Authored by altLAB

The Challenge

Hydraulics and Hydrology is a compulsory paper for third-year civil engineering students at the University of South Australia.

When the paper was transitioned online, a total of seven of the ‘problem-solving’ tutorials that had been delivered face-to-face were replaced by online quiz questions.

Solutions and Advice

How they did it:

  • The formative quizzes were developed to provide students with an opportunity to practice and apply new concepts.
  • Each quiz question consisted of text, images, and audio or video explanations and feedback. In this way, the quizzes were integrated with content to optimise learning.
  • Questions were designed to support construction of detailed mental models. For example, students were required to solve a problem relating to control of water flow by a sluice gate; the solution requiring numerous calculations and drawings.
  • Attention was given to repetitive solutions of similar problems and repetition of key terminology in order to reinforce learning.
  • A range of question types were used to stimulate critical thinking skills. These included: multiple choice, dropdown menu, short answer, uploading sketches, drag-and-drop and reflective (essay) type questions.

A study investigating the impact of the quizzes found that the quality was enhanced by using a variety of question types, multimodal instruction and prompt feedback. This increased student engagement and satisfaction.

Want to find out more?

This challenge and solution is summarised from:
Gamage, S.H.P.W., Ayres, J.R., Behrend, M.B. et al. Optimising Moodle quizzes for online assessments. IJ STEM Ed 6, 27 (2019).

Article and images retrieved 11 May 2020 from