do I annotate a file as an assignment submission in Canvas” will help your students get started and understand how to complete this assignment type.  

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