The quality-based scoring model in specialized question-and-answer forums, among which Stack Exchange is one of the most popular, caught the attention of Tamara Gunkel and Jan Dageförde from the University of Münster, in Germany, who developed the Moodleoverflow plugin for Moodle 3.3 and 3.4. The plugin is modelled after Stack Overflow, Stack Exchange’s first and flagship forum, focusing on computer science and software engineering.
In contrast to common information layouts, which organize discussions by date, Moodleoverflow offers a “non-linear, non-chronological” organization of responses in question-based postings. Both questions and answers can be voted up or down by participants, ideally according to their perceived value. Over time, user reputation builds by the sum of the scores in their contributions. In any case, students can vote for each other according to “helpfulness,” but only teachers can deem an answer as “Correct.”
In addition to the subjectivity involved in the voting up or down, other downsides of quality-based scoring include a bias towards earlier contributions or the reputation of the author. The developers recommend choosing this format over the standard Moodle Forum Activity in specific Q&A situations in which the quality of contributions is easily discernible. Broader discussions that encourage free and multi-threaded thinking might not be well suited for the Moodleoverflow format.
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