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Adding Activities

How to add activities into your OER on OpenLearn Create

Activities, such as forums, quizzes and wikis enable interactive content to be added to the course.

Site: OpenLearn Create
Course: How to use OpenLearn Create
Book: Adding Activities
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Monday, 24 Jun 2019, 11:17

1. Blog

The blog activity module allows for creation of blogs within a course (these are separate from the core Moodle blog system). You can have course-wide blogs (everyone in the course posts to the same blog), group blogs, or individual blogs.

You need to think carefully about using a blog in your OER.Questions you might consider include whether you will be planning to update it regularly with new posts, the extent to which you might allow others to comment or whether you'll allow others to write blog posts as well.

You might want two different kinds of blogs for your course - one which is a reflective blog for each student which only the student and tutor can see, the other could be a group blog where all the students can publish a post and comment.

For a stand-alone open course which will not be tutor supported, a blog might not be an appropriate tool to use.

Add a blog

  1. Click on Add an activity or resource
  2. Select 'blog' from the list
  3. Give the blog a name.  You can add an introduction however this isn't required.
  4. Select the blog settings, depending on what you need the blog to do.

Allow comments (if chosen for post)

  • 'Yes, from signed-on users' allows comments from OU users who have access to the post.
  • 'Yes, from everybody' allows comments from OU users and from the general public. You will receive emails to approve or reject comments from users who are not signed in.
  • 'No' prevents anyone from making a comment on this post.

Individual blogs - options include:

  • No (blog together or in group): Individual blogs are not used - There are no individual blogs set, everyone is part of a bigger community (depending on 'Group mode' setting).
  • Separate individual blogs: Individual blogs are used privately - Individual users can only post to and see their own blogs, unless they have permission ("viewindividual") to view other individual blogs.
  • Visible individual blogs: Individual blogs are used publically - individual users can only post to their own blogs, but they can view other individual blog posts.

Maximum visibility - options include:

  • On a personal blog: Visible only to the blog owner (private) - nobody* else can see this post.
  • On a course blog: Visible to participants on this course - to view the post you must have been granted access to the blog, usually by being enrolled on the course that contains it.
  • Visible to everyone who is logged in to the system - everyone who is logged in can view the post, even if they're not enrolled on a specific course.
  • Visible to anyone in the world - any Internet user can see this post if you give them the blog's address.
  • This option exists on the whole blog as well as on individual posts. If the option is set on the whole blog, that becomes a maximum. For example, if the whole blog is set to the first level, you cannot change the level of an individual post at all.

Show intro when posting (tick box) - default is unticked

Maximum attachment size - This setting specifies the largest size of image/file that can be used in a blog post.

Maximum number of attachments - This setting specifies the maximum number of files that can be attached to a blog post.

Show blog usage extra statistics - Enable extra statistics display in the Blog usage 'block', this is relevant for Personal (global), Visible Individual and Visible Group blogs only.

Alternative activity name (blank uses default) - Set an alternate activity type name within the interface. Leaving it blank/empty will mean the default ('blog') is used.  The alternate name should start with a lower-case letter, this will be capitalised where needed.

Enable post import - Allow any user to import pages from other blog activities they have access to.

Tags - Give users tags to choose from when entering a tag on a post. Tags should be comma separated.

Allow 'set' tags only - If you select this option, you can restrict tag entry to only those that are set at activity level.

Grade - If the blog is part of the assessment and requires grading, you will need to complete the Grade section

  • Grading - If you select this option, a grade for this blog will be added to the course gradebook and calculated automatically. Leave this off for a non-assessed blog, or one you plan to assess manually.
  • Grade - Select the type of grading used for this activity. If "scale" is chosen, you can then choose the scale from the "scale" dropdown. If using "point" grading, you can then enter the maximum grade available for this activity.

Ratings - If the blog will be rated by learners on your course, you will need to set the ratings

  • Roles with permission to rate - To submit ratings users require the moodle/rating:rate capability and any module specific capabilities. Users assigned the following roles should be able to rate items. The list of roles may be amended via the permissions link in the administration block.
  • Aggregate type - The aggregate type defines how ratings are combined to form the final grade in the gradebook.
    • Average of ratings - The mean of all ratings
    • Count of ratings - The number of rated items becomes the final grade. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.
    • Maximum - The highest rating becomes the final grade
    • Minimum - The smallest rating becomes the final grade
    • Sum - All ratings are added together. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.

If "No ratings" is selected, then the activity will not appear in the gradebook.

However grading and rating are only used if your OER is going to be supported by a tutor.


Click on 'save and return to course'.

2. Choice

The choice activity module enables a teacher to ask a single question and offer a selection of possible responses.  Choice results may be published after students have answered, after a certain date, or not at all. Results may be published with student names or anonymously.  A choice activity may be used

  • As a quick poll to stimulate thinking about a topic
  • To quickly test students' understanding
  • To facilitate student decision-making, for example allowing students to vote on a direction for the course

The choice activity is likely to only be used in a tutor supported course.

Set up the Choice activity as follows:

Step 1:

Click on the dropdown arrow of the 'Add an activity' box and select 'Choice' from the list. Add a name and a short description which explains to the learners about the activity.  You can display the description on the course page if you like.

