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aearhart
Community Member

Recent New Quiz Updates (Categorization and Fill-in-the-Blank)

Could someone please point me at where recent updates to Canvas New Quizzes are posted?

Two things/issues instructors at our college stumbled over this last week.

1. Categorization question type was updated after F 9/23. We have some questions with blank categories that previously worked. Then they stopped working this week and although I put in a help ticket through a chat, after a couple of days of "we're working on it", we figured out that having a category with no assigned answers was the problem.

Students saw an autograde failure after submitting the quiz and when we tried to do a regrade, it returned a server error.

I tried to fix them by swapping our answers with the categories, but we couldn't do that because that type of question doesn't allow duplicate answers. I've seen other people request that this question type allow duplicate answers.

So I changed the questions to "fill-in-the-blank" with multiple dropdown menus. Which leads into the next one...

2. Format of the fill-in-the-blank questions changed. You now use the backtick, `,  to surround where the dropdown occurs and I had some trouble but that was on me. A single quote, ', isn't a backtick, ` !

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5 Replies
Chris_Hofer
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hello there, @aearhart ...

Could someone please point me at where recent updates to Canvas New Quizzes are posted?

Two things/issues instructors at our college stumbled over this last week.

1. Categorization question type was updated after F 9/23. We have some questions with blank categories that previously worked. Then they stopped working this week and although I put in a help ticket through a chat, after a couple of days of "we're working on it", we figured out that having a category with no assigned answers was the problem.

Students saw an autograde failure after submitting the quiz and when we tried to do a regrade, it returned a server error.

I tried to fix them by swapping our answers with the categories, but we couldn't do that because that type of question doesn't allow duplicate answers. I've seen other people request that this question type allow duplicate answers.

So I changed the questions to "fill-in-the-blank" with multiple dropdown menus. Which leads into the next one...


Any time that Instructure (the folks that make Canvas) make updates to New Quizzes, you can typically find their documentation in the Canvas Release Notes section here in the Canvas Community website.  For example, using the top menu navigation from any page here in the Community, you can click on "Canvas" and then select "Release Notes" under the "Release Notes and Road Map" heading.  Then you can click on the large "Canvas" icon on that page.  This will take you to a page that lists both the most recent Canvas Release Notes (which are release once a month) and also the Canvas Deploy Notes (which are released more frequently).  You can read more about the differences between Canvas Release Notes and Canvas Deploy Notes by visiting: Release Notes Summary (FAQ) - Instructure Community (canvaslms.com).

For example... you can see that in the Canvas Deploy Notes for September 28, 2022 (2022-09-28), there is information for instructors and admins about New Quizzes as it relates to disabling Classic Quizzes.  You can click on the link for that particular Deploy to read more about that particular part of the deploy.

Since not all Canvas Release Notes and Canvas Deploy Notes are listed on this page, Canvas Releases - Instructure Community (canvaslms.com), you'll see there is a "View previous releases" link (currently below the 2022-08-31 Deploy).  When you click on "View previous releases", you'll see more examples of where there were changes or updates to New Quizzes.  For example, in the 2022-09-17 Canvas Release Notes, there were changes/updates to New Quizzes and their connection to Blueprint courses.  Again, click on the specific Canvas Release Notes date to read more about what was changed/updated.  I tried to do a "Find" action on the page (Ctrl+F) to look for "New Quizzes" wording, but I wasn't able to find anything related to Categorization question types...so I don't know if anything did change or not.

2. Format of the fill-in-the-blank questions changed. You now use the backtick, `,  to surround where the dropdown occurs and I had some trouble but that was on me. A single quote, ', isn't a backtick, ` !

Regarding the backticks for Fill-in-the-Blank question types... I could be wrong on this, but I highly doubt that apostrophes (single quotation marks) were ever used to create the answer spaces in those question types.  Allow me to explain...  First, see these Canvas Release Notes...as these resources all mention using backticks instead of apostrophes (single quotation marks) for answer blanks:

In the third link I've provided, it gives an example of:

"Roses are `red`, violets are `blue`"

However, let's take a look at another example that I came up with:

"Birds can't fly without `wings`."

In this example, the correct answer students would need to fill in is: wings.  However, let's say that the apostrophe (single quotation mark) character was used instead of the backticks character (the character just to the left of the number "1" key on your keyboard) to identify the fill-in-the-blank correct answer of wings.  As you are creating this question, it would have to be formed like this:

"Birds can't fly without 'wings'."

...and you would be telling Canvas that "t fly without " (excluding the double quotation marks) is essentially the first fill-in-the-blank in the question that is recognized by Canvas because the first apostrophe (single quotation mark) appears after the "can" in "can't" and ends with the apostrophe (single quotation mark) just before the word "wings".  To illustrate this, I replaced the apostrophe (single quotation mark) in "can't" with a backtick (simulating using all apostrophes) in my own testing of a New Quiz Fill-in-the-Blank question:

Screenshot 2022-10-01 171324.jpg

As you can see, Canvas would be looking for a correct answer of t fly without instead of wings.

