If you have an existing exam in a document format (MS Word, plain text, or rich text), it might need some re-formatting in order to be correctly imported via Respondus.

The exam file must be organized in the “Standard Format” before it can be imported into Respondus. The Standard Format for most question types has required elements and optional elements, each of which is described below.

Some of the most common question types that Respondus can import are:

For a complete list of question types and formatting options (including the equation editor) download the Blackboard Learn guide for Respondus linked from Respondus Guides.

Download and example MS Word document that has examples of each question type listed here: Respondus Sample Docx

Start by reading the general requirements for question and answer formatting.

General Requirement (applies to all questions)

Question format:

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.

  • Example:

3)

or

3.

The question wording must follow the question number. (Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.)

  • Example:

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

or

3. Who determined the exact speed of light?

Answer format: Correct answers can be indicated in two ways.

An asterisk (*) can be placed directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice).

Note: MS Word makes this difficult because of the automatic formatting of ordered and unordered lists generated in Word – see next option.

  • Example:

3. Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

The second option is to place a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line (no blank lines are allowed). Uppercase or lowercase letters are accepted.

Note: This option is recommended for MS Word users. Any text in the document after the answer list will be ignored.

  • Example:

Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B

If neither method is used to select a correct answer, Respondus will automatically select the letter “A” as the correct answer. Don’t worry, you will be warned if a question does not have an answer selected for it prior to completing the import.

Note: Survey files should not have “correct answers” selected. If you are importing questions into a survey file, any correct answer designations will be ignored.

Multiple Choice Questions (Requirements)

Each answer choice must begin with a letter (A-Z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”.

  • Example:

3) Who determined the exact speed of light?
a) Albert Einstein
b) Albert Michelson
c) Thomas Edison
d) Guglielmo Marconi

or

3. Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

Multiple Choice – Indicating Answers

Indicate with the asterisk or at the end of the document in an answer list.

  • Example:

3. Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

or

Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B

True / False Questions (Requirements)

The following are two valid ways to format a true and false question for importing purposes.

  • Example:

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?
a. True
b. False

or

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?
a. T
b. F

Note: The “True” (or “T”) answer choice must be listed above the “False” (or “F”) answer choice in order for Respondus to recognize it as a true and false question type. (If “False” appears first in the list, the question will be imported as a “multiple choice” question.)

True / False – Indicating Answers

Indicate with the asterisk or at the end of the document in an answer list.

  • Example:

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?
*a. True
b. False

or

3. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light?
*a. T
b. F

Another way to designate a correct answer for a true and false question is to place it in a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line–no blank lines are allowed. The correct answer for a true and false question can be designated in three ways: (1) using the complete words “True” and “False,” (2) using the letters “T” and “F,” or (3) using the alphabetical letters “A” (for true) or “B” (for false). For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for true and false questions in which all of the answers are “true”:

  • Examples:

Answers:
1. True
2. T
3. A

Multiple Response Questions

The logic for importing multiple response questions is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions. Multiple Response questions are, essentially, multiple choice questions in which more than one correct answer can be selected by the student. The primary difference is that the first line of the formatting must begin with “Type: MR”. This indicates to Respondus that the question is a multiple response. That is followed by the usual question number, and the question wording.

  • Example:

Type: MR
3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?

 

Multiple Response – Indicating Answers

There are two ways to designate correct answers for multiple response questions. One is to use two (or more asterisks).

  • Example:

Type: MR
3) Which of the following individuals are credited with determining the exact speed of light?

a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
*d. Edward Williams Morley

The other option is to place them in a list of correct answers at the end of the file. If a question has been designated as a Multiple Response type using “Type: MR”, then correct answers can be shown in a list in one of three ways: (1) placing a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers, (2) placing a comma between the letters representing the correct answers, or (3) placing a comma and a blank space between the letters representing the correct answers. For example, the formatting of each of the following answers is acceptable for multiple response questions.

  • Examples:

Answers:
1. B D
2. B, D
3. B,D

Matching Questions/Answer

The process of importing a “matching” question is similar to what is described above for importing multiple choice questions, but there are some key differences. The first line of formatting must begin with “Type: MT”. This is followed by the “title” (which is optional), the question number, and the question wording.

Each answer (which consists of both portions of a correct match) must begin with a letter (a-z) followed by a period “.” or a parentheses “)”. The two parts of the match must be separated with an “=” symbol and there should not be any hard returns or blank lines within either parts of the answer.

  • Example:

Type: MT
4) Match the correct name to the discovery or theory.
a. Michelson-Morely = Speed of light
b. Einstein = Theory of Relativity
c. Marconi = radio waves

Spaces before or after the “=” symbol are optional, but it is important that an answer only uses the = symbol for the purpose of separating the two parts of the match. If you plan to list correct answers for other questions at the bottom of the document, simply skip the number for all questions that are of the matching variety.

