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Formatting Guidelines for Respondus 4.0 Exam Converter

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The Standard Format for Importing

Respondus will import multiple choice, true or false, essay, fill in blank (short answer), and multiple response questions. (In this documentation the terms “short answer” and “fill in blank” will be used interchangeably. The reason for this is to use terminology that is similar with other Respondus documentation and products.)

The plain text, rich-text, or MS Word file must be organized in a “Standard Format” before it can be imported into Respondus. The Standard Format for multiple choice questions has required elements and optional elements, each of which is described below. This section is followed by an explanation of the formatting required for true or false, essay, fill in blank, and multiple response questions.

Required Elements (Multiple Choice)

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)” and a space.

Example:           3)

Example:           3.

The question wording must follow the question number. (Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.)

Example:           3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

Example:           3. Who determined the exact speed of light?

Each answer must begin with a letter (A-Z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”, a space, and the answer wording.

Example:           3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Albert Michelson
  3. Thomas Edison
  4. Guglielmo Marconi

Optional Elements (Multiple Choice)

A Title can be imported with each question. If a title is not provided for a question, the first 20 characters from the question wording will be used as the question title. Titles must be placed at

the beginning of a question and begin with “Title:” followed by the actual text for the title. If the title exceeds 20 characters, the remaining characters will be dropped during the import.

Example:           Title: Speed of Light

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

  1. Albert Einstein
  2. Albert Michelson
  3. Thomas Edison
  4. Guglielmo Marconi

For questions being imported to an Exam file, correct answers can be indicated in two ways. First, you may place an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice).

Example:           Title: Speed of Light

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

*b) Albert Michelson

c) Thomas Edison

  • Guglielmo Marconi

The second option is to place a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line (no blank lines are allowed). Note that any text after the answer list will be ignored.

Example:           Answers:

1.  A

  • C
    • B

If neither method is used to select a correct answer, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Don’t worry, you will be warned if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import.

General feedback can be imported by placing the tilde “~” symbol in front of the feedback for a correct answer. The @ symbol can be used to indicate the feedback for incorrect answers. There must be at least one space to the right of the ~ and @ symbols and the text you want displayed for the feedback. The feedback must appear before the answer choices.

Example:           Title: Speed of Light

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

~ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

@ No. The correct answer is Albert Michelson, who won the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

a. Albert Einstein

*b) Albert Michelson

c) Thomas Edison

d. Guglielmo Marconi

To import feedback for individual answer choices of multiple-choice questions, place the feedback immediately after the answer choice and begin the line with the @ symbol. There must be at least one space between the @ symbol and the feedback text.

Example:           Title: Speed of Light

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

@ No. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light.

*b) Albert Michelson

@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

c) Thomas Edison

@ No, Thomas Edison did not determine the exact speed of light.

d. Guglielmo Marconi

@ No. Marconi did not discover the exact speed of light, but he did win the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work with radio waves.

Point values can be set for each question or for a group of questions. Points are set by adding “Points:” followed by a space and the point value. The points value is used for the next question and all following questions until a new point value is set.

Example:           Points: 2.5

3)  Who determined the exact speed of light?

….

  • Who determined the exact speed of sound?

Both questions 3 and 4 will be given a value of 2.5 points.

Importing True or False Questions

The process of importing “true or false” questions is similar to that used for importing multiple choice questions (see above). Both of the following examples are valid ways to format a true or false question for importing purposes.

Example:           3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a) True

b) False

Example:           3) Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

*a. T

b. F

It’s important to note that the “True” (or “T”) answer choice must be listed prior to the “False” (or “F”) answer choice in order for Respondus to recognize it as a true or false question type. (If “False” appears first in the list, the question will be imported as a “multiple choice” question).

To include a “title” or “feedback” with the true or false question, follow the same formatting rules as multiple choice questions. For instance,

Example:           Title: Light speed

3)  Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?

@ Correct. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

*a. True

@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.

  • False

@ The correct answer is True. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light and won the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physics for his efforts.

A second way to designate a correct answer for a true and false question is to place it in a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. (Note: Any text after the answer list will be ignored.) The correct answer for a true and false question can be designated in three ways: (1) the complete word “True” or “False,” (2) the letter “T” or “F,” or (3) the alphabetical letter “A” (for true) or “B” (for false). For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for true and false questions in which all of the answers are “true”:

Example:           Answers:

1.  True

  • T
    • A

Importing Essay Questions

The format for importing essay questions is similar to what is described for multiple choice and true or false questions. The primary difference is that the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: E”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording.

Example:           Type: E

Title: Michelson-Morely experiment

  • How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

If you are importing an essay question, you can supply an answer two different ways. First, you may provide an answer immediately after the question wording, beginning the answer with “a.” or “a)” (without the quotes) and a space followed by the suggested answer wording.

