Cheating in Quizmaker

Summary: Making some basic changes to your quizzes can make it more difficult for your students to cheat.
Difficulty: Medium


Cheating, be it on Wall Street or in the classroom, does seem to be a fact of life or a facet of human nature but when it is your learners who are cheating on the course that you spent a lot of effort designing, you might suddenly become less indulgent. And let’s face it, there are a number of ways to cheat in Quizmaker if you, the designer, let them get away with it.


Take this quiz for example. It is a question about when I was born. There are two questions and unless you happen to be very clever or very lucky, you are unlikely to get both answers correct, though it is statistically possible of course!


View quiz


But there are at least three ways to cheat in this quiz…

Cheat 1

  • Did you notice the review button at the end? Well it does not take a lot of genius to understand that if you review the quiz, you will automatically see which answers are correct and which are not, which means, of course, that you can take the quiz again and pass.

Cheat 2

  • Print the certificate and it tells you which questions are right or wrong. There is nothing to stop you taking the quiz a second time and getting full marks.

Cheat 3

  • Find someone who gets the right results and then just click the Print Results button without even taking the quiz. You get asked to enter your name which you do and hey presto, the certificate prints out your name with the correct answers and a pass mark.

So what can I do about it?

Well if all that sounds rather depressing, do not despair. You can stop all of that cheating if you follow the steps below. It might not be necessary of course. It all depends on your context. But if you have a sneaking suspicion that is something is afoot with your results, and that your students are really doing too well, then read on!


Change the color scheme so that the Review Quiz function will NOT show which answers are correct. Actually this won’t work for all question types so if security is a big issue, you might want to actually avoid using those question types.

How do you do it?

  • In Quizmaker 2, go to Edit -> Colors and Effects.
  • Change the ‘Correct color’ so that it matches the ‘Background color’ of your quiz.
  • Now publish.

You’ll see that when you review the answers, you won’t be able to see the correct answers any more!

Here’s the example above corrected:


View quiz

Note: This will not work for all question types in particular the Word Bank and sequencing questions.



If you want the quiz certificate or printed results to be personalized, then DON’T let them put their name in at the end of the course when the results are known. Make them enter their name at the beginning. That way, anybody wanting to copy will have to do the whole quiz themselves.

How do you do it?

Simply add a Survey type question to the beginning of your quiz asking for the required information. You can add several questions if you like. Because they are survey questions, there is no scoring and so the final result will not be affected. BUT the answers will show on the print results output. So you will know who did the test. Here’s an example:


View quiz


Notice that I have removed the option to add the user name when printing results (Quizmaker -> Quiz Properties -> Results -> Features). Now, when you view the certicate, you see the name and other details at the beginning of the quiz reponses.


Change the course certificate such that the correct answers are not displayed. This won’t prevent cheating totally but it will make it more difficult for the student to go back round a second time.

How do you do it?

You need to edit the report.xml file in the Quizmaker published files or program files. Here are how your published files may look:



An application which I find useful for editing xml and one which allows me to specify which lines to edit is Notepad2.exe which you can download here (choose the first binary files download). It is open source and free and, like me, you might find it useful.

If you open report.html with Notepad2.exe rather than the standard Windows Notepad, you’ll see that all the lines are numbered.

To remove the correct answers from the certificate you need to delete the following lines:

Line 143


Line 267


Here is an example with an amended certificate:


View quiz



One drawback with this approach is that you keep having to changed the published files which can be a hassle if you want to publish to a server. An alternative to the above is to actually changed the report.html file in the program files.

  • Go to Program Files\Articulate\Articulate Quizmaker\player\web\ and you will find the same report.html file as in the published files.
  • Take a backup copy of that file and call in report_copy.html and then edit the report.html as before.

Now, every time you publish, the report.html will automatically have those changes included without you having to edit the published files every time.


So here is a final quiz. You know what day I was born, you know what time I was born, now, can you find what date I was born? If you get the answers right, then the quiz will tell you, but if you don’t, it won’t, and you won’t be able to cheat!


View quiz


Creating A Hotspot Game In Presenter

Summary: Use hyperlinks in PowerPoint to create a simple Hotspot game/activity.
Difficulty: Medium


Adding a bit of fun to a course is never a bad idea and if, on top of that, you can be teaching your users something useful, then so much the better.


There are quite a few external applications that you can add to your PowerPoint presentation as well as the Learning Games which are part of Articulate Presenter and of course Articulate Quizmaker but you can actually create your own activities in PowerPoint itself if you are creative with hyperlinks.

