Yesterday, we looked at creating a simple online Canvas submission. Today, we would like to concentrate on setting up a portfolio submission which could take the form of multiple uploads.

Setting up assessment for multiple submissions

When setting up portfolio assignments, we need to set up a cover page with all the instructions. This will be 0 points and not count toward final grades. Submission pages also need to be set up for each part of the portfolio, for example if there are three parts, that requires three submission pages. If each part has equal weighting, points should be set to 100 which means each section of the portfolio is weighted to 33.3%. If task 1 is worth 20% whilst task 2 / 3 are 40%, set the points to reflect this and to total 100.

Links from the Cover page to each submission page should be created (as per the lines below). A return link should be inserted on each submission page back to the Cover and links from each submission page to the other tasks could also be created.

Label everything clearly. Don’t assume students will understand the set up. Spend time helping students navigate this portfolio assessment set up so they know what to expect.

Canvas - Portfolio assessment page mock up
Canvas – Portfolio assessment page mock up

Let’s start creating the pages. In Canvas, go to the Assignments tab. Initially, you can set up assignment groups and weightings for the module if this is a requirement. To create groups, click +Group, name it (see below) and add the weightings now or later.

Canvas - creating portfolio assessment (multiple uploads)
Canvas – creating portfolio assessment (multiple uploads)

To create an assignment, simply click +Assignment:

Canvas - creating a portfolio assignment
Canvas – creating a portfolio assignment

Fill in the details on the assignment page:

Canvas - adding in portfolio assignment detail
Canvas – adding in portfolio assignment detail
Assignment title and instructions

When providing instructions, think about your audience and their needs.

Use headings. Highlight the headings / subheadings and apply heading formats 2 to 4 within the instructions. This helps structure text visually for sighted users but it also provides structure and tags for screen readers to pick up and communicate to users with low/no vision and other visual impairments.

Be explicit with the instructions. What is the task? When is the deadline? How do students submit their work? Are submissions limited to particular file types? What do students do in the event of not being able to submit to Canvas or they have some IT issue? Give contact details for alternative submission.

Use bold formatting to highlight key information. Do NOT use colour alone to do this. Anyone with colour blindness or colour/contrast impairment may not pick up this visual cue but bold draws our attention to the heavier looking text. Screen readers also pick up the bold tags and users of screen readers will know this is highlighted information.

Screen readers will not pick up the colour of text or font type. This is something to be aware of.

Do signpost students to available resources. This can be the Student Canvas Orientation Course to help students become familiar with how to submit work via Canvas (provide a link to the actual online submission page to save time). You could also provide links for referencing, reading lists, etc., so all the information is on the page and all students have equal opportunity.

What points do I set?

Typically this would be 100. However, when setting up portfolio submissions, the cover or information page will be 0 points! The ‘do not count this assignment toward final grade’ could also be selected for the cover page:

Canvas - 0 points/percentage for portfolio cover pages
Canvas – 0 points/percentage for portfolio cover pages

The other parts of the portfolio might be set as 100 points / percentage (be consistent) assuming each section is equally weighted. If the weightings per submission differ, enter the weighting as the points and ensure the three sections (or whatever number of sections you are using) total 100.

What kind of submission should I use?

On the cover page, use ‘No submission’.

Portfolio Cover page - no submission
Portfolio Cover page – no submission

On each task to be submitted, use ‘online’ and ask for a ‘file upload’. As you can see from the image below, there are a number of online submission types available: text entry, website URL, media recordings, student annotation and file upload. When you set an assignment, you will know the format of the work you want submitted, i.e., written, verbal, etc.

There’s no rules to say portfolio content has to be written, you might have role plays, presentations and other recorded content as part of the portfolio submission. Do think about what type of online submission you require students to upload and ensure it’s in the assessment instructions.

When creating file uploads, the upload format can be limited to particular file types, i.e., doc, docx, PDF, txt, mp4, ppt, pptx, etc., (above, you can see we have restricted files to three formats). This may help reduce issues of transferring file types from .pages to .doc/docx.

If you require particular file formats, make it clear in the instructions. MAC users may be using Pages, they will need to export their work from .pages to .doc or .docx before uploading to Canvas. Not restricting the file types is OK too but will lead to a number of formats being received. You need to consider if you can read all formats.

Above, you will also see unlimited attempts. This allows students to upload their work multiple times any time before the deadline. The most recent upload (pre-deadline) is the submission which would be marked. Submissions after the deadline would be highlighted as late submissions by Canvas. If the deadline is 4.00pm on the day of submission, even a micro-second after this time shows as a late entry.

Can I assign the assessment to everyone?

Yes. When it comes to setting up the dates, by default this is assigned to all students within the module. You need to consider the start date, due date and available until date:

Canvas - assignment dates
Canvas – assignment dates

The Start date is the date students can access the assignment when it is published. For example, if the start date was next Monday, the page could be published now but now viewable until Monday. Next is the Due date. This is the deadline for submitting work.

Importantly, the Until date should be set way after the Due date. This still allows for submissions to come in and Canvas will highlight these as late submissions. If the Until date is missing, the submission button on the system disappears and this disadvantages students.

Can I assign the assessment to particular individuals?

To give individual students differentiated dates, simply click +Add, start typing in the students’ name and set the relevant dates for them. Remember to Save your work.

When students complete the assessment, how do they upload their work?

We are glad you asked. Students have a Canvas Orientation Course. When they access this course, there is a handy dashboard with quick links (as per below):

Canvas Student Orientation Course - dashboard
Canvas Student Orientation Course – dashboard

When students access this, they can click the Submit Assignments section and learn all about how to upload their work. Do give this as a direct link within your instructions. Don’t assume students are familiar with the system.

Again, if using a portfolio set up, DO spend time taking students through the set up so they become familiar with the expectations of the assessment. You may only need 5 minutes to communicate this which ensures students know what is expected and it reduces queries and error later on.

How do I know if all students have submitted?

One quick way to check student submissions is to go to the Assignment and click SpeedGrader:

Canvas - one method of getting to SpeedGrader
Canvas – one method of getting to SpeedGrader

Inside SpeedGrader, you can see the first students work. Look to the top right of the screen, there are left / right arrows and a down arrow to the right of the student name (top box highlight). Click the down arrow. Students with a circle to the left of their name have submitted work (as can be seen below):

Canvas - student submissions
Canvas – student submissions

For more on this, please read the Canvas Community page: How do I view the details of a of a submission for a student in SpeedGrader?

Can I mark work online?

Yes. Go to SpeedGrader and view student work. QUB Staff can view this handy video on how to mark and export grades for different types of assessment (note: Grading Policy):

When do grades get released?

If the Grading Policy is set to Automatic, grades get posted as they are entered into the system. This can lead to confusion and bad feeling if grades change. It’s much better to set the Grading Policy to Manual. This allows for marking to be done behind the scenes and agreed between cross-markers and exam boards.

The posting of grades can be done manually after the exam board and all students within the module will be notified at the same time. To post grades, go to Grades, click the ellipsis of the work you want to release grades for and in the dropdown menu, choose Post Grades. This releases grades and feedback for that particular assessment only (as seen below):

Canvas - posting grades (Manual Posting Policy)
Canvas – posting grades (Manual Posting Policy)
Next time

Tomorrow, we continue with Canvas Assessment and look at how to set up an essay type assignment where the student submission goes to TurnItIn (Tii) via Canvas to check for plagiarism.

We hope you have a pleasant day. Please do join us then to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: @MDBSelearn.


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