Even in a fully face to face class you may find it more convenient t have your students submit their work online to save class time and facilitate grading and record keeping.  Assignments in Canvas, like their Blackboard counterpart, are how you create a way for your students to submit work digitally.  You have the expected ability to grade by points, percentage, letter, or complete/incomplete as well as making it an individual or group assignment. Some additional features Canvas Assignments offer that instructors will find particular useful include separate due and availability dates for specific students, groups or sections, designating the type of file for a submission, and a much more userfriendly peer assessment function.   

Be sure to use Due Dates so the assignments will show up on the Calendar and To Do list to help your students stay on top of their work.  It also makes it easy for you update your course because you can drag and drop assignments in the Calendar and Due Dates will be automatically updated. 

As you create graded assignments columns are created in the Gradebook.  This is the only way to create a column in the Gradebook as Canvas does not have the option of manually creating a column like Blackboard did.  By default, all assignments are placed in the Assignment group, but assignment groups can be designated to facilitate grade weighting.  You can create new Assignment groups as you create your assignments or add an assignment to an existing group.


Quizzes are another form of Canvas Assignment.  Like the Blackboard counterpart, Canvas quizzes consist of different types of questions, many of which can be automatically graded.  Quizzes are created by selecting the Quizzes index link in the menu and clicking. 

Canvas add quiz icon

Canvas quiz detail optionsThis opens a Quiz Detail screen that gives you many of the same features you saw when you selected Edit the Test Options in Blackboard such as time limit, availability date range, number of attempts, when students can see their scores and feedback, etc.  This is also where you assign the quiz to an Assignment Group (but you can’t create a new one here) and designate the type of quiz. It defaults to Graded Quiz.  A Practice Quiz does not show up in the Gradebook while a Graded Survey gives you the option to award points for survey completion. 

  • The Questions Tab – Unlike Blackboard, this screen also has a tab labeled Questions where you’ll begin to build your quiz.  You’ve got three options: 
  • Find Questions – import questions from a question bank or other quiz. 
  • New Question Group – this is similar to Blackboard’s Question Set where you can find existing questions and bring them into the quiz as a group and have Canvas randomly select the number of questions from the Group that you specify.    

Editorial Comment: Canvas uses the term “group” frequently.  You have groups of assignments to created weighted grades, you have groups of students to work together, and now you have groups of questions.  When writing instructions, it’s good to be mindful of this. Clarity is key. 

  • Canvas quiz question type optionsNew Question – this is similar to the Create Question option Blackboard had on its Test Canvas (I knowmore confusing terminology).  Depending on the question type you select, you’ll get slightly different options.  You may notice that this is not the same list of question types that were available in Blackboard.  For example, there’s not a Hot Spot question type that you used to have students select a point on an image as a response.  However, there is a Multiple Dropdowns question type and there is a Text (no question) option allowing you to provide a set of instructions, an image, or a table that students would use to answer multiple questions.   

The good news is that most of your existing quizzes will migrate from Blackboard just fine, most publishers also provide their test banks in a Canvas compatible format, and the enhancements in Canvas quizzes will allow you some new assessment options.  The bad news is that the quiz creation process is slightly different from what you are accustomed to and it may take longer to create quizzes. 

How does this align to Canvas training materials?

Canvas logoPriming the Canvas: Module 1 Getting Started with Canvas”,  Module 3 “Online Assessment and Module 4 “Active and Interactive Learning” 

Additional Resources: 

Our next article will highlight the Downloading Student Content from Blackboard before the Canvas migration is completevisit Canvas Blog to see all our Canvas articles.