A recent tweet from Donna Lanclos ABSOLUTELY NAILED my understanding of the perception among many of the E-Learning Team’s role here at Royal Holloway, University of London:

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<RANT>This limited view of our role compounds the skewed nature of our workload in recent years, where poor resourcing and a lack of effective leadership in IT Services have caused us to spend 90% of our time in recent years on system maintenance and only 10% on innovation.  Having addressed the major cause of this imbalance through the recent and successful Moodle rehosting and upgrade, we can now focus on innovation and changing perceptions of the team. </RANT>

I was therefore please to be invited to contribute to a discussion around the use of in-class Moodle quizzes for the purpose of encouraging and tracking lecture attendance.

This is feasible, and is already embedded throughout the School of Biological Science, and more recently in Computer Science, albeit through the use of Clickers rather than Moodle.  Using Moodle in this way has both advantages and disadvantages, and these are outlined below, along with some suggestions to build confidence in the integrity of such an approach.  Can you add to these lists?


  • Moodle is familiar to students and staff – so the training overhead is minimal
  • Moodle provides a ready-made class list and records all assessment-based activities and marks
  • Moodle reports, including quiz marks, can be exported
  • Moodle quizzes are powerful, robust and flexible – Multiple Choice Questions, Short Text and Essay Questions are all useful in this scenario
  • Moodle is largely platform agnostic and the E-Learning Team can provide input into effective design for mobiles/tablets
  • Awarding marks does improve rates of participation (even in 2007)
  • Bringing Moodle into the classroom is a very powerful statement in support of blended learning
  • Buying and distributing Clickers is not a cheap option


  • Assumption that everyone has a device – and that these are sufficiently charged
  • Clickers use IR signals and learners need to be within relatively close range to participate – but Moodle would be accessible from anywhere
  • We cannot restrict access to Moodle based on location – while it may be technically possible this represents a major IT project which delivers little in the way of improved outcomes
  • It is possible for learners to participate without being present – and if they used VPN/Campus Connect to access the internet then we would find it impossible to ascertain where they were
  • Potential for cheating through poorly administered quiz artefacts


  • Quizzes can be configured to open and close at specific dates and times – to the minute – or revealed manually
  • Quizzes can be password protected to provide an extra layer of localised protection
  • It may be worth looking at creating a quiz without a question stem – so that you provide the question verbally or on screen and ask students to enter their answer
  • With tight timings, students will find it hard to provide information to those not present, thereby discouraging absenteeism and collusion
  • Randomly ask students from the list of quiz participants to explain their answer in class


Posted by Martin King

Senior Learning Technologist; MOOC Producer; Moodle, Turnitin, Grademark, Peermark, Panopto, Turning Technologies expert.

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