Adding a Quiz in Moodle

The following is an excerpt from my new book Moodle in Minutes: A Practical Introduction for New Online Instructors. You can purchase it on Amazon here.

Adding a Quiz 

Quizzes are among the most important activities in Moodle and in an online course, period. Just like in a regular classroom, a quiz serves as an assessment for teachers to gauge how well their students are moving along in the learning process. I include a quiz with every week or topic.

To add a quiz, first click Add an activity or resource as you did for all previous activities. Scroll down until you find the Quiz option, select the circle to its left and finally click Add.

The “Editing Quiz” page will open, allowing you to first add a name. If you’d like, you can add a description to ease some of the worries of anxious students, and select the box next to “Display description on course page,” but in my opinion, the course looks cleaner and trimmer without it. Alternatively, you could provide a description that simply shows up when the quiz is taken, and not click the “Display description” option.

Editing a Quiz

When you’ve selected the options you think are appropriate for your quiz, click Save and display to begin editing and adding questions. The page that loads will include a button to edit the quiz. Click it to begin.

The “Editing quiz” page will load, and if questions were added previously, you would see them listed. However, as this is our first quiz, you’ll need to click Add and then + a new question to create a quiz question.A window will open in the middle of the page, much like when you add an activity or resource. Called “Choose a question type to add,” this window lists all of the types of assessment items you have at your disposal. As you can see, some are geared toward math, while others are for any subject matter.

For practical purposes, we’ll go over three of the assessment items that I think are the most useful for most subjects: Multiple choice, Select missing words and True/False.

Multiple Choice

For all quiz items, you will see the category option, question name and question text (the rich text editor). “Category” allows you to file the question in either the quiz itself, another quiz or section, or in the course’s question bank in general. In this exercise, we’ll file our question in the quiz itself. I like to include a name like “Q1 [topic name]” to indicate that it’s the first question I created for the particular topic.

In the rich text editor, add your multiple choice question.  Below the editor is another text box (“General feedback”) for providing automatic feedback that the student will see once they complete the question. This is a great place to elaborate on the big idea related to the question and answer.

Below “General feedback” you can choose whether one answer or multiple answers are allowed in response to the question. If you choose to allow multiple answers, you will then need to adjust the percentages below the choices in the “Grade” section. For example, if two choices are correct, then set each correct choice to 50%. You should provide a negative percentage (e.g. -50%) to the incorrect choices to ensure that a student who simply ticks all the boxes does not receive 100% credit. On the other hand, if only one answer is correct, the “Grade” should be set to 100%, with all incorrect answers being left as the default “None”. Once you provide 4 choices and allocate a grade total of 100% to one choice or a combination of choices (in the case that multiple answers are allowed), click Save changes.You will then be returned to the “Editing quiz” page. Notice that our example question now appears.

There are even more assessment items and activities covered in my book Moodle in Minutes: A Practical Introduction for New Online Instructors.

Due Dates For Online Courses: Should They Exist?

Recently I had an online student (unrelated to Beacon Heights Tutoring) who mildly complained when she found out that my course included due dates. In her message, she explained that she had taken other courses online, and with her busy schedule, she loved that she could work at her own pace; so it was a big disappointment when she realized that my course was different. I politely responded to the student’s message by pointing out that, for many years, I allowed students to turn in late work without a penalty or reduction in credit, but that the task of grading the work of students playing “catch up” at the last minute had taken its toll; the policy had become unfair to me and my time. Still, the girl’s point had resonated with me.

I asked my mother-in-law, a retired, veteran teacher, for her take on the issue. Not having due dates “doesn’t teach them a lick of responsibility!” I agreed, but explained how I had taken a college course with a professor whose argument for accepting late work was: the work doesn’t get any easier, so why wouldn’t a teacher accept it?

Let me be clear: I believe that middle school and high school students who take courses online should have some flexibility. Self-paced learning is an effective model. However, my current policy matches that of the organization I work for: keeping assignment submissions open for 2 weeks after they become available. That’s hardly a short amount of time for, at best, a few hours of studying and work. Furthermore, the organization has left the decision of whether or not to accept student work after this window up to the discretion of the teacher; it’s based on the philosophy adopted by the educator.

Honestly, I’m still on the fence when it comes to this issue. Part of me feels that self-paced learning is still in effect in tandem with due dates. After all, students in a regular classroom have to turn in work on time, but they don’t have the liberty of missing live lectures (direct instruction), or pausing a teacher’s presentation until late in the evening. Not to mention, what is a student really learning when they check-in an online class irregularly? Is it not just another version of the late-night-book-report cram?

Whether you are an educator or not, I’m interested in your comments. Please leave them below.

Excellent Online Teaching

I’ve been teaching online now for over 4 years, and one of the first downsides to the profession that I noticed was the student dropout rate. In the first year or two, once or twice a month I would receive and email with a subject line like “Jane Doe Has Dropped US History I,” and I worried that it was my fault, only to discover that Jane had dropped every class in which she was enrolled. Worry aside, that’s not to say there wasn’t something I could do better.

Searching online I came across the book Excellent Online Teaching: Effective Strategies For a Successful Semester Online, and I was struck by how simple some of the fixes were to improve engagement. After reading the book and implementing some of the author’s suggestions, I became less of a grading mule, and more of a teacher who interacted with students online, and responsive to the needs of students who, in many cases, are without the induced discipline, restraints and expectations of a brick-and-mortar classroom (one of the largest obstacles in the online education environment).

Four years in and I hear from students frequently, respond promptly, and the amount of students who stick with and pass my classes has increased substantially. I owe much of the success in my online classes to the author and the tips & strategies he shared. Teachers and parents alike would benefit from reading Aaron Johnson’s book Excellent Online Teaching.