[LON-CAPA-dev] Re: cvs: doc /loncapafiles loncapafiles.lpml

Stuart Peter Raeburn lon-capa-dev@mail.lon-capa.org
Fri, 19 Mar 2004 20:45:29 -0500


There are two new utilities available in CVS for importing content into 
LON-CAPA. A preview of these utilities was provided at the DC conference - 

One is a utility to import content packages conforming to the IMS 1.1 
content package standard from Blackboard 5 or ANGEL (imsimport.pm or 
imsimportdocs.pm).  Packages can be imported into either Construction Space, 
or directly into a course via DOCS.  These utilities are still undergoing 
development so there is not currently any documentation.  An additional 
option that will be added will be the ability to import Blackboard 5 
question pools (This is something Robley Light asked me about at the 
conference in January). 

The other utility (which is completed) is testbankimport.pm used for 
converting questions in a plain text file into LON-CAPA problems.  At 
present this utility does not perform any special handling for units or 
symbols. No formal documentation has been written so far, although it is 
self-documenting to some extent, in that the user goes through a series of 
steps to describe the format of the questions in the uploaded text file.  To 
use this utility, simply go to construction space, browse for a file, and 
click upload file.  On the next page you will be prompted to specify the 
type of file you are uploading - Regular file, Testbank file or IMS package. 
Choose "Testbank file". 

This page includes the following description: 

Testbank file: a testbank file containing plain text (ascii) questions and 
answers, which you plan to convert to LON-CAPA problems. The following 
question types can be converted: 1 of N multiple choice questions, 
individual True/False questions, groups of True/False questions, 
Fill-in-the-blank questions, Ranking questions, and Essay/short answer 
questions. Specific information about the format of the questions, foils, 
and correct answers is available here, and is also included in the pages 
displayed during step-by-step conversion of the testbank. The original 
testbank file can be removed from your construction space later, once the 
testbank questions have been converted. 

The "here" link launches a separate window with the following explanation. 

Importing Testbank questions into LON-CAPA 

Five requirements must be met to ensure that you will succeed in building 
LON-CAPA problem files using your plain text file containing testbank 

  1. The questions and answers you upload must be in plain text format. Any 
header lines should occur before the text containing the questions and 
  2. All questions must occur before any of the answers. Each question 
should be numbered sequentially using a number followed immediately by a 
space, a period, or enclosed in parentheses, i.e., 1 , 1., (1), 1), or (1 .
  3. One or more correct answers should be provided for all questions 
(although blank answers may be provided for essay questions). Answers should 
be numbered sequentially, using the same scheme as used for the questions, 
and must occur after all the questions.
  4. Multiple choice and multiple answer correct questions should consist of 
(i) the question number followed by (ii) a question stem beginning on the 
same line and (iii) two or more foils, with each foil beginning on a new 
line and prefixed by a unique letter, or Roman numeral, listed in alphabetic 
or numeric order, beginning at a (alphabetic) or i (Roman numeral), followed 
by a period, or enclosed in parentheses, i.e., a., (a), i., or (i) .
  5. If fill-in-the-blank or multiple answer questions have more than one 
correct answer, each answer should appear in a comma-, tab-, space-, or new 
line-delimited list. 

An example plain text file might look like:

(1) Describe the most recent glacial episode in the last Great Ice Age, and 
explain briefly how it affected the American midwest. 

(2) The number of officially recognised Great Lakes is ... 

(3) How many states are there in the USA? 

(4) Which of the following are considered to be Great Lakes?
(a) Lake Michigan
(b) Lake Huron
(c) Lake Superior
(d) Lake Champlain
(e) Lake Cuyahoga
(f) Lake Baikal 

(5) The deepest of the Great Lakes is ...
(a) Lake Superior
(b) Lake Michigan
(c) Lake Ontario
(d) Lake Erie 

(6)  The Great Lakes were formed as a result of deepening of existing 
depressions due to glacial action during the last ice age - true or false? 


(1) Please refer to pages 422 - 467 of your textbook. 

(2) 5,five,FIVE,Five 

(3) 49,50,51 

(4) (a),(b),(c) 

(5) (a) 

(6) T 


These questions are of the following types (in order)
Essay,Fill-in-the-blank,Fill-in-the-blank,Multiple answer,Multiple choice, 

In this case several different correct answers are possible for the 
Fill-in-the-blank questions.  Question 2 will be converted to a 
stringresponse with a regexp match on the answers, whereas question 3 will 
be converted to a numericalresponse with a correct answer of 50 (and a 
tolerance of 2%). 

If you uploaded this file, you would enter (1) for the question number 
format (step 1) and 5 for the number of blocks (step 2), and for step 3:
First | Last | Type | Foil format | Answer format
1       1      Essay
2       3      Fill-in-blank                   comma
4       4      Multiple answer   (a)           comma
5       5      Multiple choice   (a)
6       6      True/False                      T or F 

Suggestions for improvements and enhancements to these utilities are 


Stuart Raeburn
MSU LON-CAPA support/development 


H. K. Ng writes: 

> This file pick my curiosity. Is there any documentation on how it works? 
> Locally there is a project that requires around 200 problems to be 
> translated. 
> Thanks,
> hk 
> At 10:37 PM 3/18/04 +0000, you wrote:
>> raeburn           Thu Mar 18 17:37:16 2004 EDT 
>>   Modified files:
>>     /doc/loncapafiles   loncapafiles.lpml
>>   Log:
>>   Added utilities for importing IMS packages into LON-CAPA 
>> Index: doc/loncapafiles/loncapafiles.lpml 
>> @@ -1925,6 +1925,38 @@
>>  <description>
>>  Utility to convert plain text questions in a testbank file to LON-CAPA 
>> problems.
>>  Called by selecting testbank option when uploading file to construction 
>> space.
>> +</description>
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