The Four Types of Assignment Comments in SpeedGrader

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Canvas SpeedGrader allows you to annotate student submissions to provide feedback. You can use a variety of tools (including a highlighter, text annotation, and a pen tool) directly on the document to thoroughly explain your comments to a student. For more information about using those tools, check out Canvas’ information on adding annotated comments in SpeedGrader.

But did you know that you have options for how you leave overall feedback comments to students in the “Assignment Comments” section? You have four options on the comments you leave there: text comments, file comments, media comments, and text comments via speech recognition. 

A screenshot of the Assignment Comments area in SpeedGrader with the parts labeled. Text comments is labeled 1, file comments is 2, media comments is 3, and text comments (via speech recognition) is 4
A screenshot of the Assignment Comments area on the right panel in SpeedGrader with each option labeled.

1. Text comments

Use this feature to type your comments directly into the text field. This is a great place to write an overall feedback comment to your student. 

2. File comments

Use this button to upload a file from your computer. We recommend you do your annotations directly in SpeedGrader, but this feature can be useful if you have a file you need to deliver directly to an individual student.

3. Media comments

With this button, you can record or upload a video or audio comment for your student. This is a great option for another way to get some face-to-face time with your students, especially in an online course. To record an audio comment, you just need to turn off your video with the “webcam” button. 

4. Text comments (via speech recognition)

When you click this button, it allows you to speak your text comments aloud, and it will transcribe them for you. Note: This feature only works when you use Canvas in Google Chrome.

For more information on the kinds of feedback comments you can leave in this area, check out the Canvas documentation on leaving feedback comments for student submissions in SpeedGrader. How have you used these kinds of comments in your course? Have you found one type that works particularly well for you? Please share your experiences in the comments below! 

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  • Nathan


    Thanks for the info. Are you aware if there is a way to quickly switch from the “highlight annotation” to the “point annotation”, etc, quickly? These seem like things that ought to have quick keyboard shortcuts, but my search is coming up empty-handed.

    Boy, would it make my life easier!

    Cheers 😄

    • Lauren Eissler


      Unfortunately, there are not keyboard shortcuts for those items. The only shortcuts currently in SpeedGrader are for moving between students, etc. I do see how having shortcuts for those kinds of items would make life easier! You could consider submitting this idea to Canvas for potential future implementation.

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