Giving Tests on line

This might not be the best section of Experts Exchange for this question, if not, please suggest a bettr section (!)

I have a client who has a series of study courses that are to be read by students (dental professionals) on-line and then take a test based on the material on line.  

Where can I find internet software that does one line studying and testing (and if possible on-line scoring of the test results)?

Rowby

LVL 9
Rowby GorenAsked:
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meotechConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Rowby,

WBT Systems is a company who specializes in those kinds of solutions.  They have a product called TopClass that I am little bit familiar with.  Here is the company's web site:

http://www.wbtsystems.com/

Classes, notes and grades are all accessible via a web browser.

There is also another product that I am familiar with called "WebCT".  Here is their web stie.

http://www.webct.com/

Hope that helped.... Good luck! :O)

meotech@yahoo.com
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chewymonCommented:
Here is one for the tests.

http://www.pc-shareware.com/quiz.htm
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
THanks Chewmon.  

I should have been clearer -- this needs to be an internet based (world wide web) test program.  

The program I saw at pc-shareware is an on line, but not internet-based.  Looks good though!

Any other suggestions from anyone?

Thanks,

Rowby
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rwilson032697Commented:
Take a look at this one:

http://www.tekmetrics.com/

Cheers,

Raymond.
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Hi, Raymond,

This looks like a sophisticated, well written program.  Might be close to what my client wants. (But I was unable to take the sample test because the sample test server was off line.)


 Do you know if the program is available separatedly, or must my client use tekmetrics for its testing.  I'm pretty sure he wants his tests on his own domain.

Rowby
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rwilson032697Commented:
I don't know if TekMetrics supply their system to other sites. Be worth asking them I suppose...

Cheers,

Raymond.
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
I'll send them an email, and try to take their sample test on Monday.

By the way I founds several interesting test scripts at www.cgi-resources.com.

Any additional suggestions, anyone?

Rowby
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mgfranzCommented:
Write one... ;-)

(Well you asked)

But really, I wrote a sample test about two years ago for a coworkers mother who just happened to be a teacher, this was a very easy project.  A simple radio button form based script.

Mark
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cheekycjCommented:
I wrote a multiple choice test program for a company as a contract a year ago too.  Like mgfranz said- write one.  Its really easy using
JS.

CJ
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TTomCommented:
Check out the December 1998 issue of WebTechniques mag (www.webtechniques.com).  There was an article with code by Chuck McNichols(?).  It had a complete ASP-based web testing program, using an Access database.

FWIW, I modified this program to do timed tests and random question selection.

The code is under the "Junk" heading (I believe).

Let us know if you have trouble finding it, and I will search out the URL.

Tom
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BrigidCommented:
Alternatively, look into using ASP (Active Server Pages) by Microsoft or Cold Fusion by Allaire. Two programs which allow you to code web pages to hit databases (to house, store, track information, etc.) over the web. Brilliant stuff.
You can hire a programmer fluent in either of these languages to create a dynamic online testing and scoring system specific to your needs. Hosting is not difficult to find. If your client has his own server, perhaps he'd be willing to invest in the server packages to host it on his own machine.
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TTomCommented:
Brigid:

The suggestion I put forth immediately above IS an ASP solution, mostly coded and ready for use.

Tom
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Ttom, the websolutions solution looks interesting.  I had a bit of trouble finding the link from the article to the demo on the site.  I'm not sure the demo test is still on line --- I'll keep looking.

I have a feeling that an ASP or Cold Fusioin soluiton is the way to go.  Especially if I have to learn how to tweak the site, and if my clients ever have to modify the test.

Am I correct in saying that ASP/Cold Fusion scripts will give me more long-term flexibility with the on-line tests?  For examople if, after a month or so my client wants changes in the way the test is run, it would be easier for me to go in and change ASP or Cold Fusion pages than having to re-code a perl script -- which I have no expertese in whatsoever? (!)

Rowby
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BrigidCommented:
TTom: That's great! Pat yourself on the back for me.

Rowby: Yes, ASP/CF coding will give you more long-term flexibility to change than a solution like JS.



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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Now my next question is which to use- Cold Fusion or ASP?  Or is there a real difference.  (I keep hearing raves about Cold Fusion.  I'm an expert Front Page user -- not a programmer.  :))

FYI, This on-line site will not have a huge number of visitors at one time.  I can't imagine more than 100 people taking the tests at the same time.

Any thoughts?

Rowby
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BrigidCommented:
Rowby: Right up my alley!
In my opinion there is a HUGE difference between the two.
I started working with ASP. It's nightmarish, really. Code all over the place, interwoven with scripts, jumping through hoops just to get around a stumbling block. I hated ASP with a passion.
Then, we started using Cold Fusion. My god, SO much easier! It looks like HTML (tag-based), so it was easy to learn. Trying to get things to work was so simple. Hardly any stumbling blocks. I rejoiced.

Basically, here's my synopsis.
ASP makes things difficult.
Example: Check for connection, open connection, test connection, send data, recieve data, close connection.
What a pain in the butt!
ASP is also very similar looking to VB/Java/C++ (in my opinion). I don't do well with the first two languages there and I like C much better than C++.
If you are not a programmer, but used to WYSIWYG editors, ASP is definately NOT for you.

Cold Fusion. My favorite, makes things easy!
Example: Set up an ODBC source with the administrator page. Make a page, write a query, output it. Insert data, update data, delete data, simple.
Since CF is similar to HTML, I think it's easier to read/understand/get the hang of. If you are not a programmer, but used to WYSIWYG editors, you may stumble a bit at first. You'll get the hang of it. CF Studio DOES have a WYSIWYG editor in it. Unfortunately, it's not very reliable, (like most WYSIWYG editors) it adds tags, misinterprets things, etc.

