Getting Started with the Semester
Setting up your assignments and gradebook
If you’ve not worked in Canvas before, the most important thing to know is that
your gradebook is created by your assignments.
The term “assignments” here also includes graded Canvas quizzes, discussions, and activities using Canvas-linked tools such as Top Hat or Quick Check. The act of creating an assignment is what makes the column appear in the Canvas Grades tool. The Grades tool does not have an option to add columns independent of an assignment.
Since assignments create your gradebook, it is to your advantage to only create assignments that you will actually grade. If you will not grade “reading a chapter,” then while you are assigning the reading to students, you would not create a Canvas assignment for it. If you want to give students reminders about reading deadlines, Canvas Calendar Events will put those deadlines in students’ Canvas To-Do list. For more on using the Canvas Calendar tool, see the Canvas Guide “How do I use the Calendar as an instructor?” (You can also add reminders for class sessions by adding an event for the class meeting and duplicating to the end of the semester.)
Set up Your Assignments
There are several different types of graded assignments you can use in your course. The three main ones are Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions and they each have their own tool in Canvas. You can create each type of assignment in its own Canvas tool or in a Module. Every graded quiz and discussion will appear in both their own tool and the Canvas Assignment tool.
Click on each item below to learn about the different types.
If you would like to include extra credit in, or in addition to, any of your assignments, see the Canvas Guide “How do I give extra credit in a course?“
Set up Assignment Groups – Optional
If you want to weight grades without worrying about calculating proportional points for each assignment, you’ll want to set up Assignment Groups in the Assignments tool. They are especially important if you prefer to grade with percentages only (every assignment is worth 100%) or a combination of percents and points. Even if you’re not weighting grades, if you have a larger number of assignments, assignment groups can help you organize assignments and make them easier to find in the gradebook using filters.
The following Canvas Guides explain setting up assignment groups and weighting them.
- How do I add an assignment group in a course?
- How do I weight the final course grade based on assignment groups?
- How do I create rules for an assignment group? (i.e. dropping the lowest grade in an assignment group)
Questions? Talk to your campus teaching and learning center!
Click “Next” below at the bottom right to continue.