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Adding the First Question Page
Immediately after you save your lesson settings, Moodle presents you with the following page:
At this point, it is time to create the first question page or import question pages from another system. Let's take a look at each of your options.
If you choose to Import questions, you can import questions created by Moodle and other online learning systems. Some of the formats that you can import are:
GIFT and Moodle XML
These are Moodle's proprietary formats. GIFT is text only, and XML can include graphics and special characters.
This format is for multiple choice questions.
This format is for missing word multiple choice questions.
If you're converting from Blackboard to Moodle, you can export questions from Blackboard and import them into Moodle.
This format supports multiple choice questions, and short answers questions from WebCT.
Course Test Manager
If you're converting from Course Test Manager to Moodle, you can export questions from Course Test Manager, and import them into Moodle.
Embedded Answers (Cloze)
This format is a multiple question, multiple-choice question with embedded answers.
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Each question that you import will create a lesson page.
If you've created a complex PowerPoint presentation—with animations, special text effects, branching, and other advanced features—don't expect to import those advanced features into a Moodle lesson. Basic text and graphics will import from PowerPoint into Moodle, but advanced features are lost.
Also, before you import your PowerPoint slideshow, you must export it as a series of web pages. This ability is built into PowerPoint. So it is not difficult, and does not require additional software. But you should be aware that Moodle does not read PowerPoint files directly. Instead, it reads the web pages that PowerPoint exports.
Add a Branch Table
A branch page consists of a page of links to the other pages in your lesson. At this point, immediately after you've finished the lesson settings page, your lesson doesn't have any pages. So adding a branch table at this point doesn't make much sense. Let's deal with branch tables later, after we've added some question pages to the lesson.
Add a Question Page
This option enables you to add a question page to your lesson, using Moodle's built-in editor. The process for creating a question page is covered in the next section, Creating the Question Pages.
Creating the Question Pages
After you fill out and save the Settings page, it is time to create the first question page. Even though it's called a 'question page', the page can contain more than just one question. It's a web page, so you can add any content to it. Usually, it contains information and a question to test the student's understanding. You can choose different types of questions:
- Multiple choice
- Short answer
You can also create feedback for each answer to the question, similar to creating feedback for the answers in a quiz question. And, you can make the lesson jump to a new page, based upon the answer the student selects.
In the following example, you can see the question page contains some text, a graphic, and three answers to the question. Note that for each answer, there is a Response that the student sees immediately after submitting the answer. And, there is also a Jump for each answer. For the two incorrect answers, the Jump displays the same page. That allows the student to try again. For the correct answer, the Jump displays the next page in the lesson.
The Page title will display at the top of the page when it is shown in the lesson.
As was said before, a lesson page is really a web page. It can contain anything that you can put on any other Moodle web page. Usually, it will contain information, and then a question to test the student's understanding.
The answers will be displayed at the bottom of the lesson page, after the Page contents. The student selects and answers in response to the question posed in the Page contents.
For each Answer that the student selects, its Response is shown before the student is taken to a new page.
Each Answer that a student selects results in a Jump to a page.
If Jump is This page, the student stays on the same page. The student can then try to answer the question again.
Next or Previous Page
If Jump is Next page or Previous page, the student is taken to the next or previous page. After you rearrange the pages in a lesson, this jump might give you different results. Just be aware that this is a relative jump.
You can also select a specific page to jump to. The pull-down list displays all the titles of the lesson page. If you select a specific page to jump to, the jump will remain the same, even if you rearrange the pages in your lesson.
Unseen Question within a Branch
Recall that a Branch Table is a Table of Contents, listing the pages in a lesson. When you insert a Branch Table into a lesson, you can also insert an End of Branch later in the lesson. The pages between the Branch Table and End of Branch become a branch. For example, a lesson with two branches might look like this:
Branch Table 1
End of Branch1
Branch Table 2
End of Branch 2
For a Jump, if you select Unseen question with a branch, the student will be taken to a question page that he or she has not yet seen in this session. That question page will be in the same branch as the current page.
Random Question within a Branch
For a Jump, if you select Random question within a branch, the student will be taken to a random question page in the same branch as the current page.
In the Lesson Settings page, if Maximum number of attempts is set to something greater than 1, the student might see a page that he or she has seen before. But a page will be repeated only if Maximum number of attempts is greater than 1. If it's set to 1, a random question page that the student has not seen before will be displayed, which has the same effect as choosing Unseen question within a branch.
