9 Dec 2012

Hot Potatoes

Hot Potatoes is an open source suite that enables you to make lessons and quizzes in various formats. You can download the software here.
The suite consists of:

  • JQuiz
  • JMatch
  • JCloze
  • JCloze
  • JMix
and of course, The Masher.


My favourite Hot Potato application is JQuiz, so in this post I'll focus on that.

Quiz formats 

Multiple choice , short answer or hybrid questions  (e.g. short answer questions that turn into mcqs after two incorrect answers). Feedback can be given for every answer. 

Menu Options


- Save your JQuiz file for later use.

- Create a web page / zip package
Save the Jquiz as a web page for your students to take the quiz. These web pages can be uploaded to your server,  file host or LMS. If your students don't have access to the internet, they can copy the files to their computers and still do the exercises. All they need is a web browser.
Screenshot of a HotPot quiz

- Add a reading text
This text will appear on the left side of the page. Students can scroll down and are still able to read it while they are answering the questions. 

- Create a SCORM 1.2 package

- Export for printing.
This is a very useful option. Even if you don't need to make browser-based materials for your students you can use JQuiz to prepare pen and paper quizzes. You can shuffle the order of questions and answers (from the Manage Questions menu)  and have different versions of the same quiz. It's also a lot faster to make quizzes like this as you don't need to keep typing a, b, ... etc. as you would do when creating an mcq quiz on a word processor.  Your exercise is exported ready for printing including a key.

Options (Configure output)

Selcet the font and font size of your choice along with the background colour of the page and exercise.

There are many more options in the menus, but these are enough to get you started. If you are new to Hot Potatoes, give it a try and let me know how it goes.

18 Nov 2012

Dropbox - free online storage

Dropbox is a free service that has made our life in the office much easier. 

We were looking for a hassle-free way to be able to take work home. At first we tried uploading the files to our email account. This wasn't much help because in two weeks our email account was full of drafts of documents that were constantly being resent. Then we tried setting up a VPN. At first it seemed like the perfect solution. At the end of the day you can go home but still be at work. But accessing your office computer from home means that you have to leave your office computer on. Needless to say there were many occassions when the PC was powered off at the end of day by force of habit, leaving us with no access to our files.

We finally ended up trying Dropbox and stuck with it til now. It's easy to use, reliable and offers 2 GB free storage space. Dropbox can be accessed from any computer via a browser or the Dropbox software. By installing Dropbox on your computer you can choose to share a folder in your account. Open the file, make any changes you want to and then save it. Your colleagues can automatically access the file without downloading or emailing it. 

One of the greatest benefits is that all your files are protected. No more worrying about your computer crashing since everything is stored online. This is especially useful if,  like me, you forget to ... or can't be bothered to back up your files. You can even undelete a file if you change your mind! So ... Dropbox it is!

Can't wait to give it a try? Click here to get started.