Offline question/quiz database management for Canvas
I have created a database to manage quiz questions and I'm offering it to the community to see if there is interest. It stores all my course questions and can be used to assemble and post a fully formed quiz to Canvas using the API in about 5-10 seconds depending on Canvas server load. It save me a ton of time and gives me more control over the questions used and provides the ability to rapidly make changes to quizzes and questions. I created the database from the perspective of someone who needs a resource to manage quiz questions for my own Canvas courses. Importantly, I wanted to avoid the carpal tunnel-inducing clicks necessary to create a quiz on Canvas.
Some key features:
- quizzes exported from Canvas (QTI format) — if it can be exported from Canvas, it can be imported into the database, at least all the formats I've tried
- FileMaker, CSV, Excel, Tab data formats
- directly post a quiz to Canvas using the API
- export quiz and key to print
- export into most standards-based formats
Quiz question management:
- create quiz on Canvas with all settings available through the web page
- delete quizzes on Canvas
- questions can be tagged
- questions can be associated with learning objectives
- questions can be categorized
- all current (Classic) Canvas question formats are supported
- questions can have alternative answers and/or distractors where appropriate
- I created a few table-based question formats that load to Canvas as HTML
- figures/images are stored and associated with the question
- stores and can post general feedback for each question
- quizzes for an entire course can be uploaded in a single shot with all appropriate deadlines
- a date layout allows rapid data entry for quiz-associated dates
- database is fully searchable and questions can be flagged in a variety of ways
This is not a comprehensive list. If I wanted a feature and could figure out how to implement it, I did. I've provided two screen shots below of the two main layouts: 1) quizzes and 2) questions. I've also attached a feature log I used to keep track of my progress when developing the database if anyone is interested in the details, known issues, etc.
I am aware of Respondus, although I have never used it because I lean Mac. As such, I'm not aware of its feature set. My database was created using FileMaker. To use it, you need two things: 1) a copy of FileMaker (trials are available for download and some institutions have site licenses) and 2) download and install the free Base Elements plugin.
The database should be Windows compatible, although some of the scripts I've written may need to be altered because of hard drive directory structure differences between platforms — I'd be happy to trouble-shoot if someone is interested in providing feedback.
Regarding New Quizzes:
I reverse engineered the current QTI 1.2 format to import Classic Quiz questions into the database. Currently, Canvas does not allow New Quiz export. Moreover, there is currently no public API. Once these are available, I will likely add a New Quizzes format to the mix. However, once a quiz is uploaded to Canvas, it can be readily transferred to the new format using the Canvas backend.
A driving principle for me in creating my own database was control of my own data, not being tied to a complex XML format, and the ability to 'future proof' by being able to export the data in any format I need or choose.
So ... if anyone is interested in giving the database a try, see the Github page below. Please note that I'm not a programmer and I'm not selling anything. I'm only offering this as a resource to be helpful.
Just send me a note if you're interested.