Canvas @ YaleGeneral Information Known IssuesDecember 7, 2020: Canvas Quizzes and Math Editor Tool

December 7, 2020: Canvas Quizzes and Math Editor Tool

Update: December 11, 2020

Instructure has resolved this issue for NEW Quizzes and submissions to quizzes going forward, for a link to their post on the issue, please see the following blog post.  Their article outlines how to resolve assessment questions that may have been built into Quizzes using the Math Editor during the window indicated below that have yet to be given to students.

The impacted timeframe is 11/18/2020 - 11/19/2020 for quiz questions that used the Math Editor, and for student responses to quiz questions.

This does not resolve existing issues for submitted responses to quizzes during the same dates, and the instructions below remain valid for recovering student responses to assessments delivered during this time.

For those who wish to use Canvas Quizzes and expect responses from students using the Math Editor tool within the Rich Content Editor, we ask that you check that your original assessment questions display as expected before distributing your online quiz. Otherwise, this problem is considered resolved and you can proceed and offer your assessment as planned. 


When answering Canvas Quiz Essay Type question, some student answer submission that incorporate equations created via the Math Editor tool are not rendering properly in the SpeedGrader view. 

NOTE:  The answers are stored in Canvas, they are just not appearing in the SpeedGrader view.  Check out the section on Finding Answers for Previously Submitted Quizzes for details on how to check your students' responses.

What students are seeing:

When answering an Essay Type Question, students can click the Insert Math Equation button [1] to open the Math Editor to create complex equations.  

The Math Editor button is located on the rich content editor tool bar.

Students can type in the box provided an use the custom equation menus [2] to insert symbols and formats.  Once their equation is complete, they click the Insert Equation button [3] to insert the equation into their answer [4].

The Math Editor Tool pop-up provides tools to create advanced equations
The Math Editor inserts the final equation into the Rich Content Editor.
What instructors are seeing:

For some students who use this tool, their answers are either not rendering in SpeedGrader or appear truncated:

For some students who insert equations via the Math Editor, their answer is not displayed or partially displayed in the SpeedGrader.
Finding Answers for Previously Submitted Quizzes

The following instructions are meant only as a temporary workaround solution while Instructure continues to investigate this problem.  These instructions can be used to find missing/truncated student answers so that grades can be completed.  Any user with instructors or TA level access in your course site can follow these instructions to view student answers.  

NOTE:  The Canvas @ Yale Support Team cannot pull student responses, but we are happy to advise and guide instructors and TA's on how to complete this process for their courses.

To view student responses that are not displaying in SpeedGrader due to the Math Editor bug, instructors will need to complete the following process for each impacted student response to a question.  These instructions are meant for instructors/TAs to use to temporarily view a student's answer so that they can conduct grading.  

Summary of process:  The student responses that are impacted by this bug do have answers stored in HTML code, but that code is not rendering in the SpeedGrader for faculty.  This process will walk you through how to find and grab the HTML for a student's answer and how to paste that HTML into an HTML Editor so you can view it.  For simplicity sake, these instructions will describe how you can leverage the Canvas rich content editor's HTML view to view the student answer.  NOTE:  We do not recommend that you save the student answers, .

To make this process more efficient, we recommend that you have 2 browser tabs open:  
1) for viewing the SpeedGrader so you can collect the HTML code and
2) for an unpublished Canvas Page with the HTML editor where you can paste the HTML code and view the answer.  

The instructions below are written with this recommendation in mind.

Part 1:  Open a browser tab to the HTML Editor view of a Canvas Page

  1. Open a tab in your browser.
  2. Log into Canvas and go to your course site.
  3. Click on the Pages button [1] in your course and then click + Page [2].
Click on the Pages button an create a new page

NOTE:  If you are using a Front Page, you will need to first click View All Pages [3] and then click + Page [2].

  1. In the editor, click on the HTML Editor View button [4].

NEW Rich Content Editor

OLD Rich Content Editor

Part 2:  Open a browser tab with SpeedGrader

  1. Open another tab in your browser.
  2. Navigate to your course site in Canvas.
  3. Click on the Quizzes button [5] and click on the title of the quiz where the problematic student responses were submitted.
  4. In the right side menu, select SpeedGrader [6].
  1. Once SpeedGrader is open, use the student name drop down menu [7] to navigate to the impacted student.
  2. On the student submission page, click Quiz Log [8].
  1. You will now see a timestamped log of the student's activity during the quiz.  Within this log, click on the impacted Question Number [9] (it does not matter which one you click on, just make sure you click on the correct question #).
  1. You will now see a versioning log of the student's response.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to the last answer version.  
  2. If you are not viewing the HTML for the answer, click the View Plain button [10].
  1. You will now see HTML code [11] for the student's response.***


Part 3:  Copy HTML Code from SpeedGrader response log and Paste into HTML editor

  1. Highlight and copy the HTML code you found in step 14 (above).
  2. Go back to the browser tap you opened in Part 1.
  3. Paste the code into the text box of the HTML Editor view [12].
  4. Click the to switch to the rich content editor view button [13].
  5. You will now see the student's full answer [14].  

NEW Rich Content Editor

OLD Rich Content Editor

Part 4:  Grade student response in SpeedGrader

  1. Navigate back to the SpeedGrader browser tab you opened in Part 2.
  2. Click the browser's refresh button to get out of the log view.
  3. If you are not returned to the same student, use the student name drop down menu [15] to navigate to the impacted student again.
  4. Refer to the answer you saw in the HTML editor in step 21 and enter the points the student should receive for their response in the points entry box [16].
  5. Click the Update Score button [17] at the bottom of the page to save your changes.  


Instructure (Canvas vendor) has been notified and sent a list of courses and students who may have been impacted by this issue.  They are currently investigating the issue but do not have a timeline for resolution.


For instructors who are concerned about their upcoming quizzes and exams, the following options could be used to avoid this issue:

  1. Keep your Canvas Quiz the same, but ask students to type out their equations without using the Math Editor button.
  2. Recreate questions on your Canvas Quiz that require equation-based student answer questions as File Upload type questions.**  With this format students could either:
  3. You could have students use a separate equation editing tool and take a screenshot of the final equation and then link embed the image into their answer or upload as part of the File Upload question as described above.**
  4. Depending on how many questions you have that are equation-based, you could consider offering your exam through another tool like Canvas Assignments or GradeScope.†

** This solution will not work with Respondus LockDown Browser.

Canvas Assignments do not have the ability to set a timer, but GradeScope does have timer capabilities.