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December 7th, 2004

As I type, my students are taking their final exam in our Computer class. I design the final exam so that the question portion is on a web page with a form (fill-in-the-blanks are text boxes, multiple choice is done with pull-down menus), which generates an email with the student’s answers. My email client (Eudora, by the way) is set to automatically check the email account every minute, though when I notice a student just finished (dancing hamsters appear on their monitor), I manually check the email, which arrives instantly.

The thing that just struck me is the fact that the server for the email is somewhere in the U.S. A student finishes the test here in Tokyo, Japan, sends the results to the U.S., and then I retrieve them from there, seconds later; the answers have traveled halfway across the world and back. It just strikes me as funny, one of those minor epiphanies concerning commonplace but things strange in usually-uncontemplated ways, like what happens every so often when I’m walking down the street somewhere and suddenly it dawns on me that I’m in Japan.

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  1. Kevin Ryan
    December 10th, 2004 at 19:44 | #1

    Luis, you have to try out Moodle for your classes. Requires a site with PHP and MySQL, and 4-8 hours to learn (setup less than an hour) and you can make quizzes that get graded, with comments, archived results that you can look up by class or by student. Best piece of software for teahcers I have seen in years, and I am in CALL. http://www.moodle.org

  2. Luis
    December 10th, 2004 at 21:11 | #2


    Thanks, yeah, I had already found Moodle when I signed up for an account at a web host that included it in their scripts package, but had never figured it out. Looks like a little bit of a steep learning curve there. And I might use it, maybe test it out this vacation… but I have already invested a good amount of time into the site I have now, and I use Excel and email to keep track of grades, I’m just used to it. But I definitely want to get a bit more into CALL, and Moodle might show me a few things I can use there…

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