Canvas Office Cloud Assignment Tips

For those of you who love Teams and the ease of creating cloud assignments for your students, never fear, Canvas has a similar ability. Here are some of tips I’ve gathered from working with you all the past few weeks.

You asked, we are answering, here are some tips for using Office in Canvas

Question: Do students need to log into Office 365 in Canvas? In every course?

Yes, students will need to log into Office 365 (One Drive) in Canvas in at least one course. It should then carry over to all their courses. It may require logging in again in the future, but staying on the same device and same browser will eliminate the need to sign in repeatedly. We also suggest adding their ISD email to their account settings in Canvas as this will act as a pass through for other account related issues. Once students are logged into Office, they will have access to their One Drive for uploading assignments, collaborations, and cloud assignments. 

Question: I’m trying to add Office 365 to my Course apps, it wants a key and secret. How do I get those?

Great news, like many of the apps in Canvas, we have already added it at the admin level! You just need to access it from your settings and navigation to enable it. Very few apps in Canvas will need individual integration, most will be completed at the admin level. If in doubt, check your settings and navigation to find where the external apps are hiding. Make sure to enable ones appropriate for your course, disable ones you do not need and always click “Save.”

Question: I have chosen External tool submission, but I cannot see Office as a choice, where is it?

The external submission selection box pops up and you have scrolled down, but seem to get no further than the “F’s” in the selection options. Well, as I learned from a summer camp attendee, you have to expand the pop up box to see the internal scroll bar (see photo). You will then be able to scroll down all the way to Zoom!

canvas external tools popup box

Question: What is the difference between a .docx and .doc file? How do I get my .doc to .docx?

A .docx file, or .xlsx or .pptx is newer version of Office document files. They tend to be smaller in size and more efficient for sharing. They also make it more seamless when creating a cloud assignment for your students to edit in the browser without the need to download. For any file you have uploaded to One Drive, you can see the extension. If you see the .doc, open it and you will notice instead of opening to edit, it will show this menu bar option instead:

Once you click on “Edit Document” it will initiate the change from .doc to .docx.

Note, that after you convert, you will see two versions of the document in your One Drive. I do suggest deleting the original .doc version to help avoid confusion. Now that you have your “x” file version, you can choose it as your Office 365 cloud assignment for your students. 

Question: When I use my test student to check the Office cloud assignment, I don’t see anything. Did my file not work?

Actually, your file likely did work, but your test student does not have an Office 365 account to view the document. While I love having everyone check their course through the test student’s “eyes” it will not work with external tool assignments. Your test student won’t have access to any of the external accounts. 

Question: Can I use a rubric in speedgrader for Office cloud assignments?

Yes(ish)…we have a workaround for that. Please check out a previous BNP post on the external tool workaround. 

Question: Can I add PDFs from One Drive as cloud assignments?

No, unfortunately, you can only include Office documents (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint). To have your students complete a PDF, Cayley Byrne found this really awesome workaround. “Annotating PDFs in Canvas” by Kelsey Ogg. 

Here are more resources from Canvas to support making Office cloud assignments:

How do I create  a cloud assignment 

For students: submitting an Office cloud assignment 

  1. This is GREAT. Thanks Stephanie



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