Example:           Type: E

Title: Michelson-Morely experiment

  • How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?
  1. In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement.

The second way to supply an answer for an essay question is to place it in a list of correct answers at the end of the file. As described above with multiple choice questions, the list must begin with the heading “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. The answer to an essay question should begin with the corresponding question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”. This is then followed by a space and then the answer.

Example:           Answers:

1.  A

  • C
  • B
  • In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun.

Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement.

  • B

Importing Fill in the Blank Questions

Fill in the blank questions may be imported by starting the first line of formatting with “Type: F”. This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording.

Example:           Type: F

Title: Who invented television?

5. Who is known as the “father of television”?

Respondus allows only one correct answer per question, but it does permit you to enter multiple forms of that answer.

Example:           Type: F

Title: Who invented television?

  • Who is known as the “father of television”?
  1. Zworykin
    1. Vladimir Zworykin
    1. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin

Answers can also be placed at the end of the file, using a format similar to multiple choice questions. The only difference is that you can enter multiple forms of an answer by repeating the question number.

Example:           Answers:

1.  A

  • C
    • B
    • C
    • Zworykin

5. Vladimir Zworykin

  • Vladimir Kosma Zworykin
  • B

Importing Matching Questions

The process of importing a “matching” question is similar to what is described for importing multiple choice questions, but there are some key differences. The first line of formatting must begin with “Type: MT”. This is followed by the “title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording.

Each answer (which consists of both parts of a correct match) must begin with a letter (a-z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)” and a space. The two parts of the match must be separated with an “=” symbol and there should not be any hard returns or blank lines within either parts of the answer.

Example:           Type: MT

Title: Scientific discoveries

4) Match the correct name to the discovery or theory.

  1. Michelson-Morely = Speed of light
  2. Einstein = Theory of Relativity
  3. Marconi = radio waves

Spaces before or after the “=” symbol are optional, but it is important that an answer only uses the

= symbol for the purpose of separating the two parts of the match. If you plan to list correct answers for other questions at the bottom of the document, simply skip the number for all questions that are of the matching variety.

Importing “Multiple Response” Questions

The logic for importing questions that allow multiple responses (named “Multiple Answers” questions in Insturcture Canvas) is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions. (Multiple Response questions are, essentially, multiple choice questions in which more than one correct response can — and generally should — be selected by the student). The primary difference is that the first line of the formatting must begin with “Type: MR” (as an alternative, you can use “Type: MA” which stands for “Multiple Answers”). This is followed by the “Title” (which is optional), the question number, a space, and the question wording. Each correct answer is designated with an asterisk.

Example:           Type: MR

3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein

*b. Albert Michelson

*c. Edward Williams Morley

d. Thomas Edison

To include a “title” or “feedback” with the Multiple Response question, follow the same formatting rules described elsewhere for multiple choice questions. For instance,

Example:           Type: MR

Title: Determining Speed of Light

3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?

@ Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that

eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light.

  1. Albert Einstein

@ No. Albert Michelson and Edward Williams Morley collaborated on a series of experiments that eventually led to the exact determination of the speed of light.

*b) Albert Michelson

@ Yes. Albert Michelson is one of the two persons credited with determining the exact speed of light.

*c) Edward Williams Morley

@ Yes. Edward Williams Morley is one of the two persons credited with determining the exact speed of light.

(Note: this example illustrates how to include both “General Feedback” and answer- specific feedback. In most cases, you would include only one type of feedback.)

A second way to designate correct answers for multiple response questions is to place them in a list of at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. If a question has been designated as a Multiple Response type using “Type: MR”, then correct answers can be listed three different ways: (1) placing a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers, (2) placing a comma between the letters representing the correct answers, or (3) placing a comma and a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers. For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for multiple response questions.

Example:           Answers:

1.  B D

  • B, D
    • B,D

Important: Once the import file is organized to the specifications described above, it should be saved to MS Word (.doc and .docx), rich-text (.rtf) or a text (.txt) file. It is then ready to be imported by Respondus.

Importing Images with Questions

Images embedded in MS Word files will import automatically. However, it is possible to import images with rich-text or txt files using an alternate method. First, be sure that the images in gif, jpg, or jpeg format and are contained in a separate folder. Then place the following tag at each place where an image should appear: [ img: “filename.jpg” ] . The word “filename.jpg” should be replaced with the actual file name.

Example:           3) The interferometer, shown here [img: “interferometer.jpg”], was

used by which of the following scientists.

  1. Albert Einstein

*b. Albert Michelson

  • Thomas Edison
  • Vladimir Zworykin

To include alternative text for ADA-compliant screen readers, place the desired text in a second set of quotes immediately following the quotes that contain the file name:

[ img: “interferometer.jpg” “Picture of an interferometer” ].

