Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3


Editing a Quiz

Immediately after saving the Settings page, you are taken to the Editing Quiz page. This page is divided into five tabs. Each tab enables you to edit a different aspect of the quiz.

This tab...

Enables you to...


  • Add questions to the quiz.
  • Remove questions from the quiz.
  • Arrange the questions in order.
  • Create page breaks between questions.
  • Assign a point value to each question.
  • Assign a maximum point value to the quiz.
  • Click into the editing page for each question.


  • Create a new question. Note that you must then add the new question to the quiz under the Quiz tab (see above). Also note that every question must belong to a category.
  • Delete a question, not just from the quiz but from your site's question bank.
  • Move a question from one category to another category.
  • Click into the editing page for each question.
  • Click into the editing page for each category.


  • Arrange the list of categories in order.
  • Nest a category under another category (they become parent and subcategories).
  • Publish a category, so that questions in that category can be used by other courses on the site.
  • Delete a category (you must choose a new category to move the questions in the deleted category).


  • Import questions from other learning systems.
  • Import questions that were exported from Moodle.


  • Export questions from Moodle, and save them in a variety of formats that Moodle and other learning systems can understand.




Create and Edit Question Categories

Every question belongs to a category. You manage question categories under the Categories tab. There will always be a Default category. But before you create new questions, you might want to check to ensure that you have an appropriate category in which to put them.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

The categories which you can manage are listed on this page.

To Add a New Category

  1. To add a new category, first select its Parent. If you select Top, the category will be a top-level category. Or, you can select any other category to which you have access, and then the new category will be a child of the selected category.
  2. Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

  3. In the Category field, enter the name for the new category.
  4. In the Category Info field, enter a description of the new category.
  5. The Publish field determines whether other courses can use the questions in this category.
  6. Click the Add button.

To Edit a Category

  1. Next to the category, click the Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3 icon. The Edit categories page is displayed.
  2. You can edit the Parent, Category name, Category Info, and Publish setting.
  3. When you are finished, click the Update button. Your changes are saved and you are returned to the Categories page.

Managing the Proliferation of Questions and Categories

As the site administrator, you might want to monitor the creation of new question categories to ensure that they are logically named, don't have a lot of overlap, and are appropriate for the purpose of your site. As these question and their categories are shared among course creators, they can be a powerful tool for collaboration. Consider using the site-wide Teachers forum to notify your teachers, and course creators of new questions and categories.

Create and Manage Questions

You create and manage questions under the Questions tab. The collection of questions in your site is called the Question bank. As a teacher or the course creator, you have access to some or all the questions in the question bank.

When you create questions, you add them to your site's question bank. When you create a quiz, you choose questions from the question bank for the quiz. Both these functions can be done on the same Editing Quiz page. Pay attention to which part of the page you are using—the one for creating new questions or the one for drawing question from the question bank.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Display Questions from the Bank

You can display questions from one category at a time. To select that category, use the Category drop-down list.

If a question is deleted when it is still being used by a quiz, then it is not removed from the question bank. Instead, the question is hidden. The setting Also show old questions enables you to see questions that were deleted from the category. These deleted, or hidden, or old questions appear in the list with a blue box next to them.

To keep your question bank clean, and to prevent teachers from using deleted questions, you can move all the deleted questions into a category called Deleted questions. Create the category Deleted questions and then use Also show old questions to show the deleted questions. Select them, and move them into Deleted questions.

Move Questions between Categories

To move a question into a category, you must have access to the target category. This means that the target category must be published, so that the teachers in all the courses can see it.

Select the question(s) to move, select the category, and then click the Move to>> button:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Create a Question

To create a new question, from the Create new question drop-down list, select the type for the next question:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

This brings you to the editing page for the question:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

After you save the question, it is added to the list of questions in that category:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Question Types

The following chart explains the types of questions you can create, and gives some tips for using them.




Type of Question

Description and Tips for Using


When you create a calculated question, you enter a formula that gets displayed in the text of the question. The formula can contain one or more wildcards, which are replaced with numbers when the quiz is run. Wildcards are enclosed in curly brackets.

