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For Experienced Users By the C-FB Virtual Campus Team referencing content from

Table of Contents Adding a Basic Course Menu ............................................................. 3 Adding “Units and Chapters” to a Course Menu................................. 5 Other Course Menu Configuration Options ........................................ 8 The Moodle Glossary Activity ........................................................... 10 The HTML Block............................................................................... 18 Question Management for Quizzes .................................................. 20 Effective Quiz Practices.................................................................... 22


Adding a Basic Course Menu As an advanced Moodle user, you’ve probably created courses that have a significant amount of content. Once you have more than five topic sections full of labels, resources, and activities, your course page begins to be pretty long, and it’s a drag for students (and teachers!) to have to constantly scroll down the page to revisit information at the end of the course. What we would prefer is a menu system that allows us to click on the particular Unit, Chapter, Topic, etc. we want to work in, and have that section brought to the top of the page. The solution? The “Course Menu” block. As the name implies, the “Course Menu” is a Moodle block. So to add it, you’ll need to turn editing on for the course and reference the “Add Block” drop down menu. The first thing you will notice is that there are two “Course Menu” blocks listed in the menu! By default, there is a block included in the Moodle install called the “Course Menu”. Unfortunately, the original designers’ idea of a course menu was simply an aggregator of the various types of activities and resources you may have in a class. This is a broader version of the “Activities” block which is an aggregator for the different activity types available in your course. The bottom line is that this doesn’t contain the functionality we want. We have installed a third-party developed block, also called “Course Menu” which provides the functionality we want. It is the second “Course Menu” in the list. Once added you should have a block in your course that looks like this…. The “Course Menu” is similar to a Windows Explorer window that you commonly use to navigate the files system on your computer. The root level is the course itself and is identified by the “course short name”. The image used here is from the “Working with Moodle” course, thus the top level is “WWM” The folders that follow map to each “topic” or “section” of your course. The “Working with Moodle” course has five topics, so the menu shows folders for five topics. If your course happens to have ten topics, then there will be ten folders displayed.


If you click on any one of the topics in the menu, Moodle will automatically collapse the topic sections and display the topic in question. Note that Topic 0, or the header topic, is always displayed.

Note how in the above image, when “Topic 3” is clicked, Moodle now only displays Topic 0 and Topic 3. Now, if you do have a need to see all of your Topics displayed on the page at once, you can “expand” the topics by clicking the button in the upper right corner of any topic section. The functionality “as is” is very useful, but the labels “Topics 1”, “Topics 2”, etc. are ambiguous. You’ll probably want more meaningful labels for learners to use to navigate the sections of your course. Moodle conveniently looks to the first line of each topic section summary field to populate the menu label for that item. If the summary field for a particular topic is empty, then the default label is “Topic x”. So let’s say that we’re breaking our course into “units”, with each unit having its own dedicated Moodle topic section. We can then easily change the labels by inputting the unit titles as the first line of each topic section summary field. First, click the “Edit Summary” button for the Topic. This will open the “Summary of Topic x” page. There, input the title for the unit or section.


When you click the “Save Changes” button and are returned to the main course page, you’ll notice that the label for the topic section in question has changed to match what you entered in the topic section’s summary. Easy huh?

Adding “Units and Chapters” to a Course Menu What we’ve looked at so far is the basic functionality of the Course Menu. This works great for relatively short courses (less than 10 topic sections), but the menu itself can get long for year long courses that have many topic sections. For example, the Virtual Campus Hybrid Geometry course has 6 units that encompass 18 different chapters. Each chapter has its own topic section, so that would result in 18 menu items! Wouldn’t it be nice to have an expandable menu (ala that Windows Explorer example used) so that we can have a clean initial menu of just the Unit headings, and then expand a Unit to see the Chapters we can navigate to? Well, here’s how to do that! Let’s say your course is broken down something like this…  Unit 1: Geometry’s Window o Chapter 1: Modeling the World with Geometry o Chapter 2: Patterns Patterns Everywhere o Chapter 3: Building a Better Triangle o Chapter 4: Geometry’s Window: The Sequel  Unit 2: Transformations o Chapter 1: Isometries o Chapter 2: Parallel Lines o Chapter 3: Slopes of Lines o Chapter 4: Composite Transfer  Unit 3: Triangles o Chapter 1: Triangle Properties o Chapter 2: Proving Triangles Congruent o Chapter 3: CPCTC  Unit 4: Similarity o Chapter 1: Similar Polygons o Chapter 2: Right Triangles  Unit 5: ….. etc.


