Skip to main content

Below are some of the most commonly used online assessment tools at Penn. Additional tools can be found on CETLI’s list of tools for Teaching with Technology. Specific programs, departments, and schools may have access to additional tools. Reach out to your Instructional Technology Support Provider if these options don’t meet your needs or if you have additional questions about these tools.

Canvas Assignments can be used to provide students with information about your assignments, including the due date, detailed expectations, grading information and rubrics, and any other attachments or information they will need to complete the assignment.

Students can upload a variety of file types to Canvas Assignments, including documents, presentation files, videos, audio or podcast files, images, and website links.

If students are working in groups, they can also submit to group assignments so that all students in the group can see and receive credit for the submission.

Instructors and TAs can grade Assignments using Speedgrader, which is a place for the instructional team to post private grade information and feedback for individual students. Annotation and mark-up tools are available to provide students with detailed feedback on their submissions. 

Canvas Assignments are commonly graded by points or letter grades. They can also be graded by complete/incomplete which can be helpful for efficiently grading low-stakes assignments like reflections, check-ins on projects or group work, or other comprehension or participation checks.

Canvas Quizzes provides a variety of settings and question types you can use to assess the thinking or work that you’d like students to demonstrate, such as:

  • Timed or untimed assessments.
  • Showing questions in a set sequence or randomized order per student attempt.
  • Allowing students just one or multiple attempts per assessment.
  • Multiple choice, matching, categorizing, and sequencing questions with fixed answers and automatic grading.
  • Open-ended short answer and essay questions that require manual grading or review.
  • Providing students with necessary accommodations.

There are also a variety of options for providing grades and feedback:

  • Quizzes with only fixed-answer questions can be entirely autograded by Canvas. Autograded quizzes can be helpful for regular weekly comprehension checks to help you and your students make sure they are on track.
  • Quizzes with any open-ended questions must be manually graded in Speedgrader.
  • Instructors can configure what type of feedback is visible to students and when students can see their scores.
  • Feedback can be preset for questions to help make grading more efficient and streamlined.

Gradescope can be integrated with Canvas for online quizzes, exams, and homework. Gradescope works especially well for grading open-ended questions and essay questions, large classes, and splitting grading among TAs or grading teams.

Canvas Discussions can facilitate students posting ideas or their work in a way that is visible to the whole class or smaller groups. Students can reply to each other’s posts to provide their thoughts and feedback. This can work for multimedia files as well, like recorded presentations, images, infographics, or video or audio submissions.

Canvas Discussions can be enabled as a graded assignment so that students can receive private grades and feedback for their contributions to discussions or for the quality of their engagement and feedback.

If you would like students to see or review only a limited selection of other students’ work or you would like students to provide anonymous feedback, consider Canvas’s Peer Review tool. Note, though, there can be a slight learning curve for getting students ready to use it.

Google Documents or Google Slides can also be used as a way for students to review and comment on each other’s work. Students can post links to their documents on a Canvas Discussion Board or by adding links to a main Google Document.

CETLI is available to consult with you about assessment approaches and tools that are aligned with the needs of your course and students.