Re-grading Quizzes in Canvas: Tips and Workarounds

“Can I re-grade a quiz question in Canvas?” It’s an excellent question, and one that doesn’t always have a satisfying answer. The goal of this post is to clarify what can and can’t be re-graded and to offer some solutions when re-grading by hand becomes necessary. It’s always preferable to completely preview your quiz before assigning it to students; sometimes, however, problems with a question aren’t discovered until students have already taken the quiz.

There are three types of questions in Canvas that can be re-graded: multiple choice, multiple answer, and true/false. Re-grading applies when you change the correct answer to a question. It does not apply when questions are added or deleted; deleting questions can have unexpected effects. It also does not apply when changes are made to questions linked from a question bank. See this guide on re-grading options for more details and step-by-step instructions.

But what about numerical answer or formula questions? Unfortunately, Canvas does not automatically re-grade those questions. There are a few options to consider in that case.

1) Consider how important the question really is. Will this information be assessed again later? Is it a small piece of a very large assessment? If so, you may just want to make like Elsa and Let it Go. You can quickly adjust scores on a quiz using Fudge Points in SpeedGrader. Or you can create an extra credit assignment and give everyone a few points to compensate.

2) Depending on the length of the assessment, you may want students to re-take it. After updating the incorrect question, you can add attempts to the quiz using the Moderate Quiz page.  (Note: this is also the feature you would use to add extra time or extra attempts for students with accommodations through the McBurney Center.)

3) If you are re-grading submissions individually, there are a few tips that can help. The grade by question feature in Speedgrader will allow you to choose which question you want to grade so that you can more quickly flip through the class. We always recommend muting the assignment while working on grades.

4) Another technique is to download a .csv of students’ responses to the quiz.  Generate the report with the Student Analysis button on the Quiz Statistics page. There will be a column with students’ responses for each question and a correct/incorrect indicator. You can skim this information to decide which grades to update in Canvas.

We know this isn’t ideal and are working with Instructure, the company that makes Canvas, to improve the re-grading options for the future.

Canvas Quick Start Guide – Create a course in 1 hour or less

Need to create a simple Canvas course?  This post is for you!  If you want assistance with a more customized design, contact us at CEETE.

Adjust your navigation.

Students need to know where to go in your course.  Canvas’ default navigation settings offer too many choices and can be confusing. Adjust your navigation so that students can see Grades and Modules.

  • When you have time later, come back and consider adding in other options.
    • The People tab will show students the list of who’s in the class.
    • Ultra Conference can be used for online office hours.
    • The Syllabus tab automatically creates a chronological list of published assignments called the Course Summary.
    • Taking Attendance?  Add the Attendance tool.

Why Modules?  Your content in Canvas doesn’t “live” in the Modules section.  Modules is the place where you can combine Pages, Files, Links, Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions in a single area.  Then you can still use all of those things, but students access them through Modules.  Modules can also be toggled closed after students are done with them to keep the necessary information easier to find.

Build from Modules.

Make a module for week 1 (or week 0).

Add items to the module. For example, add your syllabus as a File.  Add your lecture slides or notes as a File.  (9/27/17 edit: You can even add multiple files at once this way.  Hold down the control key to select more than one!)

Add an assignment. From Modules, you’ll be asked to give the assignment a name. Click on the Assignment name from Modules to go directly to the Assignment editor.

Repeat as needed until you have your content in place. It’s okay to put up a week at a time. You can drag items around within and among modules.  Or move items using the settings wheel to the right of each item.

Publish your course.

Before you hit publish, take a look around in Student View.  Make sure your modules and module items are published.

Students can’t see your course until you publish it using the button in the top right corner of the home screen.



Up and Running – FAQs for the First Week of Classes

Getting started in Canvas this semester?  You might have some of these Frequently Asked Questions.

Q: How do I put my migrated course materials into the course shell with my student enrollments?

A: Export your migrated course.  After you’ve downloaded the Canvas Course Export Package (an .imscc file), open your regular course shell, and import your course, choosing the export package from your Downloads file.

Q: I have multiple sections of the same course.  Do I need to update material in all those different places?

A: Not necessarily.  You can cross-list one (or more) sections into another.  Then within your combined course, you can set different due dates for different sections.

Q: Can students see my course materials?

A: You must publish your course for enrolled students to see it.  On the Home page of your course, check whether the Course Status says Published or Unpublished.  Before publishing, you may want to use Student View to double-check what students can see.  (Note: Kaltura videos do not display in Student View, but they will display for real students just fine.)  You may want to set availability dates on your quizzes and/or assignments.  You may want to schedule file availability.  Setting those restrictions enables students to see that the assignments and files exist, with any corresponding due dates.  It prevents them from seeing the content of the assignments, files, and quizzes.

Q: How do I take attendance in Canvas?

A: If your course requires taking attendance, you may want to use the Roll Call Attendance Tool.  You don’t need to set up the dates in advance.  Simply take attendance on days that class meets.

Q: Can I clean up or customize my Dashboard?

