Wednesday, September 24, 2008

MyStudiyo for online quizzes

I've been wanting to implement online quizzing in my classes for quite some time. I want something where I can quickly put up a few questions. I want the application to have most of the following functions:
  • Short answer or multiple choice
  • Include pictures in the question
  • Track students so they can't take quiz more than once or at least I'll know if they do
  • Give the kids immediate feedback
  • Inexpensive or better yet.... free
I mentioned Larry Ferlazzo's post "The Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education" the other day and in that article he ranked My Studiyo as number six on his list and said:

" It’s without question, I believe, the best way to create online tests and quizzes. It’s easy to use, you can include multimedia, and others can add questions (that are moderated before they appear)."
That was enough recommendation for me to give it a try. I signed up for a free account (which was straight forward and painless) and jumped right into creating a quiz. I decided to make a quiz for my web design kids where they could look at a piece of bad html code and then pick the correct formatting out of four choices. Seemed like a good idea at the time but turned out to be a bad choice for my first try for a reason I shall soon reveal.

I had the opportunity to add an introduction. I wrote only a few words with the plan to come back and write something more informative after I finished the quiz. This turned out to be a problem. I couldn't seem to get back to that introduction page to write a nicer intro? Might be a glitch, but in the future, I will spend a bit more time here just in case.

I wrote five bits of bad code that I've seen in m
y class over the last week. I felt a little limited by how I could enter the question. I seemed to be able to write only one line. It wasn't until I was all done that I remembered the "Select Media" option.

This allowed me to write out something more similar to how a snippet of code might look. I grabbed this picture of a sample question (above) to show how what I wrote and how it would look in finished form (below).

I wrote out my questions and answers and got the whole thing put together in about 20 minutes. Took me this long as I had to think up questions and reasonable wrong answers along the way. If I had been better prepared, I think it would have taken about as long as it took me to type. Only wait time was when I moved to each new question and that was around 10-20 seconds.

I previewed my quiz and immediately thought, "This was a waste of time!" Half of my questions and answers were blank. I was about to blow the whole site off when I realized that the blank questions and answers were where I wrote html code. I suspected the program was reading my code and trying to implement it. I tinkered with a few answers and that turned out to be the case. I quickly went in and made a few changes and got around this glitch that is only going to come up for those of us teaching html. There are work arounds so I'm not too concerned.

I had the option of giving feedback on each question and so I did. I could set a time limit for each question and set it at 60 seconds just to test out how that works. I also set it up so that the questions would appear randomly so students sitting next to each other would less likely be looking at the same screen.

I was given the opportunity to have two different endings and opted for scoreboard for this first quiz. It will give each student their score and an opportunity to see their ranking.

Then I got a unique URL where I can send my students to take the quiz. I won't post this until I try it out in the classroom so
feel free to go take a peek.

I can also embed the quiz on a web page such as a personal blog. So, here it is that way. I have yet to get the embedded feature to work. Maybe you'll have better luck?

After going to the URL of my quiz, I realized my students would all have to create a login in order to take it. I went in and created a separate login pretending to be an eager 16 year old and took the test. That part worked fine. When I logged back in as myself, I was unable to see the student score? Another glitch?

I'm going to go ahead and try this out with my class and see what happens. I'm a little worried about getting their final score and I don't like that they all have to create an account. But, I'm willing to give it a spin in a "real classroom".

My thoughts so far:
  • Easy to login and get my first quiz set up
  • Editing a little slower and clunky than whey your first set it up
  • Had a hard time testing the report functions.
  • Wasn't able to get a working quiz to embed in either my Blogger blog or a Google sites page.
  • There is a cookie that allows your browser to remember you when you return to the site. Great for a single user at a single machine but I am a little worried about this in a lab that sees 5-6 different users on each machine every day.
I'll be back with more info after I try it out with my students. If any of you have had experience using the program, please leave a comment.

[Images: All captured from Sept 20, 2008]


  1. Good explanation of the process. I haven't used it for awhile, but when I did it seemed to go fairly smoothly, and I've heard the same from others. Maybe the web tool was just having a bad day :) I'd be interested in hearing if you encounter the same problems again, though, and the website's owners seem pretty open to feedback, so I suspect that they'd like to hear, too.

    I'll be very interested in hearing about your second try. You might want to consider exploring the other tools on that "The Best..." list, too.

    I'm also very open to being wrong, and maybe there is a better site out there for online tests. I like ProProfs a lot for online flashcards, and I know they let you make tests, too.


  2. Thanks Larry,

    I threw the program at my students this past week, in a gentle teacherly fashion of course, and while it worked, it isn't quite what I want. I'm writing a follow up post this weekend with a few thoughts.

    Thanks for ProProf suggestion. If/when I find something I like better, I'll let you know. You've already given me months worth of things to look at from your "best of" lists.

    Do you ever sleep? ;-)