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Gathering quizzes over multiple courses to one location

Hi. I teach a semester course and give daily brief quizzes. Over the five years I've taught the course, I've created/repeated these quizzes in each Canvas course. I'd like to have one repository for all the quizzes, because what happens now is that, before I administer a quiz, I go back into any of the previous 7 courses to find the one I need. Sometimes I find it right away, other times I'm looking for multiple versions (for different periods I teach) and I only find one. If all the quizzes I have created were housed in one place, my life would be much easier.

Last year our IT person suggested I upload the quizzes to the commons. I painstakingly did that, and I renamed each quiz so that I would know exactly which type of quiz it was, etc. This system is not working, for a couple of reasons: 

1) The quizzes in the commons aren't organized in any way (that I can tell). I have to scroll down every time to find the one I want.

2) When I import the quizzes to a new course, I lose the nomenclature I worked so hard to establish when I put them in the commons in the first place. They default to their original titles, and then I have to go in an change the titles.

3) I can't download more than one commons quiz at a time? Is this true?

4) I can't see the quiz questions before downloading them from the commons to a course.

A colleague had an idea: that I should create a "dummy" course and put all the quizzes from the old courses there. That was my new plan and I started working on it today. Now I have 200+ quizzes in the "dummy course" under "Assignment Quizzes", but I can't organize or sort them in a meaningful way (and there are lots of duplicates, so I'd like to sort alphabetically and eliminate the dupes). Furthermore, having them all in one place is only really helpful if I can group them or sort them alphabetically. I don't want to have to scroll through 200+ every time. My goal would be to group them and move them over in bunches as we work our way through the material.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't think the question bank is a great option for me, because these are five question quizzes and it seems like it wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Thanks in advance. I feel like what I want is pretty simple but I can't figure out a way to do it that a) won't take forever and b) result in a system I can actually use.

4 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there,  @tbower  Thank You for posting your question and explaining what you are currently doing with quizzes ... including the things you've tried so far.  The first thing I thought of as I was reading your posting was to also create a "sandbox" course (or what you called a "dummy" course).  This would allow you to house any and all of your quizzes in one course shell and pull them into each course as need via the Course Import Tool (How do I select specific content as part of a course import?).  But, as you've indicated, it's a bit of a challenge to organize the quizzes into meaningful groups so that you'd be able to find things easily.  Here are a couple things I can think of that might help in organization...

  • You mentioned that in the "dummy" course, all your quizzes showed up under an "Assignments Quizzes" category on your "Quizzes" page.  Those same quizzes also show up on your "Assignments" page of the "dummy" course.  So, you could (if you wanted) create Assignment Groups to help organize these quizzes.  Normally, Assignment Groups are used for things like weighted grading, but you could use it more for organization if you wanted.
  • Another similar option would be to use the "Modules" page of your course.  Create modules such as "Lesson 1", "Lesson 2", "Lesson 3", etc. (or whatever you want to call them), and then add the quizzes into each of those modules...organizing them as you want.  How do I add assignment types, pages, and files as module items? 
  • A third option might be to use some kind of naming scheme for each of your quizzes.  For example, you might have something like:
    • Lesson 1: Quiz 1
    • Lesson 1: Quiz 2
    • Lesson 2: Quiz 3

Would any of those ideas work for you?

You had a couple other questions I wanted to address about Canvas Commons:

3) I can't download more than one commons quiz at a time? Is this true?

Correct.  You can only import one quiz at a time from Canvas Commons into your own course(s).

4) I can't see the quiz questions before downloading them from the commons to a course.

Perfect timing here, Therese!  Do you happen to follow or read through the Canvas Release Notes which are published every three weeks?  Today, Canvas released Canvas Commons previews!  Check out this section of the Release Notes.  You may not see this feature enabled yet at your school, however.  What you'll need to do is reach out to your school's local Canvas administrator.  They will need to go to Commons, click on the "Admin" tab at the top of the Commons screen, and then flip the toggle switch for the new option, "Enable Resource Previews BETA".  This will allow anyone at your school to see the new Commons interface which is described in the Release Notes link I've provided for you.

I hope some of these suggestions may be helpful to you!

Thank you for your responses. I had actually thought of putting the quizzes in groups in the Assignments section and am working on that now. However, I'm wondering if I'd be better off putting them in Modules. Can you think of an advantage of doing one over the other, specifically in terms of organization and importing to new courses?

(ETA: I think I may have answered my own question. I believe in the "sandbox" course I want to keep the regular course content in the modules I have already set up separate from the quizzes. In addition, when I just did a practice import from my sandbox course into my current course, I noticed that I can only import whole modules, whereas items in the Assignments section can be imported one at a time. That sounds more flexible to me.)

Glad to know the material in the commons will be previewable (although I still don't think that's a workable system for me's the lack of sorting/grouping in the commons that is most problematic for my purposes). Thanks for sharing the info.

Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @tbower ...

As you have been uploading your quizzes to Canvas Commons, have you been taking advantage of tagging your quizzes with keywords?  That is certainly one way that you can make your searches tagging quizzes with words that will help you find what you're looking for right away.  Check out the "Add Metadata" section (about half-way down the page) of How do I share a resource to Commons?.  Hoping this additional info might be helpful to you.

Community Champion

Hi  @tbower ‌

I’ve used a course specific for housing questions, specifically in banks separated by topics. The reason is to use the bookmark feature. When in a different course, then I can select banks and the bookmarked banks will show. 

The reason that I stopped is because importing into failed with this configuration. It was easy to simply copy the banks into the current course. 

This is how the banks are separated. 

U1 L1 Syllabus

U1 L2 Policies

U1 L3 Lab Safety

U2 L1 What is Physics?

U2 L2 ....


It’s similar to the other suggestion with a bonus of checking a balance of question types.