Rubrics and Turnitin: Student View

Typically, when you add a rubric to an assignment, it appears when a student clicks the assignment. When you have a Turnitin-enabled assignment, the rubric no longer appears when the student clicks the assignment.

Students can view a rubric for a Turnitin-enabled assignment by following these steps:

1. From the course, click Grades.
2. Click the assignment.
3. Click the Show Rubric, located in the top-right corner of your screen.

Contact us with any questions about Canvas.

Students Unable to Submit a Turnitin Assignment

Occasionally, students receive an error message when attempting to submit an assignment using Turnitin. When this happens, it generally means the Turnitin needs to be enabled, or activated. Once you’ve created an assignment with Turnitin enabled, another page with the Assignment Inbox and Settings appears. You can also follow these steps to enable, or activate, Turnitin on established assignments by clicking the assignment first.


Click Settings, and then Optional settings (if desired). Verify your assignment settings, and then click Submit.

This enables, or activates, Turnitin and allows students to successfully submit assignments.

View this recorded workshop or recorded webinar for a refresher on using Turnitin with assignments.

Contact us with any questions about Turnitin.

Canvas: New “Polls” app

Canvas released a new “Polls” app about a month ago. I realized I didn’t have a write up of this, so I figured I’d take the time to explain what it is and what it can do. The Polls app, available in iOS/Android, allows for an instructor to conduct polling in class. Essentially, this app can take the place of clickers.

Canvas Polls

Here is the description of the product in the app store.

“Canvas Polls allows you to instantly assess student comprehension with live, in-class polling. Canvas Polls is free, easy-to-use, and leverages students’ own smartphones or tablets, making it more accessible than off-the-shelf devices. It provides the core features needed for active teaching models like peer instruction. And because Canvas Polls integrates with Canvas courses, participation and performance data is saved for every student, so you’ll never lose touch with student understanding.”

I’ve done some testing with this app, and it’s pretty slick.

Here is a short demo of what it can do.

Here is how to get started.

1. Go into app store and download “Canvas Polls.”

2. You will need to insert the Canvas URL (

3. Log in w/ your Maryville username/password

4. You are ready to begin creating !

What’s also nice about this, is that the set up and distribution is simple. You can create polls on the go OR ahead of time. Then, you can select which course to start a poll with. Since Canvas knows the enrollments of that course, as long as the students have the app downloaded, they will see the poll on their phones automatically ! Compared to other polling software, this is significantly easier to use.

Here are some screen grabs of Polls (pretty slick, right ?)

Canvas Polls 3Canvas Polls 4Canvas Polls 2

Canvas: Extra Credit Assignments

One thing that Canvas is awful at is giving extra credit to students. Unlike D2L, there are no built in “extra credit” grades, assignments, quiz questions…etc. SO, to do extra credit in Canvas, you have to be creative.

Below are several options for creating extra credit assignments (courtesy of Canvas Guides).

Add Extra Points to an Existing Assignment

media_1361478922350_displayAdd extra points to an Assignment you’ve already created. Manually enter the extra points in the Gradebook.

As in this example, this assignment is worth 10 points. Adding 5 extra points will bring the assignment total for this student to 15 points. The added points will increase total points calculated in the Gradebook’s final grade.

You can also use Fudge points to add extra points as well.

Create Extra Credit within a Rubric


Add an additional Criterion to a Rubric for extra credit. Make sure you make the rubric worth more than the assignment and you can give students extra points or not without affecting the actual assignment points.

Create New Assignment with No Submission

062cea30-f9c5-4d17-8dde-742334af9669_displayMost Instructors require an online or paper submission for assignment submissions, but you can also select the option for no submission. No submission assignments work well for classroom duties, such as moderating a discussion or for in-class presentations.

Create a new assignment with zero points possible [1] and in the Submission type drop-down field, choose No Submission [2].

After students complete the work, manually add points in the Gradebook.

Extra Credit and Assignment Groups

Assignments must be housed within an assignment group. Assignment groups can be unweighted or weighted, depending on how you wish to grade students within your course. Click here to learn how to create weighted assignment groups.

Unweighted Assignment Groups

588ba305-1696-48d8-8fb7-b23989b1655e_displayWhen assignment groups are not weighted, you can create extra credit assignments in their own assignment group if you wish. You may want to create a separate group to help distinguish between the different types of assignments. In this example, this entire assignment group has no points possible [1].

When the student completes the work required for the extra credit assignments, you can manually add points to the Gradebook.

