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Essay with Plain Text

The Basic Essay question lets students give long, detailed answers to questions (up to a maximum of 10,000 words). As the grading of an essay is subjective, the question cannot be auto scored. 


Figure 1: Basic essay question example.

Create a question

Enter a question stem in the Compose Question area.

Below, there are formatting options that can be enabled: Copy, Cut, and Paste. The formatting buttons will appear on the top left of the students' toolbar.


Figure 2: Basic essay formatting parameters.

Then you can specify the Maximum Length - this is the maximum number of words that can be entered into the text entry field. The word count will be displayed in the question toolbar.

Word Limit Setting allows you to choose whether word count should be displayed in the toolbar or not. You can choose between the following options:

  • Always On - Word Limit is always displayed.
  • On Limit - Word Limit will only be displayed when the limit is reached.
  • Off - Word Limit will not be displayed.

Note that the word count indicator will be shown all the time.

More options

Under More Options, you will find the ability to enable Submit Over Limit. Enable this option if you want to allow the learner to submit their essay, even if it is over the word limit.


You can set Min height and Max height of the text entry field. The values should be entered in px.

Additionally, you may want to add a placeholder that will be displayed inside the text entry field. It will disappear when the user starts typing text in.

Spellcheck and text correction: Check this box to turn on spellcheck in the text entry area. When this box is unchecked, browser spellcheck will be disabled, along with auto-correct, auto-complete, and auto-capitalize on iOS devices. Note: This is a browser feature and may not always be available or supported.

Enabling Character Map allows authors to add non-typical letters and symbols in language e.g. ó, ç, ñ or Math and Science e.g. μ, ∞ ,≤, and make them available for the students in Essay Text questions. When Character Map is on, the default Alpha character map will be shown to the students. The Numerical Character Map will be available when the Has Mathematical Formulas option is enabled. To create a Custom Character Map enter the specific characters into the Characters to display box.

Alpha character map


Numerical character map


Custom character map



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