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Quiz Bank in 2.6

 
 
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Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

Hi everyone,

I am a little confused by the new feature in 2.6 regarding that backups no longer include unnecessary questions from the Question Bank.

Can someone please tell me what this means? How will Moodle know if a question is unnecessary?
When/how will an instructor be alerted of when this is taking place?

Is this something behind the scenes that a user will not even know is happening?

Thanks,

Caryl Gordon

 
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Picture of Emma Richardson
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Unfortunately, while the majority of us wish that was the case, it actually takes out the entire question bank and all quizzes.  It was designed because those of us that have huge question banks have been having a terrible time with the restore process so you have the option to not include the question bank but that also has the unfortunate consequence of also removing any quiz from the backup as well.

 
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G. Grow
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

I also have the problem of not being able to restore a course that contains many quizzes.

My backup restores fine through Moodle 2.5.5, but with Moodle 2.6 and above, it hangs at the 99% point, without restoring the categories that organize the quizzes and make the gradebook intelligible. Without the categories, I have no course. I use about three dozen copies of that course, so completing each by hand is impractical. 

Excluding quizzes from my backup would mean excluding virtually the entire course, because I use the feedback in quizzes to provide targeted instruction: They are instructional quizzes. The quizzes ARE the course.

Restoring the course in multiple stages -- which has not worked so far -- would be impractical because of the number of courses I deal with.

What happened in Moodle 2.6 that caused a working process to break, so that the restore no longer finishes? 

Do you foresee this problem being fixed?  How could I find out?

If I am causing the problem, how do I get help in finding what to change? If Moodle is causing the problem, who can fix that? 

I've been through every forum discussion a search turns up. I've found and deleted the few categories that did not have valid contexts. I've tweaked MySQL at the server and php.ini on the site. I have turned off saving sessions to the database. I have stopped tracking completions. Nothing so far has helped.

Changes in Moodle 2.6 turned a restore into a problem. Can we start with that and work back toward a solution?

Thanks for your patience and any insight you may have. If you suspected that this is a frustrating situation for us, you are right.


 
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G. Grow
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

I had some qualified success restoring into Moodle 2.6 tonight.

After manually deleting from the database six or so empty categories that were not associated with a valid context, I backed up the course from Moodle 2.5.4 and restored it into Moodle 2.6.

In 5 minutes, the course had reached 98% complete. The last 2% took almost two more hours to finish, but the course appears to be complete, and the gradebook categories appeared in their proper place. 

Earlier, when a restore failed but produced an incomplete course, it looked to me that all the questions and categories were present, but the categories had not been applied to the gradebook, which was uncategorized and scrambled. In this complete restore, the categories organize the gradebook. So perhaps applying categories to the gradebook is one of the final steps in a restore. Could that be the step that is taking so long?

Does anyone know why 2.6 takes so long to restore a course with many quizzes (around 2200 quiz questions in around 240 quizzes) and how that might be helped?

As I mentioned above, these are "instructional" quizzes that use feedback to teach, rather than using  questions to assess. Also, in some units, the quizzes are a form of interactive reading that lightly tests comprehension as you go. That's why there are so many quizzes.

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

First note that the progress bar is pure guesswork. Don't read too much into the percentages. Doing a restore involves many different tasks, and how long each one will take varies a lot depending on what is in the backup file. Moodle does not try very hard to guess how long each task will take. I think it allocated a fixed percentage of the total to each task.

And, from various reports, it seems to assume that restoring questions will take 2% of the total, which is clearly not true in this case, but that's life.

Anyway. I don't think anything changed in regard to restoring questions in 2.6. I just searched the tracker to make sure, and that confirms my memory. Other parts of backup and restore were improved.

There is an outstanding issue about improving the performance of this part of the code: MDL-39726. The good news is that Eric Merrill has just picked up the work that Russell Smith started some time ago, so fingers crossed it might get fixed soon.

 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Have you got a link to this "feature", I could see any reference to it in the release notes.

http://docs.moodle.org/dev/Moodle_2.6_release_notes

 

 
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Picture of Emma Richardson
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

The reference is to the part under Quiz and Question bank.

 

However, this is really misworded.  What it actually does is allow you to not include the question bank (and hence quizzes) at all in back up and restore process..

 
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Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Correct, the release notes should be re-worded from:  Backups no longer include unnecessary questions from the Question Bank, to:

- MDL-12403 - Course backups can optionally exclude all quizzes and questions.

Please visit this issue, MDL-41924, to see discussion and vote for expansion of options beyond this all-or-nothing approach

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

What happens if I have course A in category CAT and I backup and restore to course B in the same category?  If I keep the questions do they get duplicated on restore?