Start by ignoring the actual Unit titles. Simply title each topic section with a chapter heading. This will feel uncomfortable at first because the chapters will feel like they don’t have a context as one chapter flows to the next.       

Topic 1  “Chapter 1: Modeling the World with Geometry” Topic 2  “Chapter 2: Patterns Patterns Everywhere” Topic 3  “Chapter 3: Building a Better Triangle” Topic 4  “Chapter 4: Geometry’s Window: The Sequel” Topic 5  “Chapter 1: Isometries” Topic 6  “Chapter 2: Parallel Lines” Etc…

Once this is complete, we need to manually group the chapters into their respective Units. This is done by manually configuring the “Course Menu” block. If your course is in edit mode, you’ll notice that one of the icons in the “Course Menu” block is a “Configuration” button that looks like this…. Clicking the “Configuration” button opens the “Configuring a Course Menu Block” page that looks like the following.

What we want to do is “Activate Chapter Grouping”. Do this by clicking the “closed eye” next to “Activate Chapter Grouping”.


From here, you can enter the number of groupings (or Units) you will need. Use the Edit icons to enter the specific title you want for each unit, and then use the arrow icons to move your individual chapters up or down so that they are appropriately grouped with their respective units. See below for an example.

When you “Save Changes” to your “Course Menu” configuration page, your menu should now simply list your Units, with each one being expandable to display the chapters within the unit.


Other Course Menu Configuration Options You probably noticed when adding Units and Chapters that there are several other items in the configuration page for the Course Menu; “Blog Menu”, “Messages”, “Control Panel”, “Gradebook”; “Calendar”, “Show All Sections”, and “Expandable Tree”. An explanation of each follows…. Blog Menu – This will create a link called “Blog Menu” in the top of your course menu, but since the Moodle Blog function is disabled in our site, this link will do nothing. Messages - This will create a link called “Messages” in the top of your course menu, but since the Moodle Messaging function is currently disabled in our site, this link will do nothing. Control Panel – This creates a link in your “Course Menu” to the Moodle Control Panel. The Control Panel contains links to most of the functions found in the Administration Block. If you don’t want to include the Administration Block in your course, you could add the Control Panel link to your Course Menu and access most of the functions from there.

Remember, never change your password from within Moodle! Gradebook – This creates a convenient link to the Moodle gradebook for your course in the Course Menu. This is a nice addition for students to easily access their own grades. 8

Calendar – This creates a link to the Moodle Calendar page for your course in the Course Menu. If you don’t include the “Calendar” block in your main course page, this is a convenient alternative for students to use to access the course calendar. Show All Sections - This creates a link called “Show All Sections” at the bottom of your course menu. The function of this link is to expand all of the sections of your course so that they all show up on the main course page. It is analogous to the button in the upper right of each topic section, so this link is a little redundant. Expandable Tree – This functional adds another level of expandability to your course menu; that level being direct access to all of the resources and activities in a particular topic section. For example, say you have one resource (“File 1”) and one activity (“Assignment 1”) in Chapter 1 of Unit 1 of your course. If you turn “Expandable Tree” on, then you can expand Chapter 1 of Unit 1 in the menu to show links directly to “File 1” and “Assignment 1”.


The Moodle Glossary Activity The Glossary activity allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary. Glossary can be used in many ways. The entries can be searched or browsed in different formats. A glossary can be collaborative or entries only made by the teacher. Entries can be put in categories. The autolinking feature, will highlight any word in the course which is located in the glossary. In places such as forum posts and quizzes, terms will be automatically highlighted and linked if they are in the glossary. Sometimes, this may be unwanted. To avoid this on a case-by-case basis, use <nolink>...term...</nolink> A shortcut for doing this is CTRL-ALT-N

Adding a Glossary

To add a glossary: 1. Click the "Turn editing on" button. 2. Select Glossary from the "Add an activity" dropdown menu. 3. On the Adding a new glossary page give your new glossary a descriptive name. 10

4. Describe the purpose of the glossary, provide instructions or background information, links etc. in the Description area. 5. Select the general and grade options and the common module settings (see below). 6. Click the "Save changes" button at the bottom of the page.

