Hot Question

Activities ::: mod_hotquestion
Maintained by AL Rachels
This plugin will help teachers to collect entries/posts from users in or out of a classroom.
Latest release:
759 sites
47 fans
Current versions available: 1

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

Some possible uses:

  • Users can make posts in "real" time during a face-to-face class/lecture/meeting.
  • Users can make posts 24/7 in a Hot Question activity.
  • Can be used as a "Suggestion Box" with labels changed to reflect the activity is for suggestions.
  • Can  be used for user analysis of any kind of data placed in the description.
  • Can  be used for user analysis of a video placed in the description.
  • Can be used for quick polls.
  • Can be used for classroom auctions.

Inside or outside a classroom, users can post into this activity from any device which can access the Moodle site. Users can also apply Heat, (vote) on other users posts, so that the hottest post will be popped up to the top of the list. Teachers can set a priority, either positive or negative, on selected posts, which overrides the Heat. Teachers can also control visibility of user entries, with an approval setting for each individual entry.

General capabilities:

  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can show or hide author names from students, but still see all author names, themselves.
  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can show or hide Priority or Heat columns depending on need.
  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can change the words used for the column labels.
  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can delete individual questions.
  • Site admin, teacher, or manager can hide 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.

Recently added capabilities:
  • NEW in 4.0.1! The question prompt and column headings are now routed through format_text so filters work on them.
  • Depending upon a user's preference, a limited set of the editor toolbuttons will be available to format the text of a question/entry.
  • Round number display, in the form of, X of N, between round navigation icons.
  • Hide author names from students, but teachers still see them.
  • Heat/Vote limit setting.
  • Remove my vote, capability.
  • Auto hide Heat/vote column when set to zero.
  • New column labels are used in teacher csv download.
  • Admin download uses the default labels due to downloading ALL questions from a site.
  • Column labels are now settings which allows teachers to change each to fit the current activity use.
  • If a Hot Question is hidden in the Activities list, the Hot Question name will now show with a slashed eye.
  • Setting to show or hide the Priority column
  • Setting to show or hide the Heat column
  • Groups
  • Grouping
  • Group members only
  • Confirm delete entry
  • Confirm delete round
  • Changed Delete round icon
  • Open and Close dates now show in the Calendar
  • Modified the ordering of the fields in the CSV Question downloads, to make reading the results in a spreadsheet easier, by placing Content last. This helps with readability as that column is usually very wide.
  • Added the Teacher priority and Heat (votes) to the CSV Question downloads.
  • Made the SQL for the CSV cross DB compatible so it now works for PostgreSQL database users.
  • Implemented width and height styles to the thumbsup and thumbdown icons used for teacher priority and heatas with Moodle 3.6 they switch from gif to svg and with the styles setting, they are huge.
  • Provided a separate language string for the "Post" button so Hot Question is not sharing a core string. The new string now shows as, "Click to post." Makes it possible to customize the button label, without affecting a Moodle core language string.
  • Modified the Behat tests to account for the new language string used on the Click to post, button. Also fixed a few other Behat steps that worked in previous Moodle versions, but not in Moodle 3.6. Tests now work as expected.
  • Fixed a problem where the initial Teacher priority of zero would not be shown, and you would have to manually make it go positive, before you could go to negative number. It depended on the various combinations of Moodle, PHP, and database in use, but now works reliably in all versions of Moodle.
  • Added code for GDPR compliance.
  • Added a setting that allows the teacher to set a priority rating for each question.
  • Added an approval setting for each question so the teacher can hide inappropriate questions.
  • Added groups capability.
  • 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.

Link to the old forum discussion


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AL Rachels (Lead maintainer)
Zhigang Sun: Original author
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  • Wed, May 20, 2020, 5:36 PM
    Is there a option to limit the upvotes giving by an individual? Either by setting a specific time interval or only once per question. Currently a student can upvote another students question without any limitations.
  • Wed, May 20, 2020, 11:36 PM
    Currently a student can upvote on any single entry only once, but, for example, if there are ten entries in the current round, the student can upvote once on each of the ten, as long as he did not make the entry. If I understand you, you are wanting a new mode that would limit a user to make only ONE upvote per round, period, no matter how many entries there are by other students. Is that right? If so, let me know and I will see about adding it to my TODO list.
  • Fri, May 22, 2020, 2:45 PM
    My 2 cents on the voting - I found this plug-in just now when searching for a way to create a suggestions list for new courses. We are just setting Moodle up now to use for interal staff training at a company (not external students) and as it is brand new, we will be launching with only one course to start with. We are looking for ways to engage with our staff to get ideas for further courses to develop.

    I was trying to find a basic equivalent to UserVoice (where IT software companies capture ideas from end-users for product feature enhancements). One of the features with UserVoice is an end user can add as many ideas as they like, can see everyone else's idea - but can only vote a certain number of times (configurable - but most companies only allow 3 votes). So a person voting can vote for their own or someone else's idea/s, they can place multiple votes on a single idea or spread their votes out - but only up to a maximum of the permitted number of votes per person. This forces people to really think about what they want as they only have limited votes - but still allows you to capture all the ideas out there.

    Once as a software vendor you decide you are going to implement one of the ideas, you mark it as 'in progress' and that does a couple of things - it notifies everyone who voted on it that their idea is being worked on; and importantly, it releases those votes so the end users can then place their vote on another idea/s (e.g. if they placed all 3 of their permitted votes on one idea, it goes to 'in progress' then they then have 3 votes available to place on other idea/s).

    Not sure how easy/hard all that would be to do in Hot Question, but to start with, a configurable number of votes with only one vote per entry (so therefore students can vote for say 3 different entries only) would be a good start - it means that people have to commit to which entries are most important to them.
  • Sat, May 23, 2020, 12:03 AM
    @Luke and @Brett, I will see what I can do regarding adding a limit to the number of upvotes per round. No guarantee as to when/how long it might take as I am currently "swamped" with things on my TODO lists. Main item is four plugins that need to be ready for Moodle 3.9. smile
  • Wed, May 27, 2020, 8:04 PM
    @AL no i meant multiple upvotes. I've provided an example here: (don't mind the flickering in the right)
    We are using Moodle 3.7 and will upgrade to 3.9 in September.

    Thank you for adding the time-gated slots to your TODO-List smile
  • Wed, May 27, 2020, 11:23 PM
    Hi Luke, I think you are confused about the priority column that you are changing in your video. Students cannot make changes to the priority column, only admin, teachers, and managers. The reason admin, teachers, and managers can make multiple clicks in that column is to force Hot Question to list the questions in the order the teacher wants them displayed. In other words, it is a way for the teacher to override the heat/votes submitted by students and thus change the order of display.
  • Sat, May 30, 2020, 1:15 AM
    For everyone - I have a release candidate of Hot Question v3.9.0 available for testing at the github link above. It includes heat/vote limits that apply to the current round only. It is displayed as two numbers in the heat column. e.g. Heat 3/2, would mean there is a heatlimit of 3, the user has voted once, and has 2 votes remaining. If a user runs out of votes and a new round is started, they get their full vote capability/limit back for the new round of questions. Currently, there is no capability to take a vote back, but it is on my TODO list.

    I have more Moodle versions to test this plugin on before making an official release, and would love to have some feedback from other users, especially if your Moodle uses PostgreSQL. I have only one Moodle 3.3.9+ using PostgreSQL 9.6, so any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 1:25 AM
    For everyone - I have a release candidate of Hot Question v3.9.0+ available for testing at the github link above. Along with the vote limits for 3.9.0, this new version will let a user remove a vote. Currently, I have it set so that if you use all your votes, then you are done and cannot remove any of your votes. IF, anyone wants it to still allow removal of a vote, you need to let me know.
  • Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 5:48 PM
    Hi, sorry, I don't yet have a working Moodle system so cannot test, but if you mean a user cannot remove a vote once they have submitted their answer - that is fine by me. However, whilst in the middle of voting/answering (before submitting) they need to be able to change their mind - especially if it is a long list of options, some people will vote as they read down, potentially use all their votes before reaching the bottom and see an option they want more - so will go back, remove a vote from a prior item to then add it to the later one.
  • Tue, Jun 9, 2020, 10:11 PM
    Hi Brett, thanks for your input. I feel the same way about the votes, it is just that the first code attempt for this wound up working the way I described, and I thought I would see how other people felt about it before changing it.
    As far as, "but if you mean a user cannot remove a vote once they have submitted their answer" - You misunderstand. Voting has nothing to do with submitting. Hot Question will let you vote before or after making an entry, just as long as you are enrolled in the course, and in a group, if group requirements are set. Plus, you can make multiple entries. Currently, there is not a limit on that.
    By the way, if you visit the Website URL listed in the links above, you can self register and self enroll into the Hot Question Demo course and try out Hot Question yourself.
  • Fri, Jun 12, 2020, 11:25 PM
    It has been very hectic here for the past few days, but I have just posted Hot Question 3.9.0+ (Build: 2020060603) that implements Heat/Vote limits, plus the capability to, Remove my vote, from a question.

    If the heat limit is set to zero, the Heat column is automatically hidden from view. Currently the maximum can be set to 10.

    An indicator is added under the column label shown as Max/Remaining. e.g. If the limit is set to 3 and I have voted once, it will show as, 3/2. If a user removes a vote from a question, their Remaining votes goes back up by one. If the teacher starts a new round, their Remaining votes automatically goes back up to Max.
  • Mon, Jul 27, 2020, 12:15 PM
    Hello community, is it possible to answer questions by replying to the question posted by students ?
  • Tue, Jul 28, 2020, 7:00 AM
    Hi Sreejith,
    No, not really. It would be more appropriate to use a forum for that. However, you can sort of do it by using the teacher ranking to make the teachers question come right after the students question.
  • Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 8:32 PM
    Hello everybody,
    Maybe someone can help me.
    We are currently converting Moodle to 3.9.1 (Build 20200717) and have the problem that the two columns "Head" and "Priority" are suddenly missing. We are using the latest version 3.9.0+ (Build: 2020060603). At 3.8 everything worked as expected. Does anyone know the problem or has any tips?
  • Fri, Aug 21, 2020, 11:20 PM
    Hi Thilo,
    Sorry you are having problems. There is not a column named "Head" unless you changed one from it's default name to Head. Maybe you mean, "Heat?" Go and edit the Hot Question activity and look at the settings for, Heat and Priority. It is possible that their visibility setting has been set to, No, which would make them disappear.
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