I’ve been showing people how to make quizzes using Moodle’s quiz module for several years now. However, in the short time we have to focus on one module- often less than an hour – I have tended to concentrate on basic settings and easier question types such as multiple choice. Although I’ve latterly also been highlighting the advantages of Certainty Based Marking I’ve still rarely explored the whole range of subtleties available. Thus it was with relish that I enrolled in the Hands-on Moodle Quiz course. Originally (I presume) designed for OU tutors and available from their OpenLearn Works site, you can now enrol in this course from Moodle.net and if you want to delve deeply into the Moodle Quiz, I thoroughly recommend it.
There are seven parts to the course and Conditional activities are used, so you have to gain a certain grade (usually more than 70%) in a quiz in each section in order to progress. There is reading material – you do need to concentrate! – and you can retake the quiz as often as you need, re-reading and checking your answers each time in order to progress. Moodle’s quiz doesn’t have to be only used for summative assesmment: with different types of question behaviour you can give no help at all and just a final grade or -as in the case here – give lots of personalised help all along the way with opportunities to try again until you succeed. This was a boon to me in the sixth section, variable numeric question types, where I realised my ‘O’ level Maths of 1975 was not much use – so I just kept reading and trying until I made it. Great learning experience -although I am still not sure I will be creating variable numeric questions!
Starting with a brief video intro from OU Quizmeister Phil Butcher and Moodle’s Quiz maintainer and OU developer Tim Hunt, we are then taken on an interactive tour of the Moodle Quiz… using the Moodle quiz. We’re asked to think about the reasons for using e-assessment and then prompted to get our workspace and organise our question bank.
One thing to point out: obviously you do need to have a Moodle course where you can create the questions and quizzes, and sections 2 and 3 support you in doing this. However, sections 4 -6 deal with certain OU question types, such as Drag and Drop, Pattern Match and (oh yes) Variable numeric, so you also need to be able to add these to your Moodle or else have access to a site where they are already available. (I wonder if there’s a demo site around?) Drag and drop are dealt with in section 4 – there’s a tracker issue out for including those question types in a standard Moodle installation if you’re interested. Equally fascinating for me was the Pattern Match question type in section 5. Ever wished short answer question types could better handle the many (correct) alternatives your students might input? Or that students could write more than just a word or very short phrase and still get graded accurately? If so, then do explore the Pattern Match question type. It’s a whole new language in itself, and takes time to master (I haven’t) but is very sophisticated in its response-matching abilities.
What I particularly appreciated was that, alongside the mechanics of setting up the different question types, we’re asked to reflect on why we would want to use them , their pros and cons, and how the way we phrase our question and answers will affect the student’s responses and their learning. Until now I hadn’t really given much thought to that – or even to the general and specific feedback you can also add – but if you are going to use the Moodle quiz seriously as part of your teaching, it’s vital to think this through. (I’ve actually gone back and reworded some of my own quizzes based on what I learned in this course)
The final section takes us on a tour of Moodle quiz statistics (and for me, more new vocabulary! I never did understand “standard deviation” and never had a blind eye for graphs/charts but now was also having to get my head around “coefficient of internal consistency”, “discrimination index” and “skewness” But it was clear that all of this provides superb information as to how challenging and discriminating your quizzes are.
And I managed it well enough to get a Silver 2 – which I am extremely proud of! (And of course, with this course and quiz set up, I can go back and keep trying until I get Gold, should I wish!)
In conclusion: if you want a thorough grounding in the Moodle quiz, enrol on the Hands-on Moodle quiz course. If you can’t add the OU question types, you will still gain an awful lot from the first three sections. If you are able to access the extra question types, you will not only benefit from understanding how they work but will also have a richer perspective on the pedagogy of e-assessment.
And as a by the by, if you come to the UK Moodle Moot in April, Tim Hunt is running a pre-conference day workshop on the Moodle Quiz – I hope to see you there!