Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New Uniqurate release

A new release of Uniqurate was published yesterday which introduces a new component, the catchily titled "place items into correct order" component. When authoring the question you supply a number of items and specify a correct order for them. Then, when the question is delivered to the student, their task is to arrange them into this correct order.

From a user interface perspective, there are commonalities between this component and the existing multiple choice component - i.e. both of them require the ability to add a variable amount of "answers" to the component. I could have used the existing multiple choice question component as a basis for the UI for the new one, but I decided to adopt a slightly different approach. Rather than having an "add new item" button next to each answer, I used a single "add" button, and introduced the ability to re-order the answers by dragging them. I think this approach is nicer than the existing one on the MCQ component, and if the community agrees I will port it over to the MCQ component.

There are several potential avenues for the next thrust (ooer) of development, and I would be keen to get some thoughts from the community:

Maths Component
Would allow a user to enter a simple expression, i.e. A x B + C / D, possibly some functions too, specify the ranges for each variable, and possibly other parameters such as whether to use integers only etc. I would be open to suggestions on how to represent this in the user interface. My thinking at the moment is that when you drag this component onto the canvas, it fires up a wizard that leads you through entering the expression, then specifying the ranges for each variable etc. Once complete, the wizard would close so that all you have in the canvas/preview is a placeholder represented by the expression, and an edit button. Clicking the edit button would bring the wizard back up.

Select correct answer from pull-down list
It would be easy to implement this as a component in its own right, that would appear as a block within a question. However, I suspect that most people would like to be able to place such components inline within a static block of text. This will be more complex. In terms of how I would represent that from a UI perspective, I would probably arrange it so that one could drag it into place within a static text area. However, that would break the UQ convention with respect to how components are placed onto the canvas. Again, I'm open to suggestions as to how best this should be represented.

Test functionality
I've avoided implementing the ability to compile a group of questions into a test yet, based on the fact that the test capabilities of several of our renderers are still in flux. But this will need doing at some point and now does make a degree of sense, given the fact that UQ now supports a variety of question components, and that there's plenty for you testing types to be getting on with in question-land for the time being!

Any and all feedback will be gratefully received!

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