Sheryl Villaroman is the Founder & CEO of Nephila Web Technology, an IT and Education consultancy in the Philippines and the only Moodle Partner based in all of Southeast Asia. (Certified Moodle Partner in Singapore, eCreators, is based in Australia.) A hands-on #WomanWhoMoodle, Villaroman leads the company’s education efforts —down to the design and customization of the – portal— including the Moodle Educator Certification (MEC).

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Getting into the ins-and-outs of Moodle is easy, as long as you have the right mindset. Villaroman demonstrates this in her series of support videos, which serve the purpose of helping new learners on Nephila Web’s education programs —including their self-paced Free Moodle Training, open year round— as well as illustrating to potential customers what Moodle can do. On her personal YouTube channel, she continues to offer this close support to all interested, and update content upon request.

Ready? Dust up your Moodle and let’s get going:

Challenge 1: Add and edit a quiz

Baby steps. From the Moodle Activity picker, available across course sections, add a Quiz.

If it is your first time, the vast amount of options look daunting. Fear not. Complete only those that make sense and don’t get bogged down in minutiae. But by all means, get acquainted with the core components of the Activity:

  • Name and description (useful for users as well as you)
  • Timing: Start and end date of the availability interval, time limits and actions.
  • Grading: Grading method, required passing grade, maximum number of allowed attempts.
  • Layout, Behavior, Review: Choose whether you want questions to be available on a single page, or one per page; and if so, whether students can go back and forth among questions or if they must follow the sequence. Choose whether you want to shuffle the order of the questions and select the desired behavior.

Once you set up the Quiz, it’s time to add questions! Each has their own purpose and best use case, as well as some configurations available.

Challenge 2: Create a True or False question

Nothing too fancy here, it shows you the simplest question Moodle has offer. Simple does not necessarily mean easy for the student, of course.

The question prompt is a multimedia editor, that allows images, multimedia files, and additional elements through a plugin, for example.

Don’t leave before becoming acquainted with “penalty factors.” A controversial practice, resulting from figuring out ways to discourage random guessing.

Moodle Docs: True/False question type

Challenge 3: Create a Short Answer question

Another simple question type, it lets you enable several possible answers, ideally of single word or simple phrases. It begets a bit of an understanding of the student mindset: In most scenarios, more than one possible answer is needed. Be comprehensive, or perish Pearson style.

If you haven’t already, start trying out the general and specific feedback fields. These can be time consuming but ultimately rewarding. And as you build your reservoir of questions, the value of giving precise guidance to students increases over time.

Moodle Docs: Short Answer question type

Challenge 4: Create a Multiple Choice question with Multiple Answers

This slightly more sophisticated option not only enables one right answer, but several, or an exact combination. You can also start playing with the varying weights of the answers to provide partial scoring.

Moodle Docs: Multiple Choice question type — Multiple answer questions

Challenge 5: Create a Matching question

A simple, yet slightly playful and engaging question type that offers a sense of comprehensiveness and encourages the brain’s tendency to get a complete and harmonious picture. You can have blank or “dummy” answers too.

In addition to the previous fields, try out the “preview option” available once the question has been saved, to get an idea of how the student will see the answer. You can always come back and edit and refine it.

Moodle Docs: Matching question type

Challenge 6: Create a Missing Word question

This question type introduces you to the use of special operators to add interactivity to your question. Syntax-based question creation can prove to be a powerful productivity tool, and also one of Moodle’s unfortunately hidden gems.

Enclose gaps on a paragraph to add a space the student needs to fill by choosing a drop-down. Add “dummies” at your leisure.

Moodle Docs: Select missing words question type

Challenge 7: Build a Question Bank

It’s time to begin investing in your own treasure trove. The Question Bank is the most valuable part of the Moodle experience for many organizations, as it reflects personal or institutional efforts in creating, organizing and maintaining quality questions.

Given the flexibility within questions themselves, you don’t have to add a lot of redundancies in your Question Bank. Rather, focus on being comprehensive —in topics and approaches— about the questions included in your Bank. Make a careful use of tags and categories, starting with the quintessential: Topics or subtopics, and level of difficulty. This set up will prove powerful for years to come.

Moodle Docs: Question bank

Challenge 8: Import questions to your Question Bank

Get further acquainted with scripting methods to build large sets of questions from plain text —or using a spreadsheet and some Extra magic, check out the bottom of the article— and the ways to import and test them into Moodle. Hopefully you will appreciate Moodle’s flexibility and versatility, supporting several file formats, including standards from proprietary providers.

Moodle Docs: Import questions

Challenge 9: Create a Quiz from Question Bank questions

This straightforward challenge is meant to give you time to appreciate the beautiful simplicity of Moodle and the Question Bank. It reflects your efforts across your previous challenges, in building quality questions with proper feedback and the right amount of challenge, and codifying them with clear names, tags and categories. Choose manually and apply filters to sort out over lots of questions.

Challenge 10: Manage Question Categories

In this final, side mission, you can come back to your creation and apply extra order with categories and subcategories.

Quick tip: Questions can only belong to one category, but they can have several tags. When in doubt, tags can be a better choice given its flexibility. Large organizations with clear processes might prefer categories and subcategories, as they preserve the structure of the Bank.

Moodle Docs: Question categories

Final Boss: Build a Quiz from random Question Bank items in Categories

The ultimate expression in Moodle versatility that allows for a flexible, engaging pedagogy that also provides a level of deterrent for cheating. Apply filters and criteria, and Moodle will build a quiz by randomly choosing questions that fulfill them for each student. Drawing from a large enough Bank, it makes it almost impossible for two students to get the same quiz, as it provides 3 levels of randomness: Questions assigned, order of questions, and order of answers (depending on the question). You can also save your quiz criteria to reuse later on.


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