For example, if you type the question What is 3 * {a}?, Moodle will replace {a} with a random number. You can also enter wildcards into the answer field, so that the correct answer is 3 * {a}. When the quiz is run, the question will display What is 3 * {a}? and the correct answer will be the calculated value of 3 * {a}.


This is not a question. It displays whatever web content you enter. When you add a description question, Moodle gives you the same editing screen as when you create a web page.

Recall that under the Quiz tab, you can set page breaks in a quiz. If you want to break your quiz into sections, and fully explain each section before the student completes it, consider putting a Description on the first page of the section. For example, the Description could say 'The following 3 questions are based on this chart', and show the chart just once.

Type of Question

Description and Tips for Using


When the student is given an essay question, he or she uses Moodle's online rich-text editor to answer the question. However, if there is more than one essay question on a page, the rich-text editor appears only for the first essay question. This is a limitation of Moodle. To work around this, insert page breaks in your quiz so that each essay question appears on its own page. You enter page breaks under the Quiz tab.

Also, you might want to instruct your students to save their essay every few minutes.


After you create a matching question, you then create a list of sub questions, and enter the correct answer for each sub question. The student must match the correct answer with each question. Each sub question receives equal weight for scoring the question.

Embedded Answers (Cloze)

An embedded answers question consists of a passage of text, with answers inserted into the text. Multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, and numeric answers can be inserted into the question. Moodle's help file gives the following example:


Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Note that the question presents a drop-down list first, which is essentially a multiple choice question. Then, it presents a short answer (fill-in-the-blank) question, followed by a numeric question. Finally, there's another multiple-choice question (the Yes/No drop-down) and another numeric question.

There is no graphical interface to create embedded answers questions. You need to use a special format that is explained in the help files.


Type of Question

Description and Tips for Using

Multiple Choice

Multiple choice questions can allow a student to select a single answer, or multiple answers. Each answer can be a percentage of the question's total point value.

When you allow a student to select only a single answer, you usually assign a positive score to the one correct answer and zero or negative points to all the other, incorrect, answers. When you allow the student to select multiple answers, you usually assign partial positive points to each correct answer. That's because you want all the correct answers to total 100%. You also usually assign negative points to each incorrect answer. If you don't bring down the question's score for each wrong answer, then the student can score 100% on the question just by selecting all the answers. The negative points should be equal to or greater than the positive points, so that if a student just selects all the answers, he or she won't get a positive score for the question. Don't worry about the student getting a negative score for the question, because Moodle doesn't allow that to happen.

In the Editing Quiz page, if you have chosen to shuffle answers, check all of the multiple-choice questions that you use in the quiz. If any of them has answers such as 'All of the above', or 'Both A and C', then shuffling answers will ruin those questions. Instead, change them to multiple-answer questions, and give partial credit for each correct answer. For example, instead of 'Both A. and C' you would say, 'Select all that apply' and then give partial credit for A. and for C.

Short Answer

The student types a word or phrase into the answer field. This is checked against the correct answer or answers. There may be several correct answers, with different grades.

Your answers can use the asterisk, a wildcard. And, they can be case sensitive.


Just as in a short-answer question, the student enters an answer into the answer field. However, the answer to a numerical question can have an acceptable error, which you set while creating the question. For example, you can designate that the correct answer is 5, plus or minus 1. Then, any number from 4 to 6 inclusive will be marked correct.


When this type of question is added to a quiz, Moodle draws a question at random from the current category. The question is drawn at the time the student takes the quiz. During the same attempt, the same student will never see the same question twice, no matter how many random questions you put into the quiz. This means that the category you use for your random questions must have at least as many questions as the random ones that you add to the quiz.


Type of Question

Description and Tips for Using

Random Short-Answer Matching

Recall that a matching question consists of sub questions and answers that must be matched to each sub question. When you select Random Short-Answer Matching, Moodle draws random short-answer questions from the current category. It then uses those short‑answer questions, and their answers to create a matching question.

To the student, this looks just like any other matching question. The difference is that the sub questions were drawn at random from short-answer questions in the current category.


The student selects from two options: True or False.

Adding Feedback to Questions and Quizzes

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. Every question can have General Feedback.

