Canvas LMS is one of the most popular Learning Management System around the world but it doesn't allow users to import their Word document to create a question bank. In this article, we will show you four different ways you can import your Word document quiz into Canvas as a question bank.

Method One: SDSU Text-to-QTI tool

To import a question bank, Canvas accepts a variety of format, but Word document is not one of them. So the strategy is to convert your Word document quiz into an intermediary format first. Luckily, San Diego State University has a free tool that helps instructors convert text files into QTI, which Canvas accepts. Thus, we will be first converting your Word document into a text file.

The text-to-qti tool from SDSU requires that you format your text file in a specific way. This is very easy to do and you need only make some some minor changes to your Word document.

Here's a sample of the expected format demand by SDSU's tool.
4. Discuss the benefits of maintaining a current account surplus. 3. Which of the following are states in the US? [*] California [] Puerto Rico [] Seattle [*] Alaska 2. There are 52 states in the US. a) True *b) False 1. what colour is the sky? *a) Blue b) Red c) Orange

Formatting Instructions for SDSU Text-To-QTI Converter

Every question needs to start with a number followed by a dot. The number is not the question number, instead it is the question type. 1. is MCQ, 2. is True/False, 3. is Multiple Response Question (MRQ), 4. is Essay.

To define the correct answer:
  • True/False Question (2) and MCQ (1) - you create choices by using a single alphabet following by a right parenthesis. you annotate the answers by adding an asterisk to the left of the option.
  • MRQ (3) - you add asterisk into the square bracket that is the correct options.
  • Essay Question (4) - as it is not machine gradable, no answer needs to be provided.

And that's it! That's all you need to know to begin amending your quizzes into the require format. Once you have made changes to the question in your Word document. You can save your Word document as a ".txt" file and upload it into the converter to receive the QTI file.

You can find SDSU text-to-qti converter here.

For Tech Savvy Readers

SDSU's text-to-qti converter is actually an open-source project on github that you can run on your on desktop if you are familiar with Python Programming. It probably will only take 15 mins to get everything running.

The github page also contains a lot more instruction as to how to define a valid text file. It you are facing difficulties despite this writeup, you should definitely consider reading through the github page.

Method Two: Using Blackboard Quiz Generator

If you are unsatisfied with the method above, there's an alternative method which is also free to use.

Oklahoma Christian University has a free Blackboard Quiz Generator that generates a Blackboard Pools zip file from text. As with SDSU's text-to-qti tool, the OCU's tool also require your text to be formatted in a certain way. The tool supports 6 different type of questions, 2 more than SDSU's. They are:

  • Multiple choice question
  • Multiple response question
  • True/False
  • Essay
  • Fill in the blank
  • Matching
For instructions on how to construct your question text for OCU's tool, they have examples on their site. It's easy and very similar to SDSU's tool, so we will not cover it in this article. The challenge comes after you have generated the Blackboard Pools zip file. Canvas doesn't not have any native capability to import Blackboard Pools zip file directly, it can only import Blackboard Course Content zip file.

So the trick here is to leverage the free Moodle LMS Demo site to do an additional conversion. You can access Moodle's Demo site without registering any account whatsoever. Click on Moodle Sandbox and login. Select any course that is presented in front of you.

moodle lms settings gear icon

From the course page, click on the Gear icon located at the top right of page. You should see the dropdown menu appear like in the screenshot above. Click on More...
Additional features inside Moodle Course Page

Then scroll down and click on Import.
Moodle import question bank

In the import page, Select Blackboard and upload the generated Blackboard Pools file. After it's successfully imported, click on Export tab.
Moodle export question bank

And export your question bank as a GIFT file.

A GIFT file a text based file format created by Moodle to represent quiz data that is both human readable and writable. With the newly exported GIFT file from Moodle, there is a free GIFT-to-QTI tool that you can use to convert your GIFT file into QTI 1.2 zip file. Open your GIFT file with notepad and copy and paste the content into the GIFT-to-QTI tool. The resulting QTI 1.2 zip file is importable directly by Canvas.

That's it! Now you have your quiz in Canvas. This is the summary of the flow:
Word -> text -> Blackboard Pools zip file -> GIFT file -> QTI 1.2 zip file -> Canvas

Admittedly this is a very roundabout way. But if you dislike SDSU's style of text formatting, this is the only other free way to get your quiz into Canvas starting from a Word document.

Method Three: Moodle 1.9/2.x

If you have access to Moodle LMS 1.9/2.x then there is also another way. Canvas accepts Moodle 1.9/2.x .mbz backup file. So, if you have access to Moodle 1.9/2.x then you can use our guide on how you can import your Word document into Moodle and then export your Moodle quizzes as a .mbz backup file into Canvas to create the question bank.

Method Four: GETMARKED Digitaliser

All the free methods above have some limitations. It requires you to first convert your Word document into a text file, so it is a bit cumbersome and your quizzes cannot contain any images, tables, underlines and bolds.

If you are looking for something that works on any kind of question, then you should consider GETMARKED Digitaliser. At GETMARKED, we have the technology to import your Word document into Canvas without you having to make any kind of changes. It works on any questions, even it contains images or tables. We have saved thousands of hours for many other educators like yourself, so signup here for a free trial now.