I've no problems having weekly quiz, it been great experience for the students.
Now with the final exam, its a new ballpark for me, the quiz module will be given at the same time and within the same timeframe.
What concern me the most is what will happen if something goes wrong in the client browser in the middle of doing the test.
It can be a crash, disconnections, pushing back button, closed browser etc.
So my question is it safe to do exam with moodle?
Does moodle record the session each time the student pushed an option?
If its secure enough, can anyone share any tips for doing this.
If each question is on its own quiz page there will be a complete server side record of what has happened after each button press.
I usually make several questions per page to decrease server IO (i suppose), i've done this for weekly quiz that have little concurrency.
Will it matter if i use one question page for the server load?
We run high stakes exams through Moodle Quiz module and yes, something can and does go wrong in the middle of doing a timed test. Computers crash, lose network connection, browser window closed, etc.
It's a low single digit percentage, but it does happen. When it does, in most cases the student can recover and log back in and not lose too much time. In cases where they did lose a fair chunk of time and it does cause them to fail, we tend to investigate the record and try and determine based on the moodle and quiz attempt logs (you can see the time a student saved each answer and other data in the review of the quiz attempt) whether it was a genuine issue or some only pretending to have issues. Then make a judgement on whether we allow a re-write or keep the failure.
The reality is you always have to account for something interrupting the exam. Even if you are writing it in person, what happens if the fire alarm goes off? What if the person feels sick.. etc? Come up with a policy for what happens if the exam is interrupted and failed and apply it in a consistent manner and you will be fine.
We give additional warnings up front before the person starts the exam to make sure they are using a reliable computer, with a reliable (preferably wired) internet connection, etc.
The network system in the campus is not recommended, this came from the IT department, they have a whole campus wifi system but only can serve 15-25 users per access point, usually 1 access point per classroom. I will be having up to 40 students per class. So wifi connection is out of the plan.
Now i decided to have BYOD system where the students bring their own internet devices through personal hotstpot or usb modem. But this raised another question.
How does the cellular internet perform when hundreds of users connecting at once?
Should i be concerned? All local cellular providers already on LTE with at least 10mbps speed.
BTW i have 8 core server with ssd raid, it never reached 10% of utilizations, so this won't be the problem.
This is what i've planned so far, CMIIW :
- Construct the quiz with one question per page, so in the event of disconnections, they can simply log back and resume the test from where they left off.
- Instructed the student to bring a laptop or tablet with their own internet connection.
- Have a preview test one week prior, so i can log any problems.
- for students that absolutely cannot connect, they can have pen-paper test in separate classroom.
> The network system in the campus is not recommended, this came from the IT department, they have a whole campus wifi system but only can serve 15-25 users per access point, usually 1 access point per classroom. I will be having up to 40 students per class. So wifi connection is out of the plan.
This poor campus network is a major obstacle.
> Now i decided to have BYOD system where the students bring their own internet devices through personal hotstpot or usb modem. But this raised another question.
> How does the cellular internet perform when hundreds of users connecting at once? Should i be concerned? All local cellular providers already on LTE with at least 10mbps speed.
Unpredictable: Consider the different devices (laptops/tablets/smartphones) and the differing operating systems, browsers, mobile apps. Consider reception of the cellular networks in the classroom. Consider the different providers.
> This is what i've planned so far, CMIIW :
> - Construct the quiz with one question per page, so in the event of disconnections, they can simply log back and resume the test from where they left off.
Breaking the quiz in to smaller pages is always a good idea, if it is possible. Also think of ways how to stagger the first call to the quiz. Divide the students in to two classes and have a time gap of 5 min. Secure the quiz with a very long, but easy to understand, password. The different typing speeds of the students will spread out the start. Etc. But remember, this is not your major problem.
> - Have a preview test one week prior, so i can log any problems.
Is a must. But in a situation where there are too many factors, most of them not under your control, nor measurable, the real exam might behave differently.
> - Instructed the student to bring a laptop or tablet with their own internet connection.
> - for students that absolutely cannot connect, they can have pen-paper test in separate classroom.
Think of the disturbances this is going to create, all that at a final exam!
One remote suggestion, if you have the time and capacity. Bring your own server and Wi-Fi to the classroom! Read "Moodle Installation in Rural Area" https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=353602.
Things which can go wrong:
a. Planning mistakes: E.g. Not clear to the students what is allowed, what is not. The behaviour of the test is not exactly what you wanted. Session timeout of the server is less than the time given for the exam. ... Students don't know how to navigate (turn pages)
b. Technical problems: Yes, client machines not working, not available, not suitable, ... Disturbances in the network connection. Server unavailable, server not powerful enough,
c. Cheating: Supervision. All in one hall or are they divided in many halls? Possibly the use of a special client like a kiosk system or Safe Exam Browser.
The weekly quizzes were a good start. Why don't you conduct a practice exam?
From what i've monitored so far, the server never reached even 10% of its processing power, i use "top" for this purpose.
I have 32gb memory which only 20% occupied even with 500 users logged in.
I will have a practice exam one week before the test to collect any problems and prepare the students for the real scenario.
I wasn't suggesting that your server can not handle the load. What I said was that the server capacity is one of the many things to be checked beforehand.
BTW, the server is "only 20% occupied even with 500 users logged in", doesn't mean that it will handle 40 eager students accessing a quiz in the same second equally well. The latter case creates a very sharp peak.
That said, your server (8 core, 32 GB, SSD) is a powerful one. Make sure that it runs decent system software (not Windows) and well tuned.
Looking at your network limitations mentioned in the other sub-thread, the server performance will be your last concern.
What puzzled me is that my memory usage never gone more than 25%, in idle its 15%. And the cpu only 10% at most. There must be something wrong.
I think moodle cannot utilize all of the server power. I already put everything to the max in server performance settings.
Is there a guide to fix this?
In that case, something is wrong in the server. A 8 core, 32 GB, SSD machine should be able to serve an exam to 40 students.
The forum for performance issues is the Hardware and performance forum https://moodle.org/mod/forum/view.php?id=596. Don't miss to read the "Read this first!" instructions at https://moodle.org/mod/forum/post.php?forum=94.
You may start a new discussion there summarizing your performance related situation. Pl. provide the link to this discussion for more details.
Not 40, 400. We used internet from students phone tethered to their laptops.
Ok i'll look to performance forum.
Thanks for the help.
I was referring to "up to 40 students per class" in https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=363564#p1466833. Am I supposed to know that there are 10 such classes, all hitting the "Start attempt now" within seconds?
Anyway, I saw the new discussion https://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=363828 in the Hardware and performance forum.
I've used Moodle Quiz for finals for a number of years. My issues have been very few, and mostly remedied with a simple reconnection of the client machine. I usually try to make a note of any issues so I can put my eyes on the test of anyone who does have issues.
As far as securing the test, I shuffle within the answers as well as the questions themselves. Often, I pull from a bank of questions using the random question selection. I limit access by network address and use the full-screen popup. I also show the user's picture, using the large image option. All of these measures work with active proctoring to make what I consider a more secure test environment than most any paper-based exam.
So if the user is disconnected they can simply log in and continue, right?
This is my main concern so far.
Do you have any experience where the student lost their entire attempt?