A: You can set your courses to different colors and/or give them nicknames.  You can also display only certain courses.

Q: How do I set up extra time or extra attempts for students with accommodations?

A: Use the Moderate This Quiz tool that appears after you publish the quiz.  (Set availability dates on the quiz before you publish it.)

Canvas Updates: Summer 2017 Edition

Canvas may look a little different if you’ve been away for a few months. Instructure releases an update every 3 weeks. Here are some of the highlights from this summer.

UI Changes

You’ll notice that some of the icons in Canvas have changed from solid to line icons. For example, the solid green clouds indicating that an item is published now are clouds with a green border and an arrow pointing up toward the cloud. Quizzes have little rocket ship icons. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but the functionality hasn’t changed. The default font size also increased from 14px to 16px to improve accessibility and text legibility.

Canvas Teacher App

Instructure released the Canvas Teacher app for iOS and Android. If you were using the SpeedGrader app, please install the new version.

Duplicate Pages and Assignments

Creating a course with similar structures throughout? You may be interested in these new Canvas Guides:
How do I duplicate a page in a course?
How do I duplicate an assignment?
(Note: Does not apply to quizzes or graded discussions)

DocViewer is the new Crocodoc

In Speedgrader, the Crocodoc tool has been replaced with Instructure’s own DocViewer product. DocViewer is still maturing, and updates are a priority for Instructure. Check the display of your slides and PDFs. In particular, it currently cannot display a combination of portrait and landscape pages within the same file. If you wish to disable the auto-inline preview, use these instructions.

Did we miss anything?  Add your comments below.

Making the Grade: Canvas Tips for End-of-Semester Grading

It’s that time again! Final exams are just around the corner, which means semester grades are due soon. Here are a few things to remember when using Canvas to determine and upload semester grades:

Grading Schemes

Are all of your grades in, but they’re not displaying with an A, AB, B, BC, etc.? You need to enable a grading scheme.

Don’t like the UW-Madison grading scheme option?  Click manage grading schemes and then Add grading scheme to create your own.  Contact CEETE if you’d like us to set up a departmental account-level grading scheme in Engineering.

Weighted Grades

Are you using weighted grades? To double-check, click the Syllabus tab (whether you’re using it or not). Your weights will display off to the right-hand side.
Create an Assignment Group (these are your categories).
Weight Assignment Groups (this is where you enter the percentages).

  • Note that the point values given to assignments will determine their weight within each category. Canvas does not allow weights within weights.  (More discussion here.)
  • Also, Canvas will let your weights add up to anything.  You probably want them to add up to 100%, so double-check this.
  • Verify that each of your assignments is in the correct Assignment Group.  Drag and drop assignments on the Assignments page, or use the settings wheel to the right of each assignment.

Muting and Unmuting Grades

You may have muted some grades during the semester.  Unmute any grades as necessary.

  • Students receive notifications about grades based on their notification preferences.  Depending on their selections, when you unmute an assignment, some students will get their grade immediately via email or text. Others may get it at the end of the day or week, or not at all. Set your instructor notifications. Point students toward this document to set theirs.

Unhide total grades

We generally don’t recommend hiding total grades.  (And our students have the math skills to figure them out!)  But, it is an available setting. Here are directions.

Missing Work

You may have noticed that Canvas ignores missing assignments. If your policy calls for changing those grades to zeroes, there are a few good options and one very ineffective one:

  • Recommended: Set a default grade for each assignment.
  • Enter zeroes manually (good for small classes).  To excuse an assignment, enter EX.
  • Export your gradebook, fill in the blanks using batch processes in Excel, and upload changes (good for very large classes).
  • NOT Recommended: The treat ungraded as zero option does not alter students’ scores. It creates a “what-if” view for you, so you can see what happens if you do change those missing scores to zeroes.

Curving Assignment Grades

Be aware! Curving an assignment in Canvas is not reversible. Before you do this, especially in a large class, we recommend downloading a .csv copy of your grades, just in case.

Faculty Center Grade Prep Tool

Woo-hoo!  You’re ready to enter your grades in the Faculty Center. They’re working on a button that will do that directly.  In the meantime, there are a few steps to follow.

First, if your class is small, you may want to enter grades directly into Faculty Center. You can even enter a default grade and then adjust from there if you like.

The Faculty Center Grade Prep Tool is meant for large classes. It will take your Faculty Center roster and Canvas-ify it for streamlined use.  See how it works and find directions in this KB document from Learn@UW. Watch the Overview Video.

Canvas Modules: Organizing your Canvas Course

When you develop a course in Canvas, you’ll soon find yourself thinking about Modules. Check out our KB document, Recommendations for Modules in Canvas, describing what modules are, some ways to structure them, and how to set permissions or restrictions to guide students through a course.

Before diving into the details and the how-to, you may want to think about the many possibilities for organizing your course material. What are the patterns that recur throughout your course? Is there a rhythm or a flow of work that you want to communicate through modules? Let’s explore 3 options for course organization: Linear, Topical, and Student-Driven.


