Canvas lets you build a collection of assignments within your course that can be organized in much the same way you can organize modules. By default, new assignments will be added to the “Assignments” group.

You can search for assignments by typing in the “Search for Assignment” box.

The buttons located on the upper right hand side of the Assignments screen are the basic commands for this view. “+ Group” creates a new Assignment group. “+ Assignment” creates a new assignment. More options can be found in the three dot menu.

The “Assignments” group is the default group for new assignments. You can add an assignment to a group by clicking the “+” button within the group. More options for the group can be found by clicking the 3 dot menu on the right hand side.

Assignments can be re-arranged from one group to another by clicking on the dots found on the left hand side of the assignment. By default, an assignment is unpublished so that it is not visible to students. To make an assignment visible, click on the not published icon found on the right hand side. This button allows you to toggle between published and not published.

A green check indicates that the content is published and available to students, as shown below.

Assignment Creation

After clicking the “+ Assignment” button on your Assignments page, you will be brought to Canvas’ assignment editor (shown below).

All assignments are broken up into 3 major components, the Assignment Name, the Assignment’s description area, and area containing all of the options related to the assignment.

The Assignment Name field controls what the assignment will be named as in Canvas’ various interfaces, including the Assignments list and Course Calendar.

The Assignment’s description area contains Canvas’ Rich Content Area (Learn about Canvas’ Rich Content Editor). Any content included here will be visible to students when they access your assignment. This is a great place to include directions for the assignment, and any resources that are relevant to the assignment. This can include links to external websites, YouTube videos, documents, photos, etc.

The point value of the assignment is controlled by the value in the Points field, shown below. This is most relevant if you are interested in using the Canvas gradebook, or are interested in giving numerical feedback to your students. The “Assignments Group” dropdown controls the Assignment Group that the assignment is a part of on the Assignments page. The “Display Grade as” dropdown lets you change the format of the grade from the default (Points) to other grade types (Letter Grade, Percentage, GPA, Complete/Incomplete, etc.). If using the Canvas gradebook, and you do not want the score from an assignment to affect the overall grade, you can check of the checkbox in the bottom of this area.

The core component of a Canvas assignment is the ability to collect work from a student, either from a Canvas tool or an external tool. By default assignments are set to collect online submissions with a variety of options to choose from that will largely depend on the type of assignment you are creating. The check boxes next to each content type enable/disable that content type being submitted on the student end.

Text entry allows a student to type in a text field and easily submit shorter responses.

Website URL lets the student submit a URL to mark the completion of an assignment, and is great if students were asked to complete work on another website that needs to be shared with the teacher.

Media Recordings allows students to record or upload audio or video content as their submission for the assignment.

Student annotation lets a student annotate over a document.

File uploads lets students upload a file as a submission for their assignment. The type of file that is allowed to be uploaded can be restricted further. This is often used for older students that have more advanced file management skills.

By clicking on the “Submission Type” dropdown, you will see the other types of submissions Canvas is capable of.

No submission can be chosen if an assignment does not have a submission to it.

On Paper allows you to give instructions and resources on Canvas, but require no digital submission from the student. Great for assignments that require a paper submission.

External Tool is the most powerful option in Canvas Assignments. Canvas interoperates with 3rd party platforms such as OneDrive, Kami, and many others, that streamlines the workflow of competing assignments. More information on the external tool option can be found below.

External Tools

If the External Tool type is chosen as the submission type, the following menu will be visible to the teacher. A field will become visible that allows the teacher to paste in the URL of the external tool. In almost all cases, a teacher should be able to just click on the “Find” button, which will displayed all configured external tools for your course.

After clicking “Find”, you will see a list of all configured external tools. Scroll through the list and click the most appropriate tool for the assignment you are choosing. External tools can be added to this menu, and can be added in the “Apps” section of your course Settings. For most teachers, the “Microsoft OneDrive” and “Kami” external tools are the most likely candidates.

More information about using the Kami External Tool can be found here.

The “Microsoft OneDrive” external tool lets the teacher select an Office document from their OneDrive to assign to their students. The benefit of assigning a document in this manner is that students access the document right within their browser window, and do not have to worry about where they are saving the file. Students also do not have to worry about finding the file again when it is time to submit the assignment.

The “Kami” external tool lets the teacher select a document from their OneDrive to assign to their students. This will allow students to work on the document in Kami, which provides an easy to use interface to annotate, add text, or add other content to the document. All work in Kami autosaves regularly, and can be viewed by the teacher in real time. This feature is great to keep track of student work, and also provide feedback while the assignment is being worked on.

Once an External tool is selected, you will be brought back to the menu shown above. Make sure to click “Select” to save your external tool configuration to the assignment.

The “Submission Attempts” area lets the teacher control how many attempts students are allowed for the assignment.

The “Assign” area lets the teacher control who the assignment is assigned to, when the assignment is due, when the assignment starts being available to be worked on, and when the assignment stops being available for student view. By default, assignments are assigned to “Everyone”, but can be assigned to individual students, course sections, or student groups. The due date controls where the assignment will display on the course calendar. Click the calendar icon next to this field to choose a date using the calendar interface.

This interface also allows for more complex combinations of due dates or availability, which can be useful when working with multiple course sections that meet on different days. To add an assign configuration, click the “+ Add” button on the bottom of this area. This will bring up a new box that allows you to make additional assign configurations to the next grouping of students.

When you are done editing an Assignment, make sure to click the “Save” button at the bottom right of the page. If you’d like the Assignment to be published to students, click “Save & Publish”.

Click here to learn more about using Kami as an external tool.