The Library: Importing Items in to your Collections

Cirrus Assessment Support Team -

Importing Items in to your Collections

Cirrus offers you the opportunity to very easily import Items you already have on file into the platform. This article describes the different options in more detail:

Importing: start in your target collection and using the import

When you import Items into the Cirrus Platform, you do so in a collection of your choosing. This can be an existing collection or you can create one easily on the spot.

When you have a collection you want import into, open it and click on the 'Action'-button and select 'Import' from the dropdown menu: a modal screen opens which the three options to import from:

2019-08-15_Library-import-questions.png

Importing from another Cirrus collection

  • Go to the collection you want to import into
  • Click on the ‘Action’ button and select 'Import' from the dropdown - you need to have the correct access / permissions via your Collection Role to be able to do this.
  • Choose 'Another collection'
  • Choose the collection and/ or questions you want to import - this collection needs to be shared with you and you need to have the correct access / permissions via your Collection Role.
  • Select the set of questions you want to import using the checkboxes or the select all on page select box.
  • Click 'OK'
  • All done!

Copying items in Cirrus:

Importing from a IMS QTI file

  • Go to the collection you want to import into
  • Click on the 'Import'-button
  • Select 'IMS QTI file' - this allows you to select an IMS QTI 2.1 compliant file from which you want to import the questions.
  • Click 'OK'
  • All done! 

Please Note:

IMS QTI 2.1 provides an internationally accepted standard for the exchange of Items and interoperability of assessment platforms. However, plug&play interoperability is not guaranteed as most platforms use their own 'dialect' of technical and client-specific settings. Also layout paramaters and use of media in QTI 2.1 can be limited. 

Feel free to have a look at our Moodle import and TAO import.

Cirrus can analyse your source-files and built a custom conversion tool to import your QTI 2.1 Items: support@cirrusassessment.com

Importing from an Excel file

Cirrus offers the option to import items from an Excel source file. At any time you can get our example file from within your Cirrus environment to help you create this. This way any author can create a good import-file in Excel and easily import questions:

Setting up a source file in Excel using the Cirrus example 

Cirrus provides an up to date example file (.xlsx) which you can download from within the platform:

  • Login as an Author
  • Go to Library > the collection you want to import into
  • Click on the ‘Action’ button and select 'Import' from the dropdown
  • Check the option 'Excel file' and press 'Continue'
  • Click the 'See an example' link next to the 'Upload button' to download an up to date example file (.xlsx):  

2019-08-15_upload_file.png

Click ‘See an example’ to download an example Excel (.xlsx) which shows:

  • Which question types are available for import
  • The required and optional information to provide when importing questions.

Notes on ItemIds with the Excel item-import:

Item IDs in Cirrus need to be unique. When you import questions with ItemIds already in use on your environment you will receive the following warning:

"The following Item IDs are already used in the system:
EXAMPLEID-018
The existing Item IDs will be replaced by a generated ID.
Are you sure you want to continue?Item ID is the unique identifier of a question."

If you click continue the 'old' / existing questions with these ID's will automatically get new Item IDs. In other words: you newly imported questions will get the Item IDs from your file and trump the existing questions with those IDs. The latter will receive new IDs!

Notes on importing Learning Objectives with the Excel item-import:

  • Learning Objective Title in Cirrus and on your Excel need to be an exact match! (Be aware of trailing spaces.) 
  • All Learning Objectives in your Excel sheet should be added in Admin > Learning objectives before you import the items (Learning Objectives) are managed by your system administrator in Cirrus).

Notes on 'Randomised' column in the Excel item-import:

This column determines if the answer options order is randomised when candidates view the question. Values: True or False. Default - or when left empty - is set to 'False'.

Notes on importing Taxonomy terms with the Excel item-import:

For a successful import of 'Item Taxonomy':

  • The taxonomy term needs to already exist in Cirrus 
  • It should not exist more than once in Cirrus [1]

[1] For example - in a test environment which has two Taxonomies defined which both use 'Knowledge' > An item with taxonomy term 'Knowledge' will be imported, but without this taxonomy term - instead the user will see an error that this term was not imported.

Notes on importing Labels with the Excel item-import:

Labels are a less formal way of adding metadata to Items - they will be created upon importing. Please note that these labels are attached to the item immediately, which means you cannot connect it to Learning Objectives afterwards.

Notes on Item Status setting with the Excel item-import

When importing questions using Excel you can use the 'Status' column to determine the item's workflow status upon import. The following values can be used in this column:

    • Draft - set workflow status to 'Draft'
    • Ready for review - set workflow status to 'Ready for Review'
    • Approved - set workflow status to 'Reviewed - Approved'
    • Not approved - set workflow status to 'Reviewed - Not Approved'
    • Live - set workflow status to 'Live'.

Default value for this column - if you make a mistake (typo) or leave the status value empty - will be set to 'Draft' upon import. This means your items will be imported with workflow status 'Draft'.