To restate this, when the lesson setting Maximum number of attempts is set to 1, then Random question within a branch acts exactly like an Unseen question within a branch. When Maximum number of attempts is set to greater than 1, then Random question within a branch displays a truly random question page.
One strategy for using this setting is to forgo the use of Unseen question within a branch. Whenever you want to use Unseen question within a branch, instead use Random question within a branch and set the Maximum number of attempts to 1. Then you have the option of converting all of your lessons to random jumps just be setting Maximum number of attempts to 2 or greater.
Random Branch Table
Recall that a Branch begins with a Branch Table, has one or more question pages, and then ends with an End of Branch page. You can nest branches within branches.
If Jump is Random branch table, the student is taken to a random Branch Table between the current Branch Table and the End of Lesson or the next End of Branch.
Create Pages and Then Assign Jumps
When filling out a question page, Answer 1 is automatically assumed to be the correct answer, so Jump 1 automatically reads Next page. This is because in most cases, you want a correct response to result in the next page in the lesson being displayed. However, you can select any existing page in the lesson for the jump. Note that when you are filling out the first question page, there are no other pages to jump to, so all the jumps on the first page will direct to This page. After creating more pages, you can go back and change the jumps.
It is usually most efficient to create all of your question pages first, and then go back and assign the jumps.
The jumps that you create will determine the order in which the pages are presented to the student. For any answer, you can select a jump to the last page of the lesson. The last page displays an End of Lesson message and, if you choose, the grade for the lesson. It also displays a link that takes the student back to the course's Home Page.
The Flow of Pages
The most obvious usage of question pages and jumps is to enforce a straight-through lesson structure. A correct answer results in a positive response such as 'That's correct!', and then jumps to the next page. An incorrect answer results in a negative response or a correction. An incorrect answer can then redisplay the page, so the student can try again, as in the previous example, Jump 1: This page. Or, an incorrect answer can jump to a remedial page.
The order of pages the student would follow if he or she has answered every question correctly is called the logical order. This is how the teacher sees the lesson while editing it and displaying all of the pages in the same window.
Question Pages without Questions
You are not required to add a question to a Question page. If you omit the question, Moodle displays a Continue link that takes the student to the next page. This is useful on remedial pages, where you want to ensure that the student returns to the main lesson flow. It is also useful if you want to create a click-through demo, or other series of informational pages.
It is also useful if you want to enforce the reading of material in a certain order. Recall that on a course's Home Page, course material can be read in any order. However, using a lesson, you can enforce a given order for the reading of course material. If you want to enforce a particular order for the entire course, you can make the course one big lesson. This is as close as Moodle comes to a commercial learning management system's ability to enforce an order of material on a course.
Editing the Lesson
After you've created several lesson pages, you might want to see and edit the flow of the lesson. You can do this under the Edit tab.
Collapsed and Expanded
The Edit tab is where you edit the contents of your lesson. From here, you can add, delete, rearrange, or edit individual lesson pages.
Under the Edit tab, when you select Collapsed, you see a list of the pages in your lesson like the one shown in the following screenshot:
The pages display in their logical order, which would be the shortest path through the lesson if a student got all of the questions correct. Note that the contents of the pages do not display. The purpose of this screen is not to edit individual questions, but to help you see the flow of the lesson.
To rearrange the pages, click the up/down arrow to go to the page you want. Note that it is the jumps that determine the order in which Moodle presents the pages. If a question is set to jump to the next page, rearranging the pages can change the jumps. A question can also be set to jump to a specific, named page. In that case, the order in which the pages appear doesn't determine the landing point for the jump. So, rearranging the pages here won't affect that jump.
From the Edit tab, to edit a page, click the edit icon: . Clicking this takes you to the editing page of that page. The previous section gave detailed instructions for editing a lesson page.
The Add a page here drop-down list enables you to insert a new page into the lesson. You can choose from several different kinds of pages.
A question page is the normal, lesson page.
As stated before, a Branch Table is a page that contains links to other pages in your lesson. Those pages will be between the Branch Table and the End of branch. We'll discuss more on branches in the next section.
A Cluster is a group of question pages, where one is chosen at random. You do not proceed through a Cluster like you do a branch. Instead, you hit one random page within a Cluster, and then you're out of the Cluster or back to the beginning.
