> I think that Martin is a constructionist who is not that into quizzing
>(rightly in the case of content courses), so it is up to us to work out ways
>of adding this functionality. I am into constructionism in ESL too but with
>shy, lowish motivation Japanese students, the need for bulk quizzing is moot.
I use quizzes a lot in teaching English in Japan, but I don't think they contradict constructivism. I use them not for grading, but for motivation. Allowing students to do multiple attempts to reach 100% as an out-of-class supplemental exercise works well for quick and frequent feedback. It recycles the vocabulary and prepares them for writing longer sentences on a topic. This is done by weekly forum questions. Then longer projects can be assigned to students to summarize all responses to a forum.
I think if we look at quizzes a little less seriously, with a bit of playfulness, they can be a lot of fun. For example, when "wrong" answers are given, we should be able to offer humorous feedback, or better yet, combine it with hints in the feedback to allow a better guess next time. Of course, developing good feedback is time consuming, but this quiz bank is getting larger and is reusable year after year. And if as Tim suggests, we can share amongst schools, we could have an enormous resource.
I don't know the theoretical basis of what I am talking about, but gaming and simulation research has a lot to offer us. Also in Task-Based Instruction, the common thought is that in a task chain, you gradually build up to higher level learning processes. Quizzes can be part of the first steps in a learning task chain.
Sapporo Gakuin University
I agree, teachers at my schools ask for the same reason "hotpotatoes-like"-quizzes: just find (also playfull motivating) ways to get students work with the resources of a subject in different ways.
Another way of using quizzes is: "Let students construct a quiz question for - lets say - page 4 and let them explain the correctness of the 4 answers, you will be suprised about so many misconceptions on page 4.." (Moodle must get a quiz-create-option for students then, or they deliver it as a essay and you bring in all these quiz questions..)
Interfacing with hotpotatoes: I took some output from hotpotatoes exercises and made an resource of it for Moodle... The point is that it will stay black-boxes for Moodle and they will never end-up in the student-overviews of Moodle. (I think that I have to look in the create newmodule_template.zip, but on the moment that is broken in CVS.)
Tim unintentionally misrepresented me a little there - I'm not into content-based courses, and my beef with quizzing is only when it's used as the main form of assessment (usually in content-based courses).
ie read all this stuff; do a quiz; here's your grade; bye!
I see a disturbing tendency towards this approach to online learning from some quarters - I think the primary reason is because it's extremely easy on a teacher - "I can sit back and just let them run through the maze I've built - they teach themselves"!
When quizzes are thought of as an activity that is just one tool in a range of possible activities, they certainly can be very useful. If the grades aren't much then cheating ceases to be an issue. I've used them in courses myself in exactly the way Don mentions. In my case they were fun things to highlight certain ideas and facts that came out in preceding forums.