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Beyond the Bubble: Make Assessments More Interactive with New Quizzes

Online Learning Support

Engage Students with Authentic Assessment

The days of monotonous multiple-choice quizzes are numbered! Canvas’ New Quizzes feature a range of innovative question types that boost student engagement and assess deeper understanding.

In case you’re new to New Quizzes, check out our previous blog post, Out with the Old, In with the New (Quizzes), to learn about this highly anticipated tool. Let’s dive into four exciting new additions to question types in Canvas: Stimulus, Categorization, Ordering, and Hot Spot questions.


A stimulus question allows instructors to present a variety of media – text passages, images, videos – as a “stimulus” followed by a series of questions that require students to analyze, interpret, and apply their knowledge to the provided content.

Imagine a vibrant scene: a bustling marketplace overflowing with colorful fabrics and exotic goods. This could be the stimulus for an Art History quiz question depicting Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1565 oil-on-wood painting “The Hunters in the Snow.” Instead of dry questions about dates and artists or having to repost the same image on five or six questions in a row, you can present the image alongside a series of questions. Here are some questions you could ask:

  • Based on the clothing and architecture, what can you infer about the time period and location depicted in the painting?
  • Identify the various economic activities represented in the scene. How does the artist portray trade and commerce?
  • Analyze the use of color and perspective in this section of the painting. How do these elements contribute to the overall composition?
stimulus question example

This innovative option can encourage students to actively engage with the image, analyze details, and connect to broader historical and cultural contexts. Visual and interactive elements provide alternative pathways to demonstrating understanding of complex concepts.

Watch: Stimulus Question Type


Forget traditional matching questions or long lists of answer choices! With the categorization question type in New Quizzes, instructors can assess a student’s ability to classify information by presenting a list of terms and multiple categories. Students then drag and drop each term into the correct category, fostering a more interactive and engaging learning experience.

Envision a quiz on different drug classifications for a Pharmacology assessment. Instead of dry lists of medication names, you can present a table with category headers like “Antibiotics,” “Pain Relievers,” and “Antidepressants.” The list below the table could contain medication names like penicillin, ibuprofen, and Prozac. The students would analyze the medication names and mentally connect them to their known functions. They would then “drag and drop” each medication name into the corresponding category based on its therapeutic action. And, this format not only tests their knowledge of specific medications but also promotes understanding of broader drug classifications.

Classification question type example

Categorization questions offer several advantages for educators and students alike. By classifying information, students move beyond rote memorization and can express a deeper grasp of relationships between concepts. The drag-and-drop interaction fosters a more engaging learning experience, keeping students actively involved in the assessment process.

Watch: Categorization Question Type


Static lists and multiple-choice dilemmas are a thing of the past. Ordering questions in New Quizzes allow instructors to challenge students to put concepts, events, or locations in the correct sequence.

Picture a quiz on major rivers in North America. Instead of dry facts about their locations, you can present a captivating map highlighting the Mississippi, Missouri, and Rio Grande rivers. Here’s where the Ordering question shines. Students see a list containing the names of these three rivers. They can “drag and drop” each river name into the designated slots, ordering them from shortest to longest. And, immediate feedback can be provided, allowing students to adjust their order if necessary.

Ordering question example

Sequencing information requires higher-level thinking. Students develop a deeper grasp of the relationships and timelines that shape complex concepts. The drag-and-drop interaction keeps students engaged, fostering a dynamic learning experience. And finally, ordering requires students to analyze information and consider factors like relative size, chronology, or environmental characteristics.

Watch: Ordering Question Type

Hot Spot

Gone are the days of static images in quizzes. Hot Spot questions transform images into interactive hotspots that challenge students to pinpoint specific areas and demonstrate their knowledge with laser focus.

Visualize a quiz on bacterial cell structure. Instead of a lengthy list of parts, you can present a high-resolution image of a bacterial cell. Key structures like the cell wall, flagella, and ribosomes are clearly labeled. This is where the magic of Hot Spot questions unfolds. Instructors can define specific clickable areas on the image, each corresponding to a specific cell structure. Students then click on the designated hotspots to answer questions related to those structures.

hot spot

Students can directly interact with the image, reinforcing their understanding of the visual representation of cell structures. Hot Spots ensure students demonstrate precise understanding of the location and function of specific structures. And, clicking on hot spot images keeps students actively involved, fostering a more dynamic learning experience.

Watch: Hot Spot Question Type

A New Era of Assessment

Canvas’ New Quizzes question types can breathe new life into assessments, moving beyond low-complexity questions and fostering a demonstration of deeper learning. These innovative features cater to diverse learner styles, boost engagement, and encourage students to think critically, ultimately leading to a more comprehensive and rewarding learning experience.

Interested in learning more about New Quizzes? Keep an eye out for our New Quizzes newsletter – the New Quizzes Insider – which will have all the information you need to get started. In the mean time, feel free to send us your questions at cirtlab@unf.edu.

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Joseph Stewart
CIRT | Coord. Online Learning Support