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Community Champion

Best practices for creating Question Banks

I have now created lots of question banks and about 3000 questions.   It took me a long time to become efficient and work around the limitations of Canvas's editors.   So I thought it might be useful to post here some of the solutions and save someone else some time.

1) Use an image hosting service.   If you need to use any images in your question banks, be sure to use an image hosting service (I use Amazon S3).  Using any other sort of links break down when importing or copying banks from course to course.   If you have thousands of questions, you will have to manually edit each question again to link to the correct image.

2) Manually edit your banks.   Question banks are just xml files, so they are easy to edit in any standard text editor.   If you learn a little grep searching, you can create banks of hundreds of questions in a fraction of the time it would take to create them inside of Canvas.   This works really well with banks of similar questions.  I cut about 8 hours from the process of creating a 1600-question bank just by using find/replace.

3) If you are starting from scratch, create one question in a bank Canvas and make sure it looks exactly the way you want it to look.   Then export the course (This is easiest to do in a course that contains nothing else).   Change the file type to .zip and unzip it.  Look for the folder called "non_cc_assessments".   Inside that folder should be your question bank file, though it will be named a long ID number ending with qti.   Copy that file to where you want to work (You can rename it whatever you want).  I set my computer to automatically open qti files in my text editor.

4) Edit your file.   You'll see the bank info at the top of the xml file, and each question begins with <item> and ends with </item>.   If you want to create a NEW bank, change the name of the title near the top.   If you want to copy your question, just select everything inclusive of those two tags and copy.   Then edit each question as necessary.   The answers to each question come near the end of each item.   Options have ID's which you can change to whatever you want, just make sure the correct answer matches the correct option ID.

5) After creating your bank, be sure to zip the file and upload to Canvas.

Hope this helps someone!

28 Replies

Did you remember to zip the file?   It will end up named something like:

I'm afraid I don't know anything about TestGen--if it generates qti files that are compatible with Canvas.

New Member

I followed these steps. When I extract the folder, all files are .xml files and there are no files in the non_cc_assessments folder. Any ideas?

Are you exporting and saving as QTI file?

Jack Zimmerman

Mobile: +1-469-662-6255

Skype: jczimmerman

The xml files NOT in that folder can be quizzes or assignments or pages, but the non_cc_assessments folder should hold question banks.  If you have no question banks in the course then this folder could be empty.

I think that is the issue. I have been clicking on Quizzes and not question


Stephanie Long

Educational Technology Specialist (ETS) - Middle School

518 N. Hampton

Republic, Missouri 65738

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Relator, Focus, Learner, Significance, Context

On Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 11:47 AM, <>


 @don_bryn ​ or anyone else in this discussion, have you figured out how to:

1. Export a question bank from a course so that it can be imported to an account or sub-account

2. Maintain outcome alignment with a question bank when importing from one course to another

We're trying to use Outcomes for institution-wide assessment reporting, and for those using quizzes more than assignments, these are two of the issues we've encountered.

Community Champion

1) I'm not an admin, so I'm afraid I don't know anything about accounts.  Perhaps an admin could answer that question.

2) I don't use outcomes (yet), so I can't answer this question either.  I'm sorry, but if I wasn't so busy this time of year I would play around and try to find an answer.

I hope someone else can provide better answers.

So. using Exam View works well along with the "Test Generator" ...?  It's just a matter of copy & paste into the "Add a Quiz" tab?  Correct?


Norman DeRosa,

You can actually export (most question types) directly from examview software and into canvas.  See the link below.  See my response dated  May 13th 2016.  I included several screen shots.    Also very soon I hope to have a class you can join with videos showing how to accomplish several  different imports.

Import test bank questions

Norman DeRosa

I just wanted to let you know I have the course up and running and have some content for exporting and importing examview  questions.  The link is below and I will be adding more and more information as time goes on.