Hotspot Game

This article looks at how to make a hotspot game. None of the techniques used are particularly new or innovative but it hopefully shows how relatively easy and quick it is to add a little spice to your presentation.

First, let’s look at one of the demos I did for the occasion. As you’ll`see the demo is very simple and is designed for beginner English language learners. Try clicking on a wrong answer to see what happens.


View Demo

Download Project Files


As you can see, I have chosen to send the user right back to the beginning each time they get an answer wrong. This makes it more like a game but of course you may just want the user to take the question again without going right back to the beginning.

Here is another example taking the same template as above but making it slightly more complex. The principle is the same: get one question wrong, and you go back to the beginning.

View Demo

Download Project Files


  • One of the advantages of using Hotspot questions in Presenter, rather than building them in Quizmaker, is that it allows you to have just one question in the middle of your course without changing the presentation or layout unnecessarily and without having a results page per se.
  • You can also customize the screen more than you can with Quizmaker 2.
  • Another advantage is that you have more say on the shape of your hotspot rather than the rectangle or square that is available in Quizmaker 2.
  • How Do You Do It?

    Be creative with the hyperlinks. The process is relatively simple and creation can be quick, particularly if you just want to add a two or three question game.

    You are basically adding hyperlinks to shapes or objects and then making them transparent and placing these transparent shapes over an image or text that you want the user to click on.

    Be careful about which shapes you use as not all are supported by Articulate Presenter particularly when you use PowerPoint 2007 and Articulate Presenter 5.3. All the standard shapes should work though.

    Step by step

    • 1) First create the structure of your game. The above games are a series of cards or slides, going to the next question if correct, and going back to the beginning if wrong. In both of the above examples, I chose to have an extra slide to show that the answer was correct, but I could have skipped that slide altogether and made it even simpler – jump to the next question if correct, jump back to the beginning if wrong. This is what we are going to do in this short tutorial.


    • 2) Once you have decided the structure, create 4 empty slides and label the accordingly: Title slide, wrong answer, question 1, and game complete . Put them in that order.



    • 3) Now look at the first Question and build your template which you will use for the other questions later.
        Import the picture on which you want to build your hotspot game.
        Create the shapes that will cover the parts of the picture you want to make interactive.
        Link one of them to go back to the “wrong answer” slide.
        Publish to test that your linking is working.

      To link the shape, right-click it and select Hyperlink. Be careful about using different shapes and particularly the Scribble and Freeform shapes as the links will probably not work. Also, be sure to test in Articulate Presenter. Just because it works in PowerPoint does not necessarily mean it will work once published with Articulate Presenter.



    • 4) Now create the shapes for all the objects you want to create hotspots for on our picture and link them ALL to the “wrong answer” slide. Change the format of the shape (right-click on the shape and select Format Background) and make Fill, no Fill and Line Color, No line (PPT 2007). Basically you want to make the shape transparent, invisible to the user.



    • 5) Make any other adjustments to the presentation of the slide, background color, titles, images etc. You are going to duplicate this slide so now is the time to make those final adjustments. It will save you time later.


    • 6) Duplicate this slide, however many times you want there to be questions in your game. If you want five questions, then duplicate it four times so that you have five identical slides. You might find you want a question for each object you have made a hotspot.


    • 7) For each slide, number it Question 1, Question 2 etc and choose one of the objects which will be the correct answer. For the simplified quiz, link it to the next question. The others are already linked to the “wrong answer” slide so there is nothing more to do. Either add your question in text form actually on the slide OR, as I did, add your question in audio form by Record Narration or importing audio. I created my questions in the Slide Notes field so that I had something to read when I came to recording the narration.



    • 8) Create your “wrong answer” slide. Choose how you want to present it and add some suitable audio if you like which will sound every time the user comes back to that slide.


    • 9) Create your “winning” slide again with appropriate graphics and audio. The “winning” slide will be linked from a correct answer of your last question.


    • 10) Finally, publish and test! However, I hard I try to get it right first time, I always notice a mistake, be it with a link, or a title or whatever. Do not test in PowerPoint, test in Articulate Presenter.


    Here is the same Articulate Quiz with just the ten questions, “wrong answer” slide and “winning” slide.


    View Simplified Demo

    Download Project Files



  • You can download the project files for each of the demos above. Unzip the file on your computer and open the PowerPoint file. It will be in PPTX format. You can download the plugin which allows you to open this kind of file in PowerPoint 2003 or earlier here. The project files should help clarify the hyperlinking structure of the games.


