Should I use an event or an assignment?

Written By Mollie Page ()

Updated at June 3rd, 2020

There are multiple ways to post on the calendar in Canvas.  The two most common are events and assignments. This article will explain the difference between the two and help you understand when to use each.

What is an event?

An event is a non-graded event that appears on the calendar.  Events are helpful for sharing information, reminding students to do/bring something, telling students when/where to go.  Events should not be used if you want to grade or collect work.

  • Events allow you to enter location information.
  • Events must have a date.  You can create events with a specific date/time  or create an all-day event.
  • Events are specific to the calendar, so if you delete the calendar event, it deletes it everywhere.
  • Events can be assigned to the whole class or a specific section.
  • Events can be duplicated.
  • Events do not appear in the gradebook and cannot be set up to allow student submissions.

Where will events appear?

  1. Events you create on the Calendar will not appear in the Assignments page or in the Gradebook. 
  2. Events will show up on the Syllabus page and student calendars.

How do I add an event to a course calendar?

What is an assignment?

An Assignment is a Canvas assignment that provides instructions and a place to upload submissions.  Work can be submitted online through text entry, file uploads, media recordings, Google Docs, URLs, or Canvas pages. 

  • Assignments can be created on the calendar (be sure to select the correct course) or on the assignments page or within a module.
  • Assignments can be graded or ungraded.
  • Assignments can collected online or on paper or using an external tool such as Office365, FlipGrid or EdPuzzle.
  • Assignments can be assigned to individual students, groups, or sections.
  • Assignments can have different due dates for different individuals, groups or sections.

Where will assignments appear?

  • Assignments with a date will appear on the calendar
  • All assignments appear on the Assignments Index Page and the Syllabus
  • Graded assignments will also appear in the Gradebook and on the User Dashboard.

How do I customize assignments?

Which should I use?

  • I want to remind students of something - it won't be graded = Event
  • I want students to submit something online but I don't want to grade it or provide feedback = Assignment (ungraded)
  • I want students to submit something online and I want to provide feedback, but only mark it as complete/incomplete = Assignment (graded, display grade as "complete/incomplete")
  • I want students to be somewhere at a specific time = Event
  • I want to post it now, but not let students see it until later = Assignment (use available from option)
  • I want to give a specific student a different due date or time = Assignment

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