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Moodle quizzes speed up big lab classes

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In semester 1 each year, around 1600 students enroll in the major Year 1 Physics course at UNSW. Laboratory time for any given student is limited, with significant pressure to complete the laboratory activities on time. This has been problematic when students are poorly prepared. To attempt to remedy this, pre-lab quizzes were introduced in 2011. Along with the questions, quizzes have accompanying supporting materials such as videos that introduce the students to the important concepts covered and equipment used during the laboratory sessions. The pre-lab quizzes have resulted in students being significantly more prepared for their laboratory sessions, allowing the demonstrators to maximize the time they spend helping students. It has also reduced greatly the need to mark preliminary work at the beginning of laboratory sessions. Students are now better prepared and better able to complete the laboratory exercises within two hours. Further, moving the safety induction online has released an extra week of laboratory time to introduce a new experiment. Thus, the use of Moodle quizzes has enhanced efficiency and quality of laboratory learning and teaching. This approach is being embraced by other schools within the faculty, such as Chemistry, for use with large first year classes. To further diversify and enrich these activities, an advanced quiz question type, which will allow for calculated questions including randomized quantities such as different planets or chemicals, is planned for development.

Text of Moodle quizzes speed up big lab classes

  • 1. Moodle quizzes to improve learning in large first year laboratory classes Elizabeth Angstmann, First Year Physics Director Russell Waldron, Educational designer Julian Cox, Associate Dean (Education)
  • 2. The Problem in general Large student numbers (1600 in semester 1) labs must run efficiently, if students finish late it disadvantages students in the next class When preparatory work was in the lab manual Students would copy each other Students came unprepared for class Demonstrators mark preparatory work in lab rather than helping students Safety induction talk given 17 times during first week by one staff member
  • 3. The solution Students complete prework online before coming to class Prework consists of reading over the lab manual, watching a video, a few additional resources and then a prework test. The test counts as 25% of their lab mark, each test is 0.5% of their total physics mark, students get helpful feedback as they complete the test; formative assessment. The test shuts down as soon as their lab session starts (group overrides) Safety induction moved online, video and then a test
  • 4. What it looks like
  • 5. Rotational Inertia
  • 6. Rotational Inertia
  • 7. Rotational Inertia
  • 8. Behind the scenes.
  • 9. Settings Interactive with multiple tries: 2 hints for each question
  • 10. Students see Calculated question type
  • 11. Woops!
  • 12. Behind the scenes Calculated question
  • 13. Students see Cloze (multianswer) question
  • 14. Woops!
  • 15. Behind the scenesCloze (from Pool)
  • 16. Edit quiz
  • 17. Does it work? Students feel that they are better prepared for class Demonstrators report that the labs run much more smoothly The number of labs running overtime has been reduced Random numbers mean that even if students get help they need to enter it into their own calculator, reduced plagiarism
  • 18. Further efficiencies in the lab Rubric for each exercise:
  • 19. Demonstrators enter marks into GoogleDocs Tried Moodle but too slow. Lab technician uploads marks to Moodle after each lab
  • 20. Current limitations of Moodle A pendulum is located on Mars/Jupiter/Saturn Mars/Jupiter/Saturn has a mass of .. kg and a radius of . m. What is g on Mars/Jupiter/Saturn? ___________ ms-2 What is the period of a spring on Mars/Jupiter/Saturn with a spring constant of . N/m with a hanging mass of . kg attached to it? ___________ s What additional mass would you need to add to double this period? ___________ kg Question types are fairly limited. Can not easily ask questions like:
  • 21. Trials (soon) Drag-and-drop marker Electron pushing Multipart questions (or STACK) Mindmaps WIRIS STEM questions Wish list Draw a vector Drag, drop, rotate and resize a shape Bookmark a segment and area of screen in a video Conditional upon current score New question types of interest
  • 22. Trials (soon) Learning analytics iPad and mobile platform Multitouch interface Wishlist Branching - or sharing questions with Lesson tool Clean Single-question mode Future Quiz developments
  • 23. The future of online quizzes at UNSW Blended Learning institution: Moodle augments campus experience. Ask questions that enhance campus experience. UNSW capacity and track record for enhancements relying on: Modular, Open Source software LMS provider relationship Institutional LMS Advisory group Faculty team: executives, academics, designer, technologist, programmer Faculty facilities: servers, access to live identities Moodle community: user-contributions

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