Thursday, 5 April 2012

Announcing QTI Works

Development work during the first few months of the QTIDI project has been progressing successfully, though you would certainly be forgiven for doubting this! As well as me being notoriously bad at finding time to write blog posts, the first development iterations on QTIDI have focused on "refactoring" all of the QTI-related software components we have been building and using on recent JISC projects so that they make a much better foundation for the technical goals of this project. (Rubbish analogy time: I've taken lots of random things, laid them on a carpet, and hit them with hammers until they break into little pieces. I'm now joining these pieces up to make something nice. Hopefully. The analogy is rubbish as I can't think of any examples where I've made something nice out of random bits on a carpet. Luckily, I'm better at doing this with software, so probably shouldn't have used this analogy in the first place.)

One of the key bits of work done so far has been a redesign of JQTI, which is the Java software library for "doing" QTI stuff that Southampton developed a few years ago. I've previously blogged about why I thought this is necessary (see and the result of this is coming together under the not-very-original name of JQTI+. This refactoring work is now almost complete, with the exception of QTI tests, which JQTI never quite implemented fully and will be revisited in a few months.

On top of JQTI+, I'm building the replacement for MathAssessEngine that will become the main technical deliverable of this project. MathAssessEngine, which was based on the original QTIEngine, is also going to be torn apart and redesigned so that it can do all of the things it now needs to do, and do them all really well.
To reflect the scope of the work we're doing, we've decided to give the replacement for MathAssessEngine a completely new name and, after a couple of months of riotously bad naming attempts, we've decided to call it QTI Works.

I will deploy regular public development snapshots of QTI Works while it takes shape over the next few months, which you will be able to find at:

If you remember to wear a hard hat, you can go in and try the first development snapshot now. This showcases the brand new (and vastly improved) QTI 2.1 validation functionality in JQTI+, as well as demonstrating the newly-refactored rendering and delivery of QTI 2.1 assessment items. (You'll have to make do with a selection of sample items for the time being... the functionality that will allow you to upload, validate and try out your own items is still written on the back of some envelopes. This will turn into real code that you can play with during the next development iteration. Hopefully!)

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