Especially if you are teaching an online STEM-related class like math or science, you may find it difficult for students to submit homework online. They either have to enter their formulas and equations using an online tool, or you have to use multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank type questions. You don’t get to see the work they did to get their answer. Pearson and other publishers have a ‘Show Work’ option, but it requires students either have a device with a stylus to draw on the screen, or students have to know how to resize and rotate and upload photos from their phone to their computer in order for it to work.
Another option is to create an assignment in Canvas and restrict the accepted file upload type to jpg, and then students can install and use the free Canvas Student app on their phone to submit photos they have taken of their work. Unfortunately though, you won’t be able to annotate student work in the DocViewer in the SpeedGrader, since it only allows annotations on documents, not images. [UPDATE: The June 2018 update to Canvas should add DocViewer annotations to images: “DocViewer annotations can be added to BMP, JPEG, JPG, PNG, TIF, and TIFF images in SpeedGrader”]
Using the CamScanner App to Submit Handwritten Work to Canvas
An even better solution is to have students install another free app on their phone that will scan their work and combine the photos into one PDF document that can be shared and submitted to Canvas via the Canvas Student app. One popular free app for scanning documents from your phone is CamScanner. Other free scanner apps may work well, too, such as Tiny Scanner. See the videos below for instructions for students on how to install and use the the CamScanner and Canvas Student apps to submit handwritten work online to Canvas.
You might recommend your students take their pictures with the phone held horizontally rather than vertically, so that the images are oriented correctly.
FlipGrid Option – Video Discussion Board
Another alternative technique that is growing in popularity is to let students use Flipgrid to submit videos in which they describe and comment on their work. FlipGrid is a video discussion board, and so other students can reply to other students’ work, too, if you wish. FlipGrid also integrates into Canvas. See:
- Canvas Integration for FlipGrid (pdf) – Contact a faculty developer if you need help adding FlipGrid to your Canvas course.
- 10 Ways to Enhance Math Lessons with Flipgrid
- The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Flipgrid for Math Class