Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bloody Damned Online Exams1!!1!!!!11!!

In general I rather like Moodle, our web learning system. Except when it comes to taking tests. When it comes to taking tests it can suck sweaty donkey balls. This is not, I should note, the fault of the Moodle system, but rather is the fault of Valley's techies.

When I first used Moodle, I was warned by the instructor that we should log into Moodle through the back, rather than through the school web site. If you logged in through the web site the system would time you out after 25 minutes of inactivity. Taking a test counted as inactivity.

Then somewhere along the way while tweeking moodle, apparently they set it to log you out after an hour of inactivity even logged in through the back. Ooops. This means that if you are taking a test and take more than an hour, when you go to submit it will ask you to log back in. Early on fter this change this meant you just lost your only chance to submit your test. Being logged off the system and back on in the middle of a test counted as an attempt and few instructors allowed more than one attempt. After this caused no small uproar they apparently changed the system so that it wouldn't log you off in the middle of a test - or so I thought.

Then I took my communications final this afternoon. Apparently they only extended the time it takes to time you out of the system while taking a test. Now they were kind enough to set it up so that if you actually happen to get timed out while taking a test, it won't count as an attempt when you log back in - it will just take you back to your test. With one small problem...

The motherfucking test comes back fucking blank!!!!!!!!!!

My communications final consisted of two long essay questions, a small short answer section and six short essay questions. Three of the short essays and the first long essay required that you actually do a little bit of quick research, as they included bits that did not come from our reading or discussions. I spent a little over two and a half fucking hours on my final, only to have the whole motherfucking thing pop back up blank. And while the first question - one of the long essays, was set up in a window that allows you to copy and paste, the rest of the responses went into windows that didn't allow that. So while I actually had the answer to the first saved, I didn't have the rest.

I wish I had noted that you can print the fucking thing before I tried to submit the first time. I noted this and "printed" it to an xml file the second time around, before I submitted it - just in case. But that time it went through without a problem. It also went through a good deal shorter than it was the first time around. I should be fine, but I prefer to be more than fine. My general preference is to produce work that makes my instructors wish they could give more points for an assignment.

Motherfucking online tests...

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