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New Quizzes new question type: Audio recording

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In the Canvas Community Ideas space, you can share, converse, and rate idea conversations related to software improvements to Canvas products.

New Quizzes new question type: Audio recording

Current Situation

The current audio submission tool is decent, but it is neither robust nor efficient, and, most importantly, it is not available for quizzes.

Problem

For second/foreign language courses, speaking is the language skill that needs most attention because it is so logistically difficult to practice and assess. While reading, listening, and writing skills can be assessed on Canvas in quiz form, speaking skills cannot.

For speech courses, assigning and grading online homework/quizzes that require actual speaking can be cumbersome or impossible. Public speaking and debate courses also have few opportunities for teachers to evaluate argumentative skills in quiz form.

Solution

I propose Canvas adds an audio recording quiz question type. I added some desired complementary features for ultimate functionality and control in the comments section below.

Benefits for Teachers

  • Language/speech/public speaking/debate teachers will be able to assess speaking skills/pronunciation/argumentative skills/other speaking abilities on Canvas and plan future materials according to the students’ performance.
  • Language/speech/public speaking/debate teachers will be able to give direct feedback to students for speaking. This is very difficult in a classroom.
  • More benefits will derive from the desired complementary features in the comments section below.

Benefits for Students

  • Students will get teacher feedback on their speaking skills.
  • Students will be able to play back their responses to understand teacher feedback and/or evaluate themselves.
  • More benefits will derive from the desired complementary features in the comments section below.

Additionally, if the desired settings below (in the comments) are implemented, the entire audio recording quiz questions would be streamlined.

quizzes.next_new‌ mediamedia submission

second language‌ foreign language‌second languagelanguage learning english language learners language language and literacy sign language foreign language‌ language translation‌ american sign language‌ online language education‌ languages other than english‌‌

(1)
30 Comments
Community Member

Desired complementary features

The audio recording question type would benefit teachers and students alike. Furthermore, to improve the overall user experience and elicit better responses, the following desired settings would help:

  1. Preset microphone settings
    • Currently, users have to choose the recording device every time in a rather cumbersome process (8 mouse clicks), which slows down audio recording process. If the microphone selected was “remembered”, that would reduce the number of steps and allow for more focus on the quiz content.
  2. Adjust initial audio input gains
    • Right now, students can record without adjusting input gains, which may end up okay, but could lead to inaudible responses if levels are too high or low. I suggest adding an option to test and adjust microphone gain settings before any quiz that has an audio recording question. Students can play back their tested recording and adjust the audio levels until they are satisfied with the recording, eliminating potential issues during the quiz.
  3. Audio response preparation time limit
    • For audio submissions now (even if audio recording questions are enabled on quizzes), students have unlimited time to prepare a response before actually recording, which will not elicit spontaneous/natural responses. I propose adding an option that limits preparation times (e.g., 0 seconds, 45 seconds, or 3 minutes) that could be visible to students. Once the time limit expires, the student’s microphone will automatically begin recording. This option would be useful for any question that requires spontaneous responses and give teachers better insight to their students’ speaking skills.
  4. Option for restricting lengths of audio responses with countdown/count-up timer
  5. Option for disabling re-recording
  6. Option for restarting recording if system is interrupted during audio recording
  7. Integrate with current quiz question options (SpeedGrader, rubrics, etc.)

For students, the desired features would make audio submissions easier, more efficient, and more spontaneous. That is, it would allow for more natural speaking responses and prevent students from excessively preparing.

For teachers, the desired features would provide more opportunities for more reliable information for speaking assessment

Community Member

Hi everyone!

Thank you for viewing/voting on this new feature idea!

If you like this one, you may like this other one I submitted: https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8598-new-question-type-listening-comprehensionidentification?s...

