Students can submit their work in a variety of ways in Canvas; however, determining the best option involves weighing several considerations. Several of the primary choices appear in the table below.



 Students individually submit to instructor only

Students can view other students’ submissions

Students can comment on other students’ submissions

  Students can download other students’ submissions

 Assignments  Yes

 No, unless Peer Review is enabled

    No, unless Peer Review is enabled

   No, unless Peer Review is enabled

Quizzes Yes  No  No  No
Discussions No Yes Yes

Yes, they can download attachments

Assignments and quizzes are the standard choice for enabling students to submit their work electronically and are, under many circumstances, the best option. As the chart above shows, they each offer the traditional capability for students to submit their work to the instructor alone. If the submission type is compatible with SpeedGrader (file uploads and online submissions), Canvas offers an easy way to provide feedback in the form of a score, annotated comments, audio comments or video comments that are only visible to the student. Even if the submission is peer-reviewed, the student reviewers can only see the submission itself, not other students’ comments or instructor feedback. Additionally, assignments are the only option that offers the capability of using a rubric and integrating that rubric into the Gradebook.

Discussions may not be the first feature in Canvas that comes to mind when thinking of assigning student work, but they offer an easy way to enable students to articulate a position and interact with others and receive credit for their work. When the “graded” option is enabled for a Discussion post, a column is added to the Gradebook and related choices are available, including defining a point value. The ability to add links and attachments to a topic makes them as easy for students to use as Assignments. The ability to require that students post their submission before they see the submissions of others also makes them a good option for graded work.

In conclusion, understanding the role of collaboration in the assignment is a critical part of choosing the appropriate Canvas feature. Assignments, quizzes, and discussions each offer unique capabilities.