Don Bryn

Simple tips when creating quizzes

Blog Post created by Don Bryn on Oct 15, 2017

It wasn't until after creating quite a few quizzes that I found a couple simple ways to save time.   So I'll share in case they can save someone time right from the beginning.


If you want to quickly check over the answers in a quiz:

  1. In quiz settings, check "let students see answers" and uncheck "show one question at a time".
  2. Preview the quiz.
  3. Submit the quiz - Canvas will tell you all the answers are blank, but click OK anyway.
  4. Now you can scroll down the page and see all the answers.
  5. Don't forget to go back to quiz settings and set the quiz back to how you want the students to experience the quiz.


To quickly organize questions in a long quiz:

When editing a quiz with a long list of questions, you can move questions more quickly by using the keyboard navigation buttons.


  1. "grab" (click and hold) the question you wish to move.
  2. WHILE STILL HOLDING the question, hit any navigation key on your keyboard.   For example, to move to the top of the page, hit the "home" key.
  3. Make sure the question is where you want it and let go (release the mouse).

This works for "home", "end", "page up", and "page down".  The navigation keys can move you much faster than the mouse scroll wheel.


For example, I was creating a long quiz and then adding instructions from question banks (for creating reusable instructions, see this post: Reusable Question Instructions).


The first set of instructions needed to go to the top of the quiz, so I could grab the instructions, hit "home", and release.   Much faster than scrolling the mouse all the way to the top while trying to hold down the mouse button.


The final instructions needed to go up 10 questions out of 50.   On the first quiz I learned that if I hit the "page up" key 8 times, I was very close to where I needed to drop the instructions, so for every quiz after that I could place the instructions very quickly.   Saved on finger-cramps too!


Whenever possible, use question banks for each quiz.


This is easier to explain if I start with an example.

All of my questions already exist in question banks.   I need to create quizzes that pull questions from various banks to match a textbook.  The real problem with this is that you can't see which questions you are selecting in the popup list, so you end up having to open multiple pages and try to count down to which question you need.


Slow, labor-intensive method:

  1. Create a quiz, click on "questions" and then "find questions."
  2. Scroll through the question banks and notice that there's no way to see which questions you are selecting on the right side of the selection box (unless you've taken the extra time to title hundreds of questions in your banks).
  3. Open the question banks in another browser window, select the question bank you need for the current question.
  4. Count down from the top of the page to find the question you want.
  5. Go back to your quiz creation page and count down the same number of questions you counted in step 4.
  6. Hope you clicked on the correct question. (You won't know until you're done and can preview the quiz).
  7. Repeat for every question you need.


Faster, easier method:

  1. Go to your question banks.
  2. Create a new question bank, titling it the name of your quiz.  Make sure you start your title with a space or underscore so it stays at the top of the list.
  3. Click on the question bank holding your first question.  (I usually Command-click on each bank I'll need so they open in new windows.  Then after I've selected the questions I need from that bank I close the window.)
  4. You'll want to add the questions in the order you want them to appear in the bank, unless you plan on scrambling the questions.
  5. Find the question you need and click "move/copy question to another bank".
  6. In the list of banks that opens, select the quiz bank (should be at the top of the list).
  7. As long as you continue to select questions from that same bank, you can move quickly as Canvas won't need to repopulate the list of question banks in the popup window.
  8. Continue until all of the questions you need have been copied to your new bank, then go back your question banks and select the new bank.
  9. Remove the blank or underscore from the title of your bank.
  10. Go back to quizzes, create your quiz.
  11. Click "Find Questions" and select the question bank you created above.
  12. Click "select all" and "No Group", then click "add Questions"
  13. Finished.


In my question banks I end up with a question bank for each quiz, with a matching title.  It's more banks than I need, but it solves the problem of trying to find the correct questions in a list that doesn't show any question text.


The main drawback with this method is that the questions are no longer linked to the original banks.  So if you update the original questions in the original banks, they will not update in the banks to which the quiz links.  This result is the same as if you had followed the first method above, which the exception that you will still have your hair instead of pulling it all out.