EDIT 5/11: As ysmalls‌ pointed out, https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8598-new-question-type-listening-comprehensionidentification?s... was archived, but the problem was resolved and now it's open for voting again.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

matthewmcginniss@gmail.com‌ Hey Matt!  Have you looked into using the essay question for quizzes to record sound?  Several of the ESL teachers in our district have created essay questions within quizzes to help prepare for the speaking portion of our state's ESL testing.  When the students are on the essay questions, they have access to the rich content editor.  Our teachers enter the prompt, image, etc. as part of the question.  Then the students use the record media option in the rich content editor to record themselves speaking. Students have the opportunity to listen to the recordings before submitting to see if it is acceptable or if they want to record again. Teacher listens to the audio clips in Speedgrader and can comment back to the students or meet with them as time allows.  We started doing this later into the school year.  It worked so well that the ESL teachers said that they want to start it sooner next year.  I agree with you that it is a little cumbersome at times to access the recording tool, but hope this idea can help with your situation for now.

Community Member

Ryan's suggestion seems to cover the basic need.  I'll be curious to hear what others have to say about it.  Based on that, I would shift my emphasis to replacing Flash Player for media recordings in the recording tool. (Or is that baked into TinyMCE?) 

Community Member

The cumbersomeness of this method is really a problem in some situations.  We use audio response questions for placement exams for our foreign language courses.  This is a high-states situation for new students who may not have any prior experience with our LMS.  Problems with getting the audio recording configured and working could get a student into a "flustered" state of mind and really throw off their score.  Currently, we are using Poodle questions in Moodle for this purpose, but as a campus, we're trying to move everything to Canvas.  Unfortunately, for this purpose, the difference in ease of use for students is night and day.  I think that a dedicated question type, no Flash, and a carefully designed user interface are needed.  Another good implementation of this question type is offered by Learnosity.  I'm hoping the Canvas developers will take a good look at existing tools that do this well and then implement a really great Canvas version for us.

Community Member

This would be awesome for our foreign language teachers... but also music teachers!  I don't know much about AP testing, but I do know that part of several of the tests involves student audio recording.  While there are certainly many ways to accomplish this throughout the year in an effort to practice the process, having that option in Canvas is just another way to sell Canvas as a one-stop-shop for our teachers in all content areas.  I can also see it being used to assess reading fluency -- the question could have a sentence or a paragraph (depending on grade level) and the student's job is simply to read aloud using all their learned skills (intonation, character voice, tone, etc.).  Great way to check up on student progress in this area when individual student conferenes aren't an option.  #voteup

Community Member

ryan.corris@lakotaonline.com‌ Hey Ryan! Thanks for the suggestion! I've actually tried something similar using the Rich Content Editor, but even after a thorough walk-through with the students, I didn't receive the best audio samples. Maybe it was because they were lower level ESL students, but I'm not sure.

Either way, I have tried to be as creative as possible with speaking recordings, and I've even tried adding SpeakPipe links. SpeakPipe is nicer for appearance and ease of use, but it is not integrated, streamlined, or robust in features, limiting its overall functionality - which is what I'm trying to go for with this new feature idea.

mike.litzkow@wisc.edu‌And I agree with Mike - students can easily get flustered using the current audio recording tool, and this could produce less reliable speaking assessments.

Community Member

hesspe@bc.edu‌ Hey Peter! I totally agree that Flash should be changed out. It looks like Canvas is in the process with that.

And yes - ryan.corris@lakotaonline.com‌'s idea can and does work, but as mentioned in the comments above, it may not produce the best speaking assessments because its process can be somewhat overwhelming.

Community Member

kidsonh@cfbisd.edu‌ Holly, you hit the nail on the head with "one-stop-shop in all content areas"! That's what I'm going for with this feature idea, because learning is so multi-faceted - why shouldn't the assessments be the same? And I thought I tagged "music" for this feature idea, but I did NOT think about the reading fluency. Great idea! I added reading to the tags along with music.

Community Advocate
Community Advocate

mike.litzkow@wisc.edu‌Hey Mike!  I totally get where you are coming from.  There are things I do not like about this method of recording as well.  One of the things that I like about Canvas is that the do tend to listen to us and things seem to always be moving in a direction for improvement.  I also look forward to a day when this process is a little easier.