Download All Canvas Submission Comments In Bulk!

I teach a variety of courses where I give comments to students that I sometimes like to re-use or modify for the next semester (Typically combining with a tool like TextExpander). Recently I created a course with about 25 different assignments, and I wanted to be able to download all of the submission comments. But given 25 assignments and 36 students (e.g., 900 comments), I didn’t want to do this manually!

Thankfully a great solution exists. Bsiever over on the Canvas Community forums provides a link to a python script that will do the heavy lifting for you. Here’s all I had to do this morning:

  1. Use Homebrew on my Mac to install Python (I hadn’t needed it on this machine yet)
  2. Request an API key through my school’s Canvas instance (Instructions here)
  3. Modify the script to add my API URL, Key, and the Course ID (I got the course ID by looking at the web URL / address at the top of my browser when going to my Canvas course)
  4. Run the script, dumping it to a text file (I named the script “”, so I ran “python3 > comments.txt” in my terminal window.
  5. I then used Excel’s “Get Data” power query tool (first button on the Data tab) to load the text file. It figured out columns and in a few seconds, I had this:

Now I have an easy searchable archive of my comments! And it saved myself or a graduate assistant probably around 30 hours of having to open each assignment and copy and paste!

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