I am conTENT. My work is CONtent.

Posts Tagged ‘online training’

Create Free Online Quizzes for your Blog, Site, Social Network

Posted by contentgrrl on November 12, 2008

OK, so I’m on my business system software company’s year-end task force. Every year for the last five years. The mission: to make year-end easier for both our customers and for our technical support team. That means publishing updated instructions, communicating tips, hosting customer Webinars, and conducting internal training.

This year, we were looking for a way to make it easy to hold other support techs accountable for setting up their test systems, practicing lab procedures, and acquiring knowledge & troubleshooting skills.

Oh, sure. I’d love to have a Learning Management System. But do we have the budget for that? No. Is there an LMS that’s easy to implement? Maybe.

Meanwhile, are there free alternatives? Yes. Bingo!

I found’s  QuizSchool. Here are 20 reasons I think it’s cool so far.

  1. It’s free. Woo-HOO!*
  2. It’s very user-friendly. YAY!
  3. It’s easy to share/publish via iframe on your site, or via email link, or via widget for your Blog/Forum/social media.
  4. You can create multiple choice questions, including multiple answer and true/false. There’s a standard limit of 5 possible answers.
  5. You can create short-answer or fill-in-the-blank questions, and give the system up to 5 possible versions of the expected answer, typical misspellings, and so on.
  6. You can create essay questions, and set a maximum character count.
  7. Although each question will accept any text, picture, logo, video, or media widget you want, the answers at the time of this writing are strictly text.
  8. For all questions, you can add explanatory feedback for display post-answer and/or on the detailed score report.
  9. Scoring is instant for multi-choice and short-answer questions, as long as you set the correct answer.
  10. For essays, although you can’t have the system automatically score it, the test author can review score reports with pending answers after a student has completed the test, and select how many points the essay answer has earned. The system automatically calculates how many points each essay can earn based on the number of points assigned to the entire quiz. Interestingly enough, somebody’s apparently using this as part of the process for conducting job interviews.
  11. You can customize the quiz banner with any text, picture, logo, video, or media widget you want. Same thing with the end-of quiz message.
  12. You can randomize the quiz questions to fight cheating.
  13. You can set the time limit up to 180 minutes (divide by 60, that’s three hours).
  14. QuizSchool Score Options QuizSchool Score Options

    You can customize the scoring criteria as shown here.

  15. On the score report, you can enable the display of scores, answers, and certificate of completion. The individual score report also allows students to enter comments and suggestions about the quiz.*
  16. You can set up a quiz as public or protected by password. *
  17. You can require that each student enter a name and/or password.*
  18. Each quiz’ score report shows each user’s attempts at a quiz, including their IP address, city/state, country, time taken, and link to their individual score report, with an option to delete attempts or entries.*
  19. Each individual score report lets the quiz author assign bonus points to add to the total score for any student’s attempt.*
  20. The quiz stats provide numerical and graphical representation of scores and pinpoint the locations of students on a world map.*

* Update May 2010: features marked with an asterisk (*) are available in Educational and Commercial versions that track scores/analytics and hide ads.

The only three things I have trouble with is:

  • There was no online help when I authored my quiz, and I had to experiment with a few things.
  • I worked for several hours on a number of questions without Saving Changes and lost it. Lesson learned: Save often.
  • I couldn’t find a way to limit the students to taking the test only once. (subject to change)

Word of advice: Save Changes after every question.

And although I keep forgetting my password (that’s user error, I kept forgetting whether I capitalized something) the Forgot Password process is super fast.

I’m looking forward to completing the 50-question Year-End Tech Support Knowledge & Troubleshooting quiz in a few hours. For the test data system setup, we’re using a checklist using the forms available on SurveyMonkey, where our company already has an account (SurveyMonkey, by the way, does not offer automated question scoring). For actual procedural lab work, we’re using a worksheet where you can compare before & after; I may eventually find the time to build a tutorial/exam around it.

I’m also looking forward to including a couple of quizzes right here in my blog. Should be fun.

