Adding Flexibility to Canvas Quizzes

When creating a Canvas Quiz, you have a number of options that can give your students some increased flexibility, while also putting limits on when they take the Quiz. This page includes some key considerations and best practices, with a focus on the following quiz settings:

  • Setting availability dates: students will only be able to access the Quiz during the assigned availability window.
  • Setting a time limit and giving additional time to particular students: Once students have started the Quiz, they must complete it within the time limit.
  • Considerations for students in different time zones.

For a broader look at how to think about assessing student learning in a remote teaching environment, including some example Canvas Quizzes, see our resource on Assessing Learning. We also have a resource on High-Stakes Testing in Canvas using Canvas Quizzes.

Setting Availability Dates

This feature is available for both Assignments and Quizzes. When availability dates are set, students will only be able to access the quiz during the period of time you specify. To set availability dates, when you create (or edit) a Quiz, scroll down to the end of the page. Just under the place to set a due date, you will see an option to assign “Available from” and “Until” dates.

Screenshot showing what the Availability Settings look like when editing a Canvas Quiz.

Please Note: If you do not set availability dates, students will be able to access the Quiz as long as it is published.

Setting A Time Limit

If you set a time limit for a Quiz, once students access the Quiz, the timer begins counting down. This is true even if the student closes the Quiz. If a student does not submit the Quiz before time is up, it will automatically be submitted. If you have set availability dates, a Quiz will automatically be submitted if the “Until” date and time has been reached, even if the time limit has not yet expired.

To set a time limit, when you create (or edit) a Quiz, select the box to the left of “Time Limit” and indicate how many minutes students have to complete the entire Quiz.

Screenshot showing where to set the time limit when editing a Canvas quiz.

Please Note: You can only set a time limit for the Quiz as a whole, not for sections of the Quiz. If it is important for students to spend a particular amount of time on components of the Quiz, you can instruct them to do so. Alternatively, you can create multiple Quizzes, each with its own time limit.

Giving Additional Time to Particular Students

While this section explains how to specify different time allotments for individual students or groups in a single Quiz, we encourage you to consider a Universal Design for Learning approach, which seeks to design instruction in such a way as to reach the widest possible audience. With this approach, you would give all your students the additional time. For example, if an instructor normally allots 60 minutes for a test and they know of a student who requires double testing time, we would encourage them to simply increase that test’s time limit to 120 minutes for all students in the class. That way any student needing that accommodation will automatically have the additional time they need.

Please Note: If you do want to give just some students extra time, you can access this setting once your Quiz has been created and published.

For an explanation of how to do this, you can go to this website:

You can also watch this video walk-through of the extra time settings: 

Considerations for Students in Different Time Zones

You may have students taking your course from around the world. By default, Canvas deadlines for all Boston College courses are in the Eastern Time Zone. This means that an 11:59pm deadline for an assignment will be at 8:59pm for a student in California.

Students can change their time zone in their Canvas settings, but this will also adjust the deadlines for them. Thus, someone in Boston would have the deadline listed as 11:59pm and someone in California would have it listed as 8:59pm.

For simplicity sake, we recommend setting availability dates and a time limit, which will allow students to take the Quiz at a convenient time for them, within the window of time you have set.

If, however, you have one or more students in a different time zone and want to change the due date for them, you can assign different due dates for different students. Here are instructions to do this:

Particularly in this period of increased uncertainty and stress, we encourage you as much as possible to be generous and flexible with students, while also providing the best possible learning opportunity for them.