I have a teacher who would like to use the fill in the blank question type but noticed the equation editor is not available for his students when that question type is selected.

I suggested using the essay question option instead. However, this eliminates the autograde feature that the fill in the blank option would provide. Am I missing a more obvious solution or does anyone know of a better workaround to this issue?

Quinten Starks,

The problem is even bigger than it being an image. The alt tag does store the LaTeX used to generate the image, so some comparison could be done there, but there's not always a single correct answer in Math and Canvas just doesn't have the capability to grade those.

Let's say that x≥1 is what you wanted for the solution to your example. What is someone put values like x>=1, 1<=x, 1≤x, [1,∞) ? All of those could be considered correct as well. Then you also have to consider someone putting spaces around the inequality, x ≥ 1. Do you count off because it doesn't match your interpretation of the solution.

And yours is a very simple example. It gets worse as the complexity increases.

Math-specific applications are better at math content than Canvas is. Honestly, the math functionality in Canvas is one of the less developed areas and it often falls short of being anything close to what math instructors want to do. Accept that and you'll sleep better at night.

But, most of those other applications also fail to accept free-form entry, which is what people are asking for students to do. Those programs either go multiple choice or have you enter only a portion of the response rather than letting you write the entire thing yourself. To illustrate the complexity, some applications, like WebAssign, will take your input, run it through Mathematica and Maple to compare for correctness. WeBWorK takes your answer and the correct answer and compares them at five random points to make sure they agree. I haven't even heard a peep about Canvas even thinking about doing anything along those lines.

For what it's worth, I taught Finite Math online this summer and did not use Canvas or MyMathLab for testing purposes because both fall terribly short of what I needed.

But there are lots of people who have the same question and desire that you do.

There is a similar feature request currently open for voting: RCE in numerical question responses, one that will open up on October 7 Equations allowed in quiz answers , and some archived ones RTE everywhere! , Math . There are also other discussions about the issue: Numerical Questions and Fraction Answers

Beyond all the problems I've already mentioned, the likely issue is that people are wanting to mimic the behavior of a math editor from another program like MyMathLab or WebAssign. But the editor in Canvas is LaTeX based (it uses MathJaX under the hood). So you can type

almostanything into the Canvas Equation Editor while the others restrict you based on contextual constraints. If you want to solve 2x≥2, you might be able to enter the ≥ symbol, but they won't give you an integral symbol (but Canvas will). The main distinction is that the editors in the other programs perform validation of mathematical content, while LaTeX is primarily a formatting language that provides ways to format math content. There's not a simple conversion from LaTeX to math, although lots of stuff is available the other way around to convert Math to LaTeX. Some people suggest converting LaTeX to HTML or MML and then parsing those, but those aren't reliable paths.