The exact type of feedback that you can create for a question varies with the type of question

Feedback for a Multiple-Choice Question

In a multiple-choice question, you can create feedback for any correct, partially correct, or incorrect response. If a response has a value of 100%, it is considered completely correct, and the student receives all of the points for that question. However, a response can have a value of less than 100%. For example, if a question has two correct responses, you could give each response a value of 50%. In this case, each response is partially correct. The student needs to choose both responses to receive the full point value for the question. Any question with a percentage value between 0 and 100 is considered partially correct.

A response can also have a negative percentage value. Any response with a percentage value of less than zero is considered an incorrect response.

Choosing a response with a value of 100% will display the feedback under Feedback for any correct answer. Choosing any response with a point value between zero and 100% displays the feedback under Feedback for any partially correct answer. Choosing any response with a zero or negative percentage displays the feedback under Feedback for any incorrect answer.

Any individual response to a question. Each response can display its own feedback. This type of feedback is called Response Feedback, or just Feedback.

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%.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

The screenshot on the next page shows a multiple-choice question that uses several kinds of feedback. You're seeing this question from the course creator's point of view, not the student's. First, you can see General feedback—The truth is, most New Yorkers have never even thought about the "missing Fourth Avenue" issue. After the question is scored, every student sees this feedback, no matter what the student's score is.

Below that, in the next screenshot, you can see that Choice 1 through Choice 4 contain Feedback for each response. This feedback is customized to the response. For example, if a student selects Sixth Avenue the Feedback is Nope, that name is taken. Sixth is also known as the "Avenue of the Americas."

At the bottom of the page, under Feedback for any incorrect answer, you can see the feedback the system gives if the student selects one of the incorrect responses. In this case, we use the feedback to tell the student what the correct response is.

There is not the feedback under any correct answer or partially correct answer. Those options are useful when you have multiple responses that are correct, or responses that are partially correct. In this case, only one response is correct, and all other responses are incorrect.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3


Feedback for a Numeric Question

The following screenshot shows feedback for a numeric answer question.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Note that the General feedback explains how the question is solved. This feedback is displayed to everyone after answering the question, even those who answered correctly. You might think that if the student answered correctly, he or she doesn't need this explanation. However, if the student guessed or used a method different from the one given in the General feedback, explaining the solution can help the student learn from the question.

In a numeric answer question, the student types in a number for the answer. This means that the student can enter literally any number. It would be impossible to create customized feedback for every possible answer, because the possibilities are infinite. However, you can create customized feedback for a reasonable number of answers. In this question, I've created responses for the most likely incorrect answers. After I've given this test to the first group of students, I'll need to review their responses for the most frequent incorrect answers. If there are any that I haven't covered, I'll need to add them to the feedback for this question.

In the following screenshot, note that each response has customized feedback. Answer 1 is correct. Answer 2 would be the result of switching between the two numbers, while trying to solve the problem. As this is a likely error, I've included feedback just for that answer, explaining the error that the student made. Answer 3 is the result of interpreting b(3)as b times 3 instead of b cubed. This is also a likely error, so I've included feedback for that answer. Answer 4 is a wildcard, and applies if the student submitted any answer other than the three above.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Assemble the Quiz

After you have created categories and questions, you can go to the Quiz tab and begin adding questions to the quiz.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Most of the functions on this page are self-explanatory. However, here are some tips for using them.

Maximum Grade

The quiz's Maximum grade is the quiz's point contribution towards the course. In this example, the quiz is worth 10 points toward the student's total for the course.

The grade for each question will be scaled to the quiz's Maximum grade. For example, if this quiz had five questions worth 1 point each, but the Maximum grade is 10, then each question will contribute 2 points to the student's total grade for the course.

Page Breaks

If you put all the questions of the quiz in one page, and if the student's browser refreshes or freezes before the quiz is submitted, he or she will lose the selected answers. To avoid this, use page breaks to put a few questions on each page, so your student can't lose more than a page of work.

Random Questions

Add random questions to the quiz using the Add button at the bottom right of this page. This will add random questions from the currently selected category. You can add random questions from several categories to the same quiz. In the following screenshot, I've added one random question from the Leaves category:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

On the same attempt, the student will never see the same random question twice. However, the questions are reset between attempts, so a student can see the same question twice, if he or she attempts the same quiz twice.

