Inspera or Canvas?


At the University of Iceland, there are two systems that offer online exams, the Inspera examination tool and Canvas, the learning management system.

Despite the fact that the systems play a different role, teachers might be wondering whether to use Inspera or Canvas for their exams. There are various differences between the two systems systems and in this list below we try to answer any questions that may arise regarding the differences between them.

Teachers are always responsible for ensuring that their exams are set up correctly and that the preconditions for thems are correct. The same applies to online exams and therefore it is important for teachers to think carefully about which exam system they intend to before the exam is presented to students.

This question can not be answered without knowing the basis of the exam. Inspera is the system that the University of Iceland examination office supports and recommends, especially in final exams.

Both systems offer the most common question types and various options. They have both advantages and disadvantages, but what should weigh heavily when choosing a system is the security that the systems offer.

The main difference is that Inspera has the following aspects that Canvas does not have or is limited:

  • locked environment,
  • grading is always anonymous
  • security for students if the internet connection fails during the exam
  • information on special measures such as longer exam time come automatically from Ugla.

Mores steps can be taken to respond to various issues that may arise during an exam with Inspera than Canvas.

Canvas is a more informal system and it can turn out to be difficult (even impossible) to respond to errors in a quiz setup (timing, longer test time, network connection lost) after the quiz starts.

It is therefore recommended that all high-stakes exams be setup in Inspera. Smaller tests and quizzes can be set up in Canvas.

Canvas: No. The teacher needs to set a longer exam time for students who have an agreement to do so. The teacher needs to pay special attention to the fact that the allocation time of the exam includes the exam time of all students, including those who are entitled to a longer exam time.

Inspera: Yes. Students who have a defined longer examination time in Ugla are automatically allocated a longer examination time in Inspera.

Canvas: Nei.

Inspera: Já.

Canvas: It seems that a student can continue to answer an exam in Canvas even if the internet connection is interrupted and that the answers are saved in Canvas when the internet connection is restored, if this happens before the end of the exam period. If a student is without an internet connection at the end of the exam period, there is a risk that he or she will lose answers that were not saved before the end of the exam.

Inspera: There is a lot of security in saving test results, even if the internet connection fails. This applies to both closed and open environments. If the student manages to get into the exam, Inspera will take care of saving all the answers and they can be handed in the next time an internet connection is established.

Canvas: Teachers use Canvas exams on their own responsability and need to familiarize themselves with information and instructions that are still mostly in English and available here for the new exam system: New Quizzes and here for the classic quizzes: Classic Quizzes.

Inspera: The exam office offers teachers support in setting up exams in Inspera. There is a lot of material created by the staff of the office and teachers who want to start setting up their exams are encouraged to look at the instructions here: Instructions on Inspera.

The exam office has also set up a checklist for teachers that supports them in setting up the exam correctly and ensuring that everything is set up correctly. Checklist for Inspera test.

Teachers can then send an email to and request more specific help with setting up exams, but it is very important to do so promptly.

Canvas: During the exam, user support is limited and the supprot staff has limited access to an exam that has already started.

Inspera: During the exam, the staff of the examination office has an overview of all examinations that are in progress and can assist those who have problems with the examination. All student activity in exams is recorded and traceable.

However, it is important to keep in mind that the teacher is always responsible for the content of the exam.

Canvas: Yes, it is possible. The instructor has to set the anonymity himself and can turn it on and off during the grading in SpeedGrader.

Inspera: Yes, anonymous grading is always used and is based entirely on unique student numbers so that the teacher does not see what student submission is being graded. The teacher sees the students’ grades from the exam after the grade is transferred from Inspera to the Canvas grade book.