Step 2:

You need to set the following Options:

  • Allow choice to be updated (default is No)
  • Allow more than one choice to be selected (default is No)
  • Limit the number of responses allowed (default is No)

This option allows you to limit the number of participants who can select each choice option. When the limit is reached then no-one else can select that option.
If limits are disabled then any number of participants can select each of the options.

Step 3:

Then you need to specify the options that the participants can choose, one option for each field. You can add more options if you have a long list.

Step 4:

If you want to restrict the Choice to a particular time period then you need to set this in ‘Availability’.  You can also allow the learners to preview the available options before the choice is opened up for submission.

Step 5:

In the Results settings, you need to set the following:

Publish results

  • Do not publish results to students (default)
  • Show results to students after they answer
  • Show results to students only after the Choice is closed
  • Always show results to students

Privacy for results (only activated if results are to be shown to students)

  • Publish anonymous results, do not show student names (default)
  • Publish full results, showing their names and choices

Show column for unanswered (default is No)

Include responses from inactive/suspended users (default is No)

Step 6:

You probably don’t need to touch the Common module settings, unless you are using groups.

Step 7:

You probably don’t need to touch Restrict access unless you do want to add a restriction.

Step 8:

Save and display.

Step 9:

You will not be able to view and test the choices how they appear to the learner unless you switch role to the learner view (if you have ‘course manager’ or 'teacher' role) or enrol a test account onto the course and give it the ‘reviewer’ role.  In another browser login to your draft course using the test account and view the Choice activity to see how it looks to the learner.

Step 10:

As the course owner, you can view and download the responses.  You can also delete selected or all of the responses.








3. Forum

The Forum provides a discussion forum facility for your course. The forum activity is likely to only be used in a tutor supported course.

If you set up a forum you will be responsible for moderating it and closing it when it is no longer required.  You must not set up a forum in a perpetually open course (no start and end date) which is not going to be monitored regularly by someone.

Step 1:

In your course, turn editing on.  Click on ‘add an activity or resource’.  The ‘add an activity or resource’ box will appear.  Under ‘activities’ select ‘Forum’.

This will tell you that ForumNG is a replacement for standard Moodle forum with most of the same features plus additional ones and a more dynamic user interface. NG stands for 'Next Generation'.

Click on ‘add’ then complete the ‘adding a new forum’ form.

You must provide your forum with a name.

Step 2:

Select the Forum type - Different types of forum are available for specific purposes or teaching methods. The standard forum type is appropriate for all normal use.  Choose one of the two options:

  • Standard forum for general use (default)
  • Study advice (only see own discussions)

Step 3:

The forum introduction is where you explain to the learners what the forum is for and how to use it.  It may also be a good place to mention basic forum etiquette.

Step 4:

Decide whether learners can subscribe to the forum via Email subscription - You can force everyone to be subscribed, or set them be subscribed initially; the difference is that in the latter case, they can choose to unsubscribe themselves.  These options include all users (students and staff) who are enrolled on the course. Users who do not belong to the course (such as administrators) can still optionally subscribe.

  • Everyone can choose to be subscribed
  • Force everyone to be subscribed
  • Everyone is initially subscribed
  • Subscription is not permitted

Step 5:

Maximum attachment site - This is the maximum total size for all attachments on a single post.

Email for reporting offensive posts - If this email address is supplied, then a Report link appears next to each post. Users can click the link to report offensive posts. The information will be sent to this address.  If this email is left blank then the Report feature will not be shown (unless a site-level reporting address has been supplied).  More than one email address can be added so long as they are separated by a semi-colon

Enable anonymous moderator posts (default is unchecked) - Allows users that have postanon capability to make their post anonymous by hiding their name from students.

Enable discussion tagging - Enable tagging in discussions for this forum and also allow forum wide tags to be enabled.

Step 6:

Decide if you are going to allow learners to rate forum posts.

Allow posts to be rated - If enabled, forum posts can be given ratings using a numeric or defined Moodle scale. One or more people can rate the post and the displayed rating is the average (mean) of those ratings. If you use a numeric scale up to 5 (or fewer) then a nice ‘star’ display is used. Otherwise it’s a dropdown. The capabilities system controls who can rate posts and see ratings. By default, only teachers can rate posts, and students can only see ratings on their own posts.

You can also set a time period when posts can be rated.

Required ratings (default is 1) - If you set this option to 3, then the rating for a post will not be shown until at least 3 people have rated it. This can help reduce the effect of a single rating on the average.

Step 7:

Decide whether there will be any grading attached to learners writing in the forum by choosing the type of grading behaviour from the drop down box (the default is No Grade):

  • No grade
  • Teacher grades students
  • Average of ratings
  • Count of ratings
  • Maximum rating
  • Minimum rating
  • Sum of ratings

Grade - if you select this option, a grade for this forum will be added to the course gradebook and calculated automatically. Leave this off for a non-assessed forum, or one you plan to assess manually. The different ways to calculate grading are fairly self-explanatory; in each case, the grade for each student is calculated based on all ratings for all posts they have made. Grades are limited to the scale; for example if the scale is 0-3, the grading method is set to ‘count’ and the student’s posts have received 17 ratings, their grade will be 3.

Step 8:

Limit posts - You can choose to limit when learners can post to the forum using the limit posts setting, which has date fields.

Limit user posting - This option limits discussions and replies made by students (specifically, any users who do not have the mod/forumng:ignorethrollling capability).  When a student is only permitted 3 more posts, a warning displays in the post form. After their limit runs out, the system displays the time at which they’ll be able to post again.