Posted in community, games, learning, publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

7 Web conferencing technology providers compared (part 2 of 2)

Posted by contentgrrl on November 5, 2007

In part 1, 7 Big Considerations When Shopping for Web demo or conference services (part 1 of 2), we looked at seven questions you need to answer before you begin shopping for a Web conferencing technology.

In this part 2, let’s take a look at the pricing and particulars of 7 Web conferencing technology providers. Most of the following rated well in a Patricia Seybold Group report on web conferencing technology, but Linktivity and Ilinc were positively responsive to my queries even though they weren’t on that report:

  1. Linktivity has a hosted service that gives you 10 connections for 30 days for $450 (5 for $300). We’ve been really happy with our Webdemos and Virtual Classes, hosted ourselves on our own server. Our setup is limited to 50 concurrent connections for the visual portion of each demo or class. We have audioconference lines set up through our Telecom provider.
  2. ReadyComm/Genesys I saw 24 cents per minute per user on their site for both audio and Web.
  3. ilinc Under Buy ilinc, I saw 10c/min for audio plus 10-30c/min for the web conferencing portion, depending on how much collaboration you choose.
  4. Macromedia Breeze had options of 32 cents per min per user, or $375/mo for 5 users, or $750/mo for 10 users. Partnered w/ Premiere Global for audio, but can’t tell if audio is included in price. Like Webex, Microsoft and Adobe/Macromedia may charge an additional 20 cents a minute for each audio connection, or let you rely on your telecom provider.
  5. Microsoft LiveMeeting had similar options of 35 cents per min per user, or $375/mo for 5 users, or $750/mo for 10 users. Again, can’t tell if audio is included.
  6. seems like more of a long-term provider, requiring you to purchase and install software in order to manage your conferences. I couldn’t tell you about their pricing.
  7. WebEx. The current Pay-Per-Use rate is $0.33/minute per user with an additional charge of $0.20/minute per user.

Posted in learning, marketing, performance, project management | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

7 questions to answer before buying Web demo or conference services (part 1 of 2)

Posted by contentgrrl on November 4, 2007

I wanted to share what I’ve learned while shopping for online demonstrations or Web teleconference services. Here are seven questions you need to answer before you begin shopping.

  1. How many? Gather the information about the number of users you want to meet, and how many sessions.
  2. How long? Do you want a small, short-term solution to train a customer who has remote sites? Do you want a hosted solution, rather than install the software on your own server? How long each session is going to be?
  3. How will your audience connect? Can you assume your customer’s users all have broadband Web access, Windows, Internet Explorer 5.5+, and enough administrative privileges to install a requisite browser plug-in? Some corporations previously standardized on a specific older version of Netscape. Make sure you understand the end-user minimum requirements for the conferencing system you choose, and maybe check with your client’s IT department to be sure they can comply.
  4. Is Audio separate or integrated? Some conferencing systems rely on a separate teleconferencing line, and some integrate audio with the web. But your customers’ PCs may not have the sound cards or speakers that will deliver the audio to your audience. You’d hate for them to miss out on your trainers’ words. If audio is integrated, look for an alternative phone number to be made available and easy for participants to find.
  5. How easy is it to use? Your should be able to schedule and host a session with ease, and it should be crystal clear for your clients to connect and get support if necessary. The fewer steps the better. Ask for a pre-sale demo from cradle to grave that includes scheduling, hosting, user connecting, and any post-conference reports, which can help you determine whether the initial sessions had technical difficulties that you need to address with the provider.
  6. What’s the cost basis? Pay-per-use can be 20-40 cents (US) per minute per user, or you may be limited to a 5-10 seats for $300-750/month. With pay-per-use, look to be charged for actual minutes used. If you’re charged for all the minutes you reserve, it can certainly cost more.
  7. Can you customize with your branding? If it’s important, consider a hosting provider that lets you show your logo on the registration page and/or web conference interface.

In part 2, 7 Web Conferencing Technology Providers Compared (Part 2 of 2), we’ll take a look at the pricing and particulars of 7 Web conferencing technology providers.

Posted in learning, marketing, performance, project management | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »