We're looking for advice and/or descriptions of Question Bank best practices in the area of sharing between teachers within a department.
Here are some of the characteristics of our environment:
- We're a medium-sized post-secondary institution, about about 20,000 students, and 500-600 Moodle courses per semester in about 70 subject areas. We're a small IT department -- there are only two of us on the LMS/Moodle team. We don't have the manpower to train all the teachers.
- A typical course will have multiple sections. E.g. ENGL 1100 may have 10 or 15 sections in a given semester, taught by multiple teachers. Course content varies according to teacher (i.e. they're not identical).
- New, empty Moodle course shells are created each semester, one for each section. Content is often restored by the teacher from a backup copy from a previous semester/year. Courses are deleted a couple of weeks after they end.
- Courses are categorized by semester, then subject. E.g. Top > Summer 2013 > ENGL > ENGL 1100 S10 (this last is the course). We re-use semester categories* so we don't have to re-create the 70 subject sub-categories.
* We have two semester categories that leapfrog each other. When the last semester has been cleaned out, we rename it to next semester, leaving it hidden while the current semester is in progress. I suspect this two-semester category practice is going to cause us question bank problems and we're quite willing to change the way we do this. Suggestions welcome.
Up until now faculty have typically been creating their own question banks. Recently we've seen an upswing in requests from faculty to upload large collections of quiz questions they've received from textbook publishers.
We suspect that uploading a collection of subject-specific (e.g. Biology) questions to each BIOL course is going to cause bloating in course backups on a big scale, not to mention loads of work for us. It seems it would be more efficient to upload the collection to the Biology category level and allow the teachers to share.
We need to know the consequences of sharing question banks within a subject category.
If an entire department is sharing a question bank, what happens when a course is backed up and restored? Are the quizzes linked back to the same questions in the shared question bank? If a question in the shared question bank is modified after the restore, will the new version show up in a course quiz?
We have a separate instance of Moodle where the students aren't allowed so teachers can develop their courses in private. What happens when a course containing links to a department question bank on the Development Moodle site is restored to the Live Moodle site? Are the questions included in the backup archive? Will/can they be automagically incorporated into the Live subject category question bank? (I can see a whole lot of question bank testing in my immediate future...)
What do teachers need to know in order to efficiently use/maintain a shared question bank?
We're considering appointing "Question Bank Managers" within each subject. Have any of you tried this?
What if we uploaded the question collection to a subject category and encouraged the teachers to cherry-pick the questions they want and copy them into their individual course question bank? (I guarantee you that some teachers will choose to copy ALL the questions "Just in case I need/want them later.")
What is working well for you?
What totally bombed?
Please don't feel like you need to answer all of these questions. We'd be totally grateful for whatever insights or suggestions you might have.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University