Performing the actual import of Items from an Excel file

After you’ve created your source file according to the example .xlsx, any Author can easily import the questions in an existing or newly created Collection in Cirrus.

  • Login als Author
  • Go to Library > the Collection of your choice
  • Click on the ‘Action’ button and select 'Import' from the dropdown
  • Check the option Excel file and click ‘Continue':

    2019-08-15_Import_file.png
  • The Import Questions window appears:

    2019-08-15_upload_file.png
  • Click Upload file
  • Select your Excel (.xlsx) file and click OK

Note: Upon uploading your .xlsx file with questions a trial import is performed. After this you will need to select the actual questions you want to add to your Collection.

  • Click Upload file
  • Select your Excel (.xlsx) file and click OK
  • You will see the results of a trial import in the next screen:

    2019-08-15_Import_Example.png
  • Now select the questions you wish to import and click Import Selected [C]
  • Tip: You can also filter questions at this stage of the import. If you only want to import Multiple Choice questions for example, check the corresponding box in the left column [A]
  • Tip: tick the topmost checkbox [B]  to select all questions on the page and click OK
  • The system will confirm your successful import (green box) and sometimes additional information (blue boxes):

    2019-08-15_Import_success.png

FAQ on How To Import Questions from Excel

Q: What happens when a question already exists in the collection?

A: If a question already exists, a new version will be created next to it. Please note that this question will have the exact same title. Only the timestamp (under ‘Modified’) will be different.

Q: What fields can I search questions on? Can I search for questions after importing to double check my results?

A: You can search for questions using the search box in top right of your screen. It wil search in the full text of the question. You can filter the results to only show Questions.

Q: What is the unique identifier for a question?

A: The Item ID is the unique identifier of a question. 

Q: What happens when I import a question with an Item ID already in use?

A: You will get a warning and need to decide what to do see notes on Item IDs and the Excel Import

Q: How can I check for duplicate questions in Cirrus?

A: This feature is on our roadmap.

Q: What if there are duplicate data in the source file?  What if I run an import with different values?

A: Duplicate questions will be imported as separate, ‘unique’ questions. Duplicate Item ID's are not allowed.

Q: What if I import an existing question with a new/different answers?

A: This will be treated as a new question.

Q: Can I filter questions after import?

A: Yes, our Collections can be filtered easily on workflow status or question type for example.

Q: What error-logging is available?

A: You get an summary through the UI. Please contact us if you want to develop this feature with us.

Q: What limit is there on the amount of questions per import?

A: We recommend you do not import more than 200 questions at a time. Please contact us if you need to process larger volumes.

Q: Can I import Item Learning Objectives?

A: Yes you can. Please note that for a successful import of 'Item Learning Objectives':

  • The Learning Objective needs to already exist in Cirrus 
  • Learning Objective Title in Cirrus and on your Excel need to be an exact match! (Be aware of trailing spaces.) 
  • Should not exist more than once in Cirrus [1]

Q: Can I import Item taxonomy?

A: Yes you can. Please note that for a successful import of 'Item Taxonomy':

  • the taxonomy term needs to already exist in Cirrus 
  • should not exist more than once in Cirrus [1]

[1] For example - in a test environment which has two Taxonomies defined which both use 'Knowledge' > An item with taxonomy term 'Knowledge' will be imported, but without this taxonomy term - instead the user will see an error that this term was not imported

Importing from a Moodle file

Cirrus offers the option to simply import items from a Moodle as an option when "Importing: start in your target collection and using the import". (Please note: you can import item-banks, but not assessment forms from Moodle.

Importing from a TAO file

Cirrus offers the option to simply import items from TAO as an option when "Importing: start in your target collection and using the import". However, some limitations may apply such as score per alternative (this will come in a later release), time per question (Cirrus offers this at the assessment sections level) importing assessment forms is not possbile nor importing question titles (Cirrus uses question text).

QTI TAO import supports the following question types: MC, MR, Either/or, Hotspot, Essay, Order, SFL, File Response. Match and FITB are not yet supported.

For a further information contact support@cirrusassessment.com.

Importing from a Sowiso file

If you have the powerful and multipurpose Sowiso question enabled on you environment, take a look at the different uses of this powerful question type, an option is available to import Sowiso question sets (XML). SOWISO has 2 export formats:

  1. An exercise (set)
  2. A zip with in it a whole chapter, including assets like images. On the exercise level, the chapters follow the same structure as the sets.

The SOWISO questions have a label (chapters). This is added as a label when importing the questions into Cirrus. The first one comes in handy for transferring exercises over systems.
The second one allows you to buy large amounts of content and import this into Cirrus.

Please note that the xml package also contains a lot of content that will not be imported, like theory, other languages and other exercise types.  Cirrus only imports the packages that have exercises with <exercise_type_id>1</exercise_type_id>.

For a further information contact support@cirrusassessment.com.

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