Canvas Canvas AssignmentsHow do I create a Student Annotation assignment?

How do I create a Student Annotation assignment?

Canvas allows instructors to post a document annotation assignment, which presents students with a document and requires them to annotate it with text, highlighting, free drawing, and comments. The student annotation tools are the same tools instructors have available to them in the SpeedGrader.

The document to be annotated can be of any of the following file types:

.doc .docx
.ppt .pptx
.xls .xlsx
.rtf .txt
.jpg .jpeg .png


Students can only annotate the document. They cannot edit the document. Students cannot delete text, insert images or links, edit PowerPoint slides, or edit Excel data.

Student annotation assignments cannot be made Group Assignments, but they can be peer reviewed.

Upload the document you want students to annotate to your Files tool

If your Files tool is not hidden from students,  set the files "publish" setting to "Only available to students with a link." This ensures that students will only be able to access the file via the assignment.

Go to Assignments

Click Add (+) Assignment

Enter the assignment details

Under Submission Type, select "Student Annotations"

Click Course Files

This displays all the folders and files in your Files tool

Select the file you want the students to annotate in this assignment

Complete the Assign section of the Assignment

Click Save or Save & Publish

When a student clicks on the Student Annotation assignment, they will be able to read the directions and click on a "Start Assignment" button.

After clicking on the Start Assignment button, students are presented with the file in a Canvas document viewer with all of the annotation tools available to them.

Instructors can view and grade the student annotated document in the SpeedGrader.