Posts tagged WebCT

Administering a “Practice” Quiz over Moodle

The trials and tribulations of getting used to yet another platform such as Moodle. Ah…today was that kind of day!  Moodle has many of the same quirks as I experienced with WebCT but back then I had someone help me at every turn.  Today, all on my own, I was able to upload vocabulary words in multiple choice questions, T/F questions, one short answer and a longer essay question.  I had prepared my students ahead of time for what the 18 vocabulary words would be for this trial quiz.  The item out of 11 questions I was MOST interested in was how my experienced teachers (and inexperienced as well) would use what they learned about blogging with their own students in class. This was an answer that I would have hoped to have gotten with their having read a journal article about two people in India who had tried this out with their classes.  Some of the same problems existed there that exist here in Kazakhstan.

What I didn’t expect to have happen to me was when I opened up the quiz to be taken at precisely at 2:50 this afternoon, nothing seemed to work! Even when I changed the time to 3:00 p.m.  So then I thought I’ll change the time to 2:00 and sure enough that is what opened it up in the narrow window of time that I allowed them to take the quiz. (Maybe my computer in the lab was on Daylight’s Savings time)  Some students really labored over the essay question and it would be good to read them...if only I could access the quizzes that were self-graded because I had given the correct answers for the computer to do the grading.  I even gave 25% to those answers which were partly right, some students were pleased to see even partial credit for a wrong answer.

However, trying to see anything that the students had written in the long essay answer just wasn’t in the cards for me.  I showed one of my students and she helped me get to her activity report.  I was able to see the right and wrong answers she had given.  However, I was not able to see anyone elses.

So, back to the drawing board.  Either I have to learn something else, like Hot Potatoes, or I have to scratch the idea of giving vocabulary and comprehension quizzes on Moodle.  I do like the feature where it scrambles up the questions so that if the person sitting next to them looks over to their computer screen, it would be a different number, different answer.  I can even scramble up the order of the answers for each question.  Pretty slick, but apparently too slick for me.

Anyway, this muddled Moodle problem will soon be solved.  I want it to be because it will certainly save on paper if the teachers themselves are able to use Moodle and then in turn get their students to experiment with doing on-line quizzes.

We shall see, I’ll report tomorrow or the next day what I find out when I had planned to give a REAL quiz on Moodle.  In the meantime, I’m going to turn to the book we are reading for the Book Club, “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.  I read it a year ago but I will speed read it now before Thursday.  Maybe the old fashioned way of reading books will stay with us.  Maybe if I don’t get this Moodle quiz figured out before Thursday, I may have to go back to giving a paper version of the REAL quiz to my students.

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Getting the hang of Moodle

Incremental steps are being taken in figuring this Moodle platform out.  I used these kinds of learning tools at the last three places I have worked at.  I’ve worked with WebCT, Blackboard and Desire 2 Learn (D2L) my favorite is the last one. I find them very efficient. Once you, as the teacher and then the students, feel comfortable with what buttons to push, what lines to click, what to do in the new columns and widgets.  Finally, I was able to upload my students in the three different classes I’m currently teaching.  I will have them experiment with a discussion on a given topic, read some journal articles and hopefully I will have them figure out how to upload their written assignments.

Good to show my students today how to really create a convincing thesis statement.  One teacher sadly admitted that she had spent a LOT of money trying to learn how from native speakers of English. Yet after seeing a few of the powerpoints that I displayed on our classroom wall, she got it.  I love seeing the lightbulbs go off on my students.  You know how cartoons have a lightbulb next to the character in the text bubble.  I saw that today with a few students.  For others, it will take a little more practice and finding out that the Thesis Statement Builder is only good for discursive or problem/solution essays, it doesn’t work for ALL types of essays.

When talking about word count, I told them that they can find out how long their essays are by going under “Tools.” In Microsoft it is the fourth one down after “Spelling and Grammar” and “Language” and “Fix Broken text” then click “Word Count.”  It sure saves time to let the computer do the counting of words rather than doing it the old fashioned way.  Oh, there is SOOOO much to learn to make our computers more of our servants than our masters.

I need the IT guys help every now and then.  I will need some major help with my Apple computer, I just have not been totally sold on all its fancy features.  I wish I were, but then again, I understand how some of my teachers are reluctant to leave behind what they are familiar with.  All this takes time but I’m hoping with Moodle, that we ALL get the hang of it.  Happy Moodling!

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