Thanks Tom and Phil for your prompt responses,
Is there any possibility that this functionality (linking a series of exercises as a single unit) could be added to the Hotpot module any time soon? Would it be very difficult from a technical point of view?
I still havent tried the lesson module (although it is in my list of things to do once I finish grading a pile of examinations that lay on my table and depress me beyond belief). I dont have many hopes that this will be what I need, though.
There are a couple of reasons. First, many of the people I work with have already invested a lot of time creating quizzes and activities with Hotpotatoes which we would like to be able to use. Second, as you noticed, the lesson module only incorporates the quiz types that are now part of the quiz module, crucially not the drag and drop feature. This for me is a limitation as well because there are a lot of activities (above all those related to vocabulary learning) that lend themselves very nicely to be implemented via drag and drop; having to transform them from the JMatch module in Hotpotatoes to another format is neither desirable nor pleasant. Also the current interface (or lack thereof) to create cloze tests in the Moodle quiz module puts off many teachers (not me, to be honest).
The last reason has to do with the great limitations I still see in the Moodle quiz module in everything that has to do with customization/layout and navigation. Hotpotatoes is great because once you generate the HTML page you have all the wealth of possibilities that CSS and good web page editors like Dreamweaver offer to you to customize it and make it more appealing and user friendly. Thats why the Hotpot module youve built is such a godsend and why many people like me are so grateful for the work you are doing.
Let me explain to you what I have in mind so that perhaps you or somebody else can help me. I work in language teaching and for quite a while now Ive been looking for a way to implement in Moodle something that is very standard in traditional and not so traditional language teaching environments. What I want is a way to build activities that work as single units but that contain different kinds of exercises/quizzes. This is so that in a single assignment students can work on the development of different language skills: listening and/or reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. The activity normally starts with a text or an audio file which the student listens to carefully to try to understand its contents. Once this is done, the student moves on (preferably to a different page) to answer a few questions having to do with comprehension (e.g. multiple choice or true/false). After this, we would have a few other exercises on vocabulary (drag and drop as well as other question formats) and then some grammar exercises (again, various formats are possible: cloze, multiple choice, drag and drop).
Since I view this in the context of b-learning, once this activity is finished, I would like to have an activity/grade report that is detailed enough to be helpful in my teaching. A simple grade doesnt tell me anything. I need to be able to analyze which questions have been more problematic for students (so that I can address this problem in class or with additional activities) in general as well as individually. I know that such a detailed activity report is possible with Hotpotatoes (via http://www.hotpotatoes.net or via server side scripts likes the ones created by Gordon Bateson http://www.kanazawa-gu.ac.jp/~gordon/research/hot-potatoes/ ).
So the question is, could this be possible in the Hotpot module?
As you might know, Im partially funding the work Jamie Pratt is doing to develop a better integration between Flash and Moodle. So, one possibility would be also to use Flash to do all this (Flash learning interactions provides the tools to build all types of quizzes). As I said, though, too many people have invested a lot of time creating materials with Hotpotatoes so it would be a real pity not to be able to use them. I have other uses in mind for Flash. Also, there is the issue of cost. Macromedia Flash is an expensive piece of software and thus not a possibility for many people in an area universally characterized by underfunding such as education
The other possibility would be to pack the quizzes created by Hotpotatoes as SCORM and run them via the Moodle SCORM module. Being able to do the kind of thing I described is so important for me (and I tend to think that it would be also important for other people involved in language teaching) that I was thinking about spending quite a lot of money from a grant I have in developing the SCORM module further so that it would be able to do the kind of activity tracking I mentioned (another thing is being able to pack Hotpotatoe quizzes as SCORM).
Thinking a little bit more about all this, though, I think it might be perhaps more worthwhile to spend this money in extending the capabilities of the Hotpot module so that it could work with series of linked quizzes as well as with individual quizzes. What do you say?
Linked HotPotatoes exercises in Moodle
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