Monday, May 26, 2014

Practice & Timely Feedback - Online Assignments in Moodle

Students appreciate timely feedback on their work and know that they need to practice to get better at math. Feedback not only allows them to know whether they understand something but it also motivates them to continue to improve. One of the ways I provide practice & timely feedback in my math classes is by using Moodle online quizzes.

The daily online activity focuses on content from the current topic but always includes review problems from past content. Review problems are randomly selected from over 400 existing problems (2-3 problems a day turns into a lot over time). I do this in both my Algebra and IB Math SL courses. An example question in Math SL is shown below:

Teacher View of a Moodle Question - Student cannot see correct answer.

As you can see, this student spent approximately 12 minutes working on this problem - with repeated attempts prior to determining the correct answer. Students can retake assignments multiple times until they get a perfect score. Not surprisingly, they spend a significant amount of time outside of class working on mathematics - and they truly enjoy it. They also appreciate the fact that they are getting constant reinforcement of concepts. There will be almost no additional review of material needed prior to our upcoming end-of-year assessment because they have been reviewing the material all year long! Feedback from students in a recent survey:
I also like the fact that in most tests there tend to be some review problems, which, again, forces us to go back and review previous material and have it always "fresh" in our minds (I wish this was done in more classes).
I really like how the quizzes are set up because even though it does take some time to complete them, they really do help and it serves as a sort of review and challenge. I also like how you can go back to the questions you missed and work on them. 
The takes time to develop the Moodle questions! If you don't enjoy technology then it's probably best not to start down this path. If you do enjoy technology and are interested I am always looking for collaborators to help extend my existing question banks and to try them out at other schools.

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