Ali Abdulsattar Abdulrahman, Ph.D. Biology

Overview

PanoptoI was really totally blind to many items regarding usage of technology before joining Chatham at Dec. 2011. Yes, I have a little bit knowledge on PowerPoint and Word for preparing lectures and while in 2012, I recorded my lectures using Panopto,  I wanted to KNOW, more and more.

So, I applied to the Technology Fellowship program in 2014 and entered with a healthy combination of ambivalence, skepticism, and lack of confidence.  Like a moth to a flame, I knew that I wanted to learn some new teaching skills and to see if some of this technology stuff was really helpful to me and students.

My project goals were:

  1. Gain confidence in the technology, especially doing Moodle quizzes and tests.
  2. Explore ways to deal with online quizzes in case of system collapse during the test.
  3. Become familiar with a variety of technology teaching tools that would help me save time grading as my graduate classes typically have no less than 40 students in a given term.
  4. Learn about technologies in order to improve my teaching in a way that makes items simple and easy to be absorbed by students.

Implementation and Assessment

In addition to learning more about the iPad, VoiceThread and other technologies, I experimented with learning Moodle quizzes and understanding the AIKEN file format needed to upload multiple choice questions. It is a very simple format, but also very specific regarding spacing and formatting. For example, the question must be all on one line. Each answer must start with a single uppercase letter, followed by a period ‘.’ or a bracket ‘)’, then a space. The answer line must immediately follow, starting with “ANSWER: ” (NOTE the space after the colon) and then giving the appropriate letter.

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?
A. Moodle
B. ATutor
C. Claroline
D. Blackboard
E. WebCT
ANSWER: A

Which LMS has the most quiz import formats?
A) Moodle
B) ATutor
C) Claroline
D) Blackboard
E) WebCT
ANSWER: A

Successes and Challenges

The advantages of this approach are many. The convenience of being able to import questions into Moodle is worth the time and effort as it avoids quiz questions by having to be added one by one. In addition, once the questions are in Moodle, they are saved in a quiz bank, so they can be edited and reused in a later course. Since the AIKEN format includes the answers, Moodle will automatically grade the questions saving time for the instructor. Finally, online quizzes are useful for students to be able to review material in preparation for future exams.

The challenge to this approach is learning the AIKEN format and making sure the formatting is absolutely correct. A missed space, an additional period, or incorrect numbering can quickly halt the import process. Also, potential technical issues are a concern during any online testing. Having a backup plan is important when doing anything with technology.

Next Steps

I plan on implementing the Moodle quizzes into my BIO 503 in Fall 2015. I also plan to survey the students to see if the prefer online testing and make changes if needed. In addition, my goals for next year are:

  • Implement online quizzes for the MOT students
  • Continue to learn new technologies that will enhance my teaching
  • Continue to learn new technologies to help me become a more proficient technology user
  • Explore the variety of Anatomy Apps for the iPad for potential use in the classroom
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