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alexking
New Member

Canvas Formula Question: Setting decimal precision

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Hi all,

I'm currently working on a chemistry course in canvas (migrating from blackboard), and I've hit a bit of a roadblock on Formula type quiz questions.

I need students to calculate solubility from an equation, however the Canvas platform only allows up to 4 decimal places in the answer. This is not precise enough for my needs, as I'm dealing with extremely small values and need 5 digit (preferably 6/7 digit) precision.

Generating solutions gives 80% with the final answer rounded to 0.0003, when in reality there is a world of difference between 0.000266 and 0.000341

The best solution for me would be to be able to set answers as scientific notation with a certain number of significant figures, rather than a certain number of decimal places. That would cover a better range of answers if I have very wide swing in my input variables.

Is there a workaround or solution for this issue?

Thanks

1 Solution
stuart_ryan
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @alexking ,

Alas it seems that your question has stumped the community. From what I have been able to find, there is no way to add additional decimal precision at this time.

Having said that, I think this conundrum is a great candidate for a Feature Idea which you can log in the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas?sr=search&searchId=ca85a45d-1568-47c5-8bcd-38bae2af3...‌ area. I would suggest including very much the same detail you have provided here, as there is a very good business need for requiring the additional decimal precision.

Please feel free to post a link back to the idea here once you have logged it, as that will help others find it in the future.

Hope that helps!

Stuart

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14 Replies
kenneth_rogers
Instructure
Instructure

Hi there,  @alexking  and Welcome to the Canvas Community!

I haven't personally encountered this issue before, so I am going to share this with quite a few groups for you to see if we can get some traction for you. You won't have to join these groups if you prefer not to, as communication will all transpire right here!

I'm sharing this question with Higher Education‌, Canvas Developers‌ (because they're awesome and know everything!), and LMS Migration Strategies‌ (since you mentioned you could do this in Blackboard, and someone may have come across this before.)

Let us know if there is anything else we can do for you!

Thanks for sharing  @kenneth_rogers , much appreciated.
I've joined the groups you've mentioned.

And thanks for the welcome and your reply Smiley Happy

stuart_ryan
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi  @alexking ,

Alas it seems that your question has stumped the community. From what I have been able to find, there is no way to add additional decimal precision at this time.

Having said that, I think this conundrum is a great candidate for a Feature Idea which you can log in the https://community.canvaslms.com/community/ideas?sr=search&searchId=ca85a45d-1568-47c5-8bcd-38bae2af3...‌ area. I would suggest including very much the same detail you have provided here, as there is a very good business need for requiring the additional decimal precision.

Please feel free to post a link back to the idea here once you have logged it, as that will help others find it in the future.

Hope that helps!

Stuart

Thank's for the reply  @stuart_ryan , I'll put it up as a feature idea when I find some time this week.

nikkimalatin
New Member

I have had a rough time trying to teach chemistry as a Canvas class. The limited functionality of the formula questions (which I was initially so excited to see) and the lack of precision in the answers while trying to teach significant figures has been frustrating! I thought that this was a platform used by college classes!

Thanks for the reply nikkimalatin‌. I've been a bit busy lately and forgot about this thread, but as  @stuart_ryan ‌ suggested up thread I have made a post in the ideas forum for people to vote on.

Here is the link if you are interested in letting the developers know this feature is important to you
https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/11410-expanding-calculated-formula-options 

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I am in the same boat. Hopefully Canvas will fix it in the Quizzez.next upgrade.

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wmadden
New Member

This is insane.  My institution just moved from Blackboard to Canvas.  Canvas ported the basics of my 24 homework quizzes from Blackboard rather easily but without any +/- tolerances in the answers.  When I tried to add tolerances I encountered the issue with those answers that cry out for scientific notation. (E.g. What is the [H+] in a solution with pH = 8.00?)  This posed no problem whatsoever in Blackboard. Since my institution will never admit that it was a mistake to switch to Canvas, I am sometimes forced to ask the same question twice and require that students use scientific notation.  I first ask students to enter the mantissa/significand  (e.g. 1.23 if the answer is 1.23e-8).   It is then quite simple to add a tolerance (of, say +/- 0.02). I then restate the question exactly and ask for the exponent (e.g. -8) with no tolerance.  Students seem to adjust to this device rather readily but are as mystified as I about why a kludge of this sort should be necessary.

