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blangston
Community Participant

How can one answer be right and the other wrong based on the length of a dash?

I am trying to understand why the questions were counted wrong on this fill in the blank question. The answers are exactly the same. My technology department says Canvas pointed out the answer the student gave had a long dash and the correct answer had a short dash. The problem I am having with this, is how can a student make a long or short dash on their Chrome Book if there is only one key? Has anyone else seen this problem before?Error on fill in the blank

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16 Replies
blangston
Community Participant

I have to disagree because in the 5 years I have used this program and the numerous assignments I have given, this has NEVER been an issue. My students only have one key on their Chromebook to answer these questions.  I believe there is something wrong with Canvas on this assignment. But I am being told it is my fault or the students fault because no one wants to believe there could be a problem with their product.

blangston
Community Participant

As far as copying into a quiz, since Canvas doesn't have any other feature for Math teachers to use to give assignments we use the quiz to give assignments, so lockdown browser (which we use) doesn't need to be used for these assignments. 

Other programs, such as DuckSoup.us or Epub textbooks for math have math editor available for students to enter their answers. However using these programs are not always possible, i.e. cost or subject matter covered. 

It has long been a requested feature that Canvas allow math editor to be used on the teacher side for fill in the blank and for the student side. Not sure why this is taken so long to happen. 

James
Community Champion

cholling 

I checked the em dash (alt+0151) — and it was much longer than the minus, − , which is why I've been focusing on the minus. The double dash is an autocorrect feature of popular processors and generates an en dash (alt+0150) – 

The en dash appears the almost identical to a minus, but they are different as far as the computer goes, so if you had the minus but the student did the alt+0150, it would be counted wrong.

Canvas does not convert a double dash to an en dash.

Here is a comparison of how they look in Canvas.

311833_pastedImage_2.png

James
Community Champion

I wouldn't use fill in the blank to assess math questions at all, and it's mostly because of issues like this. I have written about this many times before in the community, now is not the place.

I definitely wouldn't allow for other uses of dashes, there are too many. That might allow encourage copy/pasting from another site. Bobbie might be right that they did that, and it is certainly a very plausible explanation, probably even more likely than the one I came up with, and preventing pasting would help that. Given that the question had a minus sign in it, it cannot be ruled out that the student didn't like the way theirs looked and copy/pasted the answer. The person who created the question needs to figure out what's going on. Maybe they copy/pasted the answer from a program that expanded the product?

If I'm going to be mathematically correct and use a minus sign instead of a dash, then I would be sure to tell my students to only use the keyboard and not copy/paste any values or they may get it wrong.

You can disable copy/pasting at a JavaScript level without using lock down browser. Google javascript disable paste in textbox for more information. That's something the Canvas Admin would have to add. One issue is that there's no good way to easily and selectively enable that for only some questions.

James
Community Champion

jbrady2
Community Champion

blangston‌ Since no one appears to have answered your question taking into account that your student is working on a Chromebook, I decided to test this on my own Chromebook. I found that the em dash (alt+0151) — and the en dash (alt+0150) – do not work on Chromebooks. The convert a double dash to an en dash also does not work on a Chromebook.

Instead, one has to use Unicode characters, which I found to be an interesting process. Apparently, you have to hold CTRL+SHIFT+U, let go and there will be a "u" with a line through it, follow this "u" with a four digit number, and then hit Enter to produce the desired symbol. I found a list of Unicode characters here: https://unicode-table.com/en/, but the list is so long, that I could not see taking the time to find the code for the em dash or en dash, so I could not imagine a student doing this.

This does not mean that the student might not have created it online using a site that would not require the Unicode shortcuts and then copy/paste it into Canvas, but it would have been difficult to create on a Chromebook using something such as Google Docs.

James
Community Champion

Thanks for checking that on a Chromebook.

I don't think anyone was seriously suggesting that the student went to the trouble of using Unicode to create them. The original poster wasn't happy with the answers that were given about copy/pasting and so people started looking for other alternatives to creating them.