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All Places > Ideas > Blog > 2020 > March

For quite some time now, teams at Instructure have been working on a more scalable, robust, accessible quizzing engine for Canvas. Sixteen months from now, in July 2021, New Quizzes is going to be the out-of-the-box tool for Canvas assessments.


Transition Timeline

The transition from Classic Quizzes to New Quizzes is a big milestone in the evolution of quizzing in Canvas. I’d like to highlight other significant dates that are part of this process.


December 2020: Quizzes Cross-fade

This December is an inflection point in the “cross-fade” period where New Quizzes and Classic Quizzes live side by side. December will see two important events:

  • Content migration capabilities will be available for Course Copy and Course Content Import. I’ll share more details about this functionality later in this post.
  • New Quizzes will be enabled for all courses in all Canvas accounts.

The cross-fade period will help customers ease into the July 2021 milestone instead of everyone having to “forklift” quizzing activities from Classic Quizzes to New Quizzes in one fell swoop.


February 2021: Classic Quizzes Deprecation

In February of next year, Classic Quizzes will officially be deprecated. You can learn more about  deprecation in our Upcoming Canvas Changes document.


July 2021: No Student Submissions, etc.

July 2021 is the fulcrum on which this whole plan pivots.

This milestone of Classic Quizzes Sunset affects creating, attempting, and submitting Classic quizzes.

  • Students will not be able to attempt or submit with Classic Quizzes.
  • Instructors will not be able to create with Classic Quizzes.

Classic Quizzes APIs for creating, attempting, and submitting will be disabled at this time.

This milestone means that beginning July 2021, New Quizzes will be the only out-of-the-box assessment engine that can collect student submission.


October 2021: No Content Editing

In the three months after New Quizzes takes the reins from Classic Quizzes, instructors will be still be able to edit Classic quizzes and question banks. While the same content could be migrated to New Quizzes and then edited, we wanted to provide a window where instructors and staff could make adjustments in Classic Quizzes before migrating the content. Classic Quizzes editing will be disabled October 2021.

From October 2021 until the next milestone, Classic Quizzes content and information will be read-only in Canvas.


July 2022: UI End-of-life

July 2022 marks the end-of-life for Classic Quizzes user interfaces. At this point, instructors will no longer be able to view quizzes or question banks authored and delivered with Classic Quizzes. Student data will still be presented in the Gradebook.


July 2026: API End-of-life

July 2026 is the last milestone in Classic Quizzes Sunset. Five years after New Quizzes becomes the assessment engine for Canvas, Classic Quizzes APIs will be unpublished.

Please note that Classic Quizzes Sunset does not change current data storage policies or procedures. End-of-life for the user interfaces and APIs changes modes of access, but they do not change storage and archival.

The above timeline is fundamental to our plan for the future of quizzes in Canvas. There are two other cornerstones for our work—content migration tooling and development of critical capability for New Quizzes.


Content Migration Tooling

Content migration is crucial for the transition from Classic Quizzes to New Quizzes. You must be able to carry your institution’s quizzing content into the future. We are working on a very elegant workflow that seamlessly augments existing activities.

When instructors and staff create and prepare courses, they will have an option to import assessment content as New Quizzes. This option will appear in the Course Copy and course Content Import screens. With this option, administrators and teachers don’t have to learn how to use any new tools or screens. They can simply check a box to add quizzes, banks and outcomes to the course as New Quizzes content. 


Development of Critical Capabilities

We know there are many high-impact improvements that could be made to New Quizzes. We’ve had to be extremely focused when prioritizing work to be completed before July 2021. Plans are, of course, subject to change based on work of other teams and evolving information, but here are some details about what we’re working on in this space.

We are in the final stages of work on a partial-scoring option for multiple answer questions. We’re also in the process of validating Respondus Lockdown Browser support and expect that to be available in a few months.

As these efforts are nearing completion, we’ve started to ramp up work to improve the liquidity of New Quizzes data. This will include integration with Canvas Data Access and the Learning Mastery Gradebook.



There’s a lot going on over the coming months and there will likely be no shortage of questions and feedback. I hope this information can provide some structure for the conversations to come. The New Quizzes User Group will be a great place to keep the conversation going. Please feel free to ask additional questions in the group, and my team and I will be happy to respond.


We’re looking forward to working together for a brighter (more scalable, robust and accessible) future!

Hello everyone!


I wanted to take a few minutes and share some of the latest developments coming from my sphere of the Canvas product world. 


