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Knowledge Checks

Last updated on April 13, 2022

Knowledge checks using MS Forms in Canvas can be a great way to check student comprehension.

Have you ever wondered how to help your students develop better study skills? Students can spend a great deal of time reading or viewing material but merely reading material does little to help students learn or help students direct their studying efforts. Knowledge checks can be a powerful way to help students interact with course material. Low-stakes assessments help students see how well they have understood the information, make judgments about what and how much they should study, and allow students to process the material more deeply.

Best practices

When should I use this?

  • Knowledge checks are useful for assessing student understanding:
    • Before they’ve learned new material to prime them with previously covered materials
    • While they are engaging with material like a reading or a lecture video
    • After a unit but before a formal assessment to help them see what they may need to review
  • Align your knowledge checks with your module learning objectives. This helps the assignment and knowledge check feel meaningful to the students and helps reinforce your course learning objectives
  • Provide feedback! It can be extremely helpful to go beyond simple “correct” and “incorrect” feedback and give the student more information. 
    • Why was the answer incorrect? Where can the student go to get more information? The feedback is the most essential component for learning.
  • Keep knowledge checks short (just a few questions) and keep the total number consistent with the number of learning objectives for a module.

When should I set this up?

  • When creating lessons in Canvas, it can be helpful to students to break up content with short knowledge checks, and using the quiz tool can be fast and easy if you want to count these for a small grade.
  • You can also embed Microsoft Forms knowledge checks into pages in Canvas using the RCE (remember, these do not connect to the grade book, so these are for teaching/learning only, and not assessment)

When should I not use this?

  • Knowledge checks should not be designed to trip students up, but instead they should give them a realistic look at their understanding of the material.
  • If you want to grade your knowledge checks, consider grading for completion, not correctness, so students can interact with the material several times if needed.
  • Don’t rely on True/ False questions, these questions are easiest to guess and may not give students an accurate idea of their learning. Multiple choice questions can provide the learner with better feedback but keep grading to a minimum.

Let’s walk through it together

Create a Knowledge Check in a MS Form

  1. Go to office.com/launch/forms in your internet browser.
  2. Log-in with your MSU Denver Single-Sign On (your university email and password).
    • You may be automatically logged-in if you’ve logged into your email or other university systems on your internet browser.
  3. Click + New Quiz in the top left-hand corner of the page.
  4. Click Untitled Quiz to enter a title for your knowledge check.
    • Optional: Click the Text Box below the title box to enter a description for your knowledge check.
  5. Click the More Options (3 Dots) button in the top right-hand corner of the screen, the the right of the Share button.
  6. Click Settings in the drop-down menu.
  7. Uncheck the checkbox for One Response Per Person.
    • You will want students to be able to see the knowledge check and attempt it again if they go through the material again.

Add Questions to the Knowledge Check

MS Forms include a variety of question types, but we’ll just focus on the two most popular types for this use: multiple-choice and short answer.

  1. Click the + Add New button to add a question.
    • This button will be below the title if you haven’t added any questions already, or below the existing questions if you have.
  2. Click the Choice button to create a multiple-choice question.
    • Enter the Question in the text box that says “Question”.
    • Enter possible Answers in the boxes that say “Option [X]”.
    • Click + Add Option to add more possible answers.
    • Click the Check icon to the right of an answer to mark it as correct.
    • Click the Trash Can icon to the right of an answer to remove it.
    • Click the Word Bubble icon to the right of an answer to provide feedback when a student selects that answer.
    • Click the toggle next to Multiple Answers to allow the student to select multiple correct answers (don’t forget to mark each correct answer as correct).
    • Click the Trash Can icon in the top right-hand corner of the question box to remove the entire question.
  3. Click the Text button to create a short answer question. This should only be used when you want a student to enter something simple, like a name, word, or number.
    • Enter the Question in the text box that says “Question”.
    • Click + Add Answer to enter the correct answer (you can click it again to enter several possible correct answers).
    • Click the Trash Can icon in the top right-hand corner of the question box to remove the entire question.

Embed the Knowledge Check in a Canvas Page

  1. Click Share in the top-right corner of the Form.
  2. Click the Embed (</>) icon in the Share panel to generate an embed code.
  3. Click Copy to the right of the embed code.
  4. Open a Canvas Page.
  5. Click Edit in the top right-hand corner of the Page.
  6. Click the Embed icon in the toolbar along the top of the text field (this icon looks like a cloud.
    • This icon might not be visible on smaller screens. In this case, click the More Options (3 Dots) icon to the right of the toolbar and then click the Embed icon.
  7. Paste the Embed Code in the pop-up menu.
  8. Click Submit in the bottom right-hand corner of the pop-up menu.
  9. Click Save in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.