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Community Member

Shared Question Banks


I work with multiple faculty members who are teaching the same or similar content across multiple courses and they would like to have shared access to large question banks. In digging around the forums, I think I've seen a couple different ways this can be done such as adding all faculty to a shared sandbox course where the question banks reside then having each of them bookmark the question banks so they're accessible within their individual courses.

So, my first question is, is this correct? Is there a "better" way of doing this?

My second question is this:

Is it possible for faculty who are using questions in these question banks to add notes to the questions which gauge question performance in a way that is viewable to faculty but not students? For example, if a question is deemed too easy for 1st year students in a program but may still be appropriate for 3rd year students in the same subject, is there a way for faculty to communicate that to others using the shared question / question bank?

Thanks in advance for any help and insight!

7 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @swhite3 , Here's some information that might help.

Is there a "better" way of doing this?

As far as I'm aware, no, there isn't a better way to do this. Yet, I'm going to share this with the Instructional Designers‌ and Canvas Admins‌ groups in the Community to see if they can help.

Is it possible for faculty who are using questions in these question banks to add notes to the questions which gauge question performance in a way that is viewable to faculty but not students?

No, there isn't a way to do this in Canvas, but it would be amazing if there was!

Community Member

On the first question, that's the way I would do it, unless you are sharing the question bank to all faculty in a sub-account, in which case I might consider a question bank at the sub-account level (with limited account-level access for specific individuals).

In terms of the notes, although there is currently no way to mark individual questions within a question bank, it is possible to create multiple banks with titles that students wouldn't see.  In your example, you could have something like "Subject title" "appropriate year or level."  In my field of chemistry, it could be something along the lines of Stoichiometry - Non-majors, Stoichiometry - General Chemistry, Stoichiometry - Organic Chemistry, etc.

Alternatively, you could create a scheme for titling the questions by difficulty.  Since questions are organized alphabetically in a question bank, adding a letter or number at the start of the title could help to keep them organized.  In this case I might have a number "0" for questions appropriate for any level, "1" for first years, etc.  For example, 0Stoichiometry1, 0Stoichiometry2, 1Stoichiometry1, 1Stoichiometry2, etc.

Community Member

Tara, Kona,

Thank you both for your help with this! Much appreciated!


Community Member

Hi Sean:

What about having the question banks shared in a folder in Commons? Creating folders by individual disciplines and share the discipline instructors (a named group) would give them a space to share their best quiz questions. I'd suggest that a vetting process be in place so poor questions don't clutter the test banks. Maybe a parameter to access these would be that an instructor has to contribute test questions first?


Hi Meg,

That's an excellent idea and would be a great solution. Unfortunately, my institution doesn't use Commons at present. Sorry I didn't include that in the OP... But, this is one more use case to let our admins know about in favor of getting Commons.



Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @swhite3 ‌...

I thought I would check in with you because I noticed there hasn't been any new activity in this particular discussion thread for almost two months.  It looks like you've received some good help here, and you've been able to reply.  Is there any one response that you feel completely answered your question and could be marked as "Correct"?  If so, please go ahead and do that.  If you're still looking for some help, however, please come back here to post a message so that members of the Canvas Community can continue to assist you.  I'm going to mark your question as "Assumed Answered" because there hasn't been any new activity in here for a while, but that won't prevent you or others from posting additional replies below.  (If you feel that there isn't one "Correct" response, we can always leave it as "Assumed Answered", too.)  I hope that's okay with you, Sean.  Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Explorer II

I still have this question, though on a smaller scope. I teach the same course in multiple sections with staggered start dates. When I move to a new edition of the text, I spend time "cleaning" the question banks, as quizzes are taken, by removing poorly worded or overly confusing questions from the bank and giving the poor student to happened to get that question credit for it. So now in one course I have a partial set of "clean" test banks that I'd like to use in the other sections. How can I move these so that they replace what is already there and so that I don't have to re-create the quizzes in those other sections?

In summary, is there a "master" test bank concept that I'm not aware of OR is there a way for me to replace all of the questions in a test bank so that the linkage between that bank and the quiz remains intact?

Please advise if I need to start a new thread/question on this.