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## Multiple part formula question

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How do I create Formula Questions in Quizzes.Next with multiple parts? For example:

Given the angle theta = `theta` degrees,

a) what is sine theta

b) what is cosine theta

I need this functionality DESPERATELY! and have been asking for it for years.

Thank you.

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Accepted Solutions Navigator

This functionality does not exist within the core Canvas product. You may be able to use an external homework system for math that would get at this kind of stuff.

The closest that Canvas has to this with the legacy Quizzes is a multiple fill in the blank, but those are problematic for grading math as you have to allow for all of the variations (they're not numbers, they're strings). This functionality will not exist with the current version of quizzes as Canvas is putting development time into the Quizzes.Next platform.

Quizzes.Next allows for regular expressions, but you're still trying to treat a string as mathematical content and that's an issue. At least you could put /^0?[.]866\d*/ to get 0.866, .866, 0.866025403784 from the student. Alas, it would also take 0.8669, which is not sin(π/3). Quizzes.Next is not as fully developed as the old version yet, but they're striving to reach feature parity. At this point, I wouldn't seriously consider it for math.

Multiple fill in the blank questions don't allow for randomization, though, so you would have to manually create all of those questions.

If you want a formula question, then you can only ask for one of those values at a time. That may lead you to rethink how you ask the questions. For example, if you know the cos(π/6) is it necessary in the same question to ask about sin(π/6) ? Couldn't you mix it up a little?

Again, I know that's not what you want, just explaining what's possible.

10 Replies Navigator

This functionality does not exist within the core Canvas product. You may be able to use an external homework system for math that would get at this kind of stuff.

The closest that Canvas has to this with the legacy Quizzes is a multiple fill in the blank, but those are problematic for grading math as you have to allow for all of the variations (they're not numbers, they're strings). This functionality will not exist with the current version of quizzes as Canvas is putting development time into the Quizzes.Next platform.

Quizzes.Next allows for regular expressions, but you're still trying to treat a string as mathematical content and that's an issue. At least you could put /^0?[.]866\d*/ to get 0.866, .866, 0.866025403784 from the student. Alas, it would also take 0.8669, which is not sin(π/3). Quizzes.Next is not as fully developed as the old version yet, but they're striving to reach feature parity. At this point, I wouldn't seriously consider it for math.

Multiple fill in the blank questions don't allow for randomization, though, so you would have to manually create all of those questions.

If you want a formula question, then you can only ask for one of those values at a time. That may lead you to rethink how you ask the questions. For example, if you know the cos(π/6) is it necessary in the same question to ask about sin(π/6) ? Couldn't you mix it up a little?

Again, I know that's not what you want, just explaining what's possible. Community Member

Thanks for the explanation, even though I'm disappointed. The example that I gave was a simple one to explain to readers the gist of my requirements. An actual questions could look like: Given the width, thickness and hole size of the plate as shown, determine the safety factor using a) the Goodman criterion, and b) the Gerber criterion. c) Which criterion is more conservative?

I just discovered that there are functions that return a list. Namely, reverse(...) and sort(...). When I tried to enter these as formulae to my question, the error message was that the precision for the answer could not be processed. Can Canvas quickly provide solution to calculate the precision of each member in a list so that these functions can be used to return multiple answers? Navigator

Alas, no.

Since the answer to a formula question must be a single number, the reverse() and sort() must be nested inside another function like max(), min(), or at(), which are scalar functions. Some of the functions operate on lists and only accept a list, while others accept a sequence within the function. For example, max(a,b,c) works, but at(a,b,c,index) won't. If you want to use at, you have to do something like at(reverse(c,b,a),2) all in one statement. A long time ago, before Canvas tried to patch numeric handling to work with scientific notation and allow for larger numbers, the separate expressions in the formula answers could be lists and you could build towards an answer.

If you want an example of how to use lists within a formula question, you might look at my blog post Looking Up Values in Formula Questions  in the Teaching Math in Canvas group. It's not the only thing you can do, but there was a big void in explaining formulas when I wrote it. There's also the Canvas Formula Quiz Helper Functions pdf file that they asked my input on when writing after I complained about what they had out there wasn't what it claimed to be.

I had another problem I was writing just the other day where lists came in handy. I was asking the students to find the arclength of a value that had to be numerically integrated over a closed interval [a,b]. I use Maxima's quad_quags() function to do the integrations and then put them into a list. I used the parameters of the problem to calculate the index into the list (in reverse order), then used the at(reverse(),index) formula to get the right answer.

Through all of that, though, I still only get to ask for a single question at a time.

What I have done when I need multiple questions is to use Excel to create version, then import them into Respondus, which will export them into Canvas. In Canvas I create a question group that contains one of the questions so it appears random, but the questions are still tied together.

Canvas doesn't support question groups within question groups, and each question is independent of each other question.

If you need more advanced questions than Canvas can provide, their solution is for people to use an external tool (using the LTI standard) that would ask questions and then return a value to Canvas for their grade. That is beyond the capability of most people, which is partially why there are a lot of requests for enhancements to functionality needed for math & science questions.. Community Member

Online learning has forced me down the path of doing quizzes on Canvas, and the more I see of it the less I like.  This is a case in point.  Numerical questions and formula questions are the bread and butter of STEM courses and the fact that even very basic functionality like what Mr. Goh asked for is not possible within Canvas is very disturbing.  The Canvas quiz feature seems to be good only for middle school level history and the like.  Trying to use Canvas quizzes for college level STEM classes is an absolute joke. Community Member

This limitation is a significant issue for me as well. Surveyor II

so aptly put..... more I am using Canvas, more I am realizing how bad this LMS is Surveyor II

Once again Canvas shows it is an essentially useless product.

Why is it that the developers never provide solutions to these very basic issues.

So sad. Surveyor

This is a serious deficit in functionality 😕 Surveyor II

Yes, I agree. I'm an accounting professor, and all our questions have multiple setups - for example, I provide the information to build a budgeted and an actual income statement, and the students compute the statements and nine different variances based on the data. It wouldn't do to have a separate setup for each question, because then they'd have to redo the intermediate calculations each time. I'm not going to have them two sets of income statements for each variance; that's ridiculous. All of my exam questions are like this - one setup with two to six questions.  Unanswered Topics