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Importing Questions through Respondus

Why Do This?

You can author or edit quiz questions comfortably on a MS Word document and then import the Word document into Cougar Courses as a category of questions to use in your online quizzes. Sometimes your textbook publisher provides a question bank in the form of a word document.  You can manually copy/paste the text from Word into a new question in Moodle, but  If you have quite a few questions, it will be faster to use Respondus to create a file that you can import of  into Cougar Courses.

This document covers multiple choice and true/false questions. For more information on using the Exam Wizard with other question types, or the  Respondus Text Bank network , select the Respondus 4.0 User Guide for Moodle from the list of user guides available on their website.


Importing a document of questions is a multi-part process that involves:
1. Formatting the questions on your word document
2. Using CougarApps to run Respondus
3. Importing questions into Respondus
4. Previewing questions to confirm accuracy
5. Publishing questions from Respondus into your course in Cougar Courses

Formatting the questions on your word document

Respondus will import multiple choice, true-false, essay, short answer, matching, and multiple response questions. The plain text, rich text, or MS Word file must be organized in the “Standard Format” before it can be imported into Respondus. The Standard Format for multiple choice questions has required elements and optional elements, each of which is described below. This is followed by an explanation of the formatting required for true-false, essay, short answer, matching and multiple response questions.

Multiple Choice

Each question must begin with a question number, followed by either a period “.” or a parenthesis “)”.

Example: 3)

Example: 3.

The question wording must follow the question number. (Note: at least one space should be between the question number and the question wording.)

Example: 3) Who determined the exact speed of light?

Example: 3. Who determined the exact speed of light?

Each answer choice (distractor) must begin with a letter (A-Z) followed by a period “.” or a parenthesis “)”.


3. Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

Correct answers can be indicated in two ways. First option:  you place an asterisk (*) directly in front of the answer choice (do not put a space between the asterisk and the answer choice).


3. Who determined the exact speed of light?
a. Albert Einstein
*b. Albert Michelson
c. Thomas Edison
d. Guglielmo Marconi

The second (more reliable)  option is to place a list of correct answers at the end of the file. The list must begin with the word “Answers:” and the answers should start on the following line (no blank lines are allowed). Note that any text after the answer list will be ignored.
1. a
2. b
3. c

Other Question Types

Please see the Respondus Guide for Moodle for examples of formatting other question types.

Importing questions

You will need to use CougarApps to access the Respondus software. Please visit CSUSM’s page on CougarApps to access CougarApps and learn more about it.

Once you are in Respondus, the next step is to import your document of quiz questions.

1. From the Start menu, Select Import Questions.

Respondus start screen - select Import

The following dialog box will appear.

import questions dialog box

2. Choose the file type that will be imported. It must match the file format of your document containing the questions. Supported files include .txt, .rtf, .doc, and .docx.

3. Click the Browse button to locate and select the file to be imported.

4. In Step 2, select Create a New document, and enter a name.  Later, in your Moodle question bank, this can be the title of the category. For example, “F17 BIOL 233 Chapter 1.”

5. Check the box to Use “stem” plus question number. This will help number your questions in Cougar Courses.

6. In the adjacent text field, type “0.”

7. Click the Preview button to check for error warnings.

8. The preview results pane below will indicate if there are any errors detected. If there are errors, check "Cancel this import" and check your document for formatting errors.

9. If the preview is successful, click the Finish button.

Previewing questions

1. Towards the top of the screen, select the Preview & Publish tab.

Respondus start screen with Preview + Publish  tab at top

2. In the left-hand menu, select Preview.
preview questions uploaded to Respondus
3. Notice the total number of questions being displayed. Does this number match the number of questions in your original document? If not, pay close attention as you click through each question. Some questions may have been erroneously combined into one.
4. Select Next to view each question one at a time. Confirm the question text, the answer choices, and the correct answer are all accurately displayed.
5. If you find any errors, you may select Modify Item to fix the question in Respondus.
6. When you’re satisfied, select Close.

Publishing to Moodle

Moodle is another word for Cougar Courses. After previewing your questions, you’re ready to publish to Moodle.
1. Remain on or Navigate back to the Preview & Publish tab towards the top of Respondus.
2. Select Publish from the left menu, then click on the Publish Wizard link.

Select publish, then Publish to Moodle
3. Leave the default settings on the first page of the Publish Wizard. Select Next.

publish wizard dialogue box
4. You will be prompted to enter your CSUSM user name and password.  Once Cougar Courses opens, enter your user name and password again.
5. Select your course from the "Choose Course to Publish to" dropdown.

6. Leave "Create a new category" selected. Edit the title if you choose to.

7. Uncheck the box to Create/Replace assessment. It’s easier to build your quiz directly in Cougar Courses.

publish wizard select course and section to post quiz

8. Click Next when you’re ready.

Next Steps

You now have a question bank in your course that you can draw on to add questions to a quiz. The next faculty guides you may want to reference are:
• Quizzes - Quiz Settings
• Quizzes - Adding Questions from the Question Bank