MapleTA - Frequently Asked Questions


UW-Madison is adopting Canvas as the single, centrally supported learning management system, and discontinuing support for Desire2Learn (D2L) and Moodle. Access to D2L and Moodle will permanently end June 1, 2018. For information about retaining materials from D2L or Moodle, please refer to this document.

Questions related to the Spring 2018 MapleTA pilot at UW Madison.

General information

Question Behaviors

Calculated Questions

Other Question Types

Getting started with MapleTA in Canvas

Instructor access to MapleTA:

To enter MapleTA, click on the "MapleTA Admin" item in the course navigation links.  If you don't see this link, then you may have to enter the course setting and enable the link.  Once you click on this link, you'll be at the MapleTA course homepage from which you can see all assignments and edit content in the content repository.  For more information on creating content in MapleTA, see the Maple TA documentation.

Note: If instead of the course homepage you see a selection screen with a number of buttons, then there is no MapleTA course associated with your Canvas course.  To create a new course, click on "New class" and complete the class setting form.  On the next page, select the new class and click "Link to class home".  Once this link has been established,  clicking on the "Maple TA Admin" navigation item will take you into the new course.

When you launch into MapleTA from inside Canvas, your login information and course role will automatically carry over to MapleTA.   A teacher in Canvas will become a teacher in the corresponding MapleTA course, and a student will become a student.  There is no way to login to MapleTA directly, as all access comes through Canvas.

Adding a MapleTA quiz to Canvas:

MapleTA quizzes are added as "assignments" in Canvas.  To add a new one, go to the Assignments page in Canvas and click the "+Assignment" button.  Configure the assignment as follows:

Name: Name of quiz
Points: Total points in gradebook (e.g. 10).  If you leave this as 0, then there will be no gradebook entry.
Submission Type: External Tool
External Tool URL:   Use the "Find" button to select Maple TA
Load this tool in a new tab:  checked   (recommended)

External tool settings
After entering all this information, click "Save" to create the assignment.  

Next, link the assignment to a quiz in MapleTA.  To do this:
    1. Launch the new assignment, and click the button to launch it in a new tab if you configured it that way.  
    2. Ensure that the correct course is selected under "Create a link to course homepage"  (But do not click the "Link to Class Home" button.)
    3. Select either an existing assignment and link to it, or create a new assignment.

Once the above procedure is complete, all subsequent launches into the assignment in Canvas will go directly into MapleTA.

Can students access quizzes directly from the MapleTA class homepage?

Students cannot access the MapleTA class homepage directly unless a link is created in Canvas which is set to "Link to Class Home" in MapleTA.  (Instructors can access MapleTA directly through the MapleTA Admin link, but that link is not shown to students.)  Note, however that adding a link to the MapleTA class home will completely break grade pass back to Canvas.  The reason for this is that MapleTA only has access to push grades back to Canvas for assignments that a student launches directly into from Canvas.  If students access assignments directly through MapleTA, then grades will be maintained in MapleTA but they cannot be reflected in the Canvas gradebook.  For this reason, we only recommend adding a link to the MapleTA course homepage for classes that do not rely on grade pass back to Canvas.

A link to the MapleTA gradebook can be given to students by adding a link to MapleTA as an external-tool module item or 0-point assignment and selecting "Link to Gradebook" on the MapleTA link selection page. 

Can MapleTA quizzes be displayed in the same window as Canvas?

This is possible by not selecting "Load This Tool In A New Tab" when creating an assignment.  MapleTA works well in this mode, however it can be problematic for some students.   In particular, students who are using Firefox or Safari, and who have never used MapleTA in the past with their current browser may see their quiz attempt blocked with a message about third party cookies.  This is caused by a browser security setting.  It is possible to work around this problem by having students use Chrome or by changing their browser settings.   We recommend having MapleTA launch in a new tab as an easy way to avoid this problem all together

How can I control access to MapleTA quizzes?

Instructors can use both MapleTA and Canvas to control student access.   For a student to have access to a quiz, both Canvas and MapleTA need to individually allow access.  

Note: If you add a link to the MapleTA course itself in a Canvas course, then students can enter MapleTA assignments directly through that link, bypassing any other restrictions in Canvas at the assignment level. Adding this link also means grade pass back to Canvas will not work.  (See the question "Can students access quizzes directly from the MapleTA class homepage".)

Access controls in Canvas:

Availability times:
These times control when students can enter a MapleTA quiz.   Students will be unable to launch into a MapleTA quiz outside these times.   That is, they will be unable to start an attempt, continue an attempt, or review a past attempt outside these times.  Note that once a student has launched into a MapleTA quiz, the student can continue to interact with the quiz even past the "Available until" date.  To limit this, the instructor can set a due date, or a time limit inside MapleTA.

