New Quizzes: Item Banks Management

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Released 19.6.2021: Release Notes 

New improvements to Item Banks will make it possible for Admins to share Item Banks at the Account to disseminate down for courses to assess against using the same set of items. Additionally, anyone with permission will be able to collaborate easily by associating an Item Bank with courses instead of only the user. Admins will be able to exert their super-powers by accessing any Item Bank, even those not explicitly shared, so that content cannot be lost. 


TLDR: Changes coming soon to Item Banks include: 

  • Ability to share an Item Bank with a Course or Account, with automatically inherited permissions to all editors at the course or account. 
  • An additional, view permission, to allow sharing of an Item Bank without granting edit access to the Item Bank content.
  • Improved navigation will surface Item Bank access outside of a quiz. The newly added link will navigate users to Manage Item Banks page. 
  • Easily find a specific Item Bank with searching, filtering and sorting on the new Manage Item Banks page. 


Thank you. Sincerely. The past few months, you’ve met with me virtually and added your thoughts to the community thread for Discovery Conversations. I know everyone is keen to hear what is coming next for Item Banks. We think we’re onto something good, but are still refining the user interaction experience. If you have a moment, try out a scenario and let us know what you think!  



Upcoming Feature Descriptions

View Permission. Adding a new view permission allows sharing of Item Banks for use in quizzes without granting the ability to modify any of the Item Bank content. If a user with view permission wants to change an item from an Item Bank, they can bring the item directly into the quiz and make adjustments to that instance of the item. Any way you choose to access the Item Bank, use the share icon, choose the share association, and select the view for the permission.


Item Banks tied to a Course or Account. In addition to an Item Bank being connected with an individual user, it is now also possible to share an Item Bank with a course or account.  Access to the Item Bank will automatically apply accordingly. When an Item Bank is shared with a course using the edit permission, then any user with course edit will be granted the Item Bank edit. When an Item Bank is shared with a course using view, any course editor can then view the Item Bank but not make changes.  Within the Item Banks share window you’ll be able to search for a course in the “Share with” search bar. Account share will be available in the share window only for Admins. 


Manage Item Banks. Provide faster access to the Item Banks so that management of access, permissions and modifications is easier.  A new Item Banks link appears in the course left navigation panel. Selecting the link will take the user to a new Manage Banks page. Inspired by the Item Banks slideout inside of quizzes, the page lists all Item Banks with contextual details such as creator, last updated date, last used date and if shared with a course, the course(s) name. We’ve added filters, which default to the context of where you’ve entered from. For example, If I’m currently in my geometry course, the Item Bank will initially filter to show banks shared with this geometry course only. Users can change the context to by selecting different filter options. Next is a search bar. If you need to narrow what displays on the page, you can do so by including part of a bank name, creator, etc… To the far right, there is a sort option which will show in either ascending or descending order Item Banks by useful data such as the last used date.

I’m hearing some other Item Bank improvement ideas which would be great, but these won’t make the cut in the upcoming release. 


Not Included:

Migration of Question Banks to Item Banks (although work has begun and this will be coming this year!)

The following have not been prioritized against currently planned work. Check out our 2021 plans and let me know if any of the below are more critical than our plans.

  1. Bulk Manage Item Bank content
  2. Copy Item Bank
  3. Add entire quiz to Item Bank
  4. Permission to define who can modify Item Bank permissions (currently tied to edit)
  5. Export Item Bank/ Share outside of your account
  6. Search Item Banks by tags (currently only can search tags inside an Item Bank)


  1. What happens to my current Item Banks which are tied to a specific user? 
    We are not changing any access to any existing banks. The user can modify the access rights. Since broader sharing (course/account) now includes inherited permissions, the process should be expedited.
  2. Will my question banks be tied to a specific user when they are migrated?
    Although this feature release does not include migrating question banks to item banks, we have begun the development. You can expect that a question bank which is tied to the course will be migrating as an item bank tied to the course. 
  3. What happens when an instructor leaves the institution; will anyone else be able to access the bank
    Have you ever noticed that your Admins are superheroes? We have! Even if an Item Bank has not been explicitly shared, we are providing a back door for Admins to use their special super powers and be able to see all item banks.
  4. Will I be able to share a copy of the Item Bank for someone else to use and modify but not change mine?
    This release does not include copy Item Bank functionality. Banked items may be copied one by one to a new Item Bank. 
  5. Can Item Banks be exported? 
    Exporting Item Banks is not included in this release. We have a collection of improvement ideas above. I would love to hear which items are more impactful for you!
  6. Will it be possible to separate banks by subaccount?We won’t support subaccounts as separate from accounts initially. These will need to be managed manually by coordination by admins at account level. There are some upsides and downsides to this approach. 
  7. Will it be possible for someone to delete access when a quiz is underway?
    We will disable delete while an Item bank is accessed by a quiz session. An Item Bank shared with a course which has been granted edit or view will be locked with at least view rights until the quiz has concluded.
  8. Will it be possible to accidentally delete all access and leave an Item Bank orphaned?
    Canvas Admins will retain access to all Item Banks via Account Level Access.
  9. Can I see the history of who has/had access to an Item Bank?
    Information will be shared with the Canvas Audit Log for historical reference. Share screen for current.


Some of you have expressed interest in hearing how and what information was collected from the initial discovery phase.  So, I'm inviting you backstage to get a little peek at the crew. We've met with a little less than 30 institutions. I wanted to be absorbed into your world and understand your perspectives as much as possible.  The following represents my interpretation from these interviews and our pathway toward resolution.

Defined the context of why you use Item BanksDefined the context of why you use Item Banks

Institutional circumstances for ways of sharing Item BanksInstitutional circumstances for ways of sharing Item Banks

Pinpointed the highest priority needsPinpointed the highest priority needs

Design sprints allowed the team to explore different ways to solve the above needs. Through these idea and design experiments we finally honed in on the following resolutions:

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