This type of organization is probably the most common and the easiest to set up in Modules. Students progress from one item to the next. They can navigate using the modules page if you make it available, or they can use the Previous/Next buttons on each content page to move in sequence. You might use a module for each day of class or each week. You might have a pattern of Reading/Viewing/Lecture → Practice/Lab/Discussion → Homework/Knowledge Check/Assessment.


Depending on the type of course you teach, it might not matter that students work through the course content in the same order. You could make a module for each course topic. Perhaps you’re using the Canvas course as a file repository or course supplement. The Files tab lets you find your files in Canvas and organize them in folders. Unless your files are extremely well-organized, however, we recommend hiding the Files link from students. Instead, link to needed files in pages or as module items.

Learn how to restrict file availability by date.


You may be developing a course to meet students’ specific needs or using input from them to determine which direction the class takes. In this case your modules or module content may change throughout the term, instead of being fixed. And/Or you might want to set up collaborative spaces within the course. Did you know that any course page can be created as a wiki? That means you can set up a page so that instructors and students can edit it. This allows students to post resources for each other, keep track of information collaboratively, and be more engaged in the course.

Hidden Figures: Easy-to-Miss Canvas Icons Doing Important Things

In its attempt to be streamlined and simple, sometimes the Canvas interface can seem to hide important features right under our noses. In this post we’ll take a look at some useful icons you may not have noticed.

Restricting File Availability

You may have files in your course that you want students to access during a specific time frame. You can set availability dates for each file. From the Files page, click the cloud icon to the right of the file details. publish-cloudThis symbol means that an item is published. Clicking on the cloud from Files opens the Editing permissions window. There are now three options: Publish, Unpublish, and Restricted Access. Click Restricted Access and Schedule student availability to set dates and times.restrict-availability

 Finding the course menu from Grade Book view

When you click on Grades, Canvas takes you to the Default Grade Book View. To allow more space on the screen to show your grade book, Canvas collapses the Course Navigation menu. To expand or collapse the menu, click the “hot dogs” at the top left.


Muting assignments, curving grades, and messaging students who . . .

Also in the Default Grade Book View, if you mouse over an assignment, a triangle appears. Click the triangle to reveal a dropdown menu for that assignment. You can mute an assignment, curve grades, or message students who haven’t completed an assignment, haven’t been graded, or those who scored at, above, or below a certain score. (Muting an assignment allows you to hide the assignment grade from student view in the grade book).


Managing rubrics

To create, edit, or delete a rubric for your course, go to the Outcomes tab. (You can use rubrics to grade assignments whether or not you are using outcomes.) Click the  button with three dots in the top right corner, and then click on Manage Rubrics.  manage-rubrics

You can add rubrics to Assignments, Quizzes, and Discussions. If you are a COE instructor who would like to use a large number of rubrics in your class, contact us at CEETE for tips to make the rubric creation process simpler.

Moderate quizzes

To add extra time to a student’s quiz, you need the Moderate Quiz tool. This tool only appears after you publish the quiz. (Remember you can restrict the quiz’s availability to students before you publish.) From the Quizzes page, if you click on a published quiz, the next page will list Moderate This Quiz under Related Items on the right hand side.


Quiz Statistics will appear after students have taken the quiz.

Learn more about the Moderate Quiz tool.


Extended Testing Time in Canvas: Using the Moderate Quiz tool

Extended Testing Time in Canvas

Instructors have a responsibility to provide accommodations for students who work with the McBurney center and notify their instructors of their needs. A common accommodation for testing is extra time. Keep reading to find out . . .

  • how to adjust the time allowed for any student to take an assessment
  • how to give any student an extra attempt
  • how to see how long a student spent taking a quiz
  • how to add time to a student’s quiz attempt during the quiz

A note for previous Moodle users: You may have used hidden groups in Moodle to accomplish this task. It’s important to know that groups in Canvas are public. To avoid possible FERPA violations, do not create a group of students needing accommodations.

Quizzes are a type of assignment in Canvas. They can be graded or ungraded, timed or untimed. When creating a quiz, under options, you can enter a time limit and set the number of allowed attempts.

Continue reading

Resources for moving forward with Canvas

CEETE is here to help any COE instructor in moving to Canvas, but there are many resources available to you in this transition. Here are some resources that may help you.

 Recommended groups that can answer Canvas questions:

  • CEETE can help with any Canvas related needs between 10 and 4, Monday through Friday via, (608) 265-1178, or walking in to 2209 Mechanical Engineering (This option will be able to provide the most customized and responsive support).
  • DoIT Help Desk:
  • DoIT Academic Technology – limited to 1 hour of consultation support to get started with Canvas – email with specific questions and your desired timeline for meeting

Recommended online resources to answer Canvas questions:

Face to Face Training:

  • There are 2 face to face workshops available to introduce you to Canvas. Available dates are listed under “events” on the website

Additional Resources:

  • Help is available via the Help icon in the LMS
  • Search the Canvas Guides:
  • Chat line
  • Ask the community in the Canvas discussion forums

Where to find general information about the Canvas Transition Project:

Download this handy flier!