Naming Questions

Every question has a name, as you can see in the previous screenshot. You can use the name of a question to convey meaningful information about that question. For example, 'Leaf Question 1' would not be a very descriptive name, but 'PrinciplesofBio-Chap8-Pg3' would tell you the source of that question. If you forget what a question says, you can always click on the button next to the question, to preview it.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Preventing Glossary Auto-Linking in Quiz Questions

If you have a glossary in your course, glossary words that are used in quiz questions will link to their glossary entries. If you don't want students to have this resource when they take the quiz, then go to the glossary, and change the setting Automatically link glossary entries to No. Or, while typing a glossary word in a quiz question, using the online editor's HTML view, add the tag <nolink> </nolink> to the word, like the following:

Preventing an Open-Book Quiz

In most Moodle courses, quizzes are 'open-book' affairs. This is because when the student is taking a quiz, there is nothing to prevent the student from reading other parts of the course. If you want to prevent this, you can do so with some manual intervention.

The easiest way to prevent a quiz from becoming open-book is to put that quiz into a separate course topic, by itself. Then, hide all the other course topics. This can be done with a single click on each topic. Administer the quiz, and redisplay the topics afterward.


SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. AICC stands for Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee. They are standards, not products or features. It is a collection of specifications that enable learning management systems to use content developed for each other. Almost all learning management systems support SCORM, so developing content that is SCORM-compliant enables that content to be ported onto many systems.

The SCORM module allows you to upload any standard SCORM or AICC package to include in your course.

The Summary is displayed when the student selects this activity from the course's Home Page.

To select the SCORM package that you want to import, use Course package and the Choose button.

If the package you imported is graded, select one of the Grading methods.

If Auto-continue is set to Yes, when the student finishes with one Sharable Content Object, the next one in the course displays automatically. Otherwise, the student must click a Continue button to proceed.

Enable preview mode enables the student to browse the content without taking the associated test. The content is marked as browsed.

As Sharable Content Objects display in the same window or a separate window, the Width and Height settings determine the size of the display area for the object, not the size of the window.


Moodle's survey consists of questions about the students' attitudes towards learning in general, and the course specifically, and about the students' experience with the course. Moodle enables you to create five different surveys, all of which are pre-created for you. The survey questions are designed to help you assess your students. The questions and choices in these surveys are set, and you cannot edit them. If the stock survey questions are not appropriate for your usage, you will need to repurpose a quiz into a survey.

Creating a Survey

To create a survey, add it to your activity and then select the Survey type. Set the Group mode, edit the introductory text, and the survey is complete. The questions are set for you.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Survey Types

Moodle offers five different surveys, divided into three survey types.


COLLES stands for Constructivist On-Line Learning Environment Survey. There are three surveys in this category. Each consists of 24 statements, to which the student indicates a level of agreement or disagreement. The questions ask about:

  • The course's relevance to the student's interests and professional goals
  • The level of critical or reflective thinking that the student applies to the material in the course
  • The level of interactivity the student engages in, during the course
  • The level of tutor support the student is receiving in the course
  • The level of peer support that the student is receiving in the course
  • The success of the student's tutor, and other students' interpretation of the interaction between them

The three COLLES surveys ask students about their preferred learning environment, the actual learning environment they are experiencing in the course, and a combination of the two.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3


ATTLS stands for Attitudes To Thinking and Learning Survey. It consists of 20 questions that ask about the student's style of learning, discussion, and debate. For example, the survey asks about the student's attitude towards logic versus personal concerns—I value the use of logic and reason over the incorporation of my own concerns when solving problems.

The ATTLS questions are useful for measuring the student's attitudes in general, but not for measuring the student's perception of, or satisfaction with a course.

Critical Incidents

The Critical Incidents survey is different from the COLLES and ATTLS surveys in two ways:

  • It is much shorter, has only five questions.
  • Students answer by typing short responses instead of selecting from multiple choices.

