How do I add questions from previous quizzes to a question bank?
You first export the existing quiz(zes) and then you import it back into Canvas as a question bank.
A couple of notes and warnings are required. Most of these are warnings about working on a live course with published assignments.
If you created your questions inside Canvas, they may already be in a question bank called "Unfiled questions." This is where new questions go when you create them. You may be able to manage your question banks and just move them from "Unfiled Questions" to where you want them to be.
There is a caveat here -- only the original version of the question goes into the question bank, if you go back and edit it, the question bank is not updated. This would be a good reason to use the method explained above.
Here are some documents from the Canvas Instructor Guide about how to manage question banks.
The second warning is that using the method explained at the top is that it will copy the questions from the quiz to a question bank, but it ignores the "Default question bank" specified in step 2 and it creates a question bank with the same name as the original quiz that you're exporting. If you specify multiple quizzes to export, then come through with the original names and separate banks for each quiz rather than one combined bank like you might think. You can use the links about managing question banks to combine them if needed.
The third, and probably most important warning, is that the import also creates a copy of the quiz itself. If you're importing it back into the same course that you exported it from, then you end up with two identically named quizzes and one question bank. The quiz settings are the same as well, which means that if the original quiz was published, the second one will be as well and students may be confused if you don't act quickly to delete the duplicate version of the quiz.
Since the quizzes have the same name, it's difficult to tell which one is the one that has been taken and which one is the new one. I tell by hovering my mouse over the assignment name and looking at the URL. The new one will have a higher ID number at the end of it and so that's the one to get rid of. If you delete the wrong one, Canvas does not tell you that there are grades for this assignment and the grades for it are gone as well.
If you are working with a live course and published assignments, you are strongly encouraged to import the quizzes into a sandbox course.
Once you have managed the question banks, then you can follow the instructions for importing a question bank from one course into another.
If you don't have access to a separate sandbox course, you may have to ask your Canvas Admin to create one for you.
There is a work-around if you cannot get a separate sandbox, but it is going to be more difficult and involve larger files. You can use your beta instance of Canvas. If your Canvas instance is xxxx.instructure.com then the beta instance is xxxx.beta.instructure.com. Your main instance gets copied over here every weekend so you can play around in the beta instance to see what will happen. There is also a test instance at xxxx.test.instructure.com that is updated only when a new release of Canvas is made and it tends to run a little faster than the beta instance does. What you do in test and beta aren't shown to the students (they could go in, but most don't know about it) and your changes in assignments don't get pushed to them. It would be okay to have duplicate versions of the quizzes here and you could use it to just create your question banks. The test and beta instances will be destroyed during the next cycle (release or week), so don't use the beta instance on a Saturday.
Note that if you use the beta or test instance instead of a sandbox, that you cannot copy content directly between instances. This means that explanation of how to copy content from one course to another does not work. Instead, you'll have to export the entire course from the beta/test instance rather than just a quiz. Then, in the import process, instead of choosing "Copy a Canvas Course" you select "Canvas Course Export Package." You can then upload the course that you downloaded and continue to select just the question bank.
Final note: As I was testing some of what I was telling you in my beta instance, Canvas kicked into maintenance mode. I warned about trying to use beta on a Saturday.
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