General options Entries shown per page This sets the number of words and definitions that students will see when they view the glossary list. If you have a large number of automatically-linked entries you should set this number lower to prevent long loading times.

Glossary type Here you can decide whether the glossary will be main or secondary. The glossary system allows you to export entries from any secondary glossary to the main one of the course. In order to do this, you should specify which glossary is the main one. You can only have one main glossary per course. Note: Prior to Moodle 1.7, only Teachers could edit the main glossary. From Moodle 1.7 onwards, a role override can be used to change glossary permissions.

Students can add entries Prior to Moodle 1.7, you can specify whether a student may add, edit or delete their own entries. Entries exported to a main glossary can be updated or deleted by teachers only, so this setting only applies to secondary glossaries. (A teacher can edit or delete any entry at any time.) Note: From Moodle 1.7 onwards, this option has been replaced with a role override and preventing the capability mod/glossary:write.

Duplicated entries allowed This allows the entry of more than one definition for a given word.

Allow comments on entries Students and teachers can leave comments on glossary definitions. The comments are available through a link at the bottom of the definition.


Allow print view This provides a printer-friendly version link for students. (Teachers are always provided with a printer-friendly version link.)

Automatically link glossary entries If site-wide glossary auto-linking is enabled by an administrator (see Filters for further details), then turning this on allows individual entries in this glossary to be automatically linked whenever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the same course. This includes forum postings, internal resources, week summaries and so on. Note: Enabling linking for the glossary does not automatically turn on linking for each entry - linking needs to be set for each entry individually. If you do not want particular text to be linked (in a forum posting, say) then you should add <nolink> and </nolink> tags around the text. Note that category names are also linked.

Approved by default That allows the teacher to define what happens to new entries added by students. They can be automatically made available to everyone, otherwise the teacher will have to approve each one.

Display format That specifies the way that each entry will be shown within the glossary. The default formats are: 

     

Simple, dictionary style - This looks like a conventional dictionary with separate entries. No authors are displayed and attachments are shown as links. Continuous without author - That shows the entries one after other without any kind of separation but the editing icons. Full with author - A forum-like display format showing author's data. Attachments are shown as links. Full without author - A forum-like display format that does not show author's data. Attachments are shown as links. Encyclopedia - Like 'Full with author' but attached images are shown inline. Entry list - This lists the concepts as links. FAQ - Useful for displaying lists of frequently asked questions. It automatically appends the words QUESTION and ANSWER in the concept and definition respectively.


The table below summarizes the different display formats. Format

Entry Author Date Definition Images Attachments

Entry list







Simple Dictionary





















Full without Author







Full with Author














* Will be shown in a pop-up window. * * Attached images are shown inline.

Browsing options in alphabet display You can customize the way a user can browse a glossary. Browsing and searching are always available, but you can define three more options:   

Show "Special" link - Enable or disable browsing by special characters like @, #, etc. Show alphabet - Enable or disable browsing by alphabetic letters. Show "All" link - Enable or disable browsing of all entries at once.

Edit always If you want entries to be always editable, set this to Yes.

Grade options Allow entries to be rated You can grade entries yourself or allow students to grade entries as well. Select "Only teachers" or "Everyone" from the users menu. Then select a grading scale. You can also restrict when entries can be graded to a specific date range.


Common module settings Group mode Another location to set the group mode for the activity. If group mode is forced in the course settings then this setting will be ignored.

Visible to students You can also decide on whether or not the glossary will be seen by the students. You can hide the activity from students by selecting 'Hide'. It is useful if you don't want to make the activity available immediately.