I know this a bit of an extreme example, but hopefully it illustrates why the use of backticks instead of apostrophes (single quotation marks) is necessary for creating those answer spaces for Fill-in-the-Blank question types.

I hope all of this information will be of some help to you.  Please let Community members know if you have any other questions about this...thanks!

Thank you, Chris!

On the backticks, my mistake this time was accidentally using the single quote character when trying to make it instead of the backtick character. I didn't mean to suggest that single quotes used to work. Sorry about that!

The way that one used to work is that you would select the word or phrase, hit <enter>, and then the fill-in-the-blank part would appear below. Trying to implement the new way (with backticks) was me doing the new method wrong by using single quotes by mistake.

I don't know when the change to using the backtick happened. I have a numerous fill-in-the-blank question that were created using the <enter> method which still work (I checked to make sure).

My main frustration about the categorization issue is that we didn't get help. I did not classify it as "the world is ending please help me fix it now", but it was looked at by multiple people who couldn't help and it had been escalated to the next level which is where we were at as of Friday. After we figured it out I messaged them Friday afternoon but I haven't heard back about it.

I just did a search through the release notes (thank you!) and I also didn't find anything about categorization question type changes. But something did change after 9/23. Now I can't create a categorization quiz which has a category without an answer. I had tried to duplicate the question because I wanted to move it into a different item bank to test potential fixes but Canvas failed to duplicate the question. The question was about the colors an indicator would turn with respect to different substances and we had a few blank distractor colors. Worked on 9/23 because a student took it and it autograded properly. At some point between that Friday evening and Tuesday Canvas biffed and threw up error messages which means that a change was made either on purpose or accidentally. And if it wasn't included in the release notes that could explain why people weren't able to help us- they didn't know about the change.

Hello again, @aearhart ... thanks for the reply.


The way that one used to work is that you would select the word or phrase, hit <enter>, and then the fill-in-the-blank part would appear below. Trying to implement the new way (with backticks) was me doing the new method wrong by using single quotes by mistake.

I don't know when the change to using the backtick happened. I have a numerous fill-in-the-blank question that were created using the <enter> method which still work (I checked to make sure).


I'm not sure if this applies to you or not, but might you have been using the Classic Quizzes interface for Fill-in-the-Blank questions instead of New Quizzes?  I'm not seeing options in either of these Guides to hit "Enter" to create new blanks:

I just did a search through the release notes (thank you!) and I also didn't find anything about categorization question type changes. But something did change after 9/23. Now I can't create a categorization quiz which has a category without an answer. I had tried to duplicate the question because I wanted to move it into a different item bank to test potential fixes but Canvas failed to duplicate the question. The question was about the colors an indicator would turn with respect to different substances and we had a few blank distractor colors. Worked on 9/23 because a student took it and it autograded properly. At some point between that Friday evening and Tuesday Canvas biffed and threw up error messages which means that a change was made either on purpose or accidentally. And if it wasn't included in the release notes that could explain why people weren't able to help us- they didn't know about the change.

Just for my own clarification, you are following the steps outlined in this Guide and also adding in distractors as described under the "Add Distractors" heading?

How do I create a Categorization question in New Q... - Instructure Community (canvaslms.com)

Are the distractors the things you say have changed in some way recently?

I looked through the "Known Issues" portion of the Canvas Community, and the only thing I was able to recently find about these question types was back on July 5, 2022: Regrading FITB questions in New Quizzes does not a... - Instructure Community (canvaslms.com) ... but I don't think that really relates to what you're asking about.

Not sure if any of this will be helpful for you or not...but thought I'd provide some other resources for you.

Hi Chris,

No. New Quizzes.

1. Categorization Quiz Issue:

We had a question with at least one category that did not have an answer. Unless I missed it, in the question creation instructions it doesn't state that each category must have an answer and we were using those categories as distractors. We didn't do it the other way around because two of the answers were the same and you can't have duplicate answers in this type of question.

We've been using this question unchanged for 1-2 years without a problem until around Tuesday 9/27 when something changed with Canvas. And it didn't fail gracefully. It failed ugly and not even Canvas support has been able to help us. I've still not received a followup email from them since Thursday morning 9/29 and even that was "we're looking into it".

2. FITB Drop-down Format Change

Current way with backticks-

canvas-new-dropdown-format.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Previous way-

canvas-old-dropdown-format.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canvas people have been making changes to the quizzes. Are these changes making it into the release notes? It would be helpful if they were. That's not directed at you, Chris, and I appreciate that you've been trying to help me.

belnapj
New Member

I also rely heavily on being able to create categorization questions where not all categories will have answers.  Being able to do this is pedagogically important for the math questions I create, because it's important for students to consider possibilities and know whether something fits that situation or not.

For instance, in Geometry, I may have a diagram with various pairs of angles and the students may need to decide whether some angles are always congruent, sometimes congruent, or never congruent; however, the situation might not have something for all the categories--nevertheless, those three possibilities need to be possibilities.

I can't reverse the roles (as others said) because then I would have duplicate distractors.

Thank you,

Jason