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Deep Dive: Drag and Drop

Learn how to modify and build drag and drop questions.

Trevor Register avatar
Written by Trevor Register
Updated over a week ago

Drag and Drop (D&D) questions are currently in beta. All information in this article (especially screenshots...) and subsequent articles is likely to change. We release new content on Tuesdays, so check back each Tuesday for the latest updates.

We encourage your feedback about this new feature! Please send all comments and suggestions to Our team is actively working on this feature, so your feedback will help us make rapid updates in line with community needs.


Drag and drop questions grade multiple sub-questions (drop targets) at the same time. These can be used to grade a variety of complex questions that do not lend themselves to single input multiple choice or numeric questions.



This is the question that you want students to answer. Generally, it's the instructions for the drop area.

Instructor's Notes

These are viewable notes in the "Grade by Student" view. They are also seen in the "Grade by Question" view and shown under the correct answer in the "Show Answers and Notes" view.

+ Add Hint

This is additional information that you may want to call out about the question. This information appears under the prompt in italics. Check out this help article to learn more about hints.

Point Value

This is the point value of the section. Points must be whole numbers starting at 0. If the question has zero points, a grade cannot be added.

Autograding and Submissions

The autograde checkbox controls whether or not the question is autograded: if the box is unchecked, the question is not graded automatically. Questions that are not autograded will not have a Submit Answers button.

If a question allows for autograding, you can limit the number of submissions by entering a number in the submissions box. A blank submissions box will allow for unlimited submissions.

Render Choice

This choice allows you to use normal text (Rich Text) or LaTex syntax. More on the latter below.

New Subcomponents with an Example

Consider that we want to grade this question automatically:

Balance the following equation:

Let's make this into a drag-and-drop question.

Step 1: Create your Drop Area

The Drop Area is the area of a question that will host drop targets. This is the "fillable" part of the prompt. For my drop area, I typed the equation I wanted to balance. To remind myself of where my students will put answers, I added a "-" in the area.

Step 2: Add Your Drop Areas

Once I have typed in the parts of the drop area that my students will not control, I need to add Drop Targets. A drop target is an area where my student will input an answer. In this scenario, I know that my students need to answer 4 targets: the coefficients for each chemical in the chemical equation.

To add a drop target, click the bullseye icon on the far right of the Drop Area toolbar:

When you add a drop target, you can customize that target using the customization panel that appears:

Inline vs. Block:

Inline targets wrap in line with the text. Block targets are outside of the text and cannot have text sharing a line with them. Use inline targets you are having students drop answers into a paragraph or sentence. Block targets are great when making tables or other standalone items.


The label is the name of the drop target. In my example, notice that the target is labeled "A." If I had typed a label, that label would appear in the drop target.


You can control the dimensions of the drop target. By default, all targets are 40 px wide and 20 px tall, but you can edit these however you want. If you prefer that the target is full width, check the Full Width box for the target to fill the width of the screen.

Step 3: Add Your Choices

Each D&D question can have as many drop items, or choices, as you want. To add a choice, click the Add Choices button.

  • Choices can be any combination of text, images, variables, and/or LaTeX formulas.

  • Choices have a default of 1 use each. You can change that in the Number of Uses box. To make it unlimited, delete the number.

  • You can restrict the valid drop targets for the choice. Learn more about that in the section on Advanced Features.

Since, I'm going to have the students fill in the full balanced equation, I'm going to give them all numbers 0-9, so I need 10 choices (one for each number). I also left the number of uses unlimited for each number.

Step 4: Provide Feedback

Now comes the part where you can really save time - feedback. You can choose how much (or how little) feedback you give for each unique answer option.

Start by entering the correct answer: to do this, click the drop-down menu for each target and select the correct choice(s). Be sure to add some feedback that let's the student know they got it right and check the Correct Answer box.

From there, consider your common misconceptions and give feedback for those. In my example, I addressed four common mistakes. Here's an example:

Notice that A, C, and D have the feedback option "All Selected". This means that the student can put ANY drop item here - as long as B = 5, they will get this feedback.

Note: Feedback is given in list order. My feedback options are:

  1. 4 / 5 / 4 / 6*

  2. any / 5 / any / any

  3. any / any / 2 / any

  4. any / any / any / 3

  5. 2 / any / any / any

*Generally, I put the correct answer first. This is a great habit so that I don't forget to include it.

In order to receive a piece of feedback, the student must meet all of the criteria of the feedback. This means if a student enters: 2 / 3 / 2 / 3, they will get Feedback #3, because it matches the criteria for 3 first. If they answered 2 / 3 / 3 / 3, they would get Feedback #4, since the 3 in the 4th slot makes that the next valid answer.

Protip: Add default feedback for when all else fails.

Default feedback is given to the student if none of the feedback options are present as true. Meaning: if none of the feedback I have applies to the student, they will get the default.

I use the default as a "reteach" point. In general, I treat the default feedback as the feedback when none of the common misconceptions apply. I use this to provide general tips and launch points for success. You can add images, links, formulas, PDFs, and more.

Wanna see the editor of the activity above? Be sure to copy it to your library. This will make a copy that you can edit.

Advanced Features

This area provides a running list of more advanced features in the Drag and Drop component.

LaTeX Formatting

This allows you to use LaTeX syntax for rendering instead of normal text. To create a drop target, we've created special syntax: \droptarget{id}{label}.

  • id - must be a number

  • label - optional, adds a label to the drop target.

Here's an example with and without a label.

  • droptarget{1} renders as...

  • ...while `\droptarget{1}{label} renders as...

You can combine \droptarget with other LaTeX syntax like you would with anything else.


Renders as this:

Here's what that would look like in a question.

You can surround something with \huge{} . Applying this to all parts of the example above renders the following:

Drop Area Feedback

Take a look at this fill-in-the-table D&D question:

If the student drags "1 amu" in the "Particle" drop target, they get a piece of feedback -
"Please select a valid drop target."

This is done to prevent careless errors: we know that "1 amu" is not a subatomic particle. The only valid options presented here are "proton," "neutron," and "electron." So, we restrict the valid drop items in this target.

#1. When making a Drop Item, include the valid targets.

To the right, you can restrict where the item can go. Include only the valid areas. This will restrict the item.

#2. Provide Target-specific feedback

On each Drop Target, you can provide target-specific feedback whenever a student drops in an invalid item. This feedback appears in orange around the item. To do this, click the Edit Drop Area Feedback button and enter your text. Click Insert to save your changes.

Empty Target Submissions

Consider this question:

Every drop target should have an answer. There is no reason a student should submit an answer with blanks. But, think about the balancing equations example: it's considered acceptable to not write ones - so, a blank would represent a one. In that instance, you would want want targets to be okay.

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