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New Member

Finding Questions / Organizing Question Banks

Hello everyone,

First, there is not a way to search for questions in question banks, correct? (i.e.: search function)

Secondly, we have courses that have thousands of questions and we are trying to figure out best practice for creating question banks for these questions so the instructor will be able to find a single question later on.  How should we organize our banks so we can most-effectively locate questions?

Thank you for your input!


11 Replies
Community Champion

That sounds tricky. I haven't found a good way to search for individual questions. I've used just a full text search (command or ctrl + F) on a question-bank page, but I don't have banks with hundreds of questions (i.e. those that would take scrolling to load).

As for organization. That's tricky. I think you really need to talk with your users to see how THEY think about the categories of questions (e.g. by course, by topic, by grade level, by mastery area, by frequency). I am a *huge* fan of card sorting when trying to put together an organization scheme for multiple users. I'd think about doing that with a sample of your population to make sure that you're not organizing them just how you think they should go and incorporating everyone's mental models.


LEA SUSAN ENGLE, Training & Outreach Coordinator - Canvas

The University of Texas at Austin  |  Learning Sciences  |

twitter: @UTCanvas

Community Champion

This is probably the number one question I get asked by faculty.  Unfortunately there is no easy answer to your question.

If possible, get a copy of Respondus so you can download the quiz exports. It is much easier to make changes in Respondus than Canvas. In this troubleshooting guide I have some tips on using Respondus. You can also print tests from Respondus or get them into Word document format for even easier revising.

Importing Question Banks Troubleshooting Guide

It is important to understand that question banks are just considered templates and there is no connection to the questions in the quiz to the questions in the bank. When a question is added from a question bank, it is copied from the question bank. Here are the most commons suggestions I offer.

Don't create questions directly in quiz - When questions are created directly in a quiz, copies of the questions go into question bank called unfiled questions. This not practical question management. You can go to the question banks and move those questions but it is easy to forget to do this.  I encourage faculty when creating quizzes in Word/Respondus/Textbook Publisher software to create the quiz in the same manner they want question banks organized in Canvas. For example, when creating the quiz only add chapter 1 MC questions or whatever organization makes the most sense for the instructor. Give the quizzes meaningful names so the question banks also have meaningful titles.  If you are creating the questions directly in Canvas, start in the question banks so questions are organized.

Don't edit questions in a quiz - Outside of the minor edits for regrading quizzes, don't revise questions in a quiz. The revisions only exist in the quiz and not question banks.

Add distinct titles for questions - If you aren't adding good question titles, you'll have a bunch of questions with titles labeled "question". This is not helpful when using the Find Question option in quiz. The question title is the first thing you see when using the find question option when adding questions to a quiz. If you use Respondus to import questions from Word, you can quickly add questions titles when importing them into Respondus.

Good news is that Instructure is working on building new quiz engine so you might want to add your comments on what is important to you.

Modern Quizzing Engine

Respondus link does not work

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@jbastos1 ...

The link that @snugent had provided worked before the Canvas Community website switched platforms.  Unfortunately, some links from the old platform don't re-direct to the new site.  Usually, if you look at the old link, you can get an idea of where the new link *should* point to...but for this particular one, it's not as obvious.  This is just a guess, but you might want to try going here: Partner Listing: Respondus.  And, this resource might also be helpful: Respondus 4.0 - Respondus...which is the exam authoring tool software that can be purchased to help upload quiz questions into Canvas.  I think this is the software Susan was referring to in her above reply.

Hope this helps a bit.

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New Member

Thank you for the input!

Community Champion

This came up in our call with our CSM today, and my colleague wrote this beautiful feature request. It will open next week. Please give it your support!

Community Champion

I forgot to tag my coworker,  @noah ​.

New Member

I used Canvas last year for the first time and now I am trying to use it again.  I created a test from a question bank I used last year and noticed an error in the question.  I could not change the question in the question bank  and I had to search for the past enrollment course where I had originally created the bank in order to change the question.  So, I was wondering if I should create a dummy course to put all my question banks in and book mark them, so all my tests are in the dummy course?  Has anyone else done this or do you have advice?  

Community Champion

Hi Melisha

As I mentioned earlier the questions in question banks are not tied to the questions in the quizzes. If you edit questions in a quiz, the edited questions will only exist in the quiz. That is what may of happened in this case but I am not sure. What you can do is export quizzes from one course to import into another course. I believe this will create a question bank in the course where you  imported the quiz. The guides below explain how to do this. 

Hi  @mccoskey 

We have several faculty for which we have created Question Bank sandboxes. If you bookmark the question banks, then they become available for use in any course for quiz-building.  This is a particularly useful technique if you have the time to label and organize your banks well.


Community Member

It would be nice if we could organize the quiz bank into subfolders such as practice quizzes, study guides, and exams. Maybe even a folder for homework as well. I suppose I'm going to have to be creative with titles for now.