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Warning when importing assignments with the same name as existing to avoid overwriting

Warning when importing assignments with the same name as existing to avoid overwriting

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I am an instructor and recently had a Canvas experience that cost me a few hours of extra work and a lot of headache.  I was trying to import a final exam quiz from a previous semester, but accidentally imported all quizzes from the previous semester, which included a midterm quiz. This midterm quiz then automatically replaced my existing midterm quiz which students have already taken, without any warning. After contacting the school IT team and searching online, I realized that this is a non-reversible action and the only thing I could do is to recreate the previous quiz.  I then had to spend hours to clean up and restore the previous midterm quiz since students have already taken it.  However, this incident could have been prevented with a simple pop-up window with a warning message. 

Here's my suggestion: When importing Canvas quiz/assignments, if the quiz/assignment to be imported has the same name as an existing quiz/assignment, there should be a pop-up window asking the user whether they wanted to replace an existing quiz/assignment with the same name. This will prevent the user from accidentally replacing an existing quiz/assignment, especially since this action is non-reversible. 

Thank you!

An Instructor from California State University, Northridge 

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Moderating


I'm sorry that you encountered this poor experience in the import process. New Quizzes are predicated on the assignment content type, so we've modified this idea slightly to incorporate that. (Our product teams are no longer developing new functionality on the code base for Classic Quizzes, which is scheduled for deprecation.) As your suggestion moves forward for broader discussion, you might be interested in supporting this closely related idea:  Import Course Content should always be non-destruc...

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Open for Conversation
Community Champion

I really like this idea.  Every semester we have instructors who unknowingly overwrite content, and if the edits had been done at a time where going to Beta or Test doesn't help, there's no way to get the content back once it's overwritten.  It would take a little programming, but it should be relatively easy to check if the ID number of the quiz, assignment, page etc. already exists in the course, to pop-up with a warning that items will be overwritten with a chance to cancel.  Any item can be overwritten with Import or Copy to, not just assignments.

Please also vote on this idea:  Undo Course Imports - Instructure Community (

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