My team - known as the Learning Activities team in Canvasland - manages the creation and structure of a course along with any learning objects, including modules, assignments, discussions, pages, files, RCE, syllabus, mastery paths, direct share, course exports, and Blueprint courses. Whew, that was a lot to type. 


Needless to say we stay pretty busy, but here are some highlights of what we’ve been up to. 


  • In the very near future, instructors will be able to control the number of submission attempts on an assignment. This is coming in the March beta release.


  • We’ve got an auto-save option in the RCE that will recover your content in case you accidentally navigate away from the page before you had a chance to hit that save button.


  • In January we released improvements to the student workflow of assignments. In today’s workflow, we don’t do a great job of surfacing instructor feedback. Students have to dig into their submission details. But now the submission, instructor comments, and rubric are all on one page. Plus students have a better way to track their submission progress and manage multiple attempts. This is currently in beta, and I’d like to hear from more of you on what’s working or not working with this before we roll it to production, so please comment in the user group.


  • On the Syllabus page, you can now hide the auto-generated course summary.  This idea has been out in the community for a long time, so check it out if you’ve been waiting for it! This is available in beta today, and will be in production in March. 


The RCE is another very hot topic, so let’s discuss. We’ve got a chunk of work to complete before the July enforcement date, and I know there’s a lot of feedback. I’ve been reading it! Here are a few things that are top of mind:


  • We’ll soon allow Administrators to choose two LTI “favorites” that will show directly in the toolbar. We’re starting this work in March. It’ll look something like this within the Admin settings. 



The two favorites that you choose will show directly in the toolbar, and the other installed LTI tools will be within the existing modal under the plug icon. 

  • For those of you utilizing the Usage Rights feature for your content, we need to make sure that’s easy to do while you’re uploading documents, photos, media, etc. 
  • I know Kaltura is a really popular media tool for content, and we want to make sure that things are working as you expect before July. I’ll be reaching out to a handful of you via CSMs so we can get that right. 
  • In terms of accessibility, we’re tidying up media subtitles/closed captions and alt-text for images, whether you're uploading content for the first time, or coming back to edit it. 
  • We’ve cleaned up the Alt+F9 menu - you might find a couple goodies in there soon. 


I’ve made a goal to post quarterly updates, so as soon as it starts feeling warmer here in Utah (can’t wait!), I’ll be in touch again.

We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on the similarity score icon changes that will be going to production with the next release. Some questions have come up about how many different icons we display, the nature of the icons, and the purpose behind the changes. I’d like to address some of those questions in this post. 


What were the goals of this project?

Our goal with the current icon changes was twofold. First and foremost, we wanted to make the icons that we have accessible. The previous icons all had the same shape and were distinguished only by color. Second, we wanted to bring a bit more consistency to how and where the icons were displayed throughout Canvas. Depending on the integration method and the plagiarism detection provider, icon behavior could vary.


What’s changed with this project?

The three “bands” or levels of similarity scores have remained unchanged. The change for this release simply modifies the iconography to be accessible and a bit more consistent. This objective was the extent of this project’s scope.


What can be changed in the future?

We’ve received fantastic suggestions about how we can make our icons more useful by adding additional granularity. This is something we’ve been considering as part of a separate, larger and more complex project. Some of that complexity comes from the varied interpretations of similarity scores. Some users see a 30% similarity as unconcerning, while others want to investigate anything that is above 10%. Some see a very low score as a red flag, while others do not. Factors can vary based on class size, assignment type, subject matter, institutional practices, and a host of other considerations. 


Another layer of complexity comes from the nature of a gradebook. By definition we’re trying to convey as much information as possible to graders, while keeping the gradebook easy to use, navigate, and understand. Changing information that is being displayed in every cell of the gradebook has the potential to introduce something that will be distracting. We also need to be careful to always keep the actual score at the center of the gradebook. While other information is important, we want to be sure that the various status and icons don’t overwhelm the assignment grade that was given.


We didn’t want to wait for this larger project to be ready to make the similarity score icons in Canvas accessible. So we broke it up into two parts. This first smaller project keeps the underlying logic unchanged, and we were able to place it on the roadmap much sooner, with the emphasis focused on improving accessibility. The second project will be more complex and introduce more granularity. However, we don’t yet have a timeframe for the larger project.


As always, we deeply appreciate the feedback that’s been shared. If you’re interested in giving feedback on designs for the future similarity score project, keep an eye on the Ideas space for opportunities to contribute when available.