#TechTipThursday: Managing a student’s Incomplete in your Canvas class


As we approach the end of a semester and receive many inquiries on the subject, today’s post focuses on course completion. There may be any number of reasons why a student is unable to complete the requirements of an academic course. Fortunately, instructors have the option of granting students an “incomplete” grade in the course. This option, familiar to students and instructors alike, enables the student and instructor to develop an alternative timeline for completing course requirements. Specific policies governing the resolution of an “incomplete” grade may be found in the appropriate catalog (undergraduate catalog or graduate catalog). This post will focus on the management of an “incomplete” through Canvas: identifying common adjustments that need to be made so a student is able to complete learning activities outside of the class term.


Extend access to Canvas course
If your student has to complete assignments in a course that has ended, you are able to change the course end dates, but only if the term has not ended (fall 2016 terms ends on 12/31). You can do this from the ‘Settings’ tab in the left-hand course navigation. After navigating to the settings tab (1), you will see boxes for the start and end dates (2). Once the date has been chosen, be sure to check the box (3), which overrides the term dates. If the term has ended, contact the DEC for assistance changing your end date.


Create due dates for individual students
Enhancing efficiency, instructors don’t need to recreate assignments to accommodate a student’s “incomplete.” Identify the assignment in question and edit its details. You can add additional due date information, for separate groups of students (i.e., Joe and Mary each has an “I” in your course. You can have Joe’s assignment due on 12/27 and Mary’s on 12/28) in the assignment settings (1) just below the due date you identified for your course.


After you click “+ Add” you will see additional “Assign” boxes; you may create as many as necessary. To “assign to,” start typing the name of the student.

Changing quiz settings
Using the ‘Moderate this Quiz’ function (highlighted with the blue box below), you can add time (whole number increments only) to a specific student. This option can be found once you have chosen a quiz that has been previously published in Canvas.


Locate the student and select the pencil icon next to their name (1). A dialogue box, “Student Extensions” shown immediately below “Moderate Quiz,” will then appear. Here you can add extra attempts and additional time to a student’s quiz. Remember to save these changes!



Using past test/quiz questions to create a new test/quiz

With the question banks feature you can create a new assessment using questions from previous tests/quizzes. When you create a quiz, unless you pull questions from an existing question bank, Canvas sorts the questions into an Unfiled Question Bank. Create the quiz as you would any other but follow the steps below to pull questions from your existing question banks.

Once you choose to add questions from a group/question bank (1), you will see a screen like the one below (2).


Here, it is important to choose how many questions you want Canvas to pull from the question bank. In addition, you can select how many points each question is worth. You will choose the “Link to a Question Bank” option to display a list of previously saved questions. After you have chosen the desired question bank, typically from the Unfiled Question Bank, select the create group option which places those questions into the quiz.


The questions are grouped by which assessment they appeared in. You can add questions in two ways:

  1. You can choose a group and Canvas will add all of the questions in the group (unless you specified otherwise in the preceding step); or
  2. You can choose specific questions from various questions banks by choosing the option to “View Course Question Banks” located in the top right of dialogue box shown below; this box appears after choosing to link the quiz to a question bank.  


Once you choose to view course question banks a list of your question banks will appear as shown below. Choose the group from your list from which you wish to import quiz questions.


The questions from the specific bank you selected will appear. To the right of those questions you will see the options shown below; choose to move multiple questions.


You will see a dialogue box like the one below. You can then choose the specific questions at the top (1) and the destination exam, at the bottom (2). If you need questions from multiple question banks you can repeat this process until you have all the desired questions in the destination exam. We always recommend previewing your quiz to make sure all questions are there, the point values are set correctly, and the formatting is easy for students to read.


If you have any questions, or difficulty duplicating the steps detailed in this post, please contact the Digital Education Collaborative.

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