Adding/Editing a Glossary Entry

To add a glossary entry: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

From the glossary page, click the "Add a new entry" button. Enter the word you want to define in the Concept text field. Add the definition of the word or concept. If you've defined categories in the "Browse by category" tab, you can categorize your entry here. If there are synonyms you want to include with the entry, add them to the Keyword(s) text area. Enter one word per line. If you want to add an attachment, such as a picture or an article, you can attach it below the Keyword(s) text area. Select the auto-linking options (see below). Click the "Save changes" button to add your word to the glossary.


This entry should be automatically linked Turning this feature on will allow the entry to be automatically linked, whenever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the same course. This includes forum postings, internal resources, week summaries and so on. When you click on the word, a new window with the glossary entry will pop-up. Note: If you do not want particular text to be linked (in a forum posting, say) then you should add <nolink> and </nolink> tags around the text.

This entry is case sensitive This setting specifies whether matching exact upper and lower case is necessary when performing automatic linking to these entries. For example, if this is turned on, then a word like "html" in a forum posting will NOT be linked to a glossary entry called "HTML".

Match whole words only If automatic linking is enabled, then turning this setting on will force only whole words to be linked. For example, a glossary entry named "construct" will not create a link inside the word "constructivism".

Deleting an attachment The easiest way to delete an attachment is to delete the glossary entry and add a new one.

Viewing a Glossary


You can browse glossaries according to the following options:    

Browse by alphabet Browse by category (if there are any categories added) Browse by date (you can sort entries by last update or by creation date) Browse by author

Search options You can also search for a given word using the Search field. Checking the 'Search full text' option (on the right side of the Search box) allows searching for a given word in any position in the text. This can take longer and return more entries than you might wish, but it is thorough. If you do not check the "Search full text" box, the search only looks for the term names. The index below lets you browse the glossary according to a given letter.

Waiting approval If entries require teacher approval before being publicly posted, this is where those entries are approved.

Printing a glossary At the top right of the main glossary page, you'll see a little printer icon. If you click the icon, Moodle will open a new browser window and present all the words and definitions in a printer-friendly format. To print the glossary: 1. Click the printer icon at the top of the main glossary page. 2. From the newly opened window, choose Print from the File menu of your browser. 3. Once the word list has printed, close the printer-friendly format window. Note: Teachers are always provided with a printer-friendly format link. To enable students to print a glossary, set "Allow print view" to Yes on the edit glossary page.

Glossary Comments If you enabled comments on the glossary entries, users can annotate the definitions in the word list. When you look at a word in the glossary list, you'll see a little cartoon speech balloon icon in the lower right-hand corner of the definition block. When you click on the balloon, you're taken to the comment entry page. Add your comment then click the "Save changes" button. 16

Once you've saved your comment, Moodle will display all of the comments for the entry. When you return to the main glossary page, you'll see a new message next to the speech balloon telling you how many comments there are for the entry.


The HTML Block A HTML block is a standard block used to add text or images on a site or course page. The title bar can be left blank. The block is flexible and can incorporate a variety of functions and uses in the content area. It has the standard Moodle HTML editor for formatting text, adding images or creating links, switching to code view and allows any valid HTML markup to be used. This enables embedding video, sounds, Flash, and other files which can add unique elements to a course or site page. Add an HTML block through the Add Block menu. When added, all you will see is the following block.

Add content to the block by clicking the “Configuration” button in the HTML block title bar. This will open the “Configuring a HTML Block” page. Simply enter a block title (optional), and use the standard Moodle editor to add any content you want.


The above example would result in a block that looks like the following.


Question Management for Quizzes The Question Bank This feature allows a teacher to create, preview, and edit questions in a course question bank, a database of questions. These questions can then be used in Quizzes and through the export process in a lesson activity. The teacher enters the question bank by creating or editing a quiz activity or through the Administration block The initial Question Bank page has tabs that allow you (as teacher) to edit questions, categories, import questions and export questions.

Using Question Categories You can imagine a question category as a folder on your desktop computer. Then, questions are stored in these categories in a similar way as your files are stored in a file system. Creating question categories and sub categories is a good practice. It is better than keeping all your questions in one big list in the quiz module. Each category must have a name and you can include a short description of the category. You can create a category hierarchy - you can specify a parent category for each category or 'Top' for parent if the category has no parent. This enables you to separate categories into sub categories and sub categories into sub sub categories etc. indefinitely. Categories and sub categories, etc., are very powerful when combined with random questions that can select either from one category or from a category or any of its sub categories.