You probably will not need to touch the Common module settings unless you are using groups.
You can ignore Restrict access unless you need to add a restriction.

Step 9:

Click on Save and display.

The forum will appear.  It will include various buttons for learners, including one to start a new discussion and various buttons which you the moderator can use, including one for forum usage.

You can edit the settings for the forum in the ForumNG administration menu.











4. Glossary

The glossary activity module enables participants in a course to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary, or to collect and organise resources or information.

For an OER which is not supported by a tutor some of the collaborative elements need to be limited otherwise the glossary could attract a lot of spam or unsubstantiated comments or amendments.

In a tutor supported course, a tutor can allow files to be attached to glossary entries. Attached images are displayed in the entry. Entries can be searched or browsed alphabetically or by category, date or author. Entries can be approved by default or require approval by a tutor before they are viewable by everyone.

If the glossary auto-linking filter is enabled, entries will be automatically linked where the concept words and/or phrases appear within the course.

A tutor can allow comments on entries. Entries can also be rated by tutors or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook.

Glossaries have many uses, such as

  • A collaborative bank of key terms
  • A 'getting to know you' space where new students add their name and personal details
  • A 'handy tips' resource of best practice in a practical subject
  • A sharing area of useful videos, images or sound files
  • A revision resource of facts to remember

To add a glossary

Step 1:

Click on the dropdown arrow of the 'Add an activity' box

Step 2:

Select 'glossary' from the list

Step 3:

Type a name for your glossary and a short description.

Step 4:

Choose from the dropdown list what the Glossary type will be.The default setting is 'secondary glossary' or you can choose 'main glossary'.

A main glossary is a glossary in which entries from secondary glossaries can be imported. There can only be one main glossary in a course. If glossary entry import is not required, all glossaries in the course can be secondary glossaries.

Step 5:

Decide what the settings for individual glossary entries need to be.Settings for individual glossary entries are:

  • Approved by default Yes/No (defaults to Yes) - If set to no, entries require approving by a teacher before they are viewable by everyone.
  • Always allow editing Yes/No (defaults to No) - This setting specifies whether entries are always editable or whether students can only edit their entries during a configured editing time (usually 30 minutes).
  • Duplicate entries allowed Yes/No (defaults to No) - If enabled, multiple entries can have the same concept name.
  • Allow comments on entries Yes/No (defaults to No) - If enabled, all participants with permission to create comments will be able to add comments to glossary entries.
  • Automatically link glossary entries Yes/No (defaults to Yes) - If site-wide glossary auto-linking has been enabled by an administrator and this setting is enabled, the "Add a new entry" form includes the option to automatically link the entry wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the course.

Step 6:

Click on Appearance to set the display settings for the glossary.

Click on the Display format dropdown box to choose the format (defaults to 'Simple, dictionary style').There are 7 display formats:

  • Simple, dictionary style - No authors are displayed and attachments are shown as links
  • Continuous without author - Entries are displayed one after another without any separation apart from the editing icons
  • Full with author - A forum-like display format showing the author's data and with attachments shown as links
  • Full without author - A forum-like display format without authors and with attachments shown as links
  • Encyclopaedia - As for "Full with author" but attached images are shown inline
  • Entry list - Concepts are listed as links
  • FAQ - The words QUESTION and ANSWER are appended to the concept and definition respectively

The other appearance settings are

  • Approval display format - When approving glossary items you may wish to use a different display format from the one you chose for 'display format'
  • Entries shown per page (defaults to 1 entry per page) - if you choose to have more than one entry per page, you can specify the maximum number to display.
  • Show alphabet links - If enabled, participants can browse the glossary by letters of the alphabet.
  • Show 'special' link - If enabled, participants can browse all entries at once.
  • Allow print view - If enabled, students are provided with a link to a printer-friendly version of the glossary. The link is always available to tutors.

Step 7:

Click on 'Save and return to course'.

Your new glossary will now display on your course page.

Step 8:

To add entries to the glossary, click on the glossary title.

Your glossary view will appear which will not yet contain any glossary entries.

Step 9:

Click on the 'add a new entry' button

The new glossary entry screen will appear.

Step 10:

Type a glossary term into the Concept box and the definition of that term into the Definition box.

Step 11:

Each glossary entry can have an associated list of keywords (or aliases). If the entry is auto-linked, then any keywords will also be auto-linked.

Enter each keyword on a new line (not separated by commas).

Step 12:

Decide if auto-linking is required.The options are:

  • This entry should be automatically linked (default to checked) - If site-wide glossary auto-linking has been enabled by an administrator and this checkbox is ticked, the entry will be automatically linked wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the course.
  • This entry is case sensitive (default to checked) - This setting specifies whether matching exact upper and lower case is necessary when auto-linking to an entry.
  • Match whole words only (default to checked) - This setting specifies whether only whole words will be linked, for example, a glossary entry named "construct" will not create a link inside the word "constructivism".

Step 13:

Click on Save Changes and the new glossary entry will now appear in the glossary. It will have an editing button beside it if you need to make further amendments.

Step 14:

You might want to categorise your Glossary entries.To add categories to your glossary you need to click on the 'browse by category' tab of the glossary.

Step 15:

Click on 'edit categories' button

The categories screen will appear. Click on the 'add category' button.

