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Faculty Guest Post: Reflections on Using Respondus 4.0 within Canvas (Part 2 in a Series)

Faculty Guest Post: Reflections on Using Respondus 4.0 within Canvas (Part 2 in a Series)

By Dr. Michael Smith, Full Time Lecturer in Information Systems

I have keyed many questions into Canvas quizzes to create short quizzes, but that process would be tedious and slow for tests. Since I have many tests already created as Word documents, I sought a way to upload them into Canvas. However, Canvas cannot import directly from Word documents and I didn’t want to rekey so many questions, so I had to find a way to migrate questions from Word to Canvas, including images referenced in questions.   

Canvas accepts mass question uploads in several ways. A review of options and discussion on the topic led me to select the QTI .zip file upload method using the Respondus 4.0 exam authoring tool. Respondus 4.0 is the only program I have found that can convert questions in Word documents into QTI .zip files. The product is offered by the same company that makes the LockDown Browser. I spent $80 for a single-user license. A site license is also available. 

Before importing the questions into Respondus 4.0, they must be reformatted to indicate correct answers, among other possibilities, and saved as a .txt or .rtf file. The help system in Respondus 4.0 indicates how to accomplish these tasks for different kinds of questions.  

I find it useful to create titles for the questions, as that helps me group them later according to topic by sorting them in Respondus 4.0. Here is a sample MC question indicating title and correct answer. The title formatting is my own.  

TITLE:  GT History – mascots – Stumpy’s bear 
1.Which GT “mascot” was a gift from a defeated football rival? 
*a. Stumpy’s bear 
b. Sideways 
c. Burdell the Bulldog 
d. The original Ford Model A Ramblin’ Wreck 

Since I direct Canvas to scramble answers when it creates quizzes, I usually put the correct answer first just to make creating questions more regular. For the same reason, I must change answers such as “b and c” to answers that don’t depend on any specific answer order, since Canvas will order the answers when it generates the quiz for each student. If I didn’t scramble answers, I would not need to do these things. 

If a question refers to a graphic, that graphic must be uploaded into Respondus 4.0 and embedded in the question. If the same graphic is referenced in several questions, all can refer to the same image file. Respondus 4.0 provides an editor for doing fancy formatting of questions and placing images within them.  

Respondus 4.0 provides for the export of groups of questions into QTI .zip files, among other formats.   

In Canvas, the upload process is accessed through Settings | Import Course Content | Content Type = QTI .zip file. After having uploaded the questions into a bank linked to the appropriate Canvas course, I import them into a question group in a quiz.  

In my next post, I will write about managing questions in a quiz.