You can add a branch page, which enables students to jump to pages in your lesson. A branch page consists of a page of links to the other pages in your lesson. This page of links can act as a table of contents. For example, suppose you're developing a lesson on William Wallace. The traditional way of teaching about a person's life is to organize the information in a timeline. That would be easily accomplished with a straight-through lesson like the one just described.
But suppose you wanted to teach about the different areas of a person's life, and they do not all fit well on a timeline.
For example, Wallace's historical achievements would fit well on a timeline. But a timeline might not be the best way to teach about Wallace's personal beliefs and religion. Wallace's family might fit well on a timeline. But background information about the culture and society in which he lived might not. A straight-through lesson might not be the best way to present Wallace's life. Instead, you might use a branch table.
In this Branch Table, each branch could be an aspect of Wallace's life: historical achievements, personal beliefs, family, the world in which he lived, and so on. At the beginning of the lesson, the student would choose a branch to explore. At the end of each branch, the student would choose between going back to the branch table (beginning of the lesson), or exiting the lesson.
You can mark the end of a branch with an End of Branch page. This page returns the student back to the preceding Branch Table. You can edit this return jump, but most leave it as is. If you do not mark the end of a branch with an End of Branch page, you will proceed out of the branch and to the next question.
Moodle offers a flexible quiz builder. Each question is a full-featured web page that can include any valid HTML code. This means a question can include text, images, sound files, movie files, and anything else you can put on a web page.
In most instructor-led courses, a quiz or test is a major event. Handing out the quizzes, stopping class to take them, and grading them can take a lot of the teacher's time. In Moodle, creating, taking, and grading quizzes is much faster. This means that you can use quizzes liberally throughout your courses. For example, you can:
- Use a short quiz after each reading assignment to ensure the students completed the reading. Shuffle the questions and answers to prevent sharing among the students, and make the quiz available only for the week or month in which the students are supposed to complete the reading.
- Use a quiz as a practice test. Allow several attempts, and/or use the adaptive mode to allow students to attempt a question until they get it right. Then the quiz becomes both practice and learning material.
- Use a quiz as a survey. Ask the students to rate their understanding, satisfaction with the course or instructor, the pace of the course, and so on. The score at the end of the quiz is not their grade, but the grade they give to the course.
When you first create a quiz, you see the Settings page. This page is divided into nine areas. Let's look at the settings under each area, top to bottom.
The General page looks like the following:
The Name of the quiz is displayed on the course's Home Page. The Introduction is displayed when a student selects the quiz, as shown in the following screenshot:
The Introduction should explain why the student is taking the quiz. It should also tell the student about any unusual features of the quiz, for example, whether it uses an animation that requires the Flash plug-in, or it uses a pop-up window. Remember that once the student clicks the Attempt quiz now button, he or she is into the quiz. So, give the student everything he or she needs to understand why and how to take the quiz before clicking that button.
The Open and Close dates determine when the quiz is available. Selecting the Disable check box for Open the quiz means that the quiz will be permanently open, instead of becoming available on a given date. Selecting the Disable check box for Close the quiz means that once the quiz is open, it will stay open permanently, instead of becoming unavailable on a given date.
Note that even if the quiz is closed, it is still shown on the course's Home Page and students might still try to select it. When they do select a closed quiz, the students see a message saying it is closed. If you want to hide a quiz, you will see the setting Visible further down on this page; change this setting to Hide.
By default, a quiz does not have a Time limit. If you want to set a time limit, use this setting. When time runs out, the quiz is automatically submitted with the answers that have been filled out. A time limit can help to prevent the use of reference materials while taking the quiz. For example, if you want students to answer the questions from memory, but all the answers are in the course textbook, setting a timer might discourage students from taking the time to look up the answer to each question.
Further down the page, you can choose settings that enable the student to attempt the quiz multiple times. If, and only if, you enable multiple attempts, the Time delay settings here will take effect.
By default, all questions in a quiz display on the same page. Questions per page breaks the quiz up into smaller pages. Moodle inserts the page breaks for you. On the Editing Quiz page, you can move these page breaks. If you want to break up your quiz into pages that each hold the same number of questions, then this setting will work for you. If you want to break up your quiz into pages that hold different numbers of questions, then use this setting anyway, and edit the page breaks that Moodle creates for you.
Shuffle questions and Shuffle answers change the order of the questions and answers, each time the quiz is displayed. This discourages the sharing of quiz answers among students.