The add category screen will appear.

Step 16:

Type the name of the category in the name box.

Step 17:

Decide whether the category name will be automatically linked wherever it appears in the course.

Automatically link this category Yes/No (defaults to No) - If glossary auto-linking has been enabled and this setting is enabled, the category name will be automatically linked wherever it appears throughout the rest of the course. When a participant follows a category name link, they will be taken to the "Browse by category" page of the glossary.

Step 18:

Click on 'Save changes' then click on the 'back' button.

This will take you back to the glossary.

Step 19:

To categorise your individual glossary entries, click on the 'edit' button for the entry.Just below the Definition screen you will find the Categories drop down box which will now include the category you have just added.

Step 20:

Click on the relevant category for that glossary item

Step 21:

Click on 'save changes'.

Now if you browse by category you will find the glossary entry you have just categorised listed under that category.


5. Questionnaire

The questionnaire module allows you to construct surveys using a variety of question types, for the purpose of gathering data from users.

To set up a questionnaire

Step 1:

Click on the dropdown arrow of the 'Add an activity' box

Step 2:

Select 'questionnaire' from the list

Step 3:

Type a name for the questionnaire.

Step 4:

If you have a set period for when the questionnaire will be available for responses, you can set this using the Timing options, otherwise leave these options blank.

  • Choose open date - You can specify a date to open the questionnaire here. Check the check box, and select the date and time you want. Users will not be able to fill out the questionnaire before that date. If this is not selected, it will be open immediately. (
  • Choose close date - You can specify a date to close the questionnaire here. Check the check box, and select the date and time you want. Users will not be able to fill out the questionnaire after that date. If this is not selected, it will never be closed.

Step 5:

Set the questionnaire response options:

  • Type (defaults to 'respond many') - Select whether users will be allowed to respond once, daily, weekly, monthly or an unlimited number of times (many).
  • Respondent type (defaults to 'fullname') - You can display your users' full names with each response by setting this to "fullname". You can hide your users' identities from the responses by setting this to "anonymous".
  • Students can view all responses (defaults to 'after answering the questionnaire') - You can specify who can see the responses of all respondents to submitted questionnaires (general statistics tables).The options are 'after answering the questionnaire', 'after the questionnaire is closed' and 'always'.
  • Save/Resume answers (defaults to No) - Setting this option allows users to save their answers to a questionnaire before submitting them. Users can leave the questionnaire unfinished and resume from the save point at a later date.
  • Allow branching questions (defaults to No) - Enable Yes/No and Radio Buttons questions to have Child questions dependent on their choices in your questionnaire.
  • Auto numbering (defaults to 'auto number pages and questions') - Automatic numbering of questions and pages. You might want to disable automatic numbering for questionnaires with conditional branching.Options include 'Do not number questions or pages', 'auto number questions', 'auto number pages' and 'auto number pages and questions'.
  • Submission grade (defaults to 'no grade') - you can choose a grade from 100 - 1 instead of No grade if there needs to be a submission grade set.

Step 6:

Set the Content options (default is 'create new') - Select one of the radio button options. 'Create new' is the default.

Step 7:

Click on 'Save and return to unit'

Step 8:

Click on the questionnaire link to open it

Step 9:

The questionnaire will show that it does not contain any questions.

Click on the 'add questions' link to add the questions you have worked out in advance.

Step 10:

The Add questions screen will appear

Step 11:

In the dropdown box you will see the following question type options:

  • Check boxes
  • Date
  • Dropdown box
  • Essay box
  • Label
  • Numeric
  • Page Break
  • Radio Buttons
  • Rate (scale 1...5)
  • Text box
  • Yes/No

Step 12:

Select the appropriate question type to suit the question and click on the 'add selected question type' button.

Step 13:

Complete the form (for Check box question type):

  • The Question Name is only used when you export responses to CSV/Excel format. If you never export to CSV, then you needn't worry about Question names at all. If you plan to regularly export your questionnaire data to CSV, then you have a choice of two options for question naming.
  • Response is required Yes/No - If you select Yes, response to this question will be required, i.e. the respondent will not be able to submit the questionnaire until this question has been answered.
  • Min. forced responses (defaults to zero)
  • Max.forced responses (defaults to zero)
  • Question text - you need to type the actual question into this box.You need to be careful that your question isn't actually asking multiple questions.
  • Possible answers - Enter one option per line for the user to select one or multiple answers from when they come to answer the question.

Step 14:

Click on 'Save changes'

Your question will now appear in the 'manage questions' list.

Step 15:

You can preview the question to see what it will look like by clicking on the 'preview' tab

Step 16:

You can set the advanced options for your questionnaire in the 'advanced settings' tab

Step 17:

There are various content options to set:

  • Questionnaire type - There are three types of questionnaires:
    Private - belongs to the course it is defined in only.
    Template - can be copied and edited.
    Public - can be shared among courses.
  • Title - Title of this questionnaire, which will appear at the top of every page. By default Title is set to the questionnaire Name, but you can edit it as you like.
  • Subtitle - Subtitle of this questionnaire. Appears below the title on the first page only.
  • Additional info - Text to be displayed at the top of the first page of this questionnaire. (i.e. instructions, background info, etc.)

Step 18:

You need to set the questionnaire submission options so that one the completed questionnaire is submitted the user receives notification they have successfully submitted it and the responses are notified to you.

