- Available Resources
- Best Practices for Formatting Test Item Documents
- Formatting Test Item Documents for Respondus
While you cannot import a Word or text document into Blackboard directly in order to create a Test, Survey or Test Item Pool, there are several applications available that will turn a Word or text document into a format that Blackboard can use. However, these applications still need the original document to be formatted in specific ways in order to create the files that Blackboard will use. This article will cover the basics of formatting a Word or text document in such a way as to make importation into Blackboard go as smoothly as possible.
There are a couple applications available that will help you turn a Word or text document into something that can be imported into Blackboard.
Respondus is a fully-featured assessment-creation tool that is available for faculty and staff use on a computer workstation at the Educational Technology Center in Alumni Hall. In addition to helping you import Tests, Survey and Test Item Pools into Blackboard, it can also pull Tests out of Blackboard and turn them into Word documents (something that Blackboard cannot do natively), or convert a Test from the format of another LMS into a Blackboard-readable format. Respondus is also integrated with several publisher test item banks so that users can create tests from publisher test item banks without having to load the entire pool of questions into your Blackboard course.
For the purposes of importing test items from a Word or text document, Respondus can import five kinds of questions: multiple choice, multiple answer, true/false, essay and fill-in-the-blank.
Please contact LMS Support and Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to use Respondus.
Please note: During the COVID-19 response and campus office closure, Respondus will not be available for faculty use as it is physically located on a computer in Alumni Hall and all Teaching Center staff is currently working remotely.
Free Web-Based Blackboard Test Generator
With this free web applications created by the College of Southern Idaho, users can create a Test Item Pool that can then be uploaded into Blackboard. The user is prompted to type or paste questions into a text box and, if the items are inputted with the correct formatting, a .zip file is created and downloaded that can then be uploaded into Blackboard Test Item Pools. (Note: The file that is created can not be imported as a Blackboard Test, only a Test Item Pool. Follow these instructions for importing a QTI package as a pool and then importing those questions into a test. It is an extra step, but a quick one.)
CSI Blackboard Quiz Generator Tool: Online browser-based tool for generating Blackboard Test Item Pools. Once questions are included in any Test Item Pool in your course, they can be used and reused on any test or quiz you create.
Blackboard Quiz Genetaor Tool Documentation: This page provides information on how you should format the questions you type or paste into the generator in order to create valid Blackboard test items.
Best Practices for Formatting Test Item Documents
While the accepted formatting varies slightly across all of the above-mentioned tools and applications, there are a few universal best practices to keep in mind if you want to create your Test, Survey or Test Item Pool using a Word or text file:
- Do not use tables.
- Do not use auto-numbered or auto-lettered lists. Microsoft Word will often want to create such lists automatically as it sees that you are creating a list with ordinal numbers or letters. The first time it automatically formats your list in such a way, you will see an icon appear that resembles a lightning bolt. Click that icon to open a menu where you will be able to control how Word handles such lists.
Click Stop Automatically Creating Numbered Lists to turn this auto-formatting feature off permanently. (It can be re-enabled in Word’s Options settings.)
- Do not use formatting such as bold, italic or underline. It will be stripped out.
- Do not use indents.
- Separate your questions with one blank line.
If using one of the free web tools discussed above, check with your chosen tool to see samples of the required formatting before beginning to write your test items. If you would like to use Respondus, see below for its specific formatting requirements.
Formatting Test Item Documents for Respondus
If you plan to use Respondus on our ETC workstation, you should be aware of its formatting requirements before you write your test document. If you bring a document that is correctly formatted, getting it uploaded into Blackboard via Respondus will be quick and easy.
Each question must begin with a question number, followed by a period or parentheses:
The question then follows the question number. There should be one space in between the question number and the question:
1. What year was the University of Pittsburgh founded? 2) What is the name of the neighborhood at the bottom of Boundary Street?
Each answer must begin with a letter and then a period:
1. What year was the University of Pittsburgh founded? a. 1776 b. 1787 c. 1865 d. 1923 2) What is the name of the neighborhood at the bottom of Boundary Street? a. Junction Hollow b. Panther Hollow c. The Run d. The Lost Neighborhood
Correct answers can be indicated by an asterisk directly in front of the correct answer choice (do not place a space in between):
1. What year was the University of Pittsburgh founded? a. 1776 *b. 1787 c. 1865 d. 1923 2) What is the name of the neighborhood at the bottom of Boundary Street? a. Junction Hollow b. The Run *c. Panther Hollow d. The Lost Neighborhood
Correct answers can alternatively be indicated by creating a list at the end of the document that begins with the word Answers and is formatted in this way:
Answers: 1. B 2. C
For all question types other than multiple choice, the question must be preceded by the text Type: and then a code indicating the question type.
Fill in the Blank: F
Jumbled Sentence: JUM
Multiple Answers: MA
1. What year was the University of Pittsburgh founded? a. 1776 *b. 1787 c. 1865 d. 1923 Type: MA 2) What is the name of the neighborhood at the bottom of Boundary Street? a. Junction Hollow b. The Run *c. Panther Hollow *d. The Lost Neighborhood
For information on how to correctly format question types other than Multiple Choice and Multiple Answer for uploading into Respondus, download this Microsoft Word document: Respondus 4.0 User Guide for Blackboard Learn. You may wish to skip to the chapter titled Importing Questions to Respondus.