Canvas,  Educational Technology

Personalizing Feedback with Canvas Audio Visual Tools

By Roberta Campbell-Chudoba

As instructors and teaching assistants, we invest a great deal of time in giving feedback to students to enhance their learning and improve their performance. Giving meaningful feedback involves describing what we experience when excellence catches our attention, building on the strengths demonstrated, and guiding learners to see what excellence looks like.

Students generally appreciate feedback that is specific, detailed, constructive, and encouraging – and is given within a couple of weeks of assignment submission, before they’ve moved on to other learning activities and topics.

In face-to-face (F2F) courses, feedback may be explanations or questions on written work, corrections with the class after a quiz or lab, or perhaps an interview or a conversation with a student. We also have options in Canvas to personalize feedback from students.

Canvas Tools

We can give audio and video feedback through SpeedGrader, whether during remote delivery of courses or as an option with F2F courses, when students submit assignments, participate in discussion forums, or do quizzes in Canvas.

During remote delivery, feedback using audio and video tools can strengthen a sense of community, convey nuance through tone of voice and/or facial expression, and feel like personalized communication.

Here’s an overview of the types of feedback options in SpeedGrader:

  • In the right-hand side bar of SpeedGrader, as shown below, typed feedback is entered into the Assignment Comments box, or added with an attached document [1].


  • A newer feature, Comment Library in SpeedGrader, allows saving and copying frequently used comments. [2]
  • And we can add annotations in a student submitted documents as well.
  • You can record a video (or just audio) to leave comments with the Media Comment tool, or even upload media that is pre-recorded [3].
  • If using Chrome as your browser, another option is the Chrome speech recognition tool to leave comments. [4]
  • With individually graded group assignments, comments can be made to the entire group or sent to one student in the group, using any of these comment options. Students can also reply to comments from their instructors.

More Uses for the Media Comment Tool

An easy and efficient way to give brief audio and video feedback through Announcements, Pages or Inbox messages to the class as a whole, is with the Media Comment tool.

  • Also, some instructors find this tool useful to record short ‘week ahead’ or ‘end-of-week’ summaries in an announcement to help students stay on track – or to use anytime for a quick way to ‘speak’ to students online, in messages of about 8 minutes or less.
  • The tool is accessed through the Rich Content Editor, as shown below, and when composing Canvas Inbox messages.


Student Grades Page 

  • Your feedback is easily accessed by students on their Grades page.
  • You can click on a student’s name anywhere in your  course to access the student’s Context Card that then appears on the right-hand side of your screen. Click on the ‘Grades’ button to see a student’s view of their Grades page.



  • In the student’s Grades page example below, we see a discussion post in the list of assignments.Clicking on icon [A] shows comments on their discussion post including any audio visual comments at [D].
  • Icon [B] shows their grade distribution, and [C] shows their grades and comments in an attached rubric.

Aligning with the Learning Technology Ecosystem Principles in bold, these Canvas tools allow for students to access their feedback in efficient and easy ways, while instructors can use the tools to enable connection with students, support their learning, and deliver personalized and meaningful feedback.