Talk:Astronomy college course/Sandbox
A blind discovery: Students are not bad at writing test questions
I love the way trying to be a scientist leads one to occasionally blindly stumble into discovery. For the past year or two I have been attempting to coax students into making meaningful contributions to Wikiversity. It is quite apparent that while a few students are capable of writing good expository prose for Wikiversity, the vast majority of student efforts yield prose of little or no value. But quiz questions are a different matter! Perhaps a comment my undergraduate English teacher wrote on one of my essays explains why when he wrote one of my essays that I know how to write a sentence but not how to write a paragraph. There are few if any child prodigy writers, which suggests that it takes years to develop this skill.
Why we need a quizbank
Almost all the knowledge required for many college degrees is already available on the internet. What's missing is a way for students to certify mastery. While certification will always be labor intensive and therefore expensive, the cost of basic portions of that certification could be drastically reduced if an open source assessment bank were made available for students to practice and for institutions of higher learning to draw upon in order to develop exams. Quizbank is an effort to begin construction of such a bank. It contains links to quiz questions in quiz extension form that can be downloaded by individuals and converted into exams. Software for this conversion has already been written using Matlab, but the codes are not user friendly. Until better codes are written, we must resort to posting sample exams (in pdf form) on Wikiversity and inviting instructors to obtain randomized versions of those exams upon request. (The posted sample exams should be avoided for classroom use since they can be seen by all. The philosophy of Quizbank is that the bank from which questions are posted is freely available, but which questions will actually be asked is made available only to instructors. It is hoped that someday software will be made available that permits instructors to write their own tests. It will always be necessary to include provisions for instructors and institutions to add questions from their own secretly held testbanks. In the provisional system in which exams are sent to instructors upon request, the exams are short in length so that instructors may supplement their own questions. A simple and effective way to supplement these exams is to ask students to explain questions from the quizbank in 50 words or less.--Guy vandegrift (discuss • contribs) 12:13, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
It is most convenient for students to submit questions by hand and converted into wikitext by the instructor. Though not difficult for experienced editors, the quiz extension is a bit daunting for beginners. Not all students wish to become editors. Above all, most questions need to be heavily edited. ALL students will be encouraged to become editors and contribute questions under their own username. Those who do not, will be asked to sign a copyright waiver allowing an instructor to enter the question as an IP edit. Whenever possible, such students will make their own IP edits. Wikimedia administrators are very strict about copyvio, and the policies are in place, and must be adhered to.
Sample copyright waiver
I have contributed Astronomy quiz questions to Astronomy college course/Quizbank in the summer of 2015 using an IP edit under the presidential pseudonym _______________________________________ . It is my intent that these questions be used freely. I have been advised and offered instruction on becoming an editor and transporting these questions under a username, and may do so in the future.
Name (printed) Signature Date
The issue of students not wishing to become editors is resolved by creating 44 subpages named after presidents in an instructor's user space. See User:Guy vandegrift/Presdidential sandboxes. The use of separate pages prevents edit conflicts, which happen when two or more editors attempt to simultaneously edit a page.