The exercise type 'Open Free' entails that one or more open mathematical formulas must be answered, that can be placed anywhere in the question text. 

Also, this exercise type allows you to combine formula answers with text input and dropdowns. 

In open free questions, you can determine yourself where in the text the answer fields are placed. As a result, the feedback is shown (on mouse over) on an icon that is placed after the answer field, and no new row with answer fields is shown after every attempt. Use the text field input area to create text and the inline placeholders for the answer fields. Answer fields van be of the type (formula) input, dropdowns and/or texfields. For

  • input, just type #input#. In this exercise type, formula fields are allowed to remain empty. If they are, the student answer will be converted to %null, so if you want to mark an empty formula fields as correct, of give feedback on it, you can create a rule with evaluation type eval normal and Definition %null.
  • dropdown, must be defined with options as an argument, e.g. #dropdown(1,2,3)# If you want to use text with comma's, make sure to put double quotes around them, like #dropdown("one, two",three,four)#
  • textarea, just type #textarea#. Optionally, you can add a placeholder in the input area field after writing textarea; like #textarea;placeholder#

In the feedback and solutions you can reference the answer fields in the order that they appear from left to right, per type, where you start with the input, then the dropdowns and then the textareas. So, if you have the following text in your input area:

The number 10 consists of #dropdown(1,2,3,4,5)# digits.
10 - 1 =  #input# and 10 + 1 = #input#.
Now write 10 in text: #textarea;10 in text#

Then the answer fields are

  1. the first input (correct answer 9)
  2. the second input (correct answer 11)
  3. dropdown (correct answer 2)
  4. text (correct answer "ten")

Finally, make sure the Number of input fields in the General options tab correspond to the number of answer fields in your question. (4 in the example).


An optional placeholder text can be added to add a placeholder for all three answer field types. For math input, see the Placholder explanation here above. Dropdown and textareas accept plain text as placeholder.

Did this answer your question?