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Community Member

MathQuill is a Bit Quirky

I am new to CANVAS. I was exploring today, attempting to create a quiz.  CANVAS has some very nice features for those purposes.  Being an instructor in mathematics, I stumbled upon the MathQuill tool in attempting to build test items.  It does some things very well, but I really got a little rattled when I could not find a facility for creating a FRACTION.  Fractions are a pretty basic mathematical concept.

I opened a chat session with a very attentive representative who researched my query.  She determined that there is a pseudo expression for creting a fraction (\frac{numerator}{denominator}).  It does work and produces beautiful text.  Apparently there are similar expressions for creating other constructs.  I can work around this quirkiness for creating the test items.  However, this simply will not work as a methodology for my middle schoolers to create their fractional responses.

What I find really surprising is that I cannot find that someone had already discovered this.  Perhaps some member of the design team will read this and address it. #Mathquill

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Community Champion


This is a common question -- I've seen it at least four times now.

In MathQuill (and the old equation editor's basic view), a fraction is obtained by typing a slash /

Example: 3/4

Community Member

Thanks, James.

The reason for my post is that the issue has larger constructs than just fractions.  For instance:

  1. Accents (line segments, rays, lines, repeating decimals, etc.)
  2. Limits
  3. Matrices
  4. Complex integrals

I just think that it is an area than needs another look so it can be beefed-up.

Community Champion


New Quizzes, where MathQuill is used, does not have an advanced view like the equation editor used in the Rich Content Editor everywhere but New Quizzes. The advanced view there is by directly typing the LaTeX code that you would have to type in the advanced view. It is wrapped inside \( and \) and that tells the New Quiz Rich Content Editor that math content is there.

People who regularly use LaTeX, which is the standard for typing mathematics, see this as a benefit. We can now type our math directly without having to go into an equation editor to do it. It's a great time-saver.

The lack of a preview is a big drawback for anyone else forced to use it. Most people cannot type LaTeX directly without messing up some part of it, especially for complicated things like you mention. I taught college algebra a couple of summers ago and had my students submit their homework using the essay question type. Some of those involved augmented matrices and I provided templates that they could copy/paste and then change the values. I would not have expected my students to be able to type that on their own. That class is not about learning some formatting language. I have had a mediawiki site for a decade or so where my differential equations students can use it to contribute math content to the wiki. They have to enclose the math in <math> ... </math> tags instead of the \( ... \) that Canvas has chosen. Most people who write with LaTex probably use $ ... $, but the $ is commonly used for dollars.

Many mathematics and sciences instructors do not feel that New Quizzes is ready for use yet. We have not turned it on at our institution for anyone yet. It is being forced upon us with a big push this year for "critical capability development." Just yesterday, it was announced that the enforcement date would be moved from December 2020 to July 2021. New Quizzes Timeline Overview