  • You need to choose whether the user will be directed to a particular webpage after they submit the questionnaire or whether there will be a special page with message on it.
    Confirmation URL -
    The URL to which a user is redirected after completing this questionnaire.
    Confirmation page - Heading (in bold) and body text for the "Confirmation" page displayed after a user completes this questionnaire. (URL, if present, takes precedence over confirmation text.) If you leave this field empty, a default message will be displayed upon questionnaire completion (Thank you for completing this Questionnaire).
  • Heading text - if you chose 'Confirmation page' you need to provide a heading title for the page
  • Body text - if you chose 'Confirmation page' you need to provide the text which will appear on that page
  • Email - Sends a copy of each submission to the specified address or addresses. You can provide more than one address by separating them with commas. Leave blank for no email backup.

Step 19:

Click on 'save and return to course'.

6. Quiz

The quiz activity enables a you to create quizzes comprising questions of various types, including multiple choice, matching, short-answer and numerical. A well thought out quiz is ideal for assessment in an open online course which does not have ongoing tutor or teacher support.

You can allow the quiz to be attempted multiple times, with the questions shuffled or randomly selected from the question bank. A time limit may be set.

Each attempt is marked automatically, with the exception of essay questions, and the grade is recorded in the gradebook.

You can choose when and if hints, feedback and correct answers are shown to learners.

Quizzes may be used

  • As course exams
  • As mini tests for reading assignments or at the end of a topic
  • As exam practice using questions from past exams
  • To deliver immediate feedback about performance
  • For self-assessment

When setting up a quiz for your open educational resource, you need to carefully construct all the variables for the question bank.

See the 'Hands-on Moodle Quiz' course for details of how to set up a quiz. Please note, this link takes you to another course on OpenLearn Create - you may like to open it in a new tab by holding the Ctrl key when you click on the link.

General advice when building Moodle quizzes in OpenLearn Create

Writing a quiz

To maximise the use of a quiz to test the understanding of the course materials it is really important to make sure you base the quiz questions on the course content and on the learning outcomes.  If you are not the author of the course materials you need to read the materials before starting to write the quiz.  If you are the author of the course materials, it is good practice to draft quiz questions as you write, then review the questions you’ve drafted (even if they’re very rough and under developed) when you’ve completed writing the content.

Question types

It is usually a good idea to construct a quiz using more than one question type, to provide more variety and challenge for the learner.

The criteria of the quiz can be set to complete all the questions (regardless of whether a pass grade has been achieved) or to achieve a pass grade.  If the completion of a quiz leads to a digital badge, you can use formative and summative quizzes in different ways for the badge.  For example you might have a series of 3 quizzes which the learner needs to complete without a passing grade, followed by an end of course quiz which does require a pass grade.  You can choose to make all four quizzes count for the digital badge or only have the digital badge based on the end of course quiz, if you don’t want their learning journey to be included in the badge criteria.

Selection questions

Multiple choice questions

There is a skill involved in writing good multiple choice questions to provide questions which expose learner misunderstanding of the materials.  Use plausible distractors in questions, especially for multiple choice / multiple responses questions as learner response to the distractors can be used to provide remedial feedback which will help learners overcome their misunderstanding.

You need to offer more options of responses than the number of tries you are offering because if the quiz is set to ‘Interactive with multiple tries’ and you are providing hints, learners will have more than one opportunity to try a question in a quiz attempt and will eventually get the right answer without being fully tested on their understanding of the material. 

You need to provide hints or feedback for every try as well as for the completion of the question.

You can choose to have a penalty for each incorrect try if you wish (for example a deduction of 33.33% of the mark for each incorrect try).  However you also need to think about what the pass grade is for the whole quiz in relation to penalties, as the quiz could quickly become hard to pass if the pass grade is set very high (such as 80%).

You can build random variants of a quiz question so that if the learner attempts the quiz a second time after an unsuccessful first attempt they will get a different version of the same question.  Therefore it is a good idea to have a pool of correct answers and a pool of incorrect answers which the person building the quiz can choose from to use when creating random variant multiple choice questions.

Use OU multiple response question option rather than multiple choice for multiple response questions. The OU multiple response questions option is an improvement on multiple choice in the way it marks the question. This is explained in more detail in Hands-on Moodle Quiz, however you need to enrol on the course to see the information about how it works.

Writing random variant questions

Your quiz could be 5 questions long and if the learner fails their first attempt and reattempts it they will encounter the same 5 questions.  This will make it much easier for them to answer the quiz correctly the second time around, especially if there are not many choices of correct answers or if the quiz has a high proportion of Yes/No questions, which usually makes a very poor quiz.

Random variant questions can be used to make the quiz just as difficult to answer in subsequent attempts as the first attempt.  You can ask exactly the same question but have a different selection of correct and incorrect answers each time the learner re-attempts the quiz.

Write a question and compile a list of correct and incorrect answers to the question.  Incorrect responses can be quite hard to write without being obviously incorrect or silly.  Then select a few correct and a few incorrect answers for each random variant of the question.