The following is what an Attempts page looks like:
Attempts allowed allows the student to keep trying the quiz. Each attempt builds on the last retains the answers from one attempt to another. Taken together, these two settings can be used to create a quiz that the student can keep trying until he or she gets it right. This transforms the quiz from a test into a learning tool.
The Adaptive mode allows multiple attempts for each question. This is different from Attempts allowed, which allows multiple attempts at the whole quiz. When you make a quiz adaptive, each question offers you the option to:
- Display a message if the student answered incorrectly, and redisplay the question.
- Display a message if the student answered incorrectly, and then display a different question.
The following is the Grades page:
If you allow several attempts, the Grading method determines which grade is recorded in the course's gradebook: the Highest, Average, First, or Last grade.
Apply penalties only applies when a quiz is adaptive. For each question the student answers wrongly, points are subtracted from the student's score. You can choose the penalty for each question when you create that question.
Decimal digits in grades applies to the student's grade.
Students May Review
The following is what this page looks like:
Students may review controls if and when a student reviews his/her attempts at the quiz. If you allow the student to review the quiz Immediately after submitting his/her answers, but not Later or After the quiz is closed, then the student can review the quiz only once, immediately after submission. When the student navigates away from that review page, he or she will no longer be able to review the quiz.
In this matrix, Responses means the student's answers to the questions. Scores is the point value for each question. Feedback is the individual feedback for each question. Answers is the correct answer(s) for each question. General feedback is the feedback for the entire quiz.
If you enter anything into Require password, the student must enter that password to access the quiz.
With Require network address, you can restrict access to the quiz to particular IP addresses. For example:
- 126.96.36.199 permits a single computer to access the quiz. If this computer is acting as a proxy, the other computers 'behind' it can also access the quiz.
- 146.203 will permit any IP address starting with those numbers. If those numbers belong to your company, then you effectively limit access to the quiz to your company's campus.
- 188.8.131.52/20 permits a subnet to access the quiz.
Techniques for Greater Security
You should understand that the only way to make a test secure, is to give the test on page, separate the students far enough apart so that they can't see each other's papers, place a proctor in the room to observe the students, and use different questions for each group that takes the test. There is no way to make a web-based test completely cheat proof. If you must give a web-based test that is absolutely resistant to cheating, consider these strategies:
- Create a very large number of questions, but have the quiz show only a small set of them. This makes sharing of questions less useful.
- Shuffle the questions and answers. This also makes sharing of questions more difficult.
- Apply a time limit. This makes using reference material more difficult.
- Open the quiz for only a few hours. Have your students schedule the time to take the quiz. Make yourself available during this time to help with technical issues.
- Place one question on each page of the quiz. This discourages students from taking screenshots of the entire quiz.
Common Module Settings
Group mode works the same as it does for any other resource. However, as each student takes the quiz himself or herself, the only real use for the group setting in a quiz is to display the high score for a group in the Quiz Results block.
Visible shows and hides the quiz from students, but as always, a teacher or the course creator can still see the quiz.
Moodle enables you to create several different kinds of feedback for a quiz. You can create feedback for:
- The entire quiz, which changes with the student's score. This is called Overall Feedback, and uses a feature called Grade Boundary.
- A question, no matter what the student's score is on that question. All students receive the same feedback. This is called General Feedback. Each individual question can have its own General Feedback. The exact type of feedback that you can create for a question varies with the type of question.
The following screenshot shows Overall Feedback with Grade Boundaries. Students who score 90—100% on the quiz receive the first Feedback—You're a geography wizard!... Students who score 80—89.99% receive the second Feedback—Very good!... Students who score 70—79.99% receive the third Feedback—Not bad.... Below that, you can see the feedback for students who scored between 0 and 69.99%.
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About the Author :
William Rice is an e-learning professional who lives, works, and plays in New York City. He is the author of books on Moodle, Blackboard, Magento, and software training.
He especially enjoys building e-learning solutions for small and mid-sized businesses. His greatest professional satisfaction is when one of his courses enables students to do something that makes their work easier and more productive.
His indoor hobbies include writing books and spending way too much time reading slashdot.org. His outdoor hobbies include orienteering and practicing archery within sight of JFK Airport.
William is fascinated by the relationship between technology and society: how we create our tools, and how our tools in turn shape us. He is married to an incredible woman who encourages his writing pursuits, and has two amazing sons.
You can reach William through his website at http://williamrice.com.
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