Canvas FAQs & Lessons Learned from Online Exams

Canvas FAQs

Example scenario:
  • All students have access to the exam on April 18 between 1-4PM and once they start the quiz, they will have 60 minutes to complete it.
  • Jen Test has special accommodations so she should have access to the exam earlier and also more time to complete it. She will have access to the quiz on April 18 between 12-6PM and once she starts the quiz, she will have 120 minutes to complete it (60 minutes more than the allotted time for everyone else).

A: First, you will have to set different availability dates for your quiz under the quiz settings. Click on the +add button to add additional exceptions for students with special accommodations. It should look something like below:

Next, you will need to “moderate the quiz” and provide Jen Test with an extra 60 minutes on her attempt.
  • Click into your Quiz
  • On the right, click on “Moderate this Quiz”
    (Note: your quiz has to be published in order for you to see this link. Make sure you’ve set your availability dates first before publishing. You don’t want your students to see the exam early).
  • Look for the student(s)’s name and click on the pencil icon beside it
  • Under the field “Extra time on every attempt”, indicate the extra time (in minutes) that the student should be given in addition to the time that everyone else gets. For example, if Jen Test should be given 60 minutes extra, then you enter 60.

Important: Ensure that the extra time does not go past the available until date set for the quiz. “Quiz availability dates still apply when moderating a quiz. If the Until date passes when students are taking the quiz with extended time, the quiz auto-submits even if the student's time extension has not expired.”

For example, in order for Jen Test to have the full 120 minutes, she will need to start the exam no later than 4PM. If she starts at 5PM, she will only have 60 minutes to complete the exam despite the extra time given, because the availability set for her (under quiz settings) is between 12-6PM.

A: You can provide an individual student or multiple sections different due dates and/or availability dates under quiz settings > assign to. Please see Canvas’s documentation on How do I assign a quiz to an individual student?

You can use the same method to assign different due date/availability dates for each section if your Canvas site consists of a merge of multiple course sections. For large courses, this is a great way to stagger your exam start times by section.

Note: the same can be done for Canvas assignments, please see How do I assign an assignment to an individual student?

A: Students will only get the full time limit if it does not exceed the Until date.

For example, according to the quiz settings in the screenshot below, students can start the quiz on April 11th anytime between 12PM - 2PM. Once they start the quiz, they will have 60 minutes to complete it. If a student starts the quiz at 1:30PM, they will not have the full 60 minutes to complete the quiz because it will go past the Until date (2PM). The student will only have 30 minutes and the system will automatically submit their response at 2PM.

Examples of when this is most commonly used: (1) Students with accomodations (2) Students who experienced technical difficulties.

A: There are two ways to extend the time limit for particular students and it depends on whether you are doing this before or after the student has started the quiz.

A: Changing the until date for a published quiz will not update this for students who have already started the quiz. The change will only affect the students who started the quiz after the change was made.
A: Unfortunately, Instructors do not have the ability to upload an assignment on behalf of a student. The workaround would be to grade the assignment offline. If it is a word document, you can use track changes in Word. If it is a PDF, you can use the annotation features in Adobe Acrobat or Preview. Once you have graded the assignment offline, you can upload the file back to Canvas as an attachment to the comments area so students can view the feedback once the grades are released.

A: A workaround would be to create a PDF document of all the images, properly labelled by question. Then, in your quiz, create a “text (no question)” question type and include the file attachment.

A: Yes, you can use the quiz regrade feature to regrade existing questions and the system will recalculate the student grades automatically. However, the regrade option is only available for the following question types: Multiple Choice, True/False, Multiple Answers. Please see Canvas's documentation on What options can I use to regrade a quiz in a course?
A: You will first need to create a Canvas quiz. Then, you can create a multiple answers question with only one answer option that will be the statement you need students to agree to. Students will check off a checkbox beside the statement.

If you want students to type the pledge out instead, you can create an essay question. Note: for this option, the system cannot automatically grade this question type so you will need to manually give each student a mark for this question after the exam.

You can choose to include the integrity pledge questions as the first questions in the quiz or keep it separate from the exam by creating a separate quiz. If you are using the former option, make sure this is accounted for when setting the time limit.

Please refer to this page for more information on Academic Integrity.
A: If you do not want students to be able to view their grade or attempt immediately after submitting:

(1) Uncheck the following options under the quiz settings

(2) Set your grade posting policy for the quiz to MANUAL before the quiz is released to students

A: Some instructors asked students to communicate with them through email. Other instructors created a Collaborate Ultra session and were in the meeting during the exam.and students can join the session when they have questions. Instructor feedback showed that these options worked well and students appreciated knowing that the instructor was available if needed. It gave them a similar experience as a face-to-face exam.

Lessons Learned from Online Exams


Suggestion: The following Proctorio exam settings are recommended to be disabled:

    1. Recording Options:
    • Do not use “Room Scan: Intelligent Scan” - students may be required to redo their room scan multiple times during the exam. (You can use “scan at start” instead if you want students to do a room scan before starting the exam).
    2. Lock Down Options:
    • Disable “Force Full Screen” - this setting requires students to stay on the exam the whole time, which makes troubleshooting technical issues difficult
    • Disable “Prevent Re-entry” - this setting locks students out of their exam for potentially benign behaviour, requiring administrative work by the instructor to resolve
    Note: Proctorio Exam Settings cannot be changed after a student has started the exam so it is important to verify that you have the correct settings before the exam starts (only Behaviour Settings can be changed after the exam has started).

    Please review the Proctorio Instructor Guide on the Keep Teaching website for additional recommended settings.

Canvas quiz

Suggestion: Canvas will auto-save questions as a student progress through the quiz. However, it appears that it takes longer for Canvas to auto-save essay questions. Include the essay question(s) as the earlier questions in the exam as opposed to later in the quiz, so students complete those first. If possible, ask students to copy their text responses into a word document as a back-up.

In addition, a warning appears when there is one minute left on the exam. Students should click on the “Submit” button when they see that warning instead of waiting for the system to auto submit for them, which could lead to certain answers not being saved.
Suggestion: Ask students to use Firefox or Chrome instead of Safari. As a best practice, students should always have more than one browser downloaded onto their computer. In addition, instructors can include a PDF attachment of the image in the quiz question as a back-up. Keeping image files to a smaller size will also help with loading issues.
Suggestion: For Classic Quizzes, once a quiz is submitted, it cannot be re-opened for the student. The instructor can provide the student with an extra attempt and ask them to continue where they left off instead of completing the entire quiz again. The instructor will be able to see both quiz attempts and can combine the grades manually afterwards. The timer can also be adjusted to only provide students with the remaining time they should have by using moderating the quiz.

Canvas Assignment

Suggestion: Provide a longer exam window or stagger your start times so students are not all starting/submitting the exam at the same time. If you have a large course and everyone accesses it at the same time, there may be a lag or issues with submitting. Have a back-up plan such as asking students to submit it to your email if they have problems submitting to Canvas.

Canvas Gradebook

Suggestion: If multiple people are grading the same student at the same time, the grades and comments may be overridden. Before everyone starts grading, plan how to divide the grading load between the grading team. For example:
  • Every TA is assigned a group of students by last name to grade
  • Every TA is assigned a lab section to grade
  • Every TA is assigned a course section to grade (for multisection courses sharing the same Canvas site)

Learning technology support

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