Creating Quiz Questions with Random Variables

By Kym Schutz and John Murphy (Learning Enhancement & Innovation) in consultation with Dr. Lei Chen (Mechanical Engineering, ECMS)

In a second year undergraduate course at ECMS, students are encouraged to practice maths questions to develop and consolidate formative skills and knowledge.

The course coordinator, Dr. Lei Chen wanted to know whether it was possible to generate random numerical variables to allow students multiple different attempts at the same questions. The goal was to allow extended practice and enhance validity and security.

He had created similar questions in the past in another platform and wanted to do the same in MyUni using the Canvas quiz engine.

This was part of the action plan as a follow-up to a PEP (Program Enhancement Partnership) Workshop. LEI (Learning Enhancement & Innovation) staff John Murphy (Learning Designer, ECMS) and Kym Schutz (Educational Technologist) explored whether it was possible to generate questions with random numerical variables and formulas in MyUni (Canvas) and were successful.

To create questions with variables:

  • Create a quiz in MyUni
  • Add a new question
  • Choose ‘Formula question’ from the drop down menu.
  • Enter your question text and use [x] and [y] where you would like the variables to appear.
  • Define the parameters of x and y in the text boxes that appear underneath.
  • Auto-generate a range of answers
  • Enter a formula in the text box below this using the x and y variables.

Example question

The example below uses a formula for the area of a circle. The first image shows the variable and formula. The lower image shows what the student will see when doing the quiz.

A different value for the radius is generated each time, and Canvas automatically calculates and marks the correct answer.













More examples

For more specific examples of questions that can be created using the above method with the Canvas Quiz tool, (in a range of subject areas) see Advanced Quiz Techniques in MyUni Learning Centre.

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