Conquering Canvas: Quizzes: An Experience

Sorry for the delay in posting. Good things take time. And I like to consider this post a good thing!

Using my previous post as a springboard, consider whether your course will use quizzes to assess student learning. If so, you’ll want to read this.

To save you time and stress, I am going to divulge three issues I’ve seen with importing quizzes and question banks and how best to handle them.

Issue #1: Building Quizzes from Publisher Question Banks

Most of the instructors I have worked with built their quizzes/tests/exams using question banks from a publisher. This process was fairly simple with Blackboard—you would upload each test pool/bank then use Blackboard to search and find questions to add to a test. While this is still doable in Canvas, it’s definitely not as easy as it was in Blackboard. The Canvas quizzing tool lacks the ability to filter the questions in a bank. Meaning, you can find and view question text in a given question bank, but you cannot filter the questions to only see a certain type of question or see questions associated with a certain category or keyword. This proves to be a problem if you’re someone who likes to import question banks and build quizzes/tests within the LMS.

At this time, the best way to handle this is to utilize software provided by your publisher to either 1) Build your quizzes/tests or 2) Filter out your question banks before importing.  Some publisher software allows you to edit the question bank. If your publisher software has this ability, you can make copies of a question bank and delete question types you do not want to see in the bank.

For example, I worked with an instructor who likes to use True/False and Multiple Choice questions on her tests. Since Canvas does not have the ability to find question types, I suggested we import her question banks already filtered by question type. In her publisher software, I showed her how to copy the question bank, and delete question types that she did not want included. The end result was two question banks per chapter, one with only True/False questions, and one with only Multiple Choice questions. That way, if she builds her tests in Canvas, she already knows what types of questions are in each bank and can focus on picking appropriate questions.

Issue #2: Importing Quizzes

This issue applies to both quizzes created using publisher provided software and quizzes exported from another LMS.

Earlier this semester, I had two instructors contact me that their quizzes were overriding one another. Fortunately and unfortunately, one course was being built for spring and the other was a current course affecting students. In the course designed for spring, the instructor was importing publisher exported quizzes that were imported to another course back in July without any issues. In the current course, the instructor imported quizzes exported from Blackboard. Indeed, in both situations, an imported quiz overrode an existing quiz by replacing or adding to the question list and changing the title to the name of the quiz being imported.

After contacting Canvas support about the issue, they told me that causing quizzes to override one another was a known issue on their end. While the issue was fixed in early November, how long the issue had been affecting users is unknown. In the situation where current students were being affected, overrides occurred as early as September.

The best way to handle this is to check your quiz and/or question bank after every import so you can catch issues before they snowball. Steps and helpful resources for this are provided at the bottom of this post.


Issue #3: Imported Quiz Settings

This issue mainly affects those who are familiar with and/or used to the way quiz feedback is delivered in Blackboard.

A reoccurring hot topic is quiz security and the best ways to keep the quiz secure but also provide performance feedback to students. For those who are familiar with the test feedback settings in Blackboard, Canvas has similar feedback settings, but they are less restrictive.

For example, my students have quizzes open until the due date. I want students to see what questions they got right and wrong, but I don’t want them to see that feedback until after the due date in order to prevent other students from cheating. Unfortunately, there is not a way to set this up without the instructor editing the quiz delivery details at a later date.


Resources and Solutions to the Issues

General Information

  • Be aware of file types you are importing. Preferred and more commonly selected import types are QTI and Blackboard 6/7/8/9.
  • Always check your content after every import, especially quizzes and question banks.
    • To check your quizzes:
      1. Click the Quizzes link in your course
      2. Click on the imported quiz
      3. Click the Questions tab
      4. Verify questions imported with the quiz correctly
    • To check your question banks:
      1. Click the Quizzes link in your course
      2. Click the gear at the top of the page
      3. Click the Manage Question Bank option
      4. Click into each question bank to verify the questions imported correctly
    • Take time to preview your quiz as a student would see it


Issue #1 Additional Resources

Issue #2 Additional Resources

Issues #3 Additional Resources


While this information may be overwhelming, don’t feel like you’re alone in this. If you have questions about Canvas, you can always check the Canvas Community or get it touch with me!


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