Due date:
Students can attempt a quiz after the due date, however their grade will be marked as late in the gradebook if Canvas receives their grade after the due date.  Note that this only applies to the first attempt for a student on a quiz.  If a quiz allows multiple attempts, Canvas will not mark subsequent attempt scores as late as long as the initial attempt was completed before the due date.  (To make this precise, the due date applies only to the first grade Canvas receives from MapleTA.  If MapleTA later updates this grade with a new attempt score, or from an instructor regrade, the grade's submission date doesn't change.)

Access control in Maple TA (assignment policy):

Visible (Master):
Must be enabled for students to see the assignment at all.  If not visible, students will receive an error when launching from Canvas.
Start date:
Students will not be able to start the assignment until this date/time.
End date:
Students must complete the assignment by this date/time.
Time limit:
Time limit for an attempt.
Limit visibility by dates:
If checked, students can't see the assignment summary if date restrictions are not met.

How can I create interactive questions with infinite tries and no penalty?  

Any MapleTA assignment can be placed in this mode by enabling "How Did I Do?" in the quiz policies.  This mode will allow students to submit any number of answers for each question until they eventually get all the questions right.  This is most useful for questions with open response answers such as (randomized) numbers or formulas.   If you want to allow this mode for most questions in an assignment, but not for certain questions (e.g. multiple choice questions) then you can selectively add adaptive questions to limit the number of attempts.   Adaptive questions define their own policies and do not use the "How Did I Do?" feature.  For more information on adaptive questions, see the following questions.

How can I create interactive questions with multiple attempts and penalties?

This feature is configured at the question level.  For every question where students should have multiple tries, add an "Adaptive Section" (Icon)   at the end of the question text and then configure the number of attempts and penalty.  If you wish to show the student feedback after their final answer, add the feedback after the adaptive marker in the question text.

Example: Allow at most 3 tries, and gives a penalty of 25% for each wrong answer.
The options checked under Correct and Incorrect ensure students are shown the question and the answer after completing the adaptive section.

     adaptive settings
This feature is configured at the question level.  As in the previous question, add an "Adaptive Section" (Icon)   at the end of the question text and then configure the number of attempts to be 1.  If you wish to show the student feedback after their answer, add the feedback after the adaptive marker in the question text.

Example: Allow only one try, and show the student immediate feedback. Note that the penalty doesn't matter here, since an incorrect answer is always scored as a 0.

      adaptive settings
This is the default mode for MapleTA assignments when "How Did I Do?" is not enabled.  Students can attempt questions in any order and change their answers at any time, but grades and feedback are given after the assignment is submitted.  Adaptive questions can still be mixed in to provide immediate feedback on individual questions.

Moodle allows multiple questions to be locked together so that a student has to answer one before moving on to the next.   This is supported in two different ways in Maple TA:

Option 1: Locking all questions in an assignment
This is enabled by deselecting "Allow Resubmit" in the assignment Policy.  In this mode students will not be able to jump back to previous questions during an attempt and will be forced to answer the questions in order.

Option 2: Locking specific questions together.  
This is accomplished by grouping the locked questions together into a single Maple TA question, separated by Adaptive sections (adaptive).  Each adaptive section should be set to allow one or more attempts, and have "Display" enabled under both Correct and Incorrect branches if you want students to see a section after they answer it.  Once a student completes an adaptive section they are not able to go back and change their previous answers.

How can I create Moodle-style calculated questions?

MapleTA supports calculated (randomized) questions through the use of an algorithm in the question definition.  The algorithm can choose random numbers, make decisions based on the values chosen, enforce assumptions about the randomized values, and even call arbitrary Maple code.  This approach is more flexible than in Moodle, where question datasets are pulled from predefined lists of values.  Refer to the MapleTA Documentation for general information on algorithms.

To emulate the Moodle behavior, define arrays of values and then choose one at random.

For example, this algorithm chooses $a and $b from a list of 5 possible pairs:
$sel = rint(5);
$a = switch($sel, 1,3,5,7,11);
$b = switch($sel, 3,3,6,7,7);

How can I create shared dataset questions?

Moodle questions can be "synchronized" so that the same choice of variable is available in each question in a quiz attempt.  This isn't possible in the same way in MapleTA, where every question is randomized independently.  However, MapleTA allows any number of answer elements to be embedded in a single question, all of which share a common algorithm.  So we can combine all synchronized parts into a single MapleTA question and this achieves the same goal as synchronized questions in Moodle.

