Are your assignments set up correctly?

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After the initial flurry of activity around Semester go live, it’s a good time to draw breath and do a quick check on your assignment settings before students start submitting work.

Here are a few common Assignment setup issues that are worth checking:

Common Assignment set up issues

Assignments that say they should be submitted online, but do not have an online submission setting selected.

This will give the student no way to submit the assignment and will cause much confusion at submission time.

Fix: If you expect the students to submit online via Canvas you must have the Submission type setting set to either:

Assignments that say they are an in-class submission/presentation but have the online submission type selected.

This will give the students a submit button and could cause confusion around submission instructions.

Fix: select the no submission or on paper submission type.

Assignments that say they should be submitted via Turnitin that don’t have the Turnitin settings applied.

If you have Online submission selected this will enable students to submit to the Canvas tool, but will not go to Turnitin.

Fix: For a Turnitin submission you must have the Submission type setting set to External Tool > Turnitin

Multiple part assignments that are not clear about which parts are submitted online and how the whole will be marked.

Many assessments are a combination of face to face presentation or portfolio submission, plus a submission of documentation. Many have different percentages and points allocated to the different parts.

Fix: This can be managed effectively as a single assignment if your rubric addresses each part and explicitly allocates marks to each. If you don’t use rubrics or they’re not that explicit you may want to separate the assessment into different assignment parts to allow a combination of online and in class submissions with feedback for each part.

Rubric set up:

Assessment overviews set up as Assignment submissions.

It’s common to want to include an overview of assessment, particularly as they’re so often related pieces of work. Unfortunately Canvas doesn’t provide an option for a descriptive space within the Assignments section. Many people got around this by setting up an additional assignment with this information in the assignments area. However, using the assignment submission tool potentially creates confusion around the lack of submission options.

Fix: It is better to set up an assessment overview as a Page in a new or an existing module, and link to the overview from the description field of each assignment tool.

Create a page:

Link to a page:

Available from and until dates set.

Available from dates prevent students from seeing the details of the assignment until the date has passed. Available until dates prevent them from seeing the details after the date has passed. For assignments that are submitted and graded using Turnitin this includes access to their assignment feedback.

Fix: Unless you have a really good reason to set those dates, it’s best to leave them blank.

Group assessments that are not set up for group submission or feedback provision.

Even if group assignments are in-class exercises, you can still return group marks and feedback using the Canvas speedgrader functionality, which potentially saves you a lot of copying as pasting as it can propagate any grade and feedback given to one student to all other group members.

Fix: set up groups in the People section and assign the assessment to the group set.

Group set up:

Grading group work with Speedgrader:

Display Grade as Letter Grade is selected, but the correct grading scheme hasn’t been set

The default grading scheme for Canvas uses A, B, C, etc. as the letter grades. RMIT’s HE and VE grading schemes are available when you click View Grading Scheme.

Fix: For VE graded assessments, select RMIT VE Grades by Hilary Wheaton, and for HE select RMIT HE Grades by Lisa Li.

A rubric has been set up, but has not been selected to use for grading

This will mean that the rubric will not auto-calculate the assignment grade based on the criteria ratings you select.

Fix: Edit the rubric. Underneath the table you will see a checkbox that says “use this rubric for assignment grading”. Make sure this is selected.

The assignment is assigned to the wrong course section

Assignments can be allocated to different cohorts of students by using the Assign to settings to select particular sections. If these sections are not selected correctly the assignment will be allocated to the wrong students and all other students will not see it at all.

Fix: If you want everyone to submit the assignment, make sure it says Everyone in the Assign to field. If you then wish to adjust that date for a particular section of students click the add button, and create a new Assign to setting for the sections or individuals that you want a different date for. You will notice when you do that that the Everyone settings will then change to Everyone else.

Other things to check

Rubric ranges

Check that you have rubric range selected if you are expecting to use a range. If range is not selected you can only allocate the exact number of points you’ve assigned to each level.

Online entry options

If you have selected the Online submission type you will have been asked to nominate the submission options you’ll accept. If your submission explicitly includes a file upload (permission forms, etc.) then you should not select text entry as an option. This simply provides a text box on the page with no capacity to attach a file.



Image credit: Artaxerxes on Wikimedia Commons

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