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Issue: 4.1 (September/October 2005)
Author: Greg Fiumara
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,458
Starting Page Number: 10
RBD Number: 4107
Resource File(s): None
Related Link(s): None
Known Limitations: None

Full text of article...

The classroom is the characteristic Macintosh environment. Macs used to be designed around the education setting and children would use these powerful machines with ease. Increasingly, Macintosh computers are growing scarce in today's education systems, yet shouldn't be due to the availability of such great programs like starQuiz from cosmicSoft that simplify teaching. cosmicSoft uses the powers of REALbasic to help deliver time-saving features to educators.

starQuiz is a tool that aids teachers in the construction and delivery of exams for students. After an exam is created, it can be presented to an entire computer lab, one computer, or on a web site. Results from the exam are then recorded and analyzed with the same software.

When starQuiz is first launched, the user is presented with a window of starting points that consists of various graphics displayed using canvases. Using the mouseEnter and mouseExit events of the canvases, starQuiz highlights whichever starting point is under the mouse pointer.

When creating an exam, the teacher has a choice of question types, including multiple choice, fill in the blank, and several others. With starQuiz, there is no need for a separate window for each question type. By using a REALbasic pagePanel bound from a popup menu of question type choices, screen real estate is dramatically saved and users only need worry about one window.

Storing questions and determining correct answers for questions is most likely very easy for cosmicSoft to code thanks to REALbasic's remarkable handling of databases. With any question, a teacher can include graphic resources. These, combined with the text of the question and the correct answer, are then stored in some type of database file that is easily parsed by starQuiz. When grading the exam, starQuiz can mark questions whose answers are in an essay form and prompt the teacher to read and grade the answer before calculating grades.

Tech savvy students may be able to cheat and steal answers from other exam programs, but not starQuiz. It encrypts the database possibly by using a third-party plug-in, whose installation is as simple as drag-and-drop.

One of the most useful features, and easiest to implement in starQuiz, would be the results graph. The teacher can easily view how well students did on the entire exam or on individual questions, which greatly aids in planning future classes. This seems to have been implemented with a reusable class. With REALbasic, cosmicSoft can now export this graphing class and use it again and again in other applications or deliver it to other developers. Implementing this class in REALbasic would have been as easy as dragging-and-dropping, once the graphic routines had been coded.

Using several REALbasic technologies, cosmicSoft was definitely aided in the creation and layout of starQuiz, a powerful aid to teachers in the realm of examinations.

starQuiz 2.6.7
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Article copyrighted by REALbasic Developer magazine. All rights reserved.




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