By Jeff Schwartz, Instructional Designer
Canvas recently released an update on their current quiz functionality called “New Quizzes.” While you’ll still be able to use Canvas’s existing quiz function, now dubbed “Classic Quizzes,” to create quizzes through July of 2022, it’s a good idea to get familiar with New Quizzes now. This blog walks you through some of the most important features of New Quizzes from a pedagogical perspective. Learn more about the timeline for this update below:
New Quizzes (Canvas) Timeline by Office of Teaching and Learning
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of New Quizzes is how it streamlines the accommodations process. Right now, instructors are required to provide accommodations to students with documented disabilities so that these students have equal opportunities to participate in DU’s programs, courses, and activities; in practical terms, this often means allowing students with disabilities extra time to complete a quiz – something that New Quizzes makes much easier to facilitate.
When faculty navigate to the “Moderate” function of a quiz, they will see a column labeled “Accommodations” and a button labeled “Moderate.” Selecting “Accommodations” allows instructors to give a student additional time to complete a quiz, remove the time limit entirely, or multiply the time limit. These accommodations stay with the student for every quiz in the course up until you make any changes. On the other hand, selecting the “Moderate” button gives faculty the option to provide one-time accommodations to students by allowing them to have additional attempts or time for a quiz.
Needless to say, both of these features significantly streamline the process of providing accommodations to students, allowing faculty to focus more energy on their course content and less time constantly adjusting quiz settings for each student with an accommodation.
To learn more about the accommodations features of New Quizzes, you can read this OTL Knowledge Base article.
Item and Question Types
In addition to providing all the item and question types that are currently a part of Classic Quizzes (including multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essay), New Quizzes offers new options that provide opportunities for more varied, engaging, and user-friendly assessment.
Hotspot questions allow instructors to upload images, such as jpegs, pngs, or even gifs, and ask students to click on a specific area within the image.
This type of assessment could be useful across disciplines. Science courses could use hotspot questions to ask students to pinpoint the parts of a cell, while art history courses could use hotspots to identify artistic techniques within a painting. Moreover, hotspots can also be used for informal activities, such as icebreaker or bell-ringer questions.
The one caveat to hotspot question is their lack of compatibility with screenreaders. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility and hotspot questions, please reach out to Ellen Hogan, the OTL’s Accessibility Technologist for Learning and Instruction.
Stimulus questions give students a prompt containing media and/or text and link this prompt, or “stimulus,” to associated questions. A language course could, for example, include a text passage as a stimulus, and then ask students a variety of questions (all question types are available within stimulus questions) about the meaning of the passage.
From the student perspective, stimulus questions are beneficial because they aren’t required to continually scroll back and forth between the stimulus and the questions; the stimulus is stationary on the left of the screen while the questions scroll on the right as needed.
Ordering questions ask students to place answers in a specific sequence. Instructors create a label or category, followed by a series of answers. Students then use their mouse to grab and order the answers.
Ordering questions could be used in everything from a history course where students need to sequence the order of events in the French Revolution, to a business course that asks students to differentiate between the principles of macroeconomics and microeconomics.
New Quizzes also improves some of the features of already-existing question types. Instructors can now specify multiple correct answers for a fill-in-the-blank question. Essay questions have the option to set a word limit and display the word count. And you no longer have to create an “all of the above” answer in a multiple choice question; you can now designate multiple answers as correct.
One more advantage to all these question types (aside from essay) is that they are auto-graded, which helps alleviate faculty workload.
In the coming months, Canvas plans to roll out a number of enhancements to New Quizzes aimed at making them even more user-friendly and accessible. These planned enhancements include enabling the use Canvas’s rich content editor (RCE) for creating and answering questions, as well as the ability to migrate quiz banks (more on that below), print out quizzes, and automatically assign partial credit.
Like any software update, nothing is perfect, and there are a few aspects to New Quizzes that Canvas is touting as features which are more properly understood as bugs.
For example, the ability to use quizzes to create an ungraded, anonymous survey is no longer available in New Quizzes. While faculty at other institutions have experimented with various workarounds, we recommend simply using Qualtrics, a free program available to all DU faculty and staff, for any surveys (especially anonymous surveys) you would like your students to complete.
While converting a Classic Quiz to a New Quiz is relatively straightforward, perhaps the biggest gap in New Quizzes so far is the inability to easily transfer over Question Banks. This issue is apparently on Canvas’s radar and may be addressed in future updates. For now the best solution seems to be creating Classic Quizzes for each question bank, migrating those Classic Quizzes to New Quizzes, and then adding the questions from these quizzes to “item banks,” which are the New Quizzes version of a question bank. Hopefully a future update to New Quizzes will render this cumbersome process obsolete.
To reiterate, you will still be able to create Classic Quizzes through the end of June 2022, and previously created Classic Quizzes will be available to import into courses for another year after that – all of which means you are under no obligation to start using New Quizzes during Winter Quarter 2022.
However, if you have the time this quarter, you might think about getting some practice with New Quizzes by migrating a Classic Quiz to a New Quiz. You could also investigate some of the new question and item types to see if they will enhance or complement your course’s learning objectives.
If you are interested in meeting with an Instructional Designer about using New Quizzes, please feel free to schedule a 1:1 consultation.