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In darker times, busy teachers sometimes had to resort to drastic measures to grade the thousands of assignments they receive each year:


Image of papers strewn about a staircase with random grades posted on each step

Thankfully, the Magic of Technology© now allows teachers a much more efficient and accurate grading workflow through the use of tools such as SpeedGrader. 

SpeedGrader Basics

SpeedGrader is a flexible tool that gives instructors the ability to grade student work submitted in a variety of file formats, right within a Web browser. Here at Weber School District, our technology gurus have also enabled the option for graded assignments within Canvas to automatically sync to MyStudent, meaning you can grade assignments right within Canvas, and those scores will effortlessly flow to Canvas without any additional input. You can even access SpeedGrader on your mobile device using its Web browser or the Canvas for Teachers app!


Assignment View

Picture of the assignment detail view in Canvas, with SpeedGrader link highlighted


By default, SpeedGrader appears on the right sidebar of the assignment view screen in Canvas. Click on SpeedGrader to launch it in a new tab.

Picture of SpeedGrader view of an assignment in Canvas, with grade, date, student name, and comment fields and the student's assignment loaded


Student submissions take up the majority of the SpeedGrader screen, with tools above the assignment for annotation and commenting. Canvas supports a huge variety of file formats for students submissions, including many types of document, image, and video formats. What's great about this is you can view the assignment, grade it, mark it up, start a discussion about it, and give text, audio, visual, or video feedback to students, all within the same browser window.


Picture of SpeedGrader toolbars in Canvas


Two stacked toolbars at the top of the screen allow for navigation and markup. The top bar displays the assignment name, due date, class, and, at the far right, the name of the student who submitted the assignment. (Here I've hidden the names of students, so they appear as Student 1, 2, etc.) The arrows on either side of the student's name allow you to quickly navigate through student submissions. Below that, the markup toolbar allows navigation through the document, adjustment of the zoom level, as well as fullscreen display (the diagonal arrow line), cursor, commenting, highlighting, and more.


Picture of SpeedGrader toolbar with  

Picture of SpeedGrader options with


One of the first things I like to do in a new Canvas course is to click the gear icon on the top toolbar to access SpeedGrader Options, then, under Sort student list, choose to sort by submission status. With this selected, when you click through assignments in SpeedGrader, assignments you haven't graded yet will appear first, rather than the default of appearing by alphabetical order by student name, which would leave you clicking through multiple assignments looking for one to grade.


Picture of SpeedGrader panel view


The right side of the screen displays the date and time of the student submission, as well as a field for scoring the submission (if you have a rubric attached, that will appear here as well). You can also enter comments on the assignment here as text, record video or audio feedback, or attach a file with feedback for the student. (Students can reply here as well.)

Other ways to access SpeedGrader are via the "To Do" list under the course home page toolbar:


Picture of


Or, on the Course Grades page, through the context menu access by clicking the arrow in each assignment's title field:


Picture of assignment context menu with SpeedGrader link highlighted


That just about covers the basics, but for more information about SpeedGrader, check out the links below!

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