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Create a Course in Canvas and Import a Test Bank

Updated on May 12, 2016

Create Your Course

***Please note that some Colleges or Universities have the courses created by the campus IT department. These instructions are for an instructor is creating their own course.

  • Login to your campus Canvas LMS.
  • On the right side of the screen, you'll see a "Start a New Course" button. In my layout, it's on the top right of the screen. Many schools have it on the bottom right side of the screen.

Click Start New Course


Name the Course

After you click 'Start a New Course', you'll get a pop-up screen asking you to title your course. I suggest naming it your course number such as ENG 101, BUS 203. If you have more than 1 section, you can include the section number as well.

  • Enter Course Name: ENG 101 or in my case, DEMO 1.
  • Content License: Private
  • Visible: Check the box next to "Make Publicly Visible".
  • Click 'Create Course'.

NOTES: You can change the content license to public domain or limited license if you wish. I prefer to leave it on the default 'private'. This means you keep the ownership of any content you've created yourself. This also gives any commercial or publisher content a safety net from being stolen by the general public who take your course.

As for the visible, check marking this means this course is viewable as an option for students. If it's not visible, students can't find it. The student's information will remain private.


***ONE LAST THING: For students to see your course, you must publish it. Do not publish your site until you have completed adding the bulk of your class content. Publishing your course is the last step in this hub.

Name Your Course


Not sure where to start?

Canvas provides you with a 'Setup Checklist'. If you click on this button, you'll get a pop-up with a menu on the left. Each item on the menu, links you to the part of Canvas that completes that task.

You will most likely not use all the tasks.

***In this Hub, I will only be dealing with creating a course, importing a testbank and 'publishing' your course. To see how-to's on other 'Start Checklist item', check out the other Canvas how-to's.

Set UP Check List

I Can't Find The Start Check List

If you cannot find or do not have the START CHECK LIST, go to SETTINGS on the LEFT SIDE Canvas menu.

Once you click on SETTINGS, a new menu will appear on the right. It will have the IMPORT Files option. All other instructions are the same.

This is just an alternate way to get to the same place.

Import Content -Test Files

  • After you click 'Start Checklist', you'll be re-directed to a 'help screen with a left-side column of 'to-do' items.
  • Click the first button on the to-do items is the 'Import Content' button on the top left. Click this button on the left.
  • The center screen will change. You will then click the blue "Import Content' button that appears in the bottom center or bottom right of the screen.
  • On the next screen, click the drop down and click on Blackboard 6/7/8/9.
  • If your LMS Coordinator created your course, you can skip the CHECKLIST. Go to Settings on the left. Click Settings. Then on the new RIGHT SIDE Menu, click IMPORT CONTENT into this course. Pick Blackboard 6/7/8/9 from the drop down. Browse and pick your Blackboard Test zip file. Import ALL content. It doesn't matter if you click Overwrite unless you have another file by the same name. IMPORT. Files have been loaded. Now create a test or turn the test on for students.

Checklist --Click Import FIles


Import Step by Step

  • Find your Blackboard test file. It should be in a zip file. Don't have one? See the notes on where to get Blackboard files below.
  • Upload the BB file.
  • Click 'all content'.
  • Click Import.
  • It will say Running.
  • When it's done, it'll say 'Completed'.
  • Repeat for the next testbank chapter.

SUGGESTION: I suggest creating an empty test pool folder and tagging your uploaded content into this pool. If you don't, it will still work. The Test Pools are an organization tool for you that helps you manipulate test banks from multiple chapters or sources.

But it's not required.



More on Blackboard Test File Imports

What does IMPORT Content mean? If you are uploading content such as Blackboard testbanks from your publisher provided content, this is where you will do this. Blackboard test files give you a test question pool to quickly build exams and quizzes from the publisher pre-created test pool

Most Blackboard test files will work within Canvas. Import each chapter zip file individually. Do not open the zip file. Do not try to upload all chapters in one large zip file.

Where do you get the Blackboard file? Many publishers load pre-created Blackboard files on to their book companion sites and you can just download the zip file for each chapter. If your publisher doesn't load this content automatically, they will often offer a test program such as Cognero, Examview or a test builder that offers a Blackboard test file export.

Not sure if your publisher offers this? Try contacting your publishing representative, customer service or technical support. They will tell you what is available.

Worse case? Call the technical support line or email them and ask for the Blackboard files. They will often email them to you if they are not on the companion site.

***Don't have a publisher testbank? No problem. Canvas lets you write and add your own questions individually. This is covered in other hubs.


ALTERNATE ACCESS to IMPORTING: You can skip the 'Set Checklist' step and Import by clicking the 'Settings' button that is grayed out on the left side Tool's Menu in Canvas. Then click 'Import' on the far right Tool's Menu.

EXAMPLE: Blackboard files on Publisher Website


Start Checklist 2: Add Assignment

On the top left of the screen, you'll see your course name. I called mine DEMO 1. This will take you back to the 'Start Checklist' screen again.

You can start the next item on the 'Start Checklist' which is 'Add Assignment'.

  • Click the course name, DEMO 1 (top left).
  • Click 'Start Checklist' again.
    Click 'Add Assignment' from the left menu.
  • Click 'Add Assignment' on the bottom right of the screen.

I will not go through all the options for this item in the Checklist. To get more detail, check out the other Canvas how-to hubs. Click VIDEO to watch.

Start Checklist --Add Assignments

Click + Assignment


Continue the 'Start Checklist'

  • Continue the 'Start Checklist' until your course is completed.
  • For detailed how-to's on each item on the Checklist, check out my other Canvas Hubpages.
  • You have created a course and imported a testbank.


When you have finished your 'Start Checklist' items, you must go back to your Course page. You can click on the course title on the top left or click on the drop down under COURSES at the top of Canvas.

  • Click your Course (DEMO 1).
  • On the far right, click PUBLISH.
  • Click this when you are completely done with your 'creation steps'.

Publish It



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