R/Exams is an extension of the popular, open source, scientific bundle, R, which in the past decade has experienced a significant adoption growth courtesy of increasing interest in data science. Today, R shares (with programming language Python) top-ranking status as a tool to aid in the processes of data cleanup, analysis, and visualization.
R/Exams has existed for more than a decade, but only recently did the team realize the present-day potential of R/Exams to help introduce more students to the tool and the data science field at large. The authors also credit Moodle and other LMS with making it easier to leverage R/Exams into data science and R training programs.
The best way to get started with R/Exams is on the official blog. It features real case studies, which double as tutorials on the software’s innovative features. R/Exams lets instructors program printable questions, where everything on the page (from content to layout) is editable through R code. This makes is simple to automate the creation of math test, for example, with equally structured questions but with different quantities for each student to neutralize cheating. For an LMS, a post documents a similar take on dynamic questions for multiple- and single-choice types, developed at the University of Innsbruck, where answers and accompanying graphical aid are procedurally generated.
To create questions compatible with the Moodle Quiz activity, you need the R software with the Sweave and the R/Exams libraries installed. After writing the code for a question, use the
exams2moodle() function to create an XML file with all the question’s variations, which can be imported on a Moodle site. If the question includes visualizations or formulas written using the LaTeX syntax, the MathJax Filter type plugin for Moodle is recommended for properly display across web browsers. Read more here (PDF).
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