Activities: Hot Question

Maintained by Picture of AL Rachels AL Rachels
Help teachers to collect questions from students in or out of classroom
323 sites
17 fans
Moodle 2.8, 2.9, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5

The first Moodle activity for a physical classroom. The idea comes from Purdue University's hotseat.

Some possible uses:

  • Students can post questions in "real" time during a face-to-face class.
  • Students can post questions 24/7 in a course.
  • Can be used as a "Suggestion Box" in a course.
  • Can  be used for student analysis of any kind of data placed in the description.
  • Can  be used for student analysis of a video placed in the description.
  • Can be used for quick polls.

Inside or outside classroom, students can post into this activity from any device which can access the Moodle site. Students can also vote on others' posts, so that the hottest post will be popped up to the top of the list. Teachers can comment on selected posts in the classroom, or by other means that are available in Moodle.

This version implements groups and has a new capability to require question approval before it is visible to students.

Other recently added new capabilities:

  • Added 12 Behat tests.
  • Added setting for, "Display description on course page."
  • Added settings for open and close Availability dates.
  • Added setting to allow changing, "Submit your question here" to whatever the teacher wants when creating a Hot Question activity.
  • Included an optional icon for this activity, that is more "activity purpose" neutral than the light bulb.

General capabilities:

  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can delete individual questions.
  • Teacher or manager can download questions from the classroom Hot Question activity.
  • Site admin can download questions from Hot Question activity for the whole site.
  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can delete any round they are currently viewing including any questions and votes in the round.
  • When anyone clicks on the Hot Question link in an Activities block, depending on the group settings they see a list of all Hot Question activities in the course along with how many unique users, and how many unique questions were posted the current round.



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Picture of AL Rachels
AL Rachels (Lead maintainer)
Picture of Zhigang Sun
Zhigang Sun: Original author
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  • Picture of Frankle Lee 李智高
    Tue, 29 Mar 2016, 4:59 PM
    This doesn't work on my moodle2.92. I try both 2016032500 and 2016032400, it just doesn't work. I can install and add the activity, but student can open it and it keeps return access denied. As a admin, I can see any way to delete question, so , I what I could only do is to add questions and vote, but nothing is managable.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Tue, 29 Mar 2016, 10:44 PM
    Hi Frankle Lee, Hot Question has never had any question management capability, which for me was always a problem since someone always thought it was fun to add inappropriate questions. Because of that, I have been working on adding question Remove and question Export capability and hope to release a stable version later today. I got Remove to work 2 days ago and got Export to work last night. I have to do a little clean up of remarks, code tweaks for the export filename, and test to make sure nothing else got broken and hope to post a new 3.0.1 release this afternoon, my time.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Wed, 30 Mar 2016, 7:02 AM
    I have a new Hot Question 3.0.1 Beta version available at the source control URL that is ready for anyone who would like to try it out. I need a little more time for testing to make sure it is ready for release as a stable version. It provides some new capability - Teachers and managers can download a .csv file of the questions from the current Hot Question activity, and a site admin can download ALL questions from ALL Hot Question activities in the Moodle site. Admins, teachers, and managers can also remove any question from any round of the Hot Question activity they are viewing. Any votes the question might have, will be removed at the same time. You should download before removing questions, if you think you might need them for any reason, as once removed, they cannot be recovered.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Thu, 31 Mar 2016, 12:57 AM
    Just posted new pictures with comments of the new release.
  • Picture of Frankle Lee 李智高
    Thu, 31 Mar 2016, 1:40 AM
    I tried the latest version from github and it works fine on my 2.92.
    I have some suggestions. Now I can remove questions, but not the rounds. Strongly suggest that admin can remove useless rounds.
    BTW, I try to change the download csv filename from the language customization and just found that it didn't work at all. The filename poped up when I clicked the download icon, the filename is not what I expected, however it is not a big issue.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Thu, 31 Mar 2016, 2:11 AM
    Glad to hear it now works for your 2.9.2 Moodle. I've also been thinking about adding the capability of removing rounds and added an issue about it in github. As for the csv filename, currently, it is automatically generated so that if you get in a hurry, a new download will never overwrite any previous download. For teachers and managers, it automatically uses the course shortname, the Hot Question activity name and date and time of the download. It is slightly different for the admin since they get all the questions for the whole Moodle site. For the part that is constant, I added an issue at github and will see about changing it in the next release to a language string, so it can be customized.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Sun, 3 Apr 2016, 2:36 AM
    Just released 3.0.2 version with new capability to remove any round. If the round is empty, it just gets deleted from the database. If it has any questions and votes, it deletes them first, then deletes the round.

