Canvas @ Yale

Supporting and Using Feedback in Your Class

Updated on

Your class facilitation may incorporate multiple forms and styles of feedback that support effective communication, collaboration, and mutual learning. Feedback opportunities between instructors and students may be categorized into various forms.

The chart below maps out various Canvas-integrated tools that can be used for each feedback type. This is not an exhaustive list but should be used as a reference for inspiration. 

Table of Contents

Ease of Use (for both students and instructors) Modality
◆◆◆ - Easy to Use A - Can be used Asynchronously
◆◆◇ - Moderately Easy to Use S - Can be used Synchronously
◆◇◇ - More Challenging to Use A/S - Can be used both Asynchronously and Synchronously

Instructor to Student

Tool Modality Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Canvas Announcements A ◆◆◆
  • Keeps a record of messages sent to students right within the course for all users to refer back to. 
  • If users’ notification settings are set up accordingly, posting an Announcement will also prompt an email to the students. 
  • If there are multiple sections in one course site, the Announcement can be posted for one or more of the sections. 
Instructor posts an announcement to all students letting them know that based on student feedback, there will be a change to the discussion topics for next class.  
Canvas Announcements
Canvas Assignment (SpeedGrader, Rubrics) A ◆◆◆
  • Simple to use for both students and instructors. 
  • Instructors can post in-line annotations and text comments on student submissions. 
  • Comments posted in the Grading Panel’s Comments box can be saved and reused on other student submissions. 
  • If using Rubrics, pre-generated comments / feedback can be shared with student with a single click.
On math homework files submitted to Canvas Assignments, instructor uses the red marker annotation tool in Canvas SpeedGrader to circle calculation mistakes and provides over-all comments in the grading panel Comments box.  Canvas Assignment Tool
Canvas Discussions (SpeedGrader) A ◆◆◆
  • Instructors can post replies (visible to all) or can use SpeedGrader to provide private comments / feedback.
Instructor creates a graded discussion where students can post and reply to each other. Instructor uses Canvas SpeedGrader to provide specific private feedback to student.    Canvas Discussions
Canvas Inbox A ◆◆◆
  • Instructors can send messages to one or more students at once. 
  • If users’ notification settings are set up accordingly, sending an Inbox message will also prompt an email to the students. 
  • Integrated with the Canvas Grades tool so that instructors can message students who:
    1. Achieved above/below a certain grade or 
    2. Have not yet received a grade for a specific assignment. 
From the Canvas Grades area, instructor messages students who have not yet submitted their homework to remind them of the assignment due date, that late submissions will be penalized, and that they should use Inbox to let the instructor know if they need additional time.   Canvas Inbox Tool
Canvas Quizzes (Feedback, SpeedGrader, Rubrics) A ◆◆◇
  • Pre-defined auto-feedback can be set up for correct answers, incorrect answers, individual options, or general question feedback 
  • Instructors can give custom feedback via the SpeedGrader for each question and for the quiz overall. 
On weekly multiple choice Canvas Quizzes, the instructor pre-sets automated feedback for each option on a question so that students get custom feedback based on their specific answers.  
Canvas Quizzes
Canvas Syllabus A ◆◆◆
  • Can be the go-to place for policies and procedures—should be kept up to date. 
  • Visible to all users in the course.
Instructor updates Syllabus to reflect changes in grade weighting policy based on addition additional in-class participation credit.
Canvas Syllabus
Ed Discussions A ◆◆◆
  • Provides ability to post private replies / feedback to students on specific posts. 
  • Instructors can take public posts “offline."

When student responds, instructor posts privately to a student to provide them additional resources to help them understand their questions.

Ed Discussion
Gradescope A ◆◆◇
  • Can be used with online submissions (student submits file) or paper submissions (instructor-scanned). 
  • Grading rubric promotes standardized grading with multiple graders 
  • Flexible grading rubric allows for quick re-grades.
Instructor collects paper exam and scans into Gradescope for grading. Using GradeScope rubrics, instructor and TAs can quickly and digitally grade paper exams and add in-line annotations.
Rubrics help students understand why points were added / deducted for their response.
VoiceThread A ◆◇◇
  • Allows students to comment on text and other media using text, video, or audio comments. 
  • Can be set up so that the assignment is for students to create and submit an original VoiceThread. 
  • Student submitted VoiceThreads can be set to be visible to the class or only visible to the instructor. 
On student-submitted VoiceThreads, instructor posts audio, video, or text feedback on the student’s submission.  VoiceThread

Student to Student

Tool Modality Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Canvas Assignment – Peer Reviews A ◆◇◇
  • Canvas Peer-Review Assignments allow the readers to annotated and leave comments inline for their classmate to read.   
  • Multiple readers can be assigned to each submission, but readers cannot view each other’s comments. 
  • Reviews can be blind so the reader's and writer's name is hidden. 
Students write and submit an essay to the Assignments tool and then they are assigned to read and comment on the essays of one or more peers. Canvas Assignment Tool

