New Quizzes: Capitalization Case Issues Fill-in-The-Blank Questions


I just migrated ALL of the quizzes from the old the new quizzes.  And all of the answers I slaved away on entering are now worthless.  "Exact Match" now also requires capitalization be the same.  That means that some answers that are correct are being marked incorrect.  "Close Enough" is nice but requires that I touch every single question in the each of many homework quizzes to choose "close enough" and then pick "ignore case".

This issue is solved simply by having new quizzes assume by default that case does not matter.  Then add a check box that says that "Consider Case".  "Consider case" should be available on each option.

This should be an easy fix.

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni
Status changed to: Open
Community Participant

Great idea, seconded.

Community Explorer

I originally posted this on the fill-in-the-blank guide and was asked by a moderator to move it here. I’m just copying the original post verbatim even though it somewhat repeats part of the original post:

With Fill-in-the-blank, we need the ability to ignore case on all of the open entry options and clearer guidance on the acceptable regex code because it is not accepting code that tests as correct on third party regex tools.

I was writing lots of naming questions for a chemistry Exam and could not find a setting that accurately graded the names.  Consider a name such as Vanadium(ii) Sulfate. Students may enter the name using upper or lower case or an assortment, plus some put a space between “m” and “(“ as well.

i have students enter “Vanadium(ii)” in one box and “Sulfate” in another to help parse out the grading process, but even that is not enough.  The exact match or contains options are case sensitive and don’t work.  The close enough option ignores case, but marks “sulfate” and “sulfite” correct and would mark “(ii)” and “(iii)” and “(i)” correct, not to mention any other single character variant.  I could not get the regular expression tool to grade using regex tested as working with the ruby test tool, so I was stuck listing all variants.  Listing all possible answer variants is primitive and not where a “modern” quiz tool should be at.

A lot of problems could be resolved with an “ignore case” button for all grading methods, and better guidance on how the regex implementation works.

Community Novice

Add a feature for quizzes to make the fill-in-the-blank answers case sensitive.

Community Explorer

Pintura, in most cases the answers are already case sensitive. Both contains and exact match are case sensitive.  You can also list multiple answers with varying case sensitivities.  This is the problem because what we lack are more case and space insensitive options and clarification on how the more advanced scripts work.  If every option could ignore case and space that would solve all my problems.

The other disturbing thing about the new fill-in-the-blank questions is that it offers a few new grading options, but lacks formatting functionality of the old fill-in-the-blank questions. I recently migrated some classic questions over and lost all of the original formatting, and gained nothing in return.  Quite a step backwards.  In order to have subscripts I needed to move text to the optional area, but now you cannot see what the question is without expanding it. 

Community Explorer


I totally agree with the formatting issues. I would think that making a Rich Text Editor with a tool to add a "blank" would not be that difficult. In the old quiz generator, I used multiple fill-in-the-blanks for questions like "list three things that can..." where I wanted to put each blank box on a separate line but that is not possible with the new quiz generator.

Yes, the loss of formatting is a big step backward!

- Dr. B

PS - I created a dummy quiz with a single question that I use to test my regexs. That way I can cycle quickly through debugging the regex using the preview function and trying various answers.

Community Contributor

pcharles's point is really important. There's currently no way to turn off case sensitive in New Quizzes without giving the Levenshtein distance a value of at least 1 (if you set it to 0 you get an error message), which means there is no native feature allowing for both exact spelling and no case sensitivity. That's an extremely important feature for some instructors—chemistry is a great example, as pcharles pointed out, and for foreign language as well (verb conjugation, noun declension, adjective agreement, etc. often has only a Levenshtein distance of 1 between the different forms).

The only way to fix it is to manually write out both the capitalized and the non-capitalized version in "specify correct answers." It feels like a step backwards.

Community Explorer

YES PLEASE. This is also important for teaching Latin, where capitalization truly doesn't matter, except in names: some books use it, some books don't. But I absolutely care about my students' exact spelling, so I want to make sure that every single letter is in its correct place. Why should I have to type in two versions of every answer, just in case they capitalize it? Having the option to choose 'case sensitive' as an option for anything that *is* case sensitive would be the best solution.

Community Explorer

It makes writing answers SO MUCH MORE COMPLICATED if I have to worry about students being 100% correct with their capitalization as well as precise phrasing and alternate correct answers.

PLEASE make the default to ignore case, and instead give us a universal check box that covers all fill-in-the-blank options that would allow a given question to pay attention to capitalization.


Community Member

I am writing quizzes for a first programming course.  I need case to be an exact match, but can ignore spacing! 


if ( a < 3 )

and all other possible combinations are correct!

Community Participant


How to ignore case and allow different answers in fill in the blank questions?  As of now, you can have either but not both. 

As an example, consider this question:
Write the name of a US state that has 4 letters: [state].

The "Answer Type" is "Open Entry." You want to specify that Ohio, Utah, and Iowa are correct answers, but you want to ignore case.

  • If you select "Specify Correct Answers" as the "Text Match" option, you can easily add the names of the three states. However, the question will NOT ignore case.
  • If you select "Close Enough" as the "Text Match" option, there's a check box to ignore case (and you can specify Levenshtein Distance for added flexibility). However, the question will NOT allow multiple answers.


The only solution I found was to use "Regular Expression Match" as the "Text Match" option, and then specify


as the regular expression. I'm in Computer Science and am used to working with regex, so I knew about the (?i) flag. However, I think it's a hassle to use a regex for something so simple.

Also, whenever your answer contains "special characters" or just space, you need to use escaping and regex syntax elements. Your own answers become less readable, unless your brain develops an ingrained regex parser. 🙂  For example, suppose you ask the students to fill the blank for the US President name that ends with "Carter".  Suppose your accepted answers are: 

  • Jimmy
  • Jimmy E.
  • Jimmy E
  • James 
  • James E.
  • James E

And, of course, you want to ignore case. A possible regex solution would be


If you want to accept his spelled-out middle name, it gets even more intricate. 


It's simple: please add an "ignore case" checkbox for the "Specify Correct Answers" Text Match option.

Even simpler: please make case insensitive as the default for this type of question. That's what Moodle does for example. 

Minor suggestion: the canvas tutorial that mentions regex points to Wikipedia. A better source should be provided. And the tutorial should recommend a regex online debugger (my recommendation is 

(I too asked a forum question and the moderator suggested that I chimed in here.)

Community Member

@PauloMerson  Thank you thank you.

I tried  /match1 | match2/i  Works fine in Ruby tester but fails in Canvas.

(?i)(match1 | match2) is a good alternative and works. I should've thought of that.

Do you have any solutions for base 2 and base 16 formula questions? 

Community Explorer

Oh my goodness, yes, thank you @PauloMerson . I'd missed your reply before, but even with my very limited knowledge of regex, this is a lifesaver for more than just the capitalization issue.

Community Participant
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