    I also changed the csv download filename a bit so that you can use language customization for all but the date and time. I left that unchanged so that if you get in a rush, you will not accidentally wipe out an old file with a new download having the exact same name. Using time as part of the filename, there should never be a duplicate.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Sun, 17 Apr 2016, 11:28 PM
    Just released 3.0.3 version with new capability to show how many unique users contributed how many unique submissions to the current round of each Hot Question activity in a course. This info is accessed by clicking the Hot Question link listed in an Activities block of a course, if you have added the block.

    In the previous release, if you deleted the current round, you needed to manually open a new round or you might accidentally try to add a question(s) that would get lost without any warning or indication of a problem. I have added code that automatically checks for this condition and opens a new round, if needed.

    I have made changes as needed to make this new release also work with Moodle 2.8 so that users of that Moodle version can have access to the new capabilities of the current version of Hot Question.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Sat, 8 Oct 2016, 1:46 AM
    Released 3.1.1 version yesterday, 10/06/2016, with some new capabilities that make the plugin a little more versatile, and when used for things other than "Questions," it is a little less confusing since a teacher can now change the wording of the text box label, "Submit your question here."
  • Picture of Kieren Moore
    Wed, 10 May 2017, 6:48 PM
    Installed version 2.8 on Moodle 2.7.2 and getting a database error:
    Debug info: SQLState: 42000
    Error Code: 8120
    Message: [Microsoft][SQL Server Native Client 11.0][SQL Server]Column 'mdl_hotquestion_questions.hotquestion' is invalid in the select list because it is not contained in either an aggregate function or the GROUP BY clause.
    Running Moodle on Windows Server, IIS with SQL database.

    Has anyone seen this error before? Is it fixed in later versions?
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Wed, 10 May 2017, 10:58 PM
    I think there might be something wrong with your install. You might want to try it again. At the very least, your Moodle is way out of date even for version 2.7 as the latest in that series is Moodle 2.7.20. I just installed HotQuestion version 2.8 on Moodle 2.7.20 and the install went as expected using Centos 6, PHP 5.5.38, and MySQL 5.1.69. The HotQuestion activity also works as it is supposed to for that version. Upgrading to the latest Moodle and the latest HotQuestion would be best as both have many new capabilities. I am sorry, but I do not have a Microsoft server to test on.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Wed, 17 May 2017, 4:40 AM
    Sorry to make two releases so close together, but the day after the first release, I discovered that if a teacher or admin removed a post, it was not showing up in the logs. The new 3.2.1 release fixes that and also adds a few missing punctuation marks for the text that gets entered in the logs.
  • Picture of Kieren Moore
    Wed, 17 May 2017, 11:20 PM
    Thank you, I'll take a look after we upgrade.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Tue, 27 Jun 2017, 2:43 AM
    I am in the process of getting a new HotQuestion version ready for release which includes Behat tests for the first time. It also has rewritten code for the Export to CSV capability. One change was to move the "ID" for each question from column 1 over to column 3. MS Excel thinks any file that has "ID" in the first record is a SYLK file so this change makes download to MS Excel work now. At least it works in my only copy of MS Excel which is from 2002, and also works in LibreOffice Calc, so if anyone out there can try it out on a newer version of Excel and let me know if it works, I would appreciate it.

    I have the new code changes in the master branch at github for anyone who might want to try it out now. I want to do some more testing to see about making this a release for Moodle 3.3 too.
  • Picture of AL Rachels
    Tue, 26 Dec 2017, 7:51 AM
    I am currently adding some new capabilities per user request, and the new 3.3.2 version includes the first of them, Require approval. Teachers have the capability to set a HotQuestion activity to automatically approve all questions, or require approval for each one, before the question can be seen by anyone other than the teacher. Since a question is immediately hidden, even from the user posting the question, a message is shown telling the user the question is currently not approved for viewing. The teachers view actually allows individual question visibility to be toggled so that even when Require approval is off, the teacher can still hide a question, if needed. Merry Christmas.
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