Submitting assignments

There are many ways to submit course materials online. Confirm with your instructor what file types are allowed. 

  • Most often, you will be asked to submit PDF or Office files (for example, Word, Excel or PowerPoint). Office 365 and GoogleDocs allow you to save your file as a PDF file.
  • Your instructor may ask you to submit files to Turnitin as part of an assignment. Turnitin is a tool designed to help you or your instructor identify possible plagiarism. In many cases, your instructor may use it to help you identify problems in drafts before submitting a final version.
  • You may also be asked to submit media files as part of an assignment. Pay close attention to the instructions you are given by your instructor about how and what to submit. There are different kinds of media files and different ways of submitting them (using native Canvas tools and Panopto).

 Pro tips:

  • Always save your documents before turning them in online. Consider downloading your files from any cloud services you use to your computer as a precaution.
  • For media files, please be aware that Canvas has a 500 MB file-size limit.
  • In some cases, you may be asked to submit multiple files as part of a single assignment. Because of the way in which Canvas handles files uploaded at different times, you should submit all at the same time, otherwise, they will be counted as parts of different submissions and may cause issues with grading.
  • After submitting an assignment, always check to see that the submission was made correctly. For most Canvas assignments, you will be able to return to the assignment, where you can look at the Submission Details on the right and confirm that you see a checkmark and the message Submitted!

Submitting handwritten assignments

You may be taking a course where your instructor asks you to submit handwritten or three-dimensional assignments online. There are several ways you can submit a non-digital assignment in a digital format. You can use a:

  • Smart device (phone, tablet, etc.) to take a picture of the assignment.
  • Smart device (phone, tablet, etc.) to scan handwritten work.
  • Publicly available scanner.

Smart device as scanner

Most smart devices have built-in scanner functions. If your device does not, it can be easily turned into a scanner using free or a relatively low-cost app that uses the camera to create scanned documents. Many scanning apps have file management functions and image editing capabilities. 

If you need some ideas for possible scanning apps, you might want to check out the following apps (the links below go to the application’s websites.)  

Please note, the above scanner apps are not centrally supported by campus IT and are only suggestions of the types of apps you could use. If you run into issues with the apps, you will need to contact the app for support.  

Campus self-serve scanners

Several of the UM System campuses have scanners on campus that students can use. Please check with your campus IT department to find out whether your campus has scanners available for you to use. 

Publicly available scanners

You can also use scanners that are available at many public places, such as libraries, shipping stores (e.g., FedEx, Kinkos, UPS Store), and post offices. These locations may require a fee for the use of their equipment, but it gets the job done. Typically, a sales associate or attendant is available to assist students in using the scanner. You may want to call ahead and ask what type of payment is required (it may be coin operated). You should also find out if you need to bring a USB memory device with you or if their scanners can email the file(s) to you.

Scanning tips 

  1. Use dark lettering: Use the darkest pen, pencil or font color possible to do your work.
  2. Scan on a flat surface.
  3. Scan on a surface with a high contrast to your paper (e.g., if your paper is white, use a dark surface).
  4. Include the surface in your scan. The scanning software will find the corners for you.
  5. Steady your hands: Scan your pages slowly with steady hands.
  6. Restore or enhance your scans, if needed: Both iOS and Android devices provide editing software for scanned images. Use this tool to ensure your scans are legible and complete.
  7. Convert your image or scan to a PDF for easy submission via Canvas.

Modified on: Thu, Jul 22, 2021 at 10:43 AM

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