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Creating Questions For Learner Responses

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by MARK WEST 01/22/12

Creating Questions For Learner Responses

Promethean Learner Response Systems (i.e. "ActiVotes" and "ActivExpressions") allow you to obtain both formative and/or summative assessment, depending upon how you use them. This page discusses the creation and customization of a question bank in ActivInspire. For this write up, ActivInspire 1.6.47432 for Max OS will be used.

Inserting A Question

To have a question that you can both vote on and store data from, you go to the Insert menu and choose Questions....

Only add one question per page. You'll thank me later for simplicity.

The question I am adding is "Those who claim that people in the middle ages believed in the so-called 'Flat Earth' theory have not read the works of..." with possible answers being "Claudius Ptolemy (Geographia)", "Thomas Aquinas (Summa theologiae, Ia, q. 1, a., ad 2).", "Johannes de Sacrobosco (De sphaera mundi)" or "All the above". I start by replacing the text that says "Type here to add a new question" with my question.

If you need to insert an equation using the equation editor, use the Question Properties box and click the square button with a pi symbol in it.

Note that for Activotes your question type can only being Multiple Choice or Yes/No; ActivExpressions can field any type of question. You can enter the question either in the blue area as shown in the picture above or over on the right in the gray area entitled "Question Properties". You can change the question type in either area as well.

Defining Answers

The default first answer has a pull down menu with a capital "A". You can click on the "A" or use the pull down to change the capital "A" to a lowercase "a" or the number "1".

This will make ActivExpression users hapy that they have style choices. However, this doesn't change the ActiVote device which has response options A,B,C,D,E and F (so you might as well use the default).

Replace the text that says "Option 1" with your first answer, "Option2" with your second answer, and so on. For the correct answer, place a check mark in the box next to "Correct answer", like so:

As with questions, if you need to insert an equation into an answer using the equation editor, click the square button with a pi symbol in it.

Since Activotes have letters from A-F, you always get 6 answer possibilities. You can delete extra options by clicking the red X below an option. So I can eliminate extra answer choices (in the case above, I would want to click the red X by E and F).

If you delete too many options and need to add one back, click in the area "Type here to add option" and press enter, the next sequential option will appear (if you have A-D, then E would appear, etc.).

"Number of responses required" must be 1 for ActiVotes.

"Time limit" of 0 allows you to manually start and stop the voting. Replacing 0 with a number creates a countdown in seconds (so a time limit of 5 is a five-second countdown). At the end of the countdown (when the counter reaches 0), ActivInspire will automatically stop the voting processes and those who haven't voted missed out on their chance to vote. By leaving the option at 0, the voting won't stop until you manually tell it to stop.

"Follow-On Question" is do-able with ActivExpressions, but no so with Activotes. This is used for adding a Likert follow up question.

"Replace the page content with a new design" is a must. If you don't put a check by that checkbox, you'll be faked out into thinking it all went away. Replace it and pick a style that best suits your answer.

Now Click the Done button. You should be greeted with a flipchart that looks something like this:

Editing The Appearance

Question and answer problems can be fixed by going to the Edit menu and choosing Questions on Current Page.

However, if your not changing the template or which answer is correct, you can edit text issues with the text editor. For example, some of you have been bugged that I didn't capitalize the Middle Ages (I should have, but I left the mistake to correct it now).

I can also use Authoring mode to tweak the appearance of the template. Click the "blue snowflake" (AKA "Presentation Mode") and change it to a "red snowflake" (AKA "Design Mode"):

Presentation Mode

Design Mode

I'm not really keen on the cartoony picture of the active pen (which now has a red box around it), so I'll use the select tool (the "arrow" in the toolbox) and click on that and then delete it (click on the trashcan or press delete).

And then the white box behind the question is going to go (delete it). And now my flipchart looks like this:

I can go to the Edit menu and choose Page Background and replace it. Since I'm taking about a round earth, perhapas a round gradient of blue and green would be better:

When you have the design the way you want it, Click the "red snowflake" (AKA "Design Mode") and change it to a "blue snowflake" (AKA "Presentation Mode").

Adding Another Question

Insert another page (such as by pressing the right arrow on your toolbox or go to the Insert menu and choose Page and then Blank Page After Current). More than likely, you're adding another multiple choice question (which means you repeat the steps above), but for variety, I'll add a Yes/No Question. Please note that you can swith question styles from question to question and even have multiple choice questions with a different number of answers from question to question.

Inserting A Question

To have a question that you can both vote on and store data from, you go to the Insert menu and choose Questions.... Then I'll type in my question, "In de Sphaera Mundi, did Sacrobosco place the Earth in the Aether?" and change the type to "Yes/No":

There's no answers to deal with (but you do need to place a check next to the correct answer - yes or no) and you can toggle "Yes/No" to "True/False":

And the section "Number of responses required" is replaced with "Include the option 'Don't Know'" (do you want to know who is truly clueless in your class?). The options "Time limit" or "Follow-On Question" work as they did in our first question above and you still need to "Replace the page content with a new design" (note the designs are different). Click the Done button when you are finished. You should have a flipchart page like this (if you chose template 130.ap2):

You can edit it just as you did with the other page (note that I made the title of his work in italics by means of the text editor). When you have entered in all your questions, you will be ready to vote with your learner response systems.