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Sharing Item banks is slow (and unnecessary?)

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My biggest struggle with using New Quizzes is that fact that item banks are not automatically shared with the Course-Coordinators of the course. I've been creating item banks for several courses and each one has to be manually shared with other teaching staff to give them the option to view or edit them.


Staff cannot even view the item banks unless they are shared with them. Why is read-only access restricted? They can preview a quiz that uses an item bank, but can't go through the bank to conduct QA on the questions. Surely all teaching staff assigned to a Canvas site should be given access to all teaching materials on that site?

I'm working with hundreds of item banks and the thing that really slows down my workflow is sharing each one with the correct staff/course. Every single time I have to use a search-bar to find the right people/course. IT IS EXTREMELY SLOW and surprisingly inaccurate at times. It never remembers previous searches and there is not way to manually enter the ID of the recipient.

The search-bar starts searching while you type and returns bad searches from the first keystrokes, before returning better ones. Each search is making a server request that takes several seconds each time. it requires screen focus the whole time, so I can't do anything else while it's waiting for the search to come back.

For me, I know exactly who I want to share these item banks with. Let me send their IDs to the server. Don't repeatedly fetch them every single time. It's a waste of bandwidth and my time. Or even better, make them automatically shared with any course that uses them.

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Community Contributor


I somehow only encountered this major limitation the other week (which is a sign of how low NQ adoption is at our school--they've never been used in a co-taught course).

A former instructor asked us to share their course with a new instructor. "Sure" I thought--I just need to add the new instructor to the old course, and then they can copy/export any content they want to re-use.

Wrong: I also need to manually share each of the 30+ item banks that make up the NQs in the old course. This took several hours of back and forth emails and painstakingly-combing each of the new quizzes to identify which item banks were connected to each, since there's no way to identify the relationship between an item bank and a course that uses it.


Item banks should automatically be shared with all course staff. There is no justification for them to work differently than all other content in Canvas.

It's inexcusably unintuitive that

  1. starting from your course
  2. navigating to a new quiz
  3. creating a new item bank

does not automatically associate the item bank with the course.

Community Participant

+1 to the comments from @SomeHandyGuy and @milesl 

I work in higher education and I anticipate these issues being a common occurrence, especially for our larger courses if they opt for using New Quizzes. We have multiple departments with ed tech teams of instructional designers and support staff who normally have editing (or at least view) access to this type of course content. Many courses also have teams of teaching assistants who are involved in revising and/or reviewing quiz questions and this would be an issue for them as well.

Initially, when they released the ability to share an item bank with a course (rather than just users), I thought this might resolve the issue. However, sharing with the course doesn't result in access being granted to subsequent copies. For example, if I have a course that's taught by "Professor X" in Summer 2022 with a team of 3 TAs (given the role of "Teacher" in the course site), create New Quizzes using Item Banks that are shared with the SU22 course, and then import that SU22 content to the shell for Fall 2022 with a new set of TAs, we'll still have issues. "Professor X" will have access to edit the item banks but the new TAs will not--and we'd be in the same situation Miles described if the professor ended up leaving the university. 

Sharing the item banks definitely becomes tedious, and gets even more confusing if you use item banks in more than one course. I've worked with instructors who have pretty extensive pools of questions, equating to 80 item banks just for one course, and I can't imagine trying to share each of those banks with her TAs or the course...just to have to do it again each semester.

Coach Emeritus

A related pain point is that sharing an item bank to the same course or to individuals within the course can only be done one item bank at a time. I just had to take two hours to share 80 item banks to the course they were created in because the original graduate TA had left. I also had to share it to the current TAs in case one of them happens to handle the course copy next term. After that I had to do a side-by-side comparison to find the 3 or 4 banks I missed in all of that manual updating (made more tedious by no ability to work in extra tabs or paste in multiple items at once). I probably still goofed up a few, but I don't have a fast way of checking.

I was grumbling the whole time and thinking up a list of far less user-friendly programs than Canvas that still give me bulk update capability. If intentional sharing is going to be required for item banks, bulk update capability is an absolute must. The developer who adds it will be a hero in my book.

I found this feature request and added my vote and comment to it:

Community Member

I too am running into major issues with how Item Banks function. As an ID currently migrating dozens of courses from another LMS I ended up in the deep end with Item Banks without even knowing it. I managed to navigate how to get questions into IB's (import test from old LMS as Classic Quiz w/ Question Banks, export the Classic Quiz, import back into Item Bank in same course, then create the New Quiz referencing the requisite Item Banks) but I can't for the life of me wrap my head around why Item Banks behave the way they do when it comes to sharing.

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