Hot Question = Cool Activity: a Google Moderator-style activity for Moodle

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The Hot Question activity was released at Moodle.org September 20th and I had a chance to install and try it out yesterday.  According to the Moodle.org download page [http://moodle.org/mod/data/view.php?d=13&rid=4181],

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The first Moodle activity for physical classroom. The idea comes from Purdue University’s hotseat.

In or out of classroom, students post questions into Hot Question activity from notebook, netbook, android, iPhone, iPod Touch and other gears which can access the moodle site. Students can also vote on others’ questions, so that the hottest questions will be popped up. Teachers can make orally comments on selected questions in classroom.

Installing: The Hot Question activity module is easily installed on your Moodle (just drop/extract the folder to your /mod folder of your Moodle install and hit “notifications” once logged in as admin).

Adding it to a course: Once installed it’s available to all teachers through the “add an activity” drop down when editing is on in courses.  There is only one configuration option which is to allow anonymous posting or not.  Otherwise, just type the activity’s name and topic to get started.  Students and teachers can then submit ideas/questions and then all class members can “vote” the questions up.  It’s a similar concept to Google Moderator [http://www.google.com/moderator/] or GetSatisfaction’s FAQ/voting system for customer management and feedback [http://getsatisfaction.com/].

While the developers intended the Hot Question to be used in a face to face classroom, I think there are ample applications for using it in distance learning as well.

Below is an example of a Hot Question setup as a way to direct a face to face discussion in an upcoming class.

Here are a few other ideas I had for how Hot Question might be used generally:

  • Allowing for submitting of ideas and voting participatory voting on the best for (field trips, theme changes, suggestions, additions, special events)
  • Providing a quick way for students to submit and vote for bugs/system issues/FAQs (which would be answered elsewhere)
  • Site-wide “student/teacher of the week”
  • Best book/movie/show

What might you use it for?

Pros: It’s a simple interface and is both intuitive and does exactly what you expect.  While it’s inflexible in customization, I can think of a few different applications that otherwise would not be possible with current Moodle features which would extend the simple activity despite it’s light-weight design.