Canvas: Managing Question Banks for the current Quiz tool. (Not New Quiz)

The following information was gathered by University Academic Technologists in October 2019.  It only applies to the current quiz tool in Canvas.  New Quizzes is currently being developed by Canvas and may eventually replace the existing quiz tool.  The following content only applies to the current tool and will be retired once the New Quiz tool becomes a core part of Canvas functionality.  This article contains 4 major topics:

Using question banks 

Here are a list of canvas guides you will find useful for basic functions of the question bank

Naming question banks

The questions banks in Canvas are listed alphabetically.  You cannot create sub categories.  When creating a quiz with questions found in a question bank, it will be important that you will have named the banks in a way that makes them easy to find and easily visible in the "Find Question" window of the quiz.  The following are our recommendations for naming your question banks.

  • Create hierarchy in your question bank names by defining a large category and its abbreviation as the first question bank. 
  • Use both the large category abbreviation and sub category topic in the name of the question banks you want in that large topic. 
  • An example:
    • BD Biodiversity-General
    • BD-Biomes
    • BD-Community Ecology
    • BD-Ecosystems
    • BD-Evolution
    • BD-Population Ecology
  • Notice the first question bank name has the abbreviation of the large category with a space and the large category name.  This bank will list first, thus identifying the abbreviation of the banks that follow, and is used for any general questions 
  • The remaining question banks begin with the abbreviation followed by a dash and the subcategory name.  This keeps the names short so they are visible in the "Find Question" selection tool inside Quizzes but still allows you to organize as if you had subcategories in your question banks.

Understanding how question banks and quizzes are connected

Though you access question banks in your course under the Quizzes menu item, the current question banks function like a global repository.  When you add a quiz question to your quiz, it is as though a copy of the question is now tied to the course. Any changes you make to that question in the quiz will not be reflected  in the question bank.  The opposite is also true - changes to question bank questions will not be reflected your course quizzes. 

There are two ways to use question bank questions in your quizzes, and understanding the implications of each option will help you use the question banks to build quizzes. Option 1 is recommended because it allows you to regrade questions if needed.

Option 1: Find and add questions from the question bank to the quiz (Recommended)

(Full instructions to find and add questions)

  1. Create a new quiz.
  2. Under the question tab, click Find Questions.
  3. Navigate to your question banks, select the questions you want included, and choose if you want them in a group.
  4. Click Add Questions. 

When you select "Add Questions", you generate a copy of the question that is no longer tied to the question bank and can be edited independently of the question in the question bank.

Implications for Option 1

The moment that a student clicks Start Quiz, that student gets a copy of the questions from your editable version of the quiz.  This student's quiz is now fixed; any editing changes you make to the question will not show up for this student.  However those changes will show up for the student that starts the quiz after you've saved the changes.  

  • You can edit the questions inside the quiz, but those changes will not be made to the question in the question bank.
  • You can edit the question in the question bank, but those changes will not be made to the questions in the quiz.
  • You may have options to regrade the quiz.(only some types of questions can be regraded).  Adding or removing a question does not trigger the quiz regrade feature. Additionally, changing the point value for a quiz question also does not trigger a quiz regrade. Any changes to student scores because of those changes would need to be made manually in SpeedGrader, student by student. Carefully read the information at the link to understand what you can and cannot do for regrading a Quiz.

Option 2: Create a group and link questions from the question bank to the quiz (Not Recommended)

(Full instructions to create a question group and link questions)

  1. Create a new quiz.
  2. Under the question tab, click +New Question Group.
  3. Follow instructions to link that group to a question bank.

You have not copied yet any questions into your quiz.  If you want to edit or add questions, you will need to do so from inside the question bank. 

Implications for Option 2

When a student clicks Start Quiz, at that moment the quiz questions are copied from the question bank into that student's quiz.   This student's quiz is now fixed. Any editing changes you make to the question will not show up for this student.  However those changes will show up for the student that starts the quiz after you've saved the changes.  

  • You can edit questions in the question bank, but those changes will not be made to the questions in any students' quizzes.
  • You have no options for regrading the questions in bulk. Regrading is not allowed when linking questions because the question may be used in a different quiz.   Instead you would have to use SpeedGrader to view every student's quiz and make any changes to grading manually in each quiz.

 The problem with images in questions from question banks

If you have questions with images in a question bank and you add them to a quiz, the images may not load in some situations.  This typically only happens when many students taking the quiz at the same time, in the same room, over wifi, and the quiz is long with many or large images. Students taking the same quiz individually at home at different times do not typically have problems with images.

You can fix the images in questions that were added to a quiz.*  Simply follow the instructions on this Image Fix video (1:32).  You will need to fix every image in a quiz, as images with 

Find more information about the image issue at Dealing with Images.

*Linked questions with images are not editable and cannot be fixed.  However, at this time, quizzes with linked questions have not been tested in the situations where images have been a problem.

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