Language learning in Canvas

Guest post by Kate Dyachuk, Courseware Support Intern. Kate previously taught English at School #2 and Ryazan State Pedagogical University, Dept. of English, Ryazan, Russia, as a part of her student teaching work.  She majored in  in TESL and minored in French and education from  Ryazan State University in Ryazan, Russia.

Canvas has a fantastic set of tools that facilitate language learning . Some of my favorites are the ones that allow teachers to work with and test such skills as pronunciation, speech, and oral comprehension.

  • You can create an original video or audio recording and add it to Announcements, Assignments, Discussions, Pages, Quizzes, and Syllabus. To add your video, click the Video Clip icon in the Rich Text Editor to open the Media Comment Tool.

  • Students can also submit video or audio recordings for an assignment.

If you’d like your students to be able to submit media content online, when creating or editing an assignment, go to Advanced options, set submission type to Online,  check Allow Media Recordings box, and then click Update Assignment.

Here is what your assignment would look like after you have edited it.

For students, submitting a media recording assignment is a very easy process. To start, navigate to the assignment and click Submit Assignment.


  1. Click on the Record/Upload Media button.
  2. In the pop-up window select whether you want to upload or record your media comment. If you choose to record, click the Webcam or Microphone icon to select your tool,  then record your submission. If you choose to upload your media, select media type (audio or video file) and upload your submission.
  3. Click Submit Assignment.

  • VoiceThread external tool: A web-based asynchronous audio and video discussion tool. It allows language students to practice their oral skills and to practice as many times as they need before they share their commentary with others. They can also learn from other comments and shared conversations and thus improve their oral comprehension skill. (Currently, VoiceThread is only available in Canvas for SAS courses.) For more information, please check this guide.

  • Quizzes functionality can give you instant feedback on how students understand the material you covered, for example a grammar point they’ve just learned. You can set up “Quiz type” to graded (will appear in the grade book) or practice quiz (will not appear in the grade book). You can combine several graded quizzes into workbooks united by topics for the purpose of making grading easier as Canvas will automatically calculate the points. It can be done with Assignment Groups functionality. Quizzes also allow you to look at statistics and see what part of the quiz was most challenging for your students.  (Go to “Quizzes” tab on the left, pick a quiz and click “Quiz Statistics” tab on the right)

For more information on quizzes, see the online workshop on quizzes and about quizzes in Canvas.

Last Updated: 19 Mar 2014

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