Question Category Setup and Management 

 

Open the question bank. Either : o Click on the Questions link in the 'Administration' block click on the 'Questions' link. o Or open the Editing a quiz page - when logged in as a teacher or someone with appropriate permissions open a quiz and then click on the 'Edit' tab. Click on the 'Categories' tab. Below the list of current categories you will see a form to add a new category. Choose the 'parent' category in which your new category will be placed. See image of 'Parent' selector image to right. Question category selector Placing your category in another category makes it a sub-category of the parent. o Choosing 'Top' means that your category is a top level category, not a sub category. When more than one sharing context is available you can place your category as a top level category in any of the contexts. o Notice you can choose to make your category a 'top level' category in any context (see Question contexts) that is available to you. Or you can choose to add your category as a sub category of another category in the same context as the Type the name of your new question category in the text box. Add an optional meaningful description in the category info area. Click the 'Add Category' button. Your new question category will appear in the list of current categories. o

  


Effective Quiz Practices As you know, the Moodle quiz engine is a powerful, flexible tool for monitoring and diagnosing student performance with certain types of knowledge. Using this tool effectively can boost your course’s effectiveness, and promote student performance. While a computer-scored quiz is a different performance than more open-ended assessments, it does give a valuable window onto student thinking, especially when you use good strategies, and a little creativity.

Quiz strategies Of course, using the quiz engine effectively takes some work and practice. The first thing to do is to use effective question design strategies. If you ask good questions, you’ll get useful data about your students’ performance and understanding of the material. Of course, the converse is also true. There is a ton of literature about effective assessment design available. I’ll just highlight a few of the most important ideas. 

 

Tie each question to a course goal. After all, you want to know whether your students are achieving the goals of the course, so why not ask them directly? Try to ask multiple questions about each important idea in the class. This gives you more data points about student understanding. When writing a multiple-choice question, be sure each wrong answer represents a common mis-conception. This will help you diagnose student thinking and eliminate easy guessing. Write questions requiring your students to think at different levels. Include some recall questions, some comprehension questions and some application and analysis questions. You can determine where students are having problems in their thinking. Can they recall the material, but not apply it? Test your questions. After you’ve established an initial question bank, use the system reports to determine which questions are useful, and which aren’t. As you write new questions, give them a lower point value and throw in a few to establish their reliability.

Once you’ve got a few well-written test banks, be sure to use the quiz reports and statistics to monitor your classes performance. The detailed reports and statistics available to you are valuable tools for understanding student understanding of the material.

Creative quiz uses With the Moodle quiz engine, it’s easier to utilize educationally sound assessment strategies which would be too difficult to implement with paper and pencil. Most people think of tests as an infrequent, high-stakes activity, like midterms and finals. Better strategies involve frequent, low-stakes assessments you and your students can use to guide their performance during the course of the semester. 22

Creating a series of small mini-tests gives you a very flexible system for gauging performance and keeping students engaged in the class. Here are a few ideas for quick quizzes you can use as part of a larger assessment strategy.

Chapter checks Getting students to complete reading assignments has to be one of the hardest motivational tasks in education. Reading is critical to understanding most material, and fundamental to success in many classes. The problem for most students is there is no immediate reward or punishment for procrastinating on a reading assignment. If you haven’t done the reading for a class discussion, you can either keep quiet, or, as I used to do occasionally, wing it by skimming in class. If you have a lecture course, there’s almost no need to do the reading as the lecturer usually covers most of the material in class anyway. Creating a little mini-test for each reading assignment solves a number of problems. First, it encourages students to do the reading so they can do well on the quiz. Second, it gives the students feedback on how well they understood the reading assignment. Third, it gives you data about what aspects of the reading students found confusing, and which they have already mastered so you can focus your class activities. For a reading mini-test, I would recommend setting a limited time quiz students can only take once. Because it’s a low-stakes activity you want students to use for self-assessment, I would also display feedback and correct answers. If you’re concerned about students sharing answers after they’ve taken the quiz, randomize the question and answer order. If you have a test bank, make some of the questions random as well. As an additional assignment, students should write down one question about a question they got wrong, and bring it to class.

