What will happen to Tests & Quizzes in the LMS Transition Initiative?

In response to our post about the LMS Transition Initiative two weeks ago, we received a question about how the transition will effect the existing Tests & Quizzes tool. Instructional Technology Coordinator Steve Faith responded with the below information. 

As was with the transition from MyUCDavis to SmartSite in the mid-2000s, there will be a timely conversion with overlap and not an abrupt cutover to our new LMS, if we choose to move away from Sakai.  This will likely make any necessary copying of files or conversion of Tests & Quizzes a much more relaxed process.  The current SmartSite Tests and Quizzes tool will remain unchanged until a new LMS is selected and transition is complete – a period of one to two years.  During that time, as the current Sakai CLE (the engine that powers SmartSite) is updated, you may see additional bug fixes and feature enhancements to the current Tests & Quizzes tool.  In fact, an upgrade on the SmartSite Gateway (login) page is tentatively scheduled for August 2, 2013, which will include several positive changes to the Tests & Quizzes tool.

Common among all our prospective future LMSs is the ability to deal with both the exporting and importing of the IMS Global Learning Consortium’s Question and Test Interoperability (QTI) standard files.  This provides a common Extensible Markup Language (XML) file that can be extracted from one LMS and imported into another.  More information on IMS GLC and QTI can be found at http://www.imsglobal.org/question/

Not all LMSs support all possible question types. For instance, while SmartSite currently supports the “Calculated Question” question type, another LMS may not support that type, so direct migration of that question may not be possible.  Additionally, some LMSs also support question pools, and the various LMSs deal with question pools in different ways.  Many institutions have been very successful in using an intermediate tool called Respondus (www.respondus.com) in migrating more difficult tests from one LMS to another.  It is yet unclear as to whether any intermediate tools may be necessary in moving to a new LMS environment.

If you are curious as to how importation is performed with various LMS systems, you might have a look at the instructions provided by the Epigeum company for installing their Research Integrity Self-Assessment Exercise (RISAE) into Blackboard, Canvas, Desire2Learn, Moodle, and Sakai:


At UC Davis, we already have some experience with importing Tests from other LMSs into SmartSite as well as migrating assessments from SmartSite into other LMSs.  If a new LMS for UC Davis is selected and before we begin the transition, the Faculty Support Group within Academic Technology Services will identify processes for migration and create how-to videos and documentation for tools such as Tests & Quizzes.  Most likely, the new vendor will also provide different forms of migration assistance.  We will also be offering workshops and drop-in support for hands on assistance.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about the transition initiative or about SmartSite in general!

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