Create online forms and quizzes using Microsoft Forms for Office 365

In April, Microsoft released a new feature in Office 365 called Microsoft Forms. This product was designed specifically for the education market. Now commercial customers with a valid Office 365 account can use this technology. In this article and related videos, I will introduce you to the main features of the product. As always, this article has more content than the videos, so read on.

What is Microsoft Forms?

Whether you’re a business looking to get employee feedback or a marketer looking to collect customer information, the best way to do it is to create a form. If you’re a teacher, you might want to check that your students are learning everything you teach, so you can create quizzes.

Although a form and a quiz are pretty much the same thing, there are some subtle differences. For example, when someone fills out a form, you simply collect the data. When someone takes a quiz, you’ll probably rate it, and maybe even let the respondent see their rating after the fact.

Microsoft Forms was created to allow users to create forms or quizzes. You can only do this with a supported Office 365 plan, and you define the forms using a visual editor so easy to use, I dare say anyone can do it.

Shapes

If you’ve been in business for more than a few weeks, you already know how difficult it is to get feedback from people, whether they’re customers or your own employees. Within your company, HR teams are constantly sending out employee satisfaction surveys, IT is asking you to fill out a form before they can help, and meeting planners are sending out meal order forms.

Outside of your organization, you may want to survey your customers to find out how they use your product or ask them to fill out a form so they can enter to win a prize.

The purpose of forms is to allow you to collect data from one or thousands of people to review and analyze responses.

Quiz

If you’ve ever taken a test or applied for a driver’s license, you’ve taken something similar to what Microsoft calls a Quiz. When you create a quiz, you create a form. With each question you ask, you can add a note to it. Imagine a teacher creating a test for his students. While this test has 10 questions, each question can be worth a certain number of points, usually (in the US, anyway) totaling 100.

With quizzes, you can assign a score to each question. When the participant responds, you can determine how many points you want to provide.

For example, suppose you ask the following question in a Microsoft quiz:

How many apples are in a bushel? (worth 10 points)

In this case, the student is prompted to type a response, so let’s say they respond:

125

As the teacher reviews the answer, they can assign a grade to each answer. In this case, the teacher can give the student 7 points out of a possible 10.

The teacher can also add comments to each question, so that the student understands their final grade. For example, the teacher can add a comment saying:

I expected a better answer to this. Is it exactly 125 apples? How many pounds of apples?

Once the teacher has noted the answer, he can Publish this. The act of assignment allows the student to return to the original form link and see their grade. If the teacher doesn’t post the answer, the student can’t see the grade. Additionally, it is the teacher’s responsibility to notify students when their grade has been posted. I was somewhat frustrated with this, but some teachers commented that if you let students see their scores immediately, they might share them with other students. The teacher can also publish a group of quizzes. Suppose, then, that the students have to turn in their work before the end of the day on Monday. The teacher can grade all quizzes on Tuesday and then post all grades at once.

Grade Preview: Microsoft Forms is still in preview (beta), so there are some issues with the product. For example, there are times when the student cannot see their scores. That said, the teacher can still increase the score, but don’t rely on Microsoft Forms displaying grades to students all the time.

Answers

As you can see in the following image, responses are real-time and updated automatically as people submit their forms or quiz answers.

Another cool feature is the ability to download a full copy of all responses to an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is just rows and columns of data, so if you want fancy reports, you’ll have to create them yourself.

Automating

Although I don’t talk about it in the videos, it looks like Microsoft is considering offering automation through Microsoft Flow. Using Microsoft Flow (another feature of some Office 365 plans), you can create a basic workflow that triggers after a particular form is submitted. I’ve had a look at the functionality and there’s still a ways to go, but in theory you could do things like send an email after the respondent submits the form, add the respondent as as a contact, and things of that nature.


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Melvin G. Rodriguez