At the most basic level, assignments in Canvas are the different things you have students do to earn their course grade. There are five different types of assignments in Canvas:

  • Assignment – this type of assignment allows students to submit a file, type a response in an answer field, upload media recordings, and/or submit a website URL. Generally speaking, only the individual student and the instructor/grader are able to see the student’s submission.
  • Discussion – this type of assignment is used for Discussion forums and blogs. It allows students to respond to an instructor-created prompt or question, and then interact with their peers in a back-and-forth asynchronous discussion.
  • Quiz – this type of assignment is used for exams, quizzes, and/or surveys given in Canvas.
  • External tool – this type of assignment is used for linking to outside resources and is not normally used.
  • Not graded – this type of assignment can be selected if the assignment needs to be done, but no grade will be assigned. This type is not normally used.

Regardless of assignment type, it is best to add assignments through the Assignments Page in Canvas. The Assignments Page serves as the brain for your gradebook. If you set your Assignments Page up properly at the beginning of the semester, it reduces potential issues with your gradebook as the semester progresses.

To begin, select the Assignments link in the left-hand course navigation menu. On this page, you may add all of your assignment types for the course and organize them into groups called “Assignment Groups” if you so choose.

Assignment Page in Canvas

The names of assignments (and Assignment Groups, if used) need to match the assignments (and groups) listed in the course syllabus to reduce confusion for students.

To learn more about creating the different types of assignments, register for our free online workshops or visit our support page.