Friday, April 11, 2008

Hot Potatoes

I have been looking at learning objects that can be used for my faculty who are teaching 100% online classes. They wanted to have some self assessments to help the students review the material in a fun way that was low stress.
I also have been looking at freeware or shareware types of applications to get the faculty to try other methods of delivery outside of the PowerPoint and Blackboard environment that would be low risk for them as well. So my initial criterion was it had to be free and easy.
I did a search on Dogpile for “create quiz free” and got a bazillion hits. I did not realize all the various types of quiz makers were out there. So I had to go in and see what each quiz maker had to offer and then decided that I need to change the criteria of my search. The new criterion was that I had to be able to download the computer quiz maker application to my hard drive and be able to save files locally. The files needed to be able to insert into a Blackboard course or on a website and I had to be able to go in and edit the quizzes. Oh, and be free and easy.
With the new criteria I was able to weed out a good portion of the hits. Although I did find one websites called that was noteworthy. It is an educationally driven site that you can create a quiz and post online and share the quiz with others. They have a varied collection of online quizzes that had been created and are free to use. So I bookmarked this site to pass on to faculty to use for their courses. So after much weeding I looked at Hot Potatoes.
I was able to download quickly the application and was impressed at the ease of the download and registration. I did not encounter any pop ups or advertising schemes. A simple interface with the 5 question styles display in the initial screen. All of the question types were easy to navigate and come up with a quiz in one sitting. I was able to make the following types of questions; multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill.
There are many options under the hood of this application, with the ability to customize the appearance with colors and font styles. There are shuffle options to rotate questions as they appear, timing options to set limits for each question. They also include the ability to have results emailed to a location if needed. My initial review is for self assessment so I did not test this function at depth but, will in the future.
I was impressed at the options I had to customize my quizzes with hyperlinks, images, audio and video clips within the quiz questions. Hot Potatoes also came with a tool called the Masher that compiles the various question types into a single file. This was a great feature to able to pull in the different formats into a continuous file. When I was done I was also impressed at the options I had for the output of the file. The options were: Web page (HTML), Zip, Scorm, Hardcopy and WecCT.
Because of the various universal formats for output I did not see any discernable differences in the output when I viewed the quiz in Internet Explorer or Firefox. The files are compact and loaded quickly when inserting in a Blackboard course and in viewing them as well.
Overall this is a great tool that fits all the needs for a beginning into assessment applications. The fact that is free and easy to use is deceiving because it is a very sophisticated application that rivals other applications where cost is involved. It definitely has a place in my personal toolbox.

No comments:

Post a Comment