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Using Publisher Question Banks to Create Flash Activities with StudyMate

We like to see jaws drop. And that’s exactly what we see when we demonstrate how easy it is to turn publisher question banks into interactive, learning activities with StudyMate. The jaws drop again when we point out there is no additional cost for publisher question banks (they are available for free to instructors who adopt a participating textbook for use in their class).

Nearly 1500 question banks for the leading textbooks in higher education are available from the Respondus Test Bank Network. Many instructors don’t realize that these question banks can be used with StudyMate to create Flash activities like crossword puzzles, self-test quizzes, and Jeopardy-style games. Best of all, instructors don’t have to retype anything, nor do they have to know Flash programming or have any advanced technical skills.

The remainder of this article provides step-by-step instructions on how to use StudyMate and the Respondus Test Bank Network to create learning activities that your students will enjoy.

1) Go to and select the link for the Respondus Test Bank Network.

2) Use the search tool to locate the textbook adopted for your class.


3) Fill out and submit the request form.


4) Once the publisher has authenticated the request and your textbook adoption for the course (this may take several days), you will receive an email that contains a File Code and Password.


5) Start StudyMate and click Open.


6) Click the Download Test Bank button and the following form will appear


7) Enter the File Code and Password contained in the email from the publisher. Enter the remaining information and click the Download button.


8) Before StudyMate begins the import process, it will display a list of importing options available to you. This is a powerful tool that provides an automatic way to “repurpose” a question so that it can be used in several different ways with StudyMate. For example, a multiple choice question can additionally be converted to the “One Answer” format so that it can be used in activities like Flash Cards or Crosswords (see the online help for more details). Choose your preferred settings and click OK to continue.


9) StudyMate will complete the conversion and then display a detailed log. (The log can be ignored in most situations.)


10) When the download and conversion process is complete, the new question bank folder will appear.


11) Double-click the folder name to reveal the underlying files (one file for each chapter in the textbook).


12) At this point it’s recommended that you use the Quick Copy Wizard from the Start menu to select questions from the question bank. (Alternatively, you can use the Edit menu to modify items, or go to the Preview task.)


13) The Quick Copy Wizard makes it easy to select questions from the chapter files in the question bank. The first step is to provide a name for the StudyMate file being created (the other fields are optional).


14) The StudyMate files and folders are then listed. Double-click the desired folder (in this example “Miller-Anth1e”).


15) The chapter files are displayed. Select the chapter files from which you want to copy the questions (this example uses Chapters 1-4).


16) On the next page of the wizard, choose one of the files selected in the previous step as the “Source File”.


17) Use either the “Auto Selection” or “Manual Selection” option to select the questions to be used in this file. (This example uses “Auto Selection” and all questions are being selected.) 


18) Then click Add to End of List to add the selected questions to the list displayed at the bottom of the screen.


19) Repeat steps 16-18 until all desired questions from each file are selected. Then click Next to view the final page of the wizard. This screen is asking what you want to do next, such as go to the Preview menu to view the newly created file.


20) It is highly recommended that you Preview the questions or items in the new file to make sure they meet your needs.  


21) A total of ten activities can be previewed and generated from these questions: Fact Cards, Fact Cards+, Flash Cards, Pick A Letter, Fill in the Blank, Matching, Crosswords, Glossary, Quiz, and Challenge. Here are previews of two of these activities.


That’s it! The StudyMate file can be published to an online course using the Publish task (which is explained in a different tutorial!).


One Final Note
It’s important to preview the questions in StudyMate after they have been imported. This is particularly true if you let StudyMate convert items from one type of question to another (an option available during the import step). For example, consider the following multiple choice question that has been converted to a “One Answer” item, thus allowing it to be used with Flash Cards, Crosswords, Pick A Letter, and so on:

The study of maps and map-making

         A)  Cartology
         B)  Altimetry
         C)  Tectonictry
         D)  Topography

This multiple choice question converts just fine to a “One Answer” activity because the question wording (“The study of maps and map-making”) is directly related to the correct answer (“Cartology”).

However, the following multiple choice question doesn’t convert so well because the correct answer doesn’t parallel the actual term or answer for the question wording:

          An artistic style that excludes sculpture

          A) Art Deco
          B) Baroque
          C) Surrealism
          D) Romantiscism
            E) None of the Above

As you can see, the “None of the Above” answer doesn’t provide a good match for the phrase “An artistic style that excludes sculpture”.

So in this example you would only want to keep the multiple choice version of the question (that is, you would want to delete or edit the “One Answer” version). In the Preview task, you can quickly delete an item from a StudyMate file by clicking the “Mark for Delete” option at the top right corner of the window. Items can also be deleted from the Edit menu.

In Conclusion
Creating StudyMate activities from publisher question banks is relatively fast and easy. There is no need to enter questions manually or to copy-and-paste them into StudyMate.

Nearly 1000 question banks are available from higher education publishers, including Thomson Higher Education and Pearson Education. These question banks are available from the Respondus Test Bank Network at no cost to instructors who adopt a participating textbook. Question banks can be imported with StudyMate, which then makes it easy to create interactive learning activities and games for students. The activities can then be published to an online course using the Publish task.


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Source: Respondus, Inc. (
Originally Published: May 1, 2006

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