For example, you have a total of 10 correct and 8 incorrect responses to your question:

Table 1 correct and incorrect responses for your question

Correct Incorrect
Correct 1
Correct 2
Correct 3
Correct 4
Correct 5
Correct 6
Correct 7
Correct 8
Correct 9
Correct 10  
Incorrect 1
Incorrect 2
Incorrect 3
Incorrect 4
Incorrect 5
Incorrect 6
Incorrect 7
Incorrect 8



For Q1a (the first random variant) select 5 correct and 3 incorrect responses, for Q1b select a different 5 correct and 3 incorrect responses and for Q1c select 5 correct and 3 incorrect responses which are a different combination from the other two options:

Table 2 Question variants

Q1a Q1b Q1c
Correct 1
Correct 2
Correct 3
Correct 4
Correct 5

Incorrect 1  
Incorrect 2
Incorrect 3
Correct 6
Correct 7
Correct 8
Correct 9
Correct 10

Incorrect 4  
Incorrect 5
Incorrect 6
Correct 4
Correct 5
Correct 6
Correct 7
Correct 8

Incorrect 1
Incorrect 7
Incorrect 8

You will need to review the combinations of answers you’ve selected for each random variant version, as some might not work well together and could make the question unexpectedly easy to answer by a process of elimination.  Your incorrect answers need to be good distractors to make the learner really think about the question properly.

Your original quiz could therefore actually be a quiz of 5 questions each of which has some random variant options, it doesn’t have to be the same number of random variants for each question, for example this combination is a total of 14 random variant questions for the 5 actual questions:

Question 1a
Question 1b
Question 1c

Question 2a
Question 2b

Question 3a
Question 3b
Question 3c

Question 4a
Question 4b
Question 4c
Question 4d

Question 5a
Question 5b

Every time the learner attempts the quiz a different random variant for each question will come up, this will result in many combinations of the quiz before they encounter exactly the same set of questions they saw the first, second or third time.  Inevitably they will see some of the same as before after 3 tries.  You can increase the number of combinations of the quiz each time by having 4 random variants for some questions.  You will increase the number of combinations even further if you have more than 5 questions in your quiz.


True / False questions

This type of question is usually only used for one try as the answer will be obvious after the first try.  Filling up your quiz with true / false questions will make a very boring quiz and easy to pass at a second attempt 24 hours later.  One True / False question per 5 questions is probably a better mix.

Select missing words questions

This type of question is used when a long piece of text has missing words which the learner needs to complete.  It is used when there isn’t enough screen space for drag and drop words below the piece of text.  The missing words option uses dropdown lists instead.  This type of question is keyboard accessible using the tab key and up and down keys.

Drag and drop questions

Drag and drop into text is used for dropping missing words into spaces in a piece of text (in pre-defined gaps). 

Drag and drop into an image can be used to label an image. 

Providing additional words in the list of words to drag and drop increases the difficulty for the learner.

Matching questions

The quiz author provides several questions and correct answers.  The computer lays out the questions then shuffles the answers in a dropdown list.  It is worthwhile adding extra answers as distractors to make the question more challenging.

Text questions

In a quiz which is not going to be marked by a human, there is a limit on the type of question available, for example essay questions cannot be used. 

Pattern match questions

Pattern match questions can be used if short free-text learner responses match a response pattern.  It can cope with misspellings, specification of synonyms and alternative phrases, flexible word order and can check on the proximity of words.  The learner response needs to match against any number of response matching patterns – each pattern is compared with the learner response until a match is found so that feedback and marks can be assigned.  So the key to using it is asking questions which can be marked accurately and it is strongly recommended to limit the response to 20 words maximum. 

Pattern match can be used as an alternative to 'drag and drop' or 'select missing words' in a paragraph of text.

Graded quizzes

When setting up the grading of quizzes (if a pass grade is required), you are advised to read the guidance on setting up activity and course completion tracking, badges and statement of participation.


7. Lesson

The lesson activity module enables a teacher to deliver content and/or practice activities in interesting and flexible ways. It is used in time bound courses with a start and end date which are supported by teachers or tutors.

A teacher can use the lesson to create a linear set of content pages or instructional activities that offer a variety of paths or options for the learner.  In either case, teachers can choose to increase engagement and ensure understanding by including a variety of questions, such as multiple choice, matching and short answer.  Depending on the student’s choice of answer and how the teacher develops the lesson, students may progress to the next page, be taken back to a previous page or redirected down a different path entirely. 

A lesson may be graded, with the grade recorded in the gradebook. 

Lessons may be used

  • For self-directed learning of a new topic
  • For scenarios or simulations / decision-making exercises
  • For differentiated revision, with different sets of revision questions depending upon answers given to initial questions

Step 1:

Give your lesson a name and a description – the description box is where you can explain the lesson activity to the learners.  You can choose to display this description on the course page.

Step 2:

Confirm the appearance settings for the lesson:

  • Linked media - A media file may be uploaded for use in the lesson. A 'Click here to view' link will then be displayed in a block called 'Linked media' on each page of the lesson.
  • Progress bar (default is No) - if enabled, a bar is displayed at the bottom of lesson pages showing approximate percentage of completion.

Display ongoing score (default is No) - If enabled, each page will display the student's current points earned out of the total possible thus far.

