Active Teaching Lab Recap: Canvas Rubrics I

Fri November 10, 2017

At the November 10, 2017 Active Teaching Lab, Andrea Porter shared how to use Canvas rubrics to clearly communicate expectations and feedback to students and to facilitate faster, more equitable grading.Andrea Porter

Rubrics prevent grading fatigue and bias by keeping instructional goals front and center throughout the grading process. They also offer a quick way for instructors to provide specific feedback on common issues. Lab participants brought laptops to get hands-on experience with Canvas tools as a student in our Canvas course and used a Sandbox course to work with the tools as an instructor.


  • Use one rubric for multiple assignments instead of creating a new one for each assignment.
  • Check the “Use this rubric for assignment grading” box to have Canvas sum and auto populate the rubric total into the grade box in SpeedGrader. (More information here
  • Canvas now allows rubric criteria to include a point range rather than a single point value. (More information here
  • Try using a rubric in a quiz, especially for an essay question. 
  • Free-form comments in rubrics allow instructors to provide more personalized feedback AND can be saved and re-used for other students. (More information here.) However, saved comments are not auto-saved for future use.  
  • Consider explaining to students that, for communicating grade concerns, email is preferred over responding directly to SpeedGrader comments because notification settings do not allow instructors to tease out student grade questions from the “thank you” and “here is my assignment” messages.
  • There is currently no way in Canvas rubrics to set categories with subpoints. Help us find a solution!

Work through the session’s activity sheet to explore rubrics in Canvas further. Or check out the Active Teaching Labs from February 3, 2017 and October 28, 2016 to learn more about rubrics.

Active Teaching Labs are held Fridays from 8:30-9:45am (and every other Thursday from 1:00-2:00pm, see events calendar for dates) in room 120, Middleton Building. Check out the upcoming labs or read the recaps from past labs. To stay informed about upcoming Labs, sign up for regular announcements by sending an email to

Watch Andrea’s Story (reference her slides here):

Get started with Rubrics in Canvas: