Recently I’ve been working with my wife Christine (who teaches in the French Department at UVIC) on a simple system, called Quiz Script, that makes it easy and quick to generate online interactive quizzes. This is the handout we gave to accompany our talk at the May CALICO conference at UVIC. Try it out!
Quizscript – interactive exercises without tears
Quizscript is a simple cloud-based system for generating interactive quizzes from marked-up – in fact, punctuated – text. There is no software to download and install on the client’s computer, and none to install on your institution’s servers. There is no maintenance and, currently, no charge. All an instructor needs to create a set of exercises is an internet connection, a browser and, optionally, a text editor (an editor for composing unformated texts). Once created the quizz (in the form of an .html text file) can be deployed on a server, emailed to the students, or distributed directly on CDs or flash drives.
To create a quiz, the instructor visits the site
The markup/punctuation is extremely simple – much simpler than XML. We describe here what is required for the simplest case, there is (admittedly brief) documentation on the Quizscript page itself.
In the simplest case the quiz consists of multiple choice question in which the list of choices is always the same. For example, in a French quiz on the definite article, the choices are « le », « la », « les » and « l’ ». The instructor declares this list once and for all at the beginning, with the line
.c le la les l’
Thereafter, at every place the instructor wants the student to have to choose the correct article, the instructor simply types the correct article (the answer) preceded by « # ». For example, the following line
J’entre dans #la salle de classe. Je vois #les élèves et #le professeur.
will generate a sentence with three embedded multiple choice questions.
The Quizscript site explains the other features : multiple default choice lists, directly enumerated (one-off) choice lists, fill-in-the-blank questions, and interactive hints.
The text window is small but can accept large files – the simple notation makes it practical to generate quizzes with hundreds of questions. One could, for example, paste an article from today’s Le Monde and in a matter of minutes add the punctuation required for turning it into a quiz on a topical subject.