Test practice The key to effective practice is to have a realistic practice environment. Many students worry about tests, especially high-stakes tests, because they have no idea what to expect. What question format will you use? How detailed will the questions be? What should they study? You can help alleviate test anxiety by creating a practice test students can take to help answer these questions. These tests are usually based on old questions similar to the current test questions. Use last years final as an example test, which will force you into the practice of writing new questions every year. This is a good idea anyway, as you can be sure someone has a copy of last year’s test they are sharing with others. To set up a practice test, I’d create a zero point test with questions from the year before in random order with random answers. I would also allow students to take the test as many times as they’d like so they can test themselves as much as they need. Display feedback, but not correct answers so it presents more of a challenge. 23

Data gathering As an expert, you know a lot about your field. Your challenge as a teacher is to translate your knowledge for a novice who doesn’t share your conceptual structure or experience. An example or lecture you think is brilliant may leave your students completely confused. It can be hard to tell what students really understand and what’s leaving them baffled. A data-gathering quiz is similar to a chapter check, but it takes place after a class meeting or lecture. Your goal is to quickly get some feedback on student understanding of a lecture. What did they really understand? What do you need to spend more time on? I’ve found many instructors have trouble gauging what students find difficult, and what the students find so easy they are bored. Setting up a post-class data-gathering quiz is similar to creating a chapter check. Set the quiz for a limited time, like a day or two before the next meeting. Allow them to take it once and display feedback and correct answers.

Quiz security and cheating Of course, online testing also presents another chance for the cheaters in your classes to try to game the system. Most online quizzes are meant to be taken at home, or at least outside of class. Students can download the questions and print them out. They can take the tests with other students, or while reading their textbooks. Fortunately, you can counter many of these strategies, making them more trouble than they are worth to the students. Let’s look at a few strategies for countering most cheating schemes

Printing and sharing questions If you display feedback and correct answers, students can print the results page and share it with their friends. Or they can simply print the questions themselves directly from the quiz. The key to discouraging this behavior is to randomize the question order and the answer order. It makes the printouts a lot less useful. Creating larger question banks and giving tests with random subsets is also an effective strategy. If students can only print a small number of questions at a time, they will need to view the test again and again, then sort the questions to eliminate duplicates. Warning: Assume there will be printed copies of your questions available to students who want them. Most instructors don’t realize students frequently have copies of old paper based tests, and electronic test delivery is another way for students to get copies of the questions. I know one professor who had over 1100 questions in his online test bank. At the end of the semester, he confiscated a printout from a student. It had every question with the correct answer, neatly formatted and divided by textbook chapter. We decided if students wanted to memorize 1100 questions and answers to the level where they could answer a 24

small number of them displayed at random, then they would have learned more than if they had just studied. Of course, we used timed quizzes and other strategies to minimize using the print-out as a reference manual.

Using the textbook Students will frequently look up the answer to questions in the textbook or a reading. If you are giving a chapter check quiz, then this is what you want them to do. Otherwise, you need to come up with creative ways of making the textbook less directly useful. Timed quizzes are the single most effective tool for eliminating this strategy. A timed quiz requires the students answer the questions in a certain amount of time. If you give enough questions and make the time short enough, they won’t have time to look up all the answers. I usually give about 30 seconds per multiple-choice question. If they answer them faster and have time to look up some answers afterward, I figure they knew enough to deserve to look up an answer or two. Asking students to apply their knowledge to novel situation can also make a difference. Synthesis and application questions can’t be looked up. Students have to understand the material and apply it creatively to answer the questions. So while they may take the time to review the text, they will still need to try to understand what they’ve read to successfully answer the question.

Working with friends If your students are on the same campus, they may get together in a lab and try to take the quiz together. This is an easy strategy to thwart with random question order, random answer order and questions randomly pulled from a test bank. If my screen doesn’t look like yours, then it’s harder for us to quickly answer all of the questions. A timed quiz also makes it harder for the two of us to cheat if we have different questions and we only have a short amount of time to answer.

