online quizzing [was Re: Images for Blackboard, re:help]

David Kirschtel kirschte at
Fri Jul 13 11:07:21 EST 2001

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For those of you that are interested in using more online quizzing for
summative assesment (grading), esp. for large classes, there are better
web-based systems than Blackboard, WebCT, etc. out there.  For the past
two years I've been working with the Lecture On-Line (LOL) developed
here at MSU (see URL in signature, below). One of the ways that it deals
with cheating is the ability to provide each student with a randomized
subset of questions from a master set. The system really shines when it
comes to quantitative/algebraic questions (the system was developed by
physicists)- good for ecology and physiology. The instructor has the
ability to randomly set the values of the all the variables in an
algebraic expression. So for instance the students could be aked to
evalulate y in the linear equation y=ax+b, but each student would
wind-up seeing the equation with unique set of values for any/all of the
variables.  It can assess student input algebraic equations (using a
fixed set of variable names) by evaluation at a set variable values.
Additionally, LOL includes chat/bulletin board, email and live
"whiteboard" tools.

MSU has finished a first round of beta testing an newer system
(LON-CAPA, this spring semester and will will continue
to expand use this fall. The quizzing system is improved and it allows
content to be presented in a more "webby" manner - LOL is linear in it's
content organization. It also allows conditional content presentation,
i.e. a student that receives less than a critical minimum score on a
quiz can be sent to a set of remedial content pages before taking the
quiz again. LON-CAPA is being distributed under GNU Public License,
which means that there is no cost to your institution for the software.

This is not to say that Bb and WebCT don't have value. They are very
good at what they were originally designed to be, which is online class
management systems. 

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For those of you who will be as ESA, I'll be doing a poster on Wed
showing how we've been using LOL to develop ecology content for intro
bio.  If things work out I should have a laptop, loaded with LOL and our
content, with me during the meeting. If this doesn't work out there are
always the computers at the "internet cafe". I'll be there all week (Sat
pm - Fri am) and be glad to meet with anyone who might be interested in
taking LOL for a test drive. 

  David Kirschtel, Ph.D. * kirschte at * 517.432.0898
    112 N Kedzie Lab * Mich State Univ * E Lansing, MI * 48824
 First Year Online/Biology
         [after 17 Sept: Biology Program, Hitchcock Hall,
       Univ. of Washington, Seattle WA, 98150 206.543.9120]

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