Weighted Assignment Groups

cd26ed0d-ea59-453f-9b53-55d43211ffd4_displayWhen assignment groups are weighted, Canvas will not calculate grades for an entire group that has no points possible. Therefore, for extra credit assignments to calculate correctly in weighted groups, they must be housed within an existing assignment group that has at least one assignment worth more than zero points. In this example, the extra credit assignment is housed within an assignment group with multiple assignments worth more than zero points [1]. Notice how the assignment groups are weighted [2].

When the student completes the work required for the extra credit assignments, you can manually add points to the Gradebook.

Errors with Weighted Assignment Group

media_1361484010175_displayIf you create your extra credit assignments with zero points within their own assignment group, but you decide to weigh your assignment groups, your extra credit assignments will not calculate correctly within Canvas. Canvas cannot calculate assignment groups where there are no points possible. For example, if the student has 12 points of 0 points possible, Canvas can’t determine the impact to the overall grade because 12 cannot be divided by 0.

An error will appear in the total grade column, as well as next to the affected assignment(s). In this example, the two extra credit assignments (both with zero possible points) have been placed in an assignment group called Extra Credit. However, the assignment group has been weighted. The warning notification indicates that the score does not include Extra Credit (as an assignment group) because the entire group has no points possible. In this situation, the assignments will have to be moved to another assignment group, or you will need to include an assignment within the Extra Credit assignment group that has at least 1 point possible.

Canvas: Compatible File Formats (re: Commenting in SpeedGrader)

One of the great features of Canvas is the ability to markup student assignments directly within the Canvas SpeedGrader (Check out the documentation on the Canvas website to see this in action). One thing to keep in mind is that this “markup” capability only works with certain file types. If a student submits a file in an unsupported file type, you will not be able to mark up the assignment within Canvas.

Supported file types:

  • PDF
  • Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint (.ppt/.pptx)

Excel (.xls/.xlsx) is currently in “Beta” (testing) and did not work when I tested it.

If a student submits an assignment in the proper file format, you will have the “commenting” features available (see below). Speedgrader 1Speedgrader 1

If the student submits a file type that is not compatible, the file will still most likely display (depending on the format), you just will not have the “Comment” buttons. There will also be an “error” message that says “Annotations are not available for this document.”

Speedgrader 2 Speedgrader 2So, even if a student submits an unsupported file type, you can still view/grade it in Canvas, you just can’t “markup” the assignment. If you plan on using the commenting features in SpeedGrader extensively, you will need to have your students save their assignments in a compatible file format.


Canvas: Hide Score Total for Assessment Results (re: Rubrics)

I’ve been playing around in the “Rubrics” tool a lot lately. One button that really confused me was the “Hide Score Total for Assessment Results” button (see below).Rubric 1Rubric 1Well, I’ve been able to figure out what this tool does. It determines whether or not you see a “total score” for the rubric within the “SpeedGrader.”

Rubric 2Rubric 2

If enabled, it does not calculate the rubric score and translate that automatically to the grades area. So, if you use a rubric, and want to grade from AND want Canvas to take the rubric grade and auto place it into the grades area, keep this option unselected.


Turnitin Webinars: On Demand

I received an email the other day about upcoming (free) webcasts being put on by the company Turnitin. All of the webcasts focus on plagiarism and the tools that turnitin provides (anti-plagiarism). These may be useful for faculty. Also, note that I’ve listed a link below to their previously recorded webcasts.

Future webcasts (click the link to sign up).

How Instructors Respond to Plagiarism: Survey Findings
A review of the findings from an instructor survey conducted and compiled by Turnitin.

Responding to Student Plagiarism as an Educational Opportunity
Explore a heuristic of questions for analyzing any case of student plagiarism to determine what the consequences should be.

Literacy is Fundamental: Leveraging Critical Reading to Improve Student Writing
Sharing strategies for engaging students in reading critically towards improving their research and writing skills.

Ghostbusting: Getting the Ghostwriter Out of Your Class
Approaches for identifying ghostwritten work and discouraging students from using custom essay writing services.

Getting to the (Power)Point:  Addressing Plagiarism in Student Presentations
Strategies for enhancing student understanding of proper citation and attribution when using media in presentations and projects.

Webcasts On Demand

View all On Demand webcasts


Turnitin now evaluates Powerpoint

In November, 2013, Turnitin changed their submission options so that Powerpoint files (.ppt, .pptx, .pps and .ppsx) are now able to be submitted to the plagiarism detection tool. What Turnitin does on their end is turn these files into .pdf files such that text and images on the slides will be visible and available for feedback, but any dynamic (animations, transitions, notes, and audio/video) will not be available once the file has been sent through Turnitin.

Please contact us if you have comments, concerns or questions about the use of Turnitin in your online classroom.