It looks likely that the next version of SharePoint will allow you to make simple quizzes inside SharePoint, just like you can currently make surveys.
It’s widely rumoured that SharePoint 15 (currently under wraps but expected out early in 2013) will have an education module – an addition to SharePoint that will allow courses, lessons, assignments and grades. It will support IMS Common Cartridge format, which will allow SharePoint users to import courses published for Blackboard and Moodle. See zdnet or Bjørn Furuknap’s blog for more on the SharePoint 15 education module.
Of particular interest for this blog is that it looks as though SharePoint 15 (or its add-on education module) will allow creation of quizzes inside SharePoint. The evidence for this is contained within an “Education Quiz Client-Side Object Model Protocol Specification” (MS-QUIZCSOM), downloadable here. It’s a 73 page technical document describing the draft API to the quiz module. Reading the specification:
- SharePoint will have a new concept of a quiz – an assessment tool used to determine users’ knowledge of course material.
- A quiz can be assigned either for unlimited attempts or for 1-5 attempts.
- Quizzes contain questions, that can be computer graded or manually graded.
- Supported question types are fill-in-blanks, multiple choice, essay and rating scale.
- Multiple choice questions can include true/false and multiple response questions
- Feedback can be given for correct and incorrect answers
- There is a rudimentary concept of question difficulty (a number between 1 and 5)
- There is no concept of “topic” to group questions in and give feedback in
- There also is no concept of shuffling choices nor randomizing questions from an item bank.
- There is no mention of any support of assessment standards – for example no support of IMS QTI.
The capabilities and question types are quite limited, but it will be useful for basic quizzes. It’s not clear if the feature will be available as part of standard SharePoint or in some chargeable add-on.
What does this mean?
Microsoft may change some of these features before release, but it does look as though learning scenarios will be addressed seriously for the first time by Microsoft in SharePoint 15, replacing the existing quasi-supported Learning Kit. It seems this will be aimed more at schools, colleges and universities than corporate training.
I see this as good news for all in education and training who are interested in using SharePoint. The basic out-of-the-box capabilities look limited, but capable enough to be useful for simple use cases. And it will encourage the community to think of SharePoint as a learning system – using both the Microsoft built-capabilities and third-party systems.