Canvas Spotlight

Set Up Assignment Submissions

Last updated on May 17, 2024

Tools: Assignments

The Submission Type setting has a significant impact on how students interact with and submit a Canvas assignment.

The No Submission and On Paper options create a column in the gradebook but do not allow students to submit a file to the Canvas assignment. This is a great way to grade assignments that are not directly submitted to Canvas, such as lecture attendance, participation during a synchronous Teams call, or assignments that are submitted to a third-party platform or in-person.

The Online setting allows students to submit their work through the Canvas assignment. Students will be able to click a Submit Assignment button and upload their submissions. Instructors can choose whether to accept text entries, website URLs, media recordings, student annotation of a document, and/or various types of files. This setting is ideal for assignments such as essays, lab reports, digital worksheets, projects, and student-created videos. Instructors can easily assign, receive, grade, and provide feedback on student assignments without ever leaving Canvas.

The External Tool setting allows instructors to integrate third-party tools such as YuJa, GoReact, and into their Canvas assignments. For example, an instructor could use this method to add a YuJa video with embedded quiz questions to their course. When students watch the video and respond to the questions, their scores will be automatically transferred to the Canvas gradebook.

Best practices

  • Use the No Submission setting to create an empty manual column in the gradebook to record points for participation, attendance, and assignments on third-party platforms.
  • Use Online Submission type assignments, instead of other methods like email, to collect assignments such as essays, lab reports, and projects.
  • Limit the types of file uploads you will accept for an Online Submission to ensure that you are able to view the student’s work. For example, type doc, docx into the Restrict Upload File Types field if all students should submit Word Documents.

Let’s walk through it together

Create a Manual Column in the Gradebook

  1. Click on the name of an assignment to open it.
  2. Click Edit.
  3. Scroll down to the “Submission Type” options.
  4. Select No Submission from the drop-down menu.
  • Note: This will create an empty column in the gradebook, named after the assignment, but will not allow students to submit files to the assignment itself.
  1. Click Save.

Use Online Submission Type

  1. Scroll down to the Submission Type options.
  2. Select Online from the drop-down menu.
  3. Check the boxes next to the types of submissions you will accept.
    • Note: If you choose File Uploads, you can restrict the types of files by checking the Restrict Upload File Types box and typing in the permitted file extensions. For example, if students will be submitting typed documents, you could choose to only accept doc, docx, txt, rtf, and pdf files. You would enter these extensions without periods, separated by commas; for example, doc, docx, txt, rtf, pdf
  4. ClickSave.
    • Note: Students will see a “Submit Assignment” button. This button is typically not visible to the instructor.

Use an External Tool

  1. Scroll down to the “Submission Type” options.
  2. Select External Tool from the drop-down menu.
  3. Click Find.
  4. Select an external tool from the list.
  5. Click Select.
  6. Follow on-screen instructions (if they appear).
  7. Click Save.
  8. Follow on-screen instructions (if they appear).
    1. Note: Instructions vary significantly between external tools. For further assistance in using a third-party tool, please refer directly to the vendor.