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The University of Arizona

Short Answer (SA)

To create a Short Answer Question, do the following:

Short Answer Question selection





1. Click the New button and select Short Answer Question (SA) from the drop down menu.

Tip: If you are using Sections to organize your questions, make sure to first click on the section where you want to build the question(s) in order to ensure the question is created there. If you have already built a question outside of its designated Question Section, use the Move button to move the question to the Question Section in which it belongs. For more information about moving questions see the help page on Moving Question Library questions.

From within the New Question page, complete the following fields:

2. Title (Optional): While you may use this field to title your question, we suggest leaving it blank. Doing so will cause the Question Text to be inherited as the title, allowing you to see the text of each question in the Question Library.

3. Points: Assign a point value for the question. This value will be carried over to the Quiz when the question is imported and will be used to determine the sum of all question points in the quiz.

4. Difficulty (Optional):  While optional, assigning a difficulty level (1 through 5) to each question allows you to add and sort your questions, and to view statistics based on question difficulty.

5. Question Text: Enter the question to be answered in this field.

New Short Answer Question screenClick to Enlarge Image

6. Image (Optional): If you would like to attach a picture to this question, do so by clicking the Insert an Image button. Use the Description field if you need to provide information about the image.

7. Add and Remove Blanks: Use the Add Blank button to add an additional answer field. To add multiple blanks at a time, type the quantity of answer fields you want to add, then click the Add Blank button. To remove an answer field click the trash can to the right of each answer field.

8. Answer Options:

  • Rows & Columns: Specify how many rows wide by columns high the answer text box appears to a participant. For Short Answer Question types, we suggest creating an answer box roughly equal to the size of the answer you would like the participant to provide. To determine what size text box is right for you, set the Rows and Columns to numbers you would like to test, and click the Preview button. Change the numbers until you find the text box size that you prefer.
  • Add Answer: If your question calls for more than one answer click the Add Answer field to add additional fields. To add multiple answer fields at a time, type the quantity of answer fields you want to add, then click the Add Answer button.
  • Answer: Enter the correct answer in the Answer field.
  • Weight: Enter a 100 in the Weight field if there is only one correct answer in order to assign full (100%) credit for the correct answer. You may also create multiple correct answers and assign partial credit if you deem more than one answer acceptable. If your question requires multiple answers, make the combined weight of the most correct answer to each question total to 100 to ensure a participant gets 100% for that question if all of the most correct answers are selected.
  • Evaluation: Select Case Insensitive to have D2L auto-grading compare the participant answer to the correct answer regardless of letter case. Select Case Sensitive to have D2L auto-grading compare the participant answer to the correct answer while requiring letter case correctness. Select Regular Expression to have D2L Auto-grading use alpha-numeric and meta-characters to determine the correct answer. Case sensitivity is determined by meta-character parameters you set. For more information about Regular Expression see the Regular Expression help page.
  • Check Answers: Use the Check Answers button to verify your answers are in a format D2L understands.

9. Question hint and feedback (Optional): Click Expand question hint if you would like to provide a question hint to participants. Click Expand question feedback if you would like to provide feedback to all participants, regardless of how they answered the question.

10. After completing all above items, choose from the four options below:

  • Save: Saves and closes the question, returning you to the Question Library.
  • Save and Copy: Saves the question, creates a copy, and displays the copy for you to edit.
  • Save and New: Saves the question and opens a new, blank, Short Answer question for you to edit.
  • Preview: Use to preview your question to see how it will appear when being taken by participants and when being graded by a member of the instructional team. This does not save the question, so when you are finished previewing the question click the Done button to return to the question, then use one of the three save options above to save your question.


If you are editing a question that has already been imported into a Quiz, Survey, and/or Self Assessment, you will be presented with the option to also update the question in those locations (shown at right). Be sure to update the question in every location that you want to apply the change. Any location that you do not choose to update will be left with the old version of the question and D2L will consider it an entirely different question from the modified version in the Question Library.

Important:  Never update a question in a live Quiz or Survey, as doing so can cause a variety of issues with participant attempts, grading, reports and statistics. Please wait until after the Quiz or Survey period has passed to make modifications to your questions. If you need to modify a question in a live quiz because it is not configured properly, contact the D2L support team using the Online Help Request form to determine the best way to correct the problem.

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