Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Getting quizzed about quizzes...

Image from Leo Reynolds under
a CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license 
Do you ever have one of those weeks where you seemed to be randomly asked the same thing by several different people? Well a couple of weeks ago I received a few questions about creating online quizzes, and so spent a bit of time looking into some methods for doing so. Here's a couple of solutions at my disposal that I've been fiddling with.

Hot Potatoes
Hot Potatoes is a cross-platform piece of software, which is free to download for educational use, and was recommended to me by a number of colleagues when I was looking for quizzing tips. It's an easy to use and quite powerful tool for creating a number of different types of quiz, including a series of questions, matching pairs, crosswords and missing words.

Once a quiz is created, an HTML file is generated. Completing the quiz is intuitive for the respondents, and they get an evaluation of their results.

It really is a great piece of software, creating professional quizzes quickly and easily.

See here for an example of a pair-matching quiz.

ZohoChallenge is one of several web-based quiz-making services out there, in which users can create account and make professional-looking quizzes. It beats some of its competition with its versatile WYSIWYG editor for question creation, and its good results evaluation.

It can be useful beyond Hot Potatoes when you want something that's more easily embeddable onto a webpage, or statistics on logged answers, although your choice of quiz-types is more limited. Another limitation the free version is restricted to 100 respondents per month per account.

As well as screencasting, I've used Camtasia for inserting short tests into presentations. If you want to test your users of their knowledge during a presentation, then questions can be inserted into the normal presentation, pausing while your users go through the questions. This means respondents can be slickly led through a screencast or video which tests their knowledge of, and gets them thinking about, what they've just been watching. There are downsides - some of the options are quite limited, and webspace will need to be found to place the Flash files created to run the quizzes - but it's a good way of creating interactivity to presentations.

So that's just what I've been playing with, but there's plenty more stuff out there. This includes Google Forms, and the grading plug-in Flubaroo, which I discovered just as I'd finished this blog post and I'll write a separate one about later... And of course there's plenty on the market that can do all the above and more, including such packages as Articulate Quiz Maker and Adobe Captivate. I'm also liking the look of Articulate's new package Storyline, and plan on downloading the 30 day free trial over the next few days to have a fiddle. So expect another blog post about my fumblings with that very soon.

(Edit - and, as has been pointed out in the comments, MOLE, the University's VLE, has some great quizzing functionality. I should have pointed out that these solutions were for people who for various reasons did not want to, or could not, use the VLE for their purposes).



  1. great post Pete, I didn't realise that Camtasia has a quiz function, something I'll definitely look into next time I'm creating a screencast for the teachers/students here at the English Language Teaching Centre.

    A couple of others to add to your list: is a nice site for creating flashcards and quizzes for your students. is also very interesting, you can create quizzes that can be administered synchronously or asynchronously with students and they can also take the quizzes through a mobile app or on a computer. I used this the other day with my class in the computer lab and they had great fun with it. There's a nice option where you can put students in teams and they compete to see who finishes the quiz first with the most correct answers.

    We also use the Turning Point clickers quite a bit as we have a set of them here ( and they can be useful to check progress, end of course quizzes as well as getting feedback from students.

    A couple of others I've heard about but haven't had a chance to try are:

    1. Cheers, David. I'll follow up those links... I can see a "sequel" coming on to this blog post!

  2. Hi Pete

    Thanks for the links - and also thanks David, that Socrative tool looks interesting, the site's very unresponsive right now, but I'll try again later.

    MOLE has a fairly well developed quiz tool of well of course. Had the inquirers about quiz tools already considered this and either dismissed it or decided to consider other options? A sister question to this is whether they intended their students to access the quiz from the VLE or from some other place (email, blog, uspace etc). As someone who works mostly within MOLE, I'd be interested to know what context if any they gave for their question.



    1. Hi Paul.

      Yeah I did suggest MOLE as an option to one of the queries, and they looked into it, but as it was for an online presentation, they liked Camtasia when I demoed it for the natural flow of working through a screencast/video that stopped at relevant points for the questions, especially as the questions were just for added interactivity rather than logging anyone's answers.

      The other was an out-facing student project where they wanted quizzes to embed into/link to from an out-facing website, so MOLE wouldn't have been appropriate.

      Agreed, though, MOLE is great at quizzes and I point people towards them where appropriate - I perhaps should have been a bit more explicit in the blog post!

  3. Hi, You might also want to have a look at Xerte. Interestingly I found out recently you can create accessible drag and drop questions with it.


    1. Thanks, Elaine - that's really handy to know about. Do you know if the answers are recorded anywhere with Xerte or is this more for formative work?

    2. Cheers, Elaine, will have a look!



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