If you are using an answer list at the end of the document to indicate the correct answers for the other questions, you should  skip the number of the matching question or have it as the last question and just leave off the number. The correct answers are indicated by the pairing of answers with the “=” symbol.

  • Example:

Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. A
5. C
6. B

Short Answer Questions

To import a Short Answer question, the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: S”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording.

  • Example:

Type: S
5. Who is known as the “father of television”?

Short Answer Questions – Indicating Answers

Respondus allows you to import only one correct answer per question, but it does permit you to enter multiple forms of that answer. Because it is prefaced with “Type: S” Respondus will count all following answers as correct. In the live version of the exam in Blackboard, it will display a question with a blank for the student to type in an answer.
Note: If the student misspells a word, Blackboard will count the answer incorrect, because it does not match exactly the possibilities you have indicated as correct.

  • Example:

Type: S
5. Who is known as the “father of television”?
a. Zworykin
b. Vladimir Zworykin
c. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin

Answers can also be placed at the end of the file, using a format similar to multiple choice questions. The only difference is that you can enter multiple forms of an answer by repeating the question number.

  • Example:

Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B
4. C
5. Zworykin
5. Vladimir Zworykin
5. Vladimir Kosma Zworykin
6. B

Paragraph Questions

The logic for importing paragraph questions (also known as “essay” or “open-ended” questions) requires that the first line of formatting must begin with “Type: P”. This is followed by the question number, and the question wording.

  • Example:

Type: P
4. How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?

Paragraph Questions – Indicating Answers

Be aware that any answers supplied for paragraph questions will not be used to ‘automatically’ grade the answer. Any supplied answer would function as an example to the grader of the exam-to give her a good idea of what a correct answer would look like. Paragraph questions will still need to be graded manually in the Grade Center of Blackboard. If you are importing a paragraph question into an Exam file, you can supply an answer two different ways. First, you may provide an answer immediately after the question wording, in which the answer begins with “a.” or “a)” (without the quotes).
Note: If you will be grading the essays yourself, you can leave the answer blank.

  • Example:

Type: P
4. How is the Michelson-Morely experiment related to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity?
a. In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement.

The second way to supply an answer for a paragraph question is to place it in the list of correct answers at the end of the file. As described above with multiple choice questions, the list must begin with the heading “Answers:” and must be positioned at the end of the file. A paragraph answer should begin with the corresponding question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parentheses “)”. This is then followed by a space and then the answer itself.

  • Example:

Answers:
1. A
2. C
3. B
4.
In 1887, Albert Michelson and Edward Morely carried out experiments to detect the change in speed of light due to ether wind when the Earth moved around the sun. The result was negative. They found the speed of light is always the same regardless of Earth’s motion around the sun. Scientists were puzzled with this negative result, and they didn’t know how to explain it. Albert Einstein came up with the answer in his famous second postulate in theory of relativity: that the speed of light (in vacuum) is always constant and absolute, regardless of its source’s motion and observer’s movement.
5. B

Optional Elements

Questions with Images

Images embedded in MS Word files will import automatically. However, it is possible to import images with rich-text or plain text files using an alternate method. First, be sure that the images in gif, jpg, jpeg, or png format and are contained in a separate folder. Then place the following tag at each place where an image should appear: [ img: “filename.jpg” “Description of image” ] . The word “filename.jpg” should be replaced with the actual file name and the words “Description of image” should be replaced by text that describes the image for ADA-compliance; this will set the alt-text for the image.

  • Example:

3. The interferometer, shown here [img: “interferometer.jpg” “Picture of an interferometer”], was used by which of the following scientists.
a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Vladimir Zworykin

All images that are being imported must be placed in a single folder. During the import process, the location of the image folder must be specified in the first step. After the import is complete, the images will appear inline with the question text.

Feedback

With an Exam file, feedback for individual answer choices can be imported by placing the feedback immediately after the answer choice and by beginning the line with the @ symbol. There must be at least one space between the @ symbol and the feedback text.

  • Example:

Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
@ No. Albert Michelson determined the exact speed of light.
*b) Albert Michelson
@ Yes. Albert Michelson won the Nobel Prize for Physics for determining the exact speed of light.
c) Thomas Edison
@ No, Thomas Edison did not determine the exact speed of light.
d. Guglielmo Marconi
@ No. Marconi did not discover the exact speed of light, but he did win the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work with radio waves.

Note: If you are importing questions into a survey file, all feedback designations will be ignored.

Question Title

A question title can be imported with each question, but is not required and can generally be ignored. If a title is not provided for a question, the first 20 characters from the question wording will be used as the question title. Titles must be placed at the beginning of a question and begin with “Title:” followed by the actual text for the title. If the title exceeds 20 characters, the remaining characters will be dropped during the import.

  • Example:

Title: Speed of Light
3) Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

Next step is to Import an exam and check the formatting