  • You could be clever and add some applause each time the question is correct, or a graphic telling the user it is correct. In the first two examples above, I added an extra slide between each question, confirming the answer was correct both visually and with an audio track.

  • I added a box each time a question was answered correctly. You could do anything here. Have a number that increased by one each time for example, have a picture that completes bit by bit, have an object, animal, person advances across the stage as each question is answered correctly.

  • Make sure that your slides are set to move on “by user” as defined in the Slide Properties Manager. You might want to make your “wrong answer” slide move on automatically to the first question.

  • You’ll want to hide the navigation controls both at the bottom and at the side or else your users will be able to click through the quiz. Either show your quiz in ‘Slide Only’ view and hide the controls or else show it in ‘No Sidebar’ view and make sure you have removed the navigation controls at the bottom. If you are not happy about doing that, then opt for the “Slide Only” view solution. When your user comes to the game, put them in Slide Only view. When they’ve finished, bring them back out into Standard or No Sidebar. (Remember you’ll need to hide the controls for the Slide Only view).

  • Finally, if you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out Tom Kuhlmann’s recent article on building a Puzzle Animation in PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter.
  • Controlling Audio In Engage

    Summary: Convert your audio files to FLV to create playbars.
    Difficulty: Easy


    As a qualified English teacher myself, I know the utility of allowing my students to play, pause and generally control an audio file they are listening to. This could be a listening comprehension exercise where they have to try and understand some basic elements, and being able to go back and listen to a critical point in the audio to check their understanding is obviously a welcome feature.

    The same could be said for a speech or lecture. You might not choose to show the text of the speech and if the listener was distracted or simply did not understand what was said, they’ll want to be able to go back and listen again, without necessarily having to go back to the beginning.

    Well all of that is fairly obvious. The problem arises when we try and insert audio into Engage. As many of you will have noticed, while Engage allows you to insert audio or even record your own voice directly into the interaction with just a press of a button, the user is not able to pause or control that audio file within the interaction. Check this example to see what I mean:


    View Demo

    There is no need to listen to the whole audio files of course. The point is that we can’t stop the audio at any point or go back and forth.

    If the interaction is then embedded into Articulate Presenter, there is no problem since the Presenter player will control the audio in Engage. But if your Engage interaction is standalone ie. is published by itself either on the web or on CD, then the user has no way to control the audio. And if your Engage IS in Presenter and you wanted to hide your player controls in the Presenter player (for design purposes) then you are also stuck….

    Unless you do something like this:


    View Demo

    There is now a controller for each audio file which the user can click on to listen and repeat as they choose.


    How do we do it?

    Well, as you will see, there is no option in Engage to create playback controls for audio files. But there is for FLV video files. When you insert an FLV video file, you have the option to include a playbar and for the file to start automatically or not. So the solution to our problem is to convert our audio files to Flash Video or FLV format.

    Once they are in FLV format:

    • Click on the Add Media button in one of your steps of your Engage interaction:


    Add Media


    • Navigate to your selected FLV file and click OK:




    • Select playbar and decide if you want the file to start automatically or not and click OK:




    And that’s it. Your audio files will now have player controls attached to them.


  • Bear in mind that since you are using the Add Media function to add your audio, you will not necessarily be able to add images to go with your audio. It will depend on the interaction you are using. On the Process interaction, for example, you will only be able to have text on the steps you include the audio FLV file.

  • It is not very easy to find an audio to FLV converter, and when you do, you might find that Engage is not recognizing the correct length of the audio file.

    I have checked a lot of programs to find those that worked well and I found only two, one which is no longer available but which I bought a few years back, and Replay Converter by Applian Technologies. It is possible that Adobe Flash will do the necessary but I didn’t find how to do this in Sorensen Squeeze, nor in much other software. Either the possibility to convert from audio to FLV did not exist, or if it did, the length of the file would appear wrong and the scrub bar would not work.

    There is a free trial for Replay Converter which last indefinitely but is limited to 90 seconds audio conversion at a time. To convert your audio file in Replay Converter, add your WAV file (or mp3), and then choose to Convert to Video File (even though this is audio). Select “Add more video formats” in the drop-down menu and choose an FLV format (I chose the smallest file size 100 kps which is sufficient for audio only conversion). Then click on the Go button and your file is converted. You should find that Engage correctly recognizes the length of any file converted with Replay Converter.

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