  • Display menu (default is No) - if enabled, a menu allowing users to navigate through the list of pages is displayed.
  • Minimum grade to display menu (default is 0%) - This setting determines whether a student must obtain a certain grade before viewing the lesson menu. This forces the student to go through the entire lesson on their first attempt, then after obtaining the required grade they can use the menu for review.
  • Slideshow (default is No) - If enabled, the lesson is displayed as a slideshow, with a fixed width and height.
  • Maximum number of answers (default is 4) - This setting specifies the maximum number of answers that may be used in the lesson. If only true/false questions are used, it can be set to 2. The setting may be changed at any time, since it only affects what the teacher sees, not the data.
  • Use default feedback (default is No) - If enabled, when a response is not found for a particular question, the default response of "That's the correct answer" or "That's the wrong answer" will be shown.
  • Link to next activity - To provide a link at the end of the lesson to another activity in the course, select the activity from the dropdown list

Step 3:

You can set the time limits and period for the lesson in the availability settings.

Step 4:

In flow control you have the following settings:

  • Allow student review (default is No) - If enabled, students can navigate through the lesson again from the start.
  • Provide option to try a question again (default is No) - If enabled, when a question is answered incorrectly, the student is given the option to try it again for no point credit, or continue with the lesson.
  • Maximum number of attempts (default is 1) - This setting specifies the maximum number of attempts allowed for each question. If answered incorrectly repeatedly, when the maximum is reached, the next page of the lesson is displayed.
  • Action after correct answer (default is Normal – follow lesson path) - After answering a question correctly, there are 3 options for the following page:
  • Normal - Follow lesson path
  • Show an unseen page - Pages are shown in a random order with no page shown twice
  • Show an unanswered page - Pages are shown in a random order, with pages containing unanswered questions shown again
  • Number of pages to show (default is 1) - This setting specifies the number of pages shown in a lesson. It is only applicable for lessons with pages shown in a random order (when "Action after correct answer" is set to "Show an unseen page" or "Show an unanswered page"). If set to zero, then all pages are shown.

Step 5:

Set the grade criteria with the following options:

  • Grade - Select the type of grading used for this activity. If "scale" is chosen, you can then choose the scale from the "scale" dropdown. If using "point" grading, you can then enter the maximum grade available for this activity.
  • Grade category - This setting controls the category in which this activity's grades are placed in the gradebook.
  • Grade to pass - This setting determines the minimum grade required to pass. The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.
  • Practice lesson (default is No) - A practice lesson does not appear in the gradebook.
  • Custom scoring (default is Yes) - If enabled, then each answer may be given a numerical point value (positive or negative).
  • Re-takes allowed (default is No) - If enabled, students can attempt the lesson more than once.
  • Handling of re-takes (default is use mean) - If re-takes are allowed, this setting specifies whether the grade for the lesson is the mean or maximum of all attempts.
  • Minimum number of questions (default is 0) - This setting specifies the minimum number of questions that will be used to calculate a grade for the activity.

Step 6:

You probably will not need to touch the Common module settings unless you are using groups.
You can ignore Restrict access unless you need to add a restriction.

Step 7:

Save and display

The Edit screen for the lesson will appear with the prompt ‘what would you like to do first?

The following options are given:

  • Import questions
  • Add a content page
  • Add a cluster
  • Add a question page

Import questions allows you to import a file of questions.  You can upload a file of any of the following formats:

  • Aiken format
  • Blackboard
  • Embedded answers (Cloze)
  • Examview
  • Gift format
  • Missing word format
  • Moodle XML format
  • WebCT format

Add a content page has the following settings:

Page title, page contents
Arrange content buttons horizontally (default is checked)
Display in menu? (default is checked)
Content 1

  • Description
  • Jump (default this page) – other options are next page, previous page, end of lesson, unseen question within a content page, random question within a content page, random content page

Content 2
Content 3 etc

Add a cluster asks you to give the cluster a page title and page contents, it also has the jump options.

Add a question page will ask you to select a question type from a drop down list with the following options: Multichoice, essay, matching, numerical, short answer, true/false

Each of these options has a set up page, for example multichoice (which is the default) asks for a page title, page contents, multiple-answer (default unchecked), answer 1 (with answer and response boxes, jump and score), answer 2, answer 3 and answer 4.  Each answer (for questions) or description (for content pages) has a corresponding jump. The jump can be relative, such as this page or next page, or absolute, specifying any one of the pages in the lesson.

Step 8:

Test your lesson with your test account to see if the learner can navigate through the lesson in the way you envisage.  When you attempt the lesson activities which have grading, this will show up in in the reports for the lesson.  You can delete these test attempts via the lesson report menu.








8. SCORM package

A Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) package is a collection of files which are packaged according to an agreed standard for learning objects. The SCORM activity module enables SCORM or AICC packages to be uploaded as a zip file and added to a course.  Content is usually displayed over several pages, with navigation between the pages. There are various options for displaying content in a pop-up window, with a table of contents, with navigation buttons etc. SCORM activities generally include questions, with grades being recorded in the gradebook.

SCORM activities may be used

  • For presenting multimedia content and animations
  • As an assessment tool

There are pros and cons of using a SCORM package in Moodle.  Moodle doesn't generate SCORM content; it presents the content in SCORM packages to learners and saves the data about learner interactions with the SCORM package rather than in Moodle.  This may have an impact on your Moodle course completion tracking.

Instructions for uploading a SCORM package are being compiled.

9. Wiki

A wiki is a web-based system that lets users edit a set of linked pages. In Moodle, you would normally use a wiki when you want your students to create content collaboratively.

The OpenLearn Create wiki has a variety of options. Please see the individual help by each item for more information.

