Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 1984-1993
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
In 2005 the virtual campus Atenea of the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) started to use Moodle, an open source learning management system that offers a wide variety of teaching tools. One of these tools, the quiz module, represents an alternative to traditional face-to-face courses and paper-based testing. In order to explore how to apply this new strategy, in 2008 we started to carry out a project subsidised by the Institute of Education Sciences (ICE) of the UPC. The project title was “Creating Moodle quizzes for the subjects of Mathematics and Statistics corresponding to the first years in engineering studies”. It covers the compulsory undergraduate subjects in applied mathematics included in the first- and second-year syllabus for all branches of Engineering. This contribution aims to show how this project progressed. The goals of the project were:
1) To elaborate a substantial range of Moodle question pools and to design, implement and assess a series of quizzes.
2) To use Moodle quizzes to promote more effective, dynamic and autonomous learning.
3) To change teachers’ and students’ attitude towards the campus Atenea, stressing its interactive role in the teaching-learning process, far beyond its role as static course material manager.
Quiz questions can be of different types: multiple-choice questions, true/false, short-answer questions, numerical questions, matching questions, calculated questions and embedded answer questions. To start with we analysed how to develop effective question-design strategies to supervise students’ progress at different stages of the learning process. For instance, concerning the compulsory subjects of Mathematics and Statistics taught at the School of Agricultural Engineering of Barcelona of the UPC we created quizzes for different contexts, such as diagnostic and post-performance tests, in computer lab sessions, and for chapter checking after the accomplishment of each unit of content.
Before implementing the quizzes, we examined the options of the quiz module. One of the attractive options is that teachers can decide whether to show feedback after answering. Since assessment is one of the most important activities in education, feedback on performance plays a relevant role in the teaching-learning process. Getting quick feedback after a quiz is a useful tool for students to evaluate their own activity and helps them become more successful, since they can analyse their own way of thinking and begin to understand why an answer is not correct. Besides, involving frequent, low-stakes assessments during the course provides a very flexible system for evaluating student achievement, keeps students engaged in the class, and may reduce the rate of anxiety before infrequent, high-stakes tests.
In the context of our project, the quiz module provided information of which questions our students got wrong or partially right, overall quiz results, individual responses, and attempt summaries. It was also a great tool for assessing whether the questions were suitable to discriminate between good and bad performers. All the statistical reports were downloaded as an Excel file, rendering all the information easier to manage.
From this preliminary experience, we can conclude that Moodle quizzes are certainly useful to boost effectiveness in the learning process and promote student involvement in the subject.
moodle quizzes, applied mathematics, engineering studies.