Assignment Rubrics

Many, if not all, of the assignments in the course(s) you teach, will include rubrics. Any provided rubrics are required for you to use. Learn how to use rubrics in your class.

When using a provided rubric, be sure to offer both quantitative and qualitative feedback. If you deduct points for a certain category, you can add comments to that section of the rubric to explain why. It is so valuable for your students to understand the score they received and also to help them to improve on future submissions.

  • Rubrics provide guidance for instructors and students.  
  • Students can review the rubric for more detail about assignment expectations. Instructors use the rubric to ensure grades are objective and consistent. 
  • Interactive rubrics in Canvas also allow for comments for each criterion.

DocViewer Annotations

With the Canvas DocViewer annotation tools, you can provide feedback directly on students’ submissions. This feature allows you to provide targeted comments directly on a certain comment or sentence. In addition, some instructors find it useful to create their own color-coding system for the different highlighter color options (for example, a red highlight means an APA issue, a green highlight means more information is needed, etc.).

  • These mark-up tools draw students’ attention to a specific area on the submission.
  • The highlight feature can be used to call out a specific section.
  • The comment feature provides feedback relating to the specific area.
  • Let students know how they can view your DocViewer Comments.  Share the View assignment annotations Canvas Guide with your students.


In addition to the specific comments you provide in the rubric and on the students’ submissions using the DocViewer tools, you should also leave general comments in the SpeedGrader comment area as well. You can use this area to attach files as needed, as well as to leave an audio/video comment to your students. Canvas also provides a speech-to-text option! (Note, the speech-to-text option is only available in the Google Chrome browser).

  • Read the SpeedGrader section of the Canvas Instructor Guide.

Audio Feedback

Using audio feedback allows for a clearer explanation of comments. Audio feedback tends to add an element of personalization for the students. Students are able to hear the inflection and tone of the voice and the sincerity of the encouragement.

Additionally, audio feedback saves time for instructors because the instructor is not having to type each comment.

In every comment box, you have the ability to use the voice record option to leave audio feedback.

Video Feedback

Video feedback has the same advantages of audio feedback with one additional feature – students are able to see your facial expressions and body language. This also adds a level of personalization which helps the student connect to the instructor more.

In every comment box, you have the ability to use the video record option to leave video feedback.


The mission of the Rothwell Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence is to empower faculty members in their pursuit of professional growth through diverse offerings for the universal goal of student success.

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