For example, the following question contains two parts, each using common variables $a and $b:

multi-part question

The algorithm chooses $a and $b to be integers between 2 and 6:


During an attempt, atudents will be shown the entire problem and asked to answer both parts.  If the question allows immediate feedback, then both parts will be graded at the same time.  If this is not what you want, for example if you want students to be able to check the first part before answering the second, adaptive sections can be used to break up the question.  For example:

adaptive multi-part question

Students will be shown the first part, and possibly be given multiple tries at it, and then asked the second part when they complete it.  The default setting for adaptive sections is to hide the previous section when the next is displayed.  In most cases you'll want to change the settings to "Display" and possibly "Show Answer" after both correct and incorrect attempts.

How can I create pattern match questions?

Moodle pattern match questions allow short responses to be graded using 'pattern match' logic.  MapleTA supports a similar notion using regular expressions.  To create a regular expression graded question, add a 'List' response area and include regular expressions in the answer choices.   MapleTA supports POSIX 1003.2 extended regular expressions.

One limitation we've found is that per-answer feedback isn't supported in List questions.  To give feedback, either use the general feedback area or use a subsequent adaptive section.  List question responses are also limited to a single line of text.

How can I create multiple attempt questions that don't show students exactly what is right or wrong between attempts?

Moodle supports interactive missing-word questions where only right/wrong feedback is given after each attempt.  This is useful since breaking the feedback down for each answer element may give too much information to the student about the correct answer.

The standard behavior in MapleTA is to give feedback for each response area independently.  However, adaptive sections behave differently and show only right/wrong for each section as a whole.  The solution therefore is to use adaptive sections when multiple tries are allowed.

How can I provide per-answer feedback in adaptive multiple choice questions?

MapleTA allows per-answer feedback when defining multiple-choice questions, however this feedback is not shown in adaptive questions.  This is a known limitation, and the workaround is to include general feedback in a subsequent adaptive section.

How can I apply customized weights for multiple-choice answers?

MapleTA does not support customized weights.  The student score is given by:   Grade = (# right - # wrong) / (# correct answers).

How can I create matching questions as in Moodle?

MapleTA Matching response areas are one solution.   In “Matching” areas, MapleTA allows arbitrary HTML and Math content in the choices and so it doesn’t try to display the choices in a dropdown menu (which are typically plain-text only).  The advantage of doing it this way is that math formulas can be matched, the downside is that it’s more cumbersome for students to use when the answers are plain-text.  

As an alternative in MapleTA, using multiple “List” answer areas works well, although this type of question is a bit more tedious to author since the instructor needs to create multiple answer areas, each with all choices. Additionally see the question about "How can I create multiple attempt questions that don't show students exactly what is right or wrong between attempts?".

How can I create calculated questions with binary or hexadecimal answers?

The correct responses can be defined using algorithm code, and the student responses graded using List response areas.

For example, suppose $x is an integer variable.  Then:

$xbinary = maple("convert($x, binary)");                     # x in binary
$xhex = maple("printf(convert($x, hex))");                   # x in hex notation.  Note the 'printf' is required to convert from a maple symbol to a string.
$xhexprefix = maple("printf(cat(`0x`,convert($x, hex)))");   # x in 0x___ hex notation.

Any of these variables can then be used as a case-insensitive answer match in a List response area.

How can I format numbers for output?

This is possible with the built-in function numfmt.

For example:
$out1 = $x;               # default format:  48,359,215
$out2 = numfmt("0",$x);   # no separator: 48359215
$out3 = numfmt("###,###,###,###",$x);  # with separator: 48,359,215
$out4 = numfmt("####,####,####",$x);   # with separator: 4835,9215
$out5 = maple("printf(StringTools[SubstituteAll](convert(`$out4`, string),`,`,`_`))");    # with _ separator: 4835_9215 

How can I require an exact number of significant figures in the answer?

For a Numeric response area,  select "Margin in n'th digit".  The "Digits" field controls the number of significant figures the student must enter, and the "Margin of Error" controls the error tolerance relative to the least significant digit of precision in the correct answer.  

For example, if the numeric part of the answer is 23.032, Digits is 4, and Margin of Error is 2.0, then MapleTA will accept any of the following answers for full credit:
23.01, 23.02, 23.03, 23.04, 23.05
If a student enters any other value between 23.01 and 23.05, then MapleTA will give them 50% credit along with a message about having the wrong number of significant figures in their answer.

This is done using question groups.  Add a question group to the assignment and edit the question group settings to randomly choose one or more questions.

How can I create drag and drop questions?

Drag and drop questions are not currently supported by MapleTA.

Keywords:MapleTA Maple TA quiz moodle converting FAQ questions   Doc ID:78354
Owner:Matt P.Group:Moodle
Created:2017-11-21 11:52 CDTUpdated:2018-03-05 17:56 CDT
Feedback:  0   0