What with the move from Optima to Moodle that teachers in Rovaniemi are or will be experiencing, it is good to know that there are various ways to import material into Moodle that may make this process smoother.
The Moodle quiz module, for instance, is a powerful tool with many options and many question types. This implies that it may be something of a challenge to novice users to create a quiz and create questions in Moodle. The eLearning services are there to assit, of course, but you can make things a lot easier and faster.
Quizzes occur generally in two main types: the formative quiz, which usually has a variety of question types, and the summative quiz, which is usually made up of a large number of multiple choice questions. For the former the majority of the questions must be made manually, but for the latter there are ways to format the questions, so as to allow bulk upload of the questions to the question bank in Moodle.
The very simplest format (Aiken) is made in plain text (e.g. Notepad) and it looks literally like this:
Here goes the text of the first question on one line? A. Correct answer goes here B. Wrong answer C. Wrong answer D. Wrong answer ANSWER: A
Here goes the text of the second question on one line? A. Correct answer goes here B. Wrong answer C. Wrong answer D. Wrong answer ANSWER: A
In this question format there can be only one correct answer and it can be always in the first place, because Moodle can automatically shuffle the answers. In this format all questions have the same point weight (1). If needed, the relative weight of the questions can be set when the questions are added to a quiz. If teachers deliver questions to the eLearning Services in the Aiken format (with the essential information about the quiz, like instructions, opening and closing dates and times, timer, etc), the quiz can be created in a jiffy, even if there are 100 questions!
With regard to the latter, if you create a summative quiz, it is advisable to create a large pool of questions (perhaps divided over several topic categories), from which the quiz in Moodle can draw at random. In combination with the automatic shuffling of questions and answers, this will ensure that the chance that any two students see a similar quiz is very small indeed. Note that a summative quiz can also contain other auto-graded questions, like true-false or short answer (gap fill) types. There are other question formats (like GIFT) that will allow the creation of those question types.
Perhaps the teacher’s need is a bit more complex than what the above Aiken format can provide. In that case there is another option. If the teacher is familiar with the Hot Potatoes software for creating self-test exercises, he or she can use Hot Potatoes to create the questions and they can include the Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Cloze and Match question types. With the Hot Potatoes XML files the eLearning Services can import these questions into Moodle and then make a quiz with them according to the teacher’s wishes. Note that this is not the same as using a Hot Potatoes XML file in the hotpot module in Moodle, which is quite easy to do, but not as secure or versatile as using the quiz module.
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