eClass Support
Creating and Managing Large Question Banks
Last modified on 05 July 2023 03:16 PM

This article discusses some considerations in using eClass to create and manage large sets of quiz questions. For courses without extensive question banks, you may instead refer to Adding Questions and Using the Question Bank.


Question Tagging - A guide to show how you can organize your question bank by tagging.


Options for Bulk Creation of Quiz Questions

Manually creating questions from scratch within eClass may be time consuming. Here are a few faster options available for building questions:


Basic import of text-based questions - If instructors already have exam questions in text documents (e.g., MS Word), with some reformatting, questions can be imported directly after being converted into a .txt file:

locating the question bank link

select import under the 'questions' dropdown menu

eClass accepts a wide range of other importation formats; each with its own uses:

list of file formats that can be imported to the question bank

AIKEN format is the simplest and can import a large number of questions using the format depicted below:

Click Here for a sample AIKEN file.

To learn more about other specific formats, please click Here to see the following guide from Moodle.

Note: AIKEN format can only be used to import multiple-choice, text-only quizzes. If images are required within questions, Respondus is currently the best option.


Respondus Quiz Authoring Tool - The U of A has a site-wide license for the Respondus Quiz Authoring Tool, a Windows-only application which can import, manage, and publish quizzes and questions. It can import a wider range of question types than the basic text import methods and can import the embedded images in MS Word files. Respondus can push questions directly into eClass courses or even specific quizzes via integration and has a slightly different question syntax requirement than AIKEN (see image below):

Obtaining the U of A Version of Respondus Quiz Tool

Quick Start Guide for Using Respondus (vendor documentation with the graphics matching the latest version of the software).

Full User Guide for Using the Moodle (eClass) Personality in Respondus (full vendor user guide with screenshots showing older version of software but all functionality is the same).

An additional feature of Respondus that can be valuable is that a number of publishers have partnered with Respondus to provide question banks associated with some of their textbooks. The Respondus Text Bank website has a searchable interface allowing instructors to check if their particular text has any existing questions which can be downloaded into Respondus and then pushed into eClass courses. These types of questions can make 'homework' style quizzes as a formative assessment for students.


eClass Exam Digitizer - An eClass-developed tool that converts MS Word exam documents into eClass quiz questions. With a wider set of features than the basic AIKEN import, this web-based tool will work for Mac and PC users alike. The Digitizer is in open beta in hopes that it will assist some instructors with final exams in the coming terms. 


Creating and Using Categories in the Question Bank

The question bank in courses gives instructors flexible options for creating and organizing categories of questions. While optional, categories have several useful functions like having better organization of large numbers of questions. By default, all questions are created under a default category level. Organizing them into categories would allow you to better index and locate questions that you create. Coming up with a naming convention for your questions would also make indexing easier.

Adding multiple questions in one operation is only possible when questions reside within the same category:

adding multiple questions to a quiz

Similarly 'Add random question' pulls a specific number of questions from the selected category. It is possible to create subcategories, which would be included when pulling random questions:

Categories can nest

Adding a random question from a question bank category

Quiz-Level Question Banks

So far, we know of question banks at the Course-level, but there is also a more subtle quiz-level question bank which is accessed only from within the context of a particular Quiz activity:

locating the quiz's own question bank category

Questions stored at the quiz-level are not available at the course-level and is useful for copying a specific quiz from one course to another without having to copy the entire course-level question bank which occurs by default (see next topic). Questions already added to any course-level category can be moved into the quiz context.

Re-Using Quiz Questions WITHIN Courses

By default, questions added to a quiz or created from the course-level question bank are re-usable in other newly created quizzes (see previous topic).

Duplicating a quiz will not create extra copies of the questions. Unless the questions reside at the Quiz-level, editing questions in a duplicated quiz will alter the questions in previously deployed quizzes. Instructors who wish to practice version-management should duplicate questions from the question bank, and rename/re-categorize them using clear indexing logic.

Re-Using Specific Quizzes/Questions ACROSS Courses

The import function can be used to copy quizzes from one course in eClass to another. Unfortunately, due to the random question mechanism, this will always copy the original course's entire question bank along with any quiz imported even if questions are stored at the quiz-level.

To copy a single quiz, ensure that the questions are stored at the quiz-level. You can then backup the quiz and restore it in another course.

Alternatively, you can export and import categories of questions. This can be useful to select specific topics, concepts, etc. from one course and transfer them to another course.

locating the import/export functions in the question bank

Re-Using an Entire Course Question Bank in New Courses

When you request your courses, you are given the option to copy content from a previous class you instructed which includes the question bank and quizzes. Instructors wanting to build questions from a clean slate can exclude this option during the copy process (see image below).

This may be useful for faculties or departments that want to manage quizzes and question banks at a departmental-level by pushing quizzes from Respondus into specific courses. For units requiring that kind of capability, Category Question Editor and Sharer roles will provide additional functionality - please contact IST eClass support for more information.

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