(I want my Blackboard back!)

I should add that my questions are not "formula" but have fixed data, so it is easy to split the answer into significand and exponent manually.

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malini_rao4
Community Member

I have the same issue as well.

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Yes - I have all of the problems that have been mentioned in this thread.  Whether fixed or formula questions, I must be able to display numbers with significant figures, and accept answers with significant figures.  I must be able to use scientific notation, etc.  In a formula question, If I want three figures and I give it a range of 25.1 - 99.9, I get numerous instances of random numbers, like 40, which has 1 significant figure, when I want 40.0, which has three.  Without this, I can barely use this platform to teach chemistry.  I put Moodle on my own server where I have more control, and use that whenever I need these types of questions, but it's a pain to write content for two platforms.

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larryo
New Member

Supposedly, we should be able to do this.  In the Canvas help section on using numeric answers, you can specify precision up to 16 significant figures and you can use scientific notation.  However, it has not worked at all for me.  Anything less that 0.0001 gets rounded to zero!  2.96e-5 is zero!  Frustrating.

Here's the link to the Help section on numerical answers > "Answer with Precision".  Does NOT work as advertised.

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-12706-415243382 

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GideonWilliams
Community Champion

I am wondering if this is still a thing - certainly with New Quizzes?

I've done some testing with large numbers and small answers using the wave equation for electromagnetic waves for GCSE Physics.

Here is the question set -up:

GideonWilliams_13-1617221170612.png

And the simple formula used:

GideonWilliams_1-1617219150045.png

I have set the Min and Max range for variable x and forced it to use scientific notation eg 1*10^8 (more about this later) and left input at 2 decimal places:

GideonWilliams_2-1617219279937.png

I've then asked it to give me 20 possible questions to 6 decimal places with answers in scientific notation:

GideonWilliams_3-1617219409518.png

Pressing Generate gives me a range of answers to 6 decimal places in scientif notation format:

GideonWilliams_4-1617219506143.png

I then go into Student View and attempt a question. I can put in an answer of 6 decimal places or fewer/more!

GideonWilliams_8-1617220033107.png

GideonWilliams_6-1617219937625.png

GideonWilliams_7-1617219984413.png

When I submit the answer with 6 decimal places, I get it right:

GideonWilliams_9-1617220147767.png

If I submit it with 5 decimal places and don't round up, it is marked as wrong:

GideonWilliams_10-1617220460470.png

If I submit it with 5 decimal places and do round up/down, it is marked wrong:

GideonWilliams_11-1617220662974.png

It does not even like it if the answer does not require 6 decimal place precision.

GideonWilliams_12-1617221041023.png

In the above example because I used Scientific notation I did not get to alter the margin type:

GideonWilliams_14-1617221316136.png

Am not sure why I cannot do it for scientific notation but can do for standard notation (am sure someone can tell me)

In scientific and standard notation, I could both enter values to double digit decimal places:

GideonWilliams_15-1617221582645.png

GideonWilliams_16-1617221675787.png

Issues

So the THREE main issues I have are:

Firstly, you can no longer use 'e' when writing scientific notation eg

GideonWilliams_17-1617221811818.png

You have to write it as though you were entering the number into an Excel spreadsheet formula:

GideonWilliams_18-1617221874193.png

I would imagine that this is quite challenging for many students...

Secondly, if you dont select scientific notation, and ut the answer in scientific notation, you are marked wrong - even if you are correct!

GideonWilliams_19-1617222002177.png

Thirdly, I dont think you can do questions where you ask for answer to a certain number of significant figures - certainly if you dont use scientific notation.

So there we have it. Im not sure if this has fully answered the questions put and I am a bit concerned that nearly 3 years after, no-one has added anything to the post. Maybe people realised it was working and have moved on or perhaps I've simply not answered the questions? Still it was good to play about a bit more with this question type...

Do let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THis is still a problem for all the issues. Unusable for many reasons. No sigfigs or sci notation and no partial credit? Pfff

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