Atomic Jolt

What are the differences between an Assignment, an Activity, and Items?

In Atomic Assessments, you will come across different terminology to explain how content is organized and used. The three main parts of Atomic Assessments include the assignment, the activity, and items.

Assignments are containers for activities, activities are containers for a specific grouping of items, and items are containers for the questions and features that you author.


The assignment is the highest level of content organization. Assignments are how your students interact with Atomic Assessments and how you can assign the content you have created to use within Canvas. An assignment can be created as a Canvas assignment or it can be created as an embedded activity to be used in a Canvas Page.

When you create an assignment using the "New Assignment" button in Atomic Assessments an associated Canvas assignment is automatically created under the Assignments tab in Canvas so that your students have a way to interact with your content. When you add Atomic Assessments in a Canvas page an embedded assignment icon will appear next to that assignment in the Atomic Assessments assignment list.


Activities are the next step below an assignment. Every assignment you create also creates an underlying activity to organize and group the items you create in an assignment. Activities allow you the ability to re-use a specific set of items in another assignment or to share that set of items with other instructors. Every assignment will have an activity associated with it.

If you build an assignment off of an existing activity the two assignments will share the activity so changes in one will change the other. If you want to create a copy of an assignment then duplicate the assignment.


Items are containers for a group of questions and/or features. When you author your content you can either have a single question per item or you can create many questions in an item. Depending on how you choose to separate your content this can be displayed to students in different ways. 

Like activities, if you re-use items in your assignments then changes made to a re-used item will apply the change to everywhere that item is used because they are the exact same item. If you want to make changes to one and not change the other then duplicate the item to create a copy.

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