Canvas is adding a new feature on June 19, 2021, to help make SpeedGrader even speedier – a library where you can save and quickly access feedback comments. Before we dive into the specifics of this new feature, we do need to define a couple of things first. What you typically think of as “SpeedGrader” is in fact two separate things that work together – DocViewer (the left side of the screen where you can see the document and annotate it) and SpeedGrader (the right panel where you enter grades and add overall feedback comments).
This distinction is very important with this new feature – this is a SpeedGrader comment library.
Now that we’ve made that distinction, let’s talk about what this comment library is. The SpeedGrader comment library is a way for an instructor to save comments they commonly use to quickly access them and not have to type them repeatedly. This comment library is currently tied to a particular user, not a course. Because of this, if you add a comment to your comment library in one course, you can access that comment in every single one of your courses.
Adding Comments to the SpeedGrader Comment Library
With this feature, you must add a comment to the library before using it as a feedback comment – you currently cannot type a comment in the standard feedback box and add it to the library from there.
- Click on the comment bubble at the top right of the “add a comment” box.
- In the “Manage Comment Library” panel that opens, type your comment in the “Add comment to library” box.
- Click “Add to library.” At any point, you can edit an existing comment in the “Manage Comment Library” panel by clicking the pencil icon next to the comment.
- Consider toggling on the “Show suggestions when typing” setting at the top of the “Manage Comment Library” panel. Canvas will then suggest comments from your comment library as you’re typing in the “feedback comments” in SpeedGrader.
If you have “Show suggestions when typing” turned on, you can start typing a keyword from the desired comment and Canvas will show you whichever comments apply. For example, I added two comments to my library about commas – one about using commas with adverbial clauses and one about comma splices. If I type “comma” into the feedback box, Canvas will show me both of those comments, and I can click the one I want. Please note that it does take Canvas a second to search through your comment library and display applicable comments, so be patient.
If you don’t have “Show suggestions when typing” turned on, you’d access and add comments by clicking the comment library conversation bubble and clicking on the comment you wanted to add in the “Manage Comment Library” panel.
A Workaround to Use the Comment Library with DocViewer
Now, this isn’t a technical workaround. There isn’t a way to have the comments from your comment library show up in DocViewer. But you can use the Comment Library to store your most commonly used comments in Canvas and copy/paste them into your DocViewer comments. Remember that the comments are stored for your user account, not by course, so keep that in mind as you add comments into the system.
You could quickly access the comments by typing keywords into the feedback comments box or by going to the comment library, adding a comment to the feedback comments box. From there, copy the comment and paste it into the DocViewer comment of your choosing.
We’ve covered a lot today. This feature isn’t instantly available in Canvas, but it will be accessible starting June 19, 2021. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to drop them below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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