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With the Google Assignment external tool, students can either create a Google file (Doc, Sheet, or Presentation) to submit, or the instructor can attach a Google file that acts as a template for a student’s assignment submission. Each student received their own copy of the attached file. These files are stored in a Google Drive folder called Assignments, which is generated in each student’s Drive, along with the Instructor’s. Submissions can be graded in SpeedGrader, with annotations and comments made directly in the Google file.
Note that, while a Canvas rubric can be added to a Google Assignment, the rubric must be added before the assignment is set to use an external tool. Students can view the rubric in the assignment details page (accessed through their Grades page), and instructors can view the rubric in SpeedGrader.

  1. Create a new assignment with the +Assignment button.
  2. Name the assignment, enter a point value and a due date. Since your students may be new to using Google files through Canvas, we recommend adding a short explanation to your assignment description.
  3. The next step is to select the Google Assignment LTI as an external tool for your assignment. However, once you do this the Canvas interface changes and you can no longer access the +Rubric button. If you want to use a rubric in SpeedGrader, you need to save your new assignment before applying the LTI selection. If you don’t need a rubric, go directly to step 7.

Adding a rubric

  1. In the Submission Type menu, select any option other than External Tool, and save your assignment. This is a temporary setting so you can save the assignment and return to the Assignment Details screen.
  2. In the saved assignment Details tab, select the +Rubric button and add your rubric.
  3. After saving the rubric to your assignment, select the assignment Edit button.
New assignment description field with information on using a Google Assignment.
Assignment submission type set to
Saved assignment with the +Rubric button highlighted.

Complete the Google Assignment settings

  1. In the Submission Type menu, select External Tool.
  2. Select the Find button and then scroll to Google Assignments LTI.
  3. A pop-up window will appear asking you to sign in to your PSU Google account.
  4. After you sign in, a new popup window will open with the Google Assignment setting options.
External Tool menu with Google Assignments selected.
Google sign-in popup window.
  • Check plagiarism. This compares student submissions with Google’s content database.
  • Attach a file. This file will be distributed to each student as their own copy in their Google Drive. This can be a worksheet or other assignment resource, and can be a Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide. You can also create a new file to attach.
  • Grade in Google Assignments or SpeedGrader. If you use the Canvas gradebook you’ll want to grade in SpeedGrader. Grades input to the Google Assignment interface will be seen by students but don’t transfer to Canvas.
Google Assignment setting screen with options highlighted.
  1. After choosing your settings, select the Create button.
  2. The Google popup window will close and you’ll see the Canvas Configure External Tool menu again. Use the Select button to create your LTI link and close the menu. Important: do not use the small X in the upper right corner to close this menu. It will close, but no LTI link to Google will be created. In that event, delete the Canvas assignment and start over.
  3. Complete the Canvas settings for the assignment, including number of submission attempts and due date. Then choose Save.
External tool menu with Select button highlighted

Grading a Google Assignment

  1. The Canvas assignment screen will show the description field and, below it, a button to Launch Google assignment in a new window. You'll also see buttons to edit the assignment or launch SpeedGrader.
  2. Once students have submitted their Google files, you can view submissions and plagiarism reports by selecting the Load Google Assignment in a new window button. When you select a student’s name, a popup window appears with a link to their file.
  3. If a student’s report has any flagged passages, select that link to view details in a sidebar.
  4. To view and grade submissions in SpeedGrader, open the assignment in Canvas and then select the SpeedGrader button. You don’t need to launch the Google Assignment, the student files will appear in the Canvas Document Viewer.
Google Assignment submision list.
Student originality report sidebar.

This article was last updated on Oct 14, 2022 @ 5:00 pm.