All images that are being imported must be placed in a single folder. During the import process, the location of the image folder must be specified in the first step. After the import is complete, the images will appear inline with the question text.

Importing HTML with Questions

It is possible to import blocks of HTML so that they are treated by Respondus as HTML rather than standard text. This is accomplished by placing the tag [HTML] immediately before the block of HTML and another tag [/HTML] immediately after the block of HTML. So, for example, if you imported the following line of text:

[HTML] <a href=”http://www.respondus.com“>CLICK HERE</a> [/HTML] to download Respondus.

it would appear as follows when viewed in Canvas:

CLICK HERE to download Respondus.

Of course, keep in mind that HTML will have variable results if you print the exam from Respondus rather than using it exclusively for online examinations.

Importing Tab/Comma Delimited Files (CSV)

Questions can be imported from tab/comma delimited files (.csv). This type of importing is best done by someone who has experience with databases or CSV-structured files.

The CSV file can have a maximum of 34 columns. If all columns are used, they should follow this order: Type, Title/ID, Points, Question Wording, Correct Answer, Choice 1, Choice 2, Choice 3, Choice 4, Choice 5, Choice 6, Choice 7, Choice 8, Choice 9, Choice 10, General Feedback, Correct Feedback, Incorrect Feedback, Feedback 1, Feedback 2, Feedback 3, Feedback 4, Feedback 5, Feedback 6, Feedback 7, Feedback 8, Feedback 9, Feedback 10, Topic, Difficulty

Level, Meta 1, Meta 2, Meta 3, Meta 4.

The first column, “Type” should use the two-letter abbreviation shown below: MC = Multiple Choice

TF = True or False

MR = Multiple Response (Multiple Answer) FB = Fill in the Blank

ES = Essay

The following columns must always be present in the .csv file: Type, Title/ID, Points, and Question Wording, although the Points and Title/ID columns can be empty. If the Type is “ES” (essay), no further columns are required. If the Type is “MC” (multiple choice), “MR” (Multiple Response), “FB” (Fill in the Blank), or “TF” (True or False) there must also be a Correct Answer column (although for FB questions, this column is not used and can be blank). For MC, MR, and FB questions, “Choice 1” column must also be present.

If the “Points” column is not empty, the value can range from 0-100 and will be rounded to two decimal places. If no value is provided, Respondus will assign the point value of 1.00.

The formatting requirements for the “Correct Answer” column depend on the question type: MC – Supports numbers 1-10 or letters A-J (ignoring the case)

TF – Supports numbers (1,2) and letters (A,B), where 1/A= true, 2/B= false. The words “true” and “false” are also supported. Capitalization is ignored for all answer types.

MR – Supports a list of numbers/letters within the range of 1-10 or A-J. The numbers/letters must be separated by a comma or space; all must be contained within quotes. (e.g. “a,c,h,j” or “a c h j”). A trailing separator (e.g. “1,4,”) is acceptable.

ES – (This column isn’t used; use the Choice 1 column instead) FB – (This column isn’t used, use the Choice # columns instead)

The following notes will be helpful in the development of your CSV file:

  • At the current time, the Topic, Difficulty, and Meta fields are being ignored and discarded. We are specifying these fields now so that they will be compatible with a future version of Respondus that will support them.
  • Blank lines between records are ignored.
  • Embedded line breaks within quotes are supported.
  • Literal column separators (within quotes) are supported.
  • Literal quotes (2 quote characters in sequence) are supported.

The following notes are specific to the feedback fields:

  • all feedback columns are optional
  • general feedback is not supported for essay questions
  • correct answer feedback is only supported for the Canvas system
  • incorrect answer feedback is only supported for the Canvas system
  • choice-specific feedback is only supported for Multiple Choice question types
  • choice-specific feedback for more than 2 answer choices is not supported for TF questions
  • choice-specific feedback is not supported for answer choices which do not exist

To import the tab/comma delimited file with Respondus, select the “Import Questions” task from the Start menu in Respondus. Change the “Type of File” to “Tab/Comma Delimited (CSV)” and then browse to the file. A window will open and ask you to describe the type of data being imported (plain text or HTML, the number of header rows to skip, the type of delimiter, etc.). The Preview allows you to look at the data before the import is complete. If everything looks good, click OK to close the window.

If the CSV file contains HTML, it is possible to include image links such as <img src=””filename.jpg””>. (Notice that any single quote in the HTML must be changed to a pair of quotes in the HTML.) If images are referenced in the CSV file using HTML, then select the location of the image folder next.

Finally, select from the remaining options that are available from the “Import Questions” task. Click Finish to complete the import.

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