(Just to save me doing it)

I've had only nice clean restore's until now.  ie nothing there.  What happens to a question bank if a course has a duplicate question??

-Derek

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

It's a wiki. If something needs to be fixed, just fix it.

Also, unless you are actually planning to fix it, comments added to MDL-41924 are just noise. I suggest you work your ideas out somewhere else (e.g. here).

 
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Picture of Don Hinkelman
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Tim, you sound irritated!  mixed  Actually, the last time I changed something on Moodle Docs (years ago), you deleted it with no comment.  I felt rather shocked by that. If I was wrong, at least it deserved a comment as to why I was wrong.  So now I do not change anything on Moodle Docs without permission. But I take it you are now giving me permission. And if you decide to delete it again, please tell me why.  Is that OK?

Also, I apologize for making "noise" on the Tracker. Seriously, I do want your opinion and I do know this is an incredibly hard and no one wants to tackle it, but I still hope you can answer here the comments that Emma made on the Tracker--can we make four backup options instead of two options:

  1. Just include the questions used in the course
  2. Just include the question categories used in the course (this would be regardless of category location - course or system)
  3. Include the entire question bank
  4. Exclude the question bank (no quizzes will be exported/imported)
 
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Picture of Marcus Green
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Don, I would side with the idea it would take a brave person to change the text in a release notes page smile

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Yes, Marcus is right.  I've asked if I could fix stuff there and been told no.

-Derek

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Well, without knowing what you changed, I can't say why I reverted it.

To comment on the issue I think adding more user-visible options in an attempt to avoid the underlying brokennes is a bad idea. Someone needs to make the time to analyse and fix the bug.

 
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Picture of William Beazley
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

OK, I am faced with this situation using 2.2:  I have been hosting some certification testing on moodle for a society.  I have taken the position that I own the tests (quizzes) and THEY own the test banks.  They want to leave me and rehost testing elsewhere.  It's a long story but I'm OK with it.

How do I give them all of THEIR test banks without the quizzes?  There are 50 or so on different topics with about 1500 questions.  It seems exporting them is too tedious.  Letting them leave and go to their own Moodle seems best but I don't see or hear here of a way to just backup the test banks.  It seems the quizzes, quesitions and question banks are bound together.

In the end, I would like to preserve the value in the test banks for their use elsewhere. Despite what they say about me in the press, I'm a nice guy....

So what options are you giving me here?  I am willing to upgrade them to 2.6 if that helps.

Bill

 
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Just wondering . . .
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

I don't understand your comment "exporting is too tedious"

Have you tried to do it?

Click to export.

Click to import.

-Derek

 
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Picture of Cris Fuhrman
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

It seems the quizzes, quesitions and question banks are bound together.

Maybe it makes sense to define a quiz as either being a set of pointers to questions (shallow copiable) or a set of questions themselves (deep copiable). For a computer science explanation of the difference between shallow and deep copies, see this question

It could alleviate some of the unexpected/inconsistent behavior (aka bugs) if backup/restore/copy of quizzes took this into consideration. Also, random questions (which are created only in Quizzes) are actually "invisible" questions in a question bank. That design decision causes several surprises, too. 

Perhaps the solution is a cleaner re-design of these things? The user-driven plug-in model doesn't seem like it will help.

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Go to question bank -> Export, and export the test banks as Moodle XML format.

 
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Picture of Emma Richardson
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Interesting term of brokenness...I had always thought of it more that we were looking for improvement.  Are you thinking that the question bank structure is broken or just the backup and restore process of the question bank?

If the structure of the bank is at fault, then I agree, it would make sense to come up with a design that not only fixes our back and restore problems but also becomes more functional in itself.  This might be an interesting approach.

However, if the only issue is that huge question banks are causing issues with the backup and restore process, then I feel that offering ways to limit the amount of questions involved would be a sensible solution to that.

 

 
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Picture of William Beazley
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
 

Actually, it there any way to back up question banks independently of quizzes?  in other words, if I just never got around to using a question bank, can I still back it up?

I suspect not.  It seems QBs are backup up BECAUSE a quiz uses them.  I find this a little odd, if true.  It's a huge asset that takes hours to create.

As for the export and import suggestion, I am not completely sure that an export format is available that can absolute guarantee to preserve everything. "Not sure" means I haven't look into it.

Bill

 
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Picture of Emma Richardson
Re: Quiz Bank in 2.6
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

The XML format export will take care of the majority of questions.

 
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