Moodle obscurities – individual quiz extensions

Fellow Moodlers: Ever had a situation in a quiz with a closing date where a student requires a time extension? Ever had to mess around with one of the work arounds to make this possible, all the time wishing there was an easier way?

Well shake your fists in frustration no longer…

For those of you who don’t know, there has been a significant rewrite to lots of the innards of the Moodle quiz engine in the release of Moodle 2.0, with many thanks to Tim ‘Quizmaster’ Hunt, who has had a long and distinguished career working on Moodle code, both for the Open University in the UK and for Moodle HQ in Perth.

When you access the new quiz environment you’ll notice that the layout has changed quite a bit from the 1.9 quiz activity, but most of the features operate quite similarly (at least to the untrained eye) to how they have in the past, with a few notable exceptions, one which we’ll talk about here.

Extend me!

Lets say you’ve set up a quiz with a due date, and all but a couple of students are there on the day to sit the quiz. You need to re-open the quiz for the last two students, but you don’t want to do it for everyone. In 1.9, you could have used a password for the quiz, restricted the number of attempts for the quiz, or if you were really desperate then set up another quiz entirely and used groups and groupings to release this to the stragglers – all of which worked, but in a ‘work around’ kind of way.

Now in Moodle 2.0, you have the ability to grant an extension to a single user, or for that matter a group of users (defined in Moodle’s Groups area), in a quiz for a period of time, without changing any other settings in the course. Check out this short video to see how easy it is.

The down side to this new feature is, well, that you can’t do it for other activities like assignments! I would love to see this feature extended to other due-date driven activity types, in particular assignments, as this is probably in the top three things I get asked by my clients in (mostly) Australian universities that Moodle can’t do. Not sure if its on the roadmap for HQ to implement this extension feature in other tools, but if it was then it would definitely get my vote in the tracker (hint hint – you can vote for it here).

Until then, get to it, upgrade to Moodle 2 and make sure your teachers know that this feature has been introduced – its a hidden gem!