Setting up Assignments with Audio/Video Submissions in Canvas

When requiring students to upload a video or audio file to complete an assignment, it is important to consider the options available to you in Canvas, and use the tool most appropriate to fit the need. While there are a number of tools and options to choose from when setting up your assignment, some tools will be better than others for different types of assignments. It is also important to consider storage needs in terms of whether or not the submission is needed beyond the current semester, or if it will count against the student's user storage in Canvas.


Recommended for:

  • Lengthy video recordings (1 hour+)
  • Recordings that need to be stored/saved for future use or reference
  • Creating a class repository of submissions for all students to see (if used in Discussions)
  • Courses that require all videos to be captioned for a student accommodation

The Panopto video tool is what we use to host all lecture content in our courses. In addition to hosting lecture videos, Panopto is available to all users in Canvas, as one of the options in the Rich Content Editor (RCE). When students click the Panopto icon in the RCE, they will be given the option to upload and embed a video as part of their response.

To set an assignment up for Panopto video submissions from students, select Text Entry under Submission Type in the assignment settings.


In the instructions for the assignment, tell students to click on the Panopto icon in the RCE, and follow these instructions to upload their video file.

If you want students to be able to share their Panopto videos with each other, you can use the Text Entry setting within a Discussion Topic. When students share their replies with the videos included, they will be able to review each other's video submissions as well.

You can share our Student Guide on Recording and Uploading Videos in your instructions for students.


Recommended for:

  • Assignments of any length or media type
  • Collaborative assignments
  • Creating a class repository of submissions for all students to see
  • Recordings that need to be stored/saved for future use or reference
  • Courses that require all videos to be captioned for a student accommodation

VoiceThread assignments can be used in a variety of ways to allow multimedia submissions by students. They can upload audio, video, or other types of files that they can then record audio over in order to complete their assignment.

To set up a VoiceThread assignment in your course, follow these instructions under "How to Use."


Recommended for:

  • Live presentations
  • Lengthy video recordings (1 hour+)
  • Collaborative videos
  • Recordings that are not needed beyond the current semester

All JHU students have access to use Zoom through They can host Zoom meetings and use it to record themselves, but they do not have the ability to share recordings via a link to the recording - students can only use Zoom to generate a video file that could then be uploaded to another platform. If students use Zoom to create a video file, they can upload it to Panopto for sharing with the Instructor and/or class. If the video needs to have captions so that either the Instructor or other class members can view it, it would be best to use one of the other tools mentioned on this page.

Faculty also have access to use Zoom to host students for events such as a live presentation or oral examination: Zoom Quick Start Guide. When the Faculty Zoom account is used, these events can be recorded to the cloud, and can be shared with students via a link when the recording has completed. In most cases, these recordings would not need to be uploaded to another tool because they will not be used or needed for future semesters. If you do want to keep the recording for future use, it is recommended that you apply the necessary settings for it to automatically upload to Panopto when the meeting is over. 

Depending on your needs, there could be a few ways to set up an assignment that will be using Zoom for recordings. If you have questions about using Zoom as part of an assignment, please contact us at to discuss.

Canvas Media Recording

Recommended for:

  • Short assignments (10-15 minutes)
  • Recordings that need to be stored/saved for future use or reference

When setting up a standard assignment in Canvas, you have the option to allow submissions via Media Recordings. This allows students to submit an audio or video recording, either via upload of existing media or by recording themselves with the built-in Canvas recorder that launches when they start the assignment. Video and audio uploads to Canvas can be up to 500 MB, but the DocViewer annotations are not available to Instructors for providing feedback on this type of assignment. Additionally, media recording submissions cannot be downloaded.


Important note: This submission type should only be used on graded assignments. If students submit audio and video files for an ungraded assignment, it will count against their user storage and ultimately cause problems for them in your course or future courses.

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