How do I create a peer review assignment? (Vendor Guide)

Implementing Peer Review Assessments
Canvas Discussions A ◆◆◆
  • Students can post as many original responses as they want. 
  • Students can reply to as many of their classmates as they want. 
  • Students can be prevented from reading classmates’ posts until they have posted their original response. 
  • Discussions can be set up as peer review discussions where students can submit private comments to a classmate’s post. 
Instructor posts a Canvas Discussion prompt that students must respond to. Students are also asked to reply to at least two of their classmates’ posts. Canvas Discussions
Canvas Groups A ◆◆◇
  • Canvas Discussions and Canvas Assignments can be assigned to Groups so that all members of the group get one place to submit.
  • Grades for group activities can be set equally (all members get the same grade, but instructor only has to enter it once) or each student can get a unique grade.
  • Group sites are great for student collaboration outside of class because they provide members the ability to create discussion boards, share files, and collaborate on shared documents. 
Instructor splits students into small Canvas Groups and creates Group Discussion boards where group members should discuss a topic presented in class.  Canvas Groups
Ed Discussions A ◆◆◆
  • Prompts / posts can be organized into categories and can easily be searched for by content, status, and completion. 
  • Instructors can set up response templates to ensure that posts include all required content. 
  • Provides unique functionality like image annotations, Math LaTeX support, and executable code snippets. 

Instructor posts a prompt in Ed Discussions that students must reply to and then also comment on classmates’ responses.   

Instructor provides an FAQ category in Ed Discussions where students can ask and reply to classmates’ questions, whcih Instructors / TAs then endorse correct student replies. 

Ed Discussion
Perusall A ◆◇◇
  • Extensive features for annotation. 
  • More tolerance for non-OCRed files. 
  • Annotation files are restricted to files that the instructor uploads or that students purchase from the Perusall library. 
A class reading PDF is uploaded to Perusall and provided to students via a Perusall Assignment. Students read and annotate collectively on the original document and reply to classmates’ annotations / comments.
VoiceThread A ◆◇◇
  • Allows students to comment on text and other media using text, video, or audio comments. 
  • Can be set up so that the assignment is for students to create and submit an original VoiceThread. 
Students are asked to create a VoiceThread of images, videos, text, etc. that represent their interpretation of the assigned reading. Classmates will submit text, video, and/or audio comments on the VoiceThread.
WordPress for Canvas A ◆◇◇
  •  Integrated with Canvas to control access to sites. 
  • Looks more like a blog and has more visual customization options than Canvas Discussions. 
  • No integration with Canvas Grades / Assignments.
Students post short paragraphs about their interpretations and opinions of the assigned reading as a post in WordPress. Classmates are encouraged to reply to each other’s posts.  
WordPress for Canvas

Student to Self

Tool Modality Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Canvas Assignment A ◆◆◆
  • Integration with Canvas Grades and SpeedGrader allows Instructor to grade and provide feedback to individual students. 
  • Can allow multiple formats for submission—audio, video, file, website URL, etc.
Instructor creates an assignment where students can submit their thoughts about what they have learned in class and how they feel about it in their preferred format (written, audio, video, etc.).  Canvas Assignment Tool
Canvas Quizzes A ◆◆◇
  • Can be set up to allow grading to ensure participation. 
  • Instructor can use SpeedGrader to reply to specific questions or provide overall feedback 
Instructor creates a self-check quiz at the end of a module so students can see how well they understood the concepts.  Canvas Quizzes
Qualtrics A ◆◆◇

Provides the most robust survey question and reporting options. 

Is integrated with Canvas for restricting usage and to embed custom data fields. 

Surveys can be reused easily if you are repeating survey questions each time. 

Create an anonymous survey which is offered at the end of each week asking the same set of questions: 

  • How do I feel about what I have learned?  
  • How do I feel about how class went this week?  
  • Do I feel comfortable with the content so far?
  • How well they performed on their exams, and how they plan to address it. 
External App: Qualtrics LTI