This survey asks students how they feel about recent events in the course. The five questions in the Critical Incidents survey are:

  1. At what moment in class were you most engaged as a learner?
  2. At what moment in class were you most distanced as a learner?
  3. What action from anyone in the forums did you find most affirming, or helpful?
  4. What action from anyone in the forums did you find most puzzling, or confusing?
  5. Which event surprised you most?

When to Use the Different Types of Surveys

At the beginning of a course, the COLLES (Preferred) survey can give you an idea of the students' preferred way of learning. This can help you design and present the course in the best way for your students. During the course, you can use a COLLES (Actual) survey to measure how well the course is meeting their needs. These are long surveys, so use them sparingly.

The ATTLS survey can also be used at the beginning of a course to help you understand the students' learning style. Remember that this survey is about the student, not the course. You might want to ask each new student in your learning site to complete an ATTLS survey before participating in any courses. Then, each teacher can check their students' ATTLS surveys, and know 'who they are dealing with' in their course.

As the Critical Incidents survey is short, and asks about recent events, you can use this survey after each topic or week. It provides a useful guide for making quick, small changes to a course in progress.


Moodle's choice is the simplest type of activity. In a choice activity, you create one question, and specify a choice of responses. You can use a choice to:

  • Take a quick poll.
  • Ask students to choose sides in a debate.
  • Confirm the students' understanding of an agreement.
  • Gather consent.

Before we look at how to accomplish this, let's look at the choice activity from the student's point of view, and then explore the settings available to the teacher while creating a choice.

Student's Point of View

From the student's point of view, a choice activity looks like this:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Note that at the bottom of the window, the student can see how many other students have chosen a response. There is also a limit to the number of students who can choose each response.

Teacher's Point of View

Before we discuss some of the uses for a choice activity, let's look at the settings available on the Editing Choice page. Then, we'll see how we can make creative use of these capabilities.

Number of Choices

When you first use the Editing Choice page, Moodle gives you space for five responses:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

If you use all of the choices, and then save the activity, Moodle gives you two more blank choices when you return to the editing page. You can continue doing this until Moodle has created as many choices as you need.


The Limit next to each choice enables you to limit how many students can select that choice. In the previous example, no more than 4 students can select each choice. So after four students have selected Choice 1, that choice becomes unavailable. Limits must be enabled for the choice:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Time Limit

You can define a time period during which students are allowed to make a choice. If you don't set a time limit (if you leave the box unchecked), the choice is always available.

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Publish Results

You can choose whether to reveal the results of the choice to the students, and if so, when:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

In the example at the beginning of this section, Publish results was set to Always show results to students. That is why the student could see how many students had chosen each response. If it had been set to Do not publish results to students, the activity would not have shown how many students had selected each response. Note that at the bottom of this page, the numbers, Taken and Limit, are no longer displayed:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

If you are going to limit the number of students who can choose a response, consider using Always show results to students. That way, the student can see how many others have chosen the response, and how many slots are left for each response.


If you publish the results of the choice, you can then choose whether to publish the names of the students who have selected each response:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

In the example at the beginning of this section, Privacy of results was set to Publish anonymous results. If it had been set to Publish full results, the student would have seen who had selected each response:

Adding Interactive Course Material in Moodle 1.9: Part 3

Allow Students to Change Their Minds

The setting Allow choice to be updated determines if a student can change his or her answer after submitting it. If this is set to Yes, a student can retake the choice activity until the activity is closed.


Moodle's assignments, journals, and lessons enable you to create course material that students interact with. This interaction is more engaging, and usually more effective, than courses consisting of static material that the students view. While you will probably begin creating your course by adding static material, the next step should usually be to ask, 'How can I add interactivity to this course?' Lessons can even take the place of many static web pages, as they consist of web pages with a question at the end of each page.

Survey and Choice give teachers the opportunity to assess students, their attitudes towards learning, and their satisfaction with a course. The ATTLS survey can become part of student's record, available to all teachers who have that student in a course. The COLLES (Preferred) survey can be used at the beginning of a course to assess the student's motivation and expectations, while the COLLES (Actual) can be used every few weeks to assess the students' satisfaction. Add a Critical Incidents survey after each topic or week, and a Choice as needed, and the result is a structured, ongoing conversation between the students and teacher.

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