Have someone else take the test The old adage goes “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”, and no one knows who is actually taking the test. Students will sometimes pay classmates, or others who have taken the course in the past, to take online quizzes for them. There are two ways to counter this strategy. One, have an occasional proctored exam where students need to show ID. If they haven’t taken the quizzes or done the work until then, they will do poorly on the proctored exam. To eliminate current classmates from taking each others quizzes, only make them available for a short time. You could require everyone take the test within a 2- or 4-hour block. If the test is properly randomized, it will be very difficult to take it more than once during the testing period. The test taker will worry about their own grade first, then about their employer's grade. Obviously, there are many strategies students can use to cheat. While it would be naïve to assume there isn’t cheating, the vast majority of your students want to succeed on their own merits. The anonymity of the online environment may 25

open up new avenues for the cheaters, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not really much different from your face-to-face classes. A few people will go to great lengths to cheat, but most will be honest as long as itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not too easy to get away with it. A few precautions will eliminate most of the easy cheats, and the classic strategies will work for the others.

Robust testing with random variants This section describes a good way to help minimise the potential for cheating, and increase the opportunity for students to learn from the feedback by repeated attempts at the quiz. The basic idea is to take each particular question that you were thinking of, and make several slight variants of it. Then use Moodle's random question feature, so that each student gets one of the variants picked at random.

An example A good example of this (although not in Moodle) can be seen at Take that test once, making a rough note of the questions you are asked. Then after you have done 'End test', to 'Restart entire test' and see that you are asked a different set of questions that have different answers, although the test the same knowledge. This sort of strategy is easier to implement in some subjects than others.

How to set this up in Moodle Suppose we are going to create a quiz with 6 questions about interpreting diagrams (that is, we are going to try to clone the OpenMark example above). For the fourth question, the closest we will be able to get would be the Image target question type from the Modules and plugins database.

1. Create a category for each 'question' in the quiz As you can see from the screen shot, I have created six appropriately named categories, all neatly grouped inside a parent category. You do this on the 'Categories' tab of the question bank interface.


2. Create the first variant of the first question Create the first variant of the first question, just like you would create any other Moodle question. In our example, this might be a Embedded answers (Cloze) question type. The question text might be: Below is a plan of a proposed garden. The scale is that each division in the plan represents a length in the garden of 0.5 meters. What is the proposed length and width of the Patio in the garden?

The Patio is {CLOZE syntax} metres by {CLOZE syntax} metres.

3. Create the other variants of the first question To easily create a variant, click the edit icon next to the first question, make the changes you need to turn it into the second variant, then use the 'Save as new question' button to create the second variant. (Remember to change the question name, or you will get confused.) Repeat this process to create as many variants as you want. In our example, we might change the word Patio, and the scale factor each division represents 0.5 meters. We would also need to change the answers and the associated feedback in the {CLOZE syntax} bits.

4. Repeat 2. and 3. for the other questions The screen shots show the variants of the third question. This one is a bit more of a pain to set up, because each variant will use a different image of a pie chart, so there is a bit more editing to do, and more files to upload to the course files area.


5. Add the questions to the quiz Once you have created all the questions, add them to the quiz using the 'Add random question' feature. Select the first category (Reading a plan variants). Ensure 'Display questions from sub-categories too' is off. Use the controls at the bottom to Add 1 random question to the quiz. Repeat for each of the other categories in order.

Comments Obviously this is more work to set up (although not three times as much work as creating one quiz). It is up to you to do the cost benefit analysis for your particular quiz. Note that once you have set this up, you are more likely to be able to reuse 28

quizzes in future, because you have reduced the potential for simple copying of answers. As an alternative to 'Save as new question', you can use Moodle's import and export formats, and copy and paste in your text editor to create variants. One issue you have to worry about is, are all the variants you have made of each question really equally difficult? Moodle 2.0 will feature a new Statistics report which should help you analyze your quiz results to see how difficult each variant is. Experience shows that 'a few variants' can normally be taken to be 3 variants. This is enough to ensure that two students working at neighbouring computers will mostly get different questions to each other. More is better (providing you can ensure equal difficulty) but is more work, so you get diminishing returns.


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