Student to Instructor

Tool Modality Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Anonymous Feedback A ◆◆◆
  • Feedback is truly anonymous. 
  • Tool can be made always available so feedback can be submitted whenever students feel it is appropriate. 
  • No ability to add question prompts. 
Instructor encourages students to submit free-text feedback at the end of every class if they have any remaining questions.
Canvas Anonymous Feedback Tool: Overview
Canvas Quizzes A ◆◆◇
  • Feedback is not anonymous. 
  • Points can be awarded to students for completing the quiz.
  • Instructor has full control over questions.
Instructor provides an un-graded quiz at the end of the class asking students to list out 3 things they learned, 2 things that surprised them, and 1 lingering question they have about the content.  Canvas Quizzes
Mid-Semester Feedback A ◆◆◆
  • Feedback is truly anonymous. 
  • All questions are open-ended.   
  • Four default questions are provided, but instructor can decide whether to include them. 
  • Instructor can create up to 4 custom open-ended questions for each course. 
  • Only available during pre-determined period of time at the middle of the semester. 
Instructor enables Mid-Semester feedback to ask students about what is working, what is not working, what should be stopped and what should be continued in the course.  Mid-Semester Feedback: Overview
Poll Everywhere A/S ◆◇◇
  • Provides more question types than other polling software. 
  • Can be embedding in PowerPoint slides for use during class. 
  • Can be used integrated with Canvas to restrict users and to pass back grades for responses. 

During live in-person or remote class, instructor posts quick questions about the content presented to make sure that students are understanding the content covered.   

Instructor releases a poll prior to class that allows students to select topics they would like reviewed in the next class. 

Poll Everywhere
Qualtrics A ◆◆◇
  • Provides the most robust survey question and reporting options. 
  • Is integrated with Canvas for restricting usage and to embed custom data fields. 
  • Surveys can be reused easily if you are repeating survey questions each time.
Instructor creates an un-graded anonymous survey to ask students about their experience with a new class discussion format.  External App: Qualtrics LTI
Zoom Poll S ◆◆◇
  • Can only be used while in a live Zoom session. 
  • Questions should be set up beforehand for most efficient deployment in class. 
  • Is very easy to use from user perspective.
During live remote class, instructor posts anonymous polls to check to see if students are ready to move on to the next topic.  Zoom

Instructor to Instructor

Tool Modality Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Canvas Inbox A ◆◆◆
  • Instructors can send messages to one or more instructors and/or TAs at once. 
  • If users’ notification settings are set up accordingly, sending an Inbox message will also prompt an email to the students.
After receiving feedback from students on discussion section interactions, instructor sends an Inbox message to their co-instructors on how to engage students in difficult topics. Canvas Inbox Tool
Ed Discussions A ◆◆◆
  • Instructors can send private message to “staff only.”

Within a discussion topic, an instructor sends a private reply to a co-instructor to discuss the merits of regrading a student response based on comments the student made to defend their point.

Ed Discussion

Instructor to Self

Tools for Instructor to Self Feedback are not typically part of the learning management system. The tools listed below are meant to be guidelines, activities, and opportunities for instructors to engage in self-feedback outside of the context of their Canvas course site. 

Tool Ease Why Use? (Pros/Cons) Examples Links to Support
Canvas Sandbox ◆◆◆
  • Available to Yale faculty / staff. 
  • An empty Canvas course shell where users can practice using Canvas tools and integrations before implementing into live courses.
Instructor tests out creating / using / grading Canvas assignments in their Canvas Sandbox Site so they can learn the ins-and-outs of using the Canvas SpeedGrader annotation tools.
Requesting a Canvas Sandbox
Journal / Blog ◆◆◆
  • A good practice both within and outside of class.
  • Keeps track of where you were and how you have grown. 

After class, instructor jots down notes about what went well in class, what didn’t go well in class, observations, and ideas for changing for next class.

LinkedIn Learning ◆◆◆
  • Free to Yale faculty / staff / students. 
  • Access to hundreds of courses and videos on a vast array of topics.
An Instructor feeling uncomfortable using Excel takes an Excel bootcamp in LinkedIn Learning to get more familiar with the tool.
Yale LinkedIn Learning
Course (Re)Design / Course (Re)Calibrate ◆◆◆
  • Free program offered by Poorvu Center. 
  • Chance to think about your course and collaborate with peers and Poorvu staff on ideas for modifying and improving your course. 
An instructor looking for a more structured learning community to guide and bounce ideas off of while revising their course for the next next semester.  Poorvu Center Programs
Pedagogical Partners ◆◆◆
  • Free program offered by Poorvu Center. 
  • Chance to have objective evaluation of your course from a student who is not currently taking the course. 
An instructor looking for a student's perspective on their classroom and course design to deepen both of their understanding. Poorvu Center Pedagogical Partners
Classroom Evaluations ◆◆◆
  • Free service offered by Poorvu Center. 
  • Chance to have a Poorvu Faculty Teaching Initiatives staff member observe your class 
Instructor looking for feedback about a specific component of their classroom facilitation or online course invites a Poorvu Center staff member to observe them and provide confidential feedback and suggestions for improvement. Poorvu Center Consultations, Observations, and Services
Previous Article Quizzes (Vendor Guides)
Next Article Submitting Audio / Video Feedback to a Student
Email: [email protected] Email Us