[LON-CAPA-users] Need Advice on Putting Up a Sample Test

Gerd Kortemeyer lon-capa-users@mail.lon-capa.org
Fri, 16 May 2008 21:26:26 -0400


On May 16, 2008, at 12:59 PM, Amos Lee wrote:
> Here at usask.ca, we are in the process of creating an online sample
> test which we would like to make accessible to the public at large.
> Some desired features are as follows:
> (1) A user would be able to resume the test from the last attempted
>    question without losing answers to all previous questions as long
>    as the web browser's cache has not been purged.

You would need to use the "public" mechanism (described further  
below). The normal environment, however, is a course.

> (2) Feedback to each question will be postponed to the end of the  
> test.

That's possible. How should the test be started and ended?

> (3) At the end of the test, a summary displays the test score, and
>    which questions have been answered incorrectly.

We have in the past built a custom XML-pages to do this. The typical  
grades display is too complex for just one test for most users.

> Some questions:
> Q1. How hard would it be to achieve these features in a login
>    environment for:
>    (a) users who are already in the class list?

Relatively easy.

>        More specifically, is there a published interface for
>        making database calls to retrieve test score and test
>        summary from Lon Capa?

You can access them through XML and &EXT() calls. Basically, you  
write a dynamic web page with embedded database calls and publish it.  
We have done that in the past, but it's a custom-job: you need to  
know exactly what's in your test, and where, and then you can  
retrieve the values. Others on this list may have example XML files.

>    (b) users who are not in the class list via "on-the-fly" online
>        registration (Emailing username and initial password to the
>        registered user)?

The next version LON-CAPA is going to have a self-enrollment  
interface. The users would then actually become part of a class, and  
the functionality would be the same as a).

> Q2. How hard would it be to achieve these features in a NON-login
>    environment?

Currently, I don't see a way to do this. See http://www.lon-capa.org/ 
demo.html for a non-login environment. You can do the problems, but  
when you leave them and come back, the values are gone.

>    More specifically, other than "cookies", are there other  
> technologies
>    available to obtain feature (1) above? Even with "cookies", how
>    would you rate the programming difficulty for a programmer who  
> knows
>    the basics of perl and web page scripting?

One would need to build on the mechanism used for http://www.lon- 
capa.org/demo.html and make it less forgetful. I am currently not  
sure what's involved. My recommendation would be the self-enrollment  
mechanism ... would that do the trick?

- Gerd.