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#12–Using Respondus to Load Quizzes to Blackboard

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August 15, 2002

LTA Overview

Course management systems like Blackboard and WebCT have made simpler many aspects of teaching and learning with technology. One still-difficult, still-time-consuming activity is creating quizzes and surveys in the format your CMS requires. No longer. A tool called Respondus takes the tests you’ve already created in Word, reformats them for your CMS, and uploads them right into your coursesite. This Low Threshold solution is only useful if your institution has already adopted Blackboard or WebCT (this description is for Bb, but the WebCT steps are almost identical).


Trish Harris
Senior Instructional Technology Consultant
Oakland Community College (Pontiac, Michigan)

You’ll find that the Respondus software is low-cost, easy to use, and expands your use of Blackboard’s (or WebCT’s) possibilities. So if you are a current Bb or WebCT user who’s always wanted to use the quiz function but found it too much work, this LTA’s for you. Respondus also creates printable versions if quizzes you create in Bb, and it allows you to extract quizzes you painstakingly created directly in Bb so you can modify or print them.

LTA Level

This LTA is geared toward mainstream faculty with an intermediate to semi-advanced level of technological expertise.

LTA Outcomes

Create quizzes and surveys published to your Bb coursesite using materials you’ve already (or will soon!) save in Word or another word processing program. Save time and expand use of CMS functionality with minimal sweat.

Skills Required and Software/Hardware Recommended

Intermediate skills are required, including training or experience in using Bb or WebCT, creating and saving documents in Word or other word processing software programs, and understanding intermediate web and mouse-function details such as URLs and right-clicking to copy and paste. There is a need to have a functioning computer with a monitor that is connected to the Internet, and access to a Bb coursesite in which you are loaded as an instructor. Your Bb version must be 5.0 or higher for optimal functionality. The following computer operating systems support the Respondus application program: Windows 95, 98, NT4, 2000, XP. Macintosh users can run Respondus using Windows emulation software such as Connectix VirtualPC.

Content Materials

You will need a Word (or other word-processed) file which contains saved test or survey questions (and, for tests, the answers).

LTA Procedure — Summary

Following are a summary of steps that this LTA will cover:

  1. Reformat your quiz/survey file in the Respondus way.
  2. Publish your quiz/survey to your Bb coursesite using Respondus.

LTA Procedure — Details

To reformat your quiz/survey file in the Respondus way

Respondus only accepts text files, but it’s easy enough to accommodate this necessity.

  • Open the file you’ve saved with questions and answers for your quiz.
  • Save the file as a text file (in Word, that’s FILE>SAVE AS>SAVE AS TYPE>TEXT ONLY).
  • Format your questions so that each question is numbered (1., 2., 3., etc.), a hard return follows each question, and answers appear on one line each, with each lettered (a., b., c., etc.). A single space needs to appear between each letter/number+period and the text that follows it.Example:
    1. Roses are red and violets are ________.   a. violet   b. green   c. blue   d. dead by August 1
  • Note the types of questions in your quiz. Are they multiple choice? Fill in the blank? True/false? For multiple choice questions, the formatting you’ve already completed is enough. Congrats! You’re ready to move on to the next step! This LTA focuses on multiple choice questions only, just to give you a sense of what using Respondus is like and to allow you to load a simple multiple choice quiz or survey quickly. For other question types, you need to insert a teeny bit of code to tell Respondus (and, later, Blackboard) what type of question it’s seeing; full instructions are available in Respondus’ white paper and help guide.
To publish your quiz/survey to your Bb coursesite using Respondus
  1. Open Respondus.
  2. Click Import Questions.lta12.001.gif
  3. A pop-up dialog box will appear:lta12.004.jpg
  4. Under File Name, browse to select the text file version of your quiz. Then click “Open” to add it to the Respondus client.lta12.006.jpg
  5. Name your document in the “Create a new document, named:” entry field.lta12.008.jpg
  6. Choose whether you’re creating a quiz or test.
  7. Click “Preview” to see if there are any issues with your text file (don’t worry; Respondus will guide you through making it right). You’ll notice that the tool sets the correct answers to “a” by default. You can change this later.lta12.010.jpg
  8. Press the “Finish” button to start the next stage of the process.
  9. At this point, Respondus will allow you to manually add more questions or even add more files to this set of questions within Respondus.lta12.012.jpg
  10. But we want to publish this to Blackboard, so click Preview and Publish. You’ll then see this screen, which will allow you to preview what the quiz would look like in Bb:lta12.014.jpg
  11. Click Publish to Blackboard. This is what your publish-preparedness screen looks like. You’ll want to select, from the Server & Course drop-down arrow, “add new server.”lta12.016.jpg
  12. This selection generates a ppo-up dialog box that allows you to enter your settings from Blackboard.lta12.018.jpg
  13. Follow the instructions from the first entry field by going to your institution’s Bb log-in page (do not log in yet!) and right-click copying the URL. Then right-click paste that URL (yes, it’s long and messy) into this first entry field.lta12.020.jpg
  14. Your screen will then look something like this, with the URL pasted in:lta12.022.jpg
  15. Then go ahead and log into Bb, go to your intended coursesite, and click Control Panel. Right-click copy that URL, then paste it into the second Respondus entry field.lta12.024.jpg
  16. After you’ve pasted, your dialog box should look something like this:lta12.026.jpg
  17. Then click “extract” and watch the magic happen as Respondus extracts all the information it needs to publish your quiz to Blackboard:lta12.028.jpg


  18. Then all you have left to do is name your quiz something meaningful and short (they give an example), select your Bb version, and enter your Bb username and password (necessary since this is a closed system). Then click OK.lta12.030.jpg
  19. At this point, you get a screen that indicates all your information has been saved to Respondus; before you publish to Bb, though, Respondus does allow you an opportunity to set grades, point values, correct answers, and such:lta12.032.jpg
  20. Click “Publish” – Respondus will publish your questions right to your Bb coursesite. When you see the text “successfully completed” in your “Status” filed for item #4, you’re all done. When you next visit the Assessment section of your coursesite, you’ll see your new quiz all ready to go – with a minimum number of clicks required!


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