Learning Technology@LJMU


Keep Assessing with Canvas (Staff)

Keep Assessing with Canvas (Staff)

In light of the current public health situation, alternative assessment is required for any assessment strategy that requires face to face contact.  This includes invigilated examinations and presentations. This blog post makes recommendations for alternative assessments, via Canvas. 

We understand that you may have developed sophisticated assessment and feedback practices that, in normal circumstances, work well. However, we would like you to carefully think through the design of alternatives to minimise complexity for both you and your students.  This could save you and your students unnecessary time, effort and frustration over the coming months. 

Canvas Assignment Settings

Our key recommendation is to use the Canvas assignment tool for students to submit an individual file to Canvas, which is then marked by an individual marker, providing them with appropriate feedback and a mark.  This is the main guide for creating a Canvas Assignment link in your course.

In addition to this, we also make the following recommendations

Limit submission types: File Uploads

When creating your assignment, select File Upload submission. Use ‘Restrict Upload File Types’ and specify your preferred formats. 

You should restrict submitted files to a common file type. Common file types include pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, xls, or xlsx. This ensures that you are able to access file submissions once they have been submitted. As there are numerous ways to create text-based files using online editors, restricting the file type ensures you will be abled to read the file on your computer.

Don’t use Turnitin for marking

We recommended Turnitin should only be used in conjunction with the Canvas assignment tool to monitor any possible academic impropriety. Please set this up using the Turntin framework guidance. The advice is to not use Turnitin for marking.  We have experienced a number of problems with Turnitin during very busy periods. This has resulted in some students unable to submit work and tutors being unable to mark.  In some cases when using Turnitin, students have been unable to submit or tutors unable to mark. Conversely, there have been no such problems with Canvas.

Allow submission after due date

Allow submission after deadline to support students who have problems accessing IT or the internet. These submissions will be noted as ‘late’ in Canvas, but will facilitate a more permissive approach to granting extensions during this difficult time. Do not apply an ‘until date’ to your assignment.  


Please read through the Anonymous Marking Policy and make an informed decision on how feasible this is in this particular assignment and under the current circumstances. Here is a guide to show you how to implement anonymous marking

Why are we suggesting these approaches?

  • Keep it simple: We want to keep the process as simple and reliable as possible for you and your students. This is not the time to learn complex technologies and processes. We believe that redesigning an assignment, rather than trying to leverage complex technologies or novel approaches to replicate existing approaches, is time well spent. Hopefully this will reduce stress for both you and your students. 
  • Ease of access to support from the Teaching & Learning Academy and Canvas: Both the support provided by the Academy and that offered through Canvas 24/7 support is more effective if your marking processes align with normal use of Canvas/Speedgrader. Assistance for novel and unfamiliar technology is more complex, particularly when face-to-face support is not appropriate.  
  • Do the best you can: We understand that some processes will be new and different for you and your students. However, we are trying to simplify things for you in order to support you and your students more effectively over the coming months. 

Help and Support

Canvas experts and the TEL team are available to help answer your questions. Use one of the following methods to get in touch:

  • Visit canvas.ljmu.ac.uk and use the help icon in the main menu to Chat to Canvas support, submit a ticket or call a Canvas expert. Support is available 24/7. All Canvas queries should be logged with this service, in the first instance. 
  • For other TEL queries (Panopto, Turnitin) submit a ticket via the LJMU helpdesk .

Further Information

You can find further information about assessments during the suspension of face to face teaching on the LJMU Academic Registry pages: Alternative assessments and COVID-19.