A wiki is not normally suitable for a standalone OER which does not have tutor support.

Step 1:

Add resource or activity and click on wiki.

Give the wiki a name and a description. 

You can choose to display the description on the main page - if enabled, the description will be displayed on the course page just below the link to the activity or resource.

Step 2:

Configure the Wiki settings

Sub-wikis (default is Single wiki for course)

  • Single wiki for course - This wiki behaves as one single wiki. Everybody on the course sees the same pages.
  • One wiki per group - Members of each group see an entirely separate copy of the wiki (sub-wiki) specific to their group. You can only see pages created by people in the same group. If you are in more than one group, or you have permissions that allow you to view all groups, you get a dropdown to choose a group.
  • Separate wiki for every user - Every single user gets an entirely different wiki. You can only see your own wiki unless you have permissions that allow you to view others, when you get a dropdown to choose a user. (This can be used as a way for students to contribute work, although you should consider other ways to achieve this such as the Assessment activity.)

Note that the group option works with the chosen grouping. It will ignore groups in other groupings.

Annotation system (default No) - Enables the Annotation tab, for users with the appropriate permission. With this tab you can add inline annotations to wiki pages (for example, teacher comments on student work).

Time allowed for edit (default No timeout) - If you select a timeout, people editing the wiki are only allowed to edit it for a given time. The wiki locks pages while they are being edited (so that two people can't edit the same page at once), so setting a timeout prevents the wiki becoming locked for others. For further information about the time allowed for edit function, look at the help text in the Edit settings form.

Allow editing from - If you enable this option the wiki enters read-only mode until the given date. In read-only mode users can see pages, navigate between them, view history, and participate in discussions, but they cannot edit pages.

Prevent editing from - If you enable this option the wiki enters read-only mode from the given date onwards.

Template - A template is a predefined set of wiki pages. When a template is set, the wiki starts off with the content defined in the template. The template applies to each subwiki; in "One wiki per group" mode, for example, each group's wiki is initialised with the pages in the template. To create a template, write the pages you want on any wiki, then visit the Index page and click the "Save wiki as template" button. (You can also manually create templates in other software; it is an extremely simple XML format. Look at a saved template to see the format.) You can add the template after the wiki has been created. Adding a template only affects newly created sub-wiki's, existing ones will remain as at present.

Show word counts (default Yes) - If switched on then word counts for the pages will be calculated and displayed at the bottom of the main content.

Link to import pages (default unchecked) - Checking the box will add the ability to 'import' pages from other wikis in the course into the current wiki

Step 3:

If the wiki is to be graded, set up the grading criteria.

Grade - Select the type of grading used for this activity. If "scale" is chosen, you can then choose the scale from the "scale" dropdown. If using "point" grading, you can then enter the maximum grade available for this activity.

Grade category - This setting controls the category in which this activity's grades are placed in the gradebook.

Grade to pass - This setting determines the minimum grade required to pass. The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.

Step 4:

You probably will not need to touch the Common module settings unless you are using groups.

You can ignore Restrict access unless you need to add a restriction.

Save and display

Step 5:

The basic wiki will display.  A message will appear on the screen saying:

This wiki’s start page has not yet been created.  Would you like to create it?

Click on the create page button.

The start page settings will appear.  You will need to edit the page by inserting content, usually this would include the instructions to the learners of what the activity is about and what they need to do.  The page comes with the following instructions:

Edit the page below.

  • Make a link to another page by typing the page name in double square brackets: [[page name]]. The link will become active once you save changes.
  • To create a new page, first make a link to it in the same way.
  • While editing, you can type a link to a page that doesn’t exist yet, such as [[Frogs]]. Then save this page and click on the ‘Frogs’ link to create the new page.
  • It is also possible to create new pages from the ‘View’ tab using the ‘Create new page’ box.

You can also upload file attachments for the start page.

Save changes and you are ready to start using the wiki.

Step 6:

Your start page will appear with the content you added.  Below the page will be two options:

  • Add new section to this page (a content window appears for the section on the page)
  • Create new page (uses the same procedure for editing as for the start page)

You might want to use these options to create a further instructions page, for example about how to use the wiki and wiki etiquette.

Above the Start page will be edit and history tabs as well as the view tab.  You and the learners will be able to see these tabs and their content.

Above the tabs on every wiki page are three buttons:

  • Wiki index – shows the structure of the wiki and if there are any missing pages.  It also gives the option for printing the wiki.
  • Wiki changes – shows the date, time, page, number of words and who changed a page content
  • Participation by user (the learner view is ‘My participation’) – a downloadable report of all user participation in the wiki, including grades.





10. Workshop

The workshop activity module enables the collection, review and peer assessment of students' work.

Students can submit any digital content (files), such as word-processed documents or spreadsheets and can also type text directly into a field using the text editor.

Submissions are assessed using a multi-criteria assessment form defined by the teacher. The process of peer assessment and understanding the assessment form can be practised in advance with example submissions provided by the teacher, together with a reference assessment. Students are given the opportunity to assess one or more of their peers' submissions. Submissions and reviewers may be anonymous if required.

Students obtain two grades in a workshop activity - a grade for their submission and a grade for their assessment of their peers' submissions. Both grades are recorded in the gradebook.

A workshop activity is not usually suitable for a standalone OER which does not have tutor support.

Instructions for setting up an online workshop are being compiled.