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More information about the QCam
by Peter Ruthven-Stuart - Thursday, 21 August 2008, 12:34 PM

The Question Creation activity module

What is it?

This new 'third-party module' allows teachers to create an activity within a Moodle course in which students create questions using the Moodle question making engine. These questions can be graded both manually and automatically. They can then be added to Moodle quizzes for the same or other students to do. The purpose of this activity is not to test students ability to write questions, although that is a key component of a QC activity, but to give students control over what they read and look at and hopefully learn about. This module could be used teachers of almost any subject, it is not just limited to language teaching. Ideally, students will be able to use this activity to create questions about a subject of 'knowledge' area about which they want to learn. Once the teacher puts their questions into a quiz, they can then challenge their own questions. In future versions, it is hoped that students themselves will be able to generate their own quizzes.

Background, Motivation & Need

  • A Moodle course can too easily become a teacher driven online learning venue.
  • Moodle Philosophy
    • "The design and development of Moodle is guided by a particular philosophy of learning, a way of thinking that you may see referred to in shorthand as a "social constructionist pedagogy"." (from Moodle docs)
  • Collaborating with a Programmer (Jamie Pratt) to make a module
    • Pros
    • & Cons
  • Paid for by Future University - Hakodate
  • Alternatives
    • Have students write questions in a text file or Excel file, the teacher then gets them into Moodle, either via the Moodle question creation interface, or the The GIFT format (What is it?, and an example).
    • Give students access to a course as a teacher

The Key Features of the QCam

  1. Teachers can specify exactly what type and how many questions students need to create.
  2. Teachers can decide how the questions will be graded: automatically, or manually, or a combination of the two.
  3. The grades for a QC activity are reported to the Moodle Gradebook.
  4. Teachers can not only grade but give feedback for each question.
  5. Teachers can edit students' questions.
  6. Teachers can export students' questions and use them in Moodle quizzes.
  7. Questions can be exported according to the score they got (the Export Good question feature).
  8. By having students create questions, teachers can save time:
    • they don't need to make so many questions themselves,
    • and the act of creating questions is a learning experience for students.
  9. Students have an incentive to create 'good' questions since they know that only good questions will appear in subsequent quizzes.
  10. By having to create questions about a 'body of knowledge', students have to develop deeper into that knowledge than they would just by having to answer questions about that 'body of knowledge'.
  11. Because students use the question making engine to make the questions, they can also make 'descriptions', which are not questions but a block of text or media. In other words, students can create their own 'body of knowledge' (a text or a movie for example) about which they then create questions. So, the QC module is not limited to just question making.
  12. Increase student autonomy:
    • Students are free to read something about which they are interested, and then create questions about the text (movie or whatever), rather than having to read something that the teacher has chosen.
    • Students could use a QC activity to create a bank of questions about topics that they need to learn.
  13. The QC module can be used by teachers of various subjects.

A possible scenario for an English language class:

  1. Put students into groups
  2. Have them choose an English web page
  3. The teacher should make sure that this web page is both 'good' English, and that it's possible to make questions about the content: i.e. it is probably best that all the answers should be on one page: it should not be necessary to navigate around the site to find the answers unless instructions / hints are given about where to find the answers.
  4. Set up a Question Creation activity:
    1. Click here are the Question Creation Help files
    2. Type in the task description, for example; instruct students that they work as a group, but they each have to create their own questions.
    3. Specify the grading criteria: automatic or manual or a combination of the two.
    4. Specify the type and number of questions students should create (to start with, restrict this to Multiple Choice and Matching type questions).
    5. Once students have made some questions, give feedback, and let them improve them.
    6. Once the deadline has passed, grade the questions (if manual grading is being used), and export the questions as a GIFT file, and then re-import them into a question category for subsequent use in a quiz.
  5. Edit the questions; either in the GIFT format, or once they are inside your Moodle system. You might want to leave the mistakes that students have made, and then retype, so that students can see what corrections have been made.
  6. Create a quiz containing the student created questions.
Any questions or comments? Can you think of ways that you might use the Questions Creation activity module?