Since I'm partial to Cold Fusion, I would have to suggest you use that. Then again, look at Allaire's stock. I think it speaks for itself. So does their program.
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mgfranzCommented:
Brigid,

What you haven't taken into concideration is the cost difference between ASP and ColdFusion first of all, especially a site that may get 100 hits.  And what is the difference between your analogy between ASP and Coldfusion?

You said, "Check for connection, open connection, test connection, send data, recieve data, close connection." for the ASP dB, first of all, you write into a script whatever you want it to do,, yo don't have to check the connection, or test connection everytime you open a session. open the connection, send or receive data based upon a simple SQL query, then close the connection.  What is so difficult about that?  Sounds a whole bunch better than, "Set up an ODBC source with the administrator page. Make a page, write a query, output it. Insert data, update data, delete data, simple. "
Plus you must have ColdFusion running on the server...  Most Hosting services don't use Cold Fusion...

Mark
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BrigidCommented:
Mark,

   If you would like to discuss cost differences, go for it. I honestly don't know what they are or care what they are. Having worked with both, I refuse to work with ASP.
   The fact remains that ASP is more difficult to use than Cold Fusion. That's a simple hard fact. Ask anyone who has worked with both.
   Dealing with inserting, updating data, etc. and handling database connections? Cold Fusion is a thousand times easier. No, I'm not exaggerating.
   Getting Cold Fusion hosting is not difficult. In addition, it's quite cheap to do so, if you're too cheap to shell out a lousy, what, $3,000 for a server license?
   Toot MicroSoft and ASP's horn all you like. Sway Rowby to thinking ASP is all that and a bag of chips. I offered my opinion, based on the fact I have worked with both. If you have another opinion, speak up.
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BrigidCommented:
To elaborate, the $3,000 quoted is for the Enterprise version, which has a few perks (clustering, etc.) over the professional version, which is only $1,000.
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cheekycjCommented:
ColdFusion is alot easier... and much more suited for RAPID DEVELOPMENT/DEPLOYMENT  but the price tag is more I think... 3500 for Enterprise now isn't it?

CJ
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BrigidCommented:
http://www.allaire.com/ will be able to quote the best prices. Mine were round figures.
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mgfranzCommented:
3500 is a round figure... and not in my budget.

Plus, in the time it would take me to learn the basics of ColdFusion, I could have the Test script up and running...

My opinion is based on the LIMITED exposer to ColdFusion I have had.

IMHO, the cost is not worth the general original question.
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BrigidCommented:
mgfranz: Actually, we're not talking about your budget, or how long it will take you to learn Cold Fusion versus putting out a product. Rowby wanted advice on which would be better, especially for one who is not experienced with programming. It's not personal. Just business.
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
I have increased the points to 350.  Let the discussion continue :)

Rowby
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mgfranzCommented:
rowby,

What is your exerience level with ASP, Perl and javaScript?

Are you comfortable in reading code?

Would it be easier for you or your client to hire a sub-contractor to write this program?

As for Brigid' comment, what do you think would be easier for a non-experienced programmer to debug?  ASP, ColdFusion, DreamWeaver, JavaScript, or all of the above?
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BrigidCommented:
>>As for Brigid' comment, what do you think would be easier for a non-experienced programmer to debug?  ASP, ColdFusion, DreamWeaver, JavaScript, or all of the above?<<

Depends on what you're "experienced" in, doesn't it?
In my experience, Cold Fusion has *the best* debugging.

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TTomCommented:
Just to jump back into the fray (I know NOTHING about CF), are there any significant low cost (i.e., free) resources avialable on the web for CF?

With ASP, there are numerous sites, etc. where you can get help with your coding.

Sounds a lot to me like CF "protects" you from having to get into the code and see what's going on.  (Kind of like the difference between writing HTML with Notepad vs. FrontPage?)

I don't really know.  I just suggested the link that I did because the solution is basically there for free.

BTW, the actual link is:

http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/1998/12/junk/index.shtml

It's a link to the original article, and I'm pretty sure the code is attached somewhere.

MHO, it depends on your circumstance.  If you are hosting your site in-house and you have sufficient budget and interest in learning the tool (or more applications that could use the tool), go for it.  If you want a "low-rent" solution, ASP is not all that difficult to deal with.

Tom

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mgfranzCommented:
By the way, the Allaire site is off line right now... Hmmm support, I think Tom hit the nail on the head, I have 5 ASP links bookmarked, a plethera of knowledge...

And isn't that what this all about?  Information?


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BrigidCommented:
>>Sounds a lot to me like CF "protects" you from having to get into the code and see what's going on.  (Kind of like the difference between writing HTML with Notepad vs. FrontPage?) <<

No, absolutely not. CF is a tag-based language, like HTML. It doesn't hide anything. It's straight code, just like anything else.
Although you can "browse" to see what your page looks like in the Cold Fusion editor, all coding should be done in the "edit" mode (which is an editor, like notepad, wordpad, home site, whatever). The only reason I mentioned this is because Rowby is used to using WYSIWYG editors, from what I understand.
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BrigidCommented:
As for support and information, there is a plethora of this at the Allaire site (which from what I can tell is not offline). Forums, technical support, etc.
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Hi,  I'm still digesting all of this.

Mgrfrnz,

I have a feeling we will subcontact out the initial coding.  ANd I'd then want to maintain it myself as I start to learn how to use the program myself.

As which way to go ASP or Cold Fusion, of course ColdFusion is extremely sexy and I now people who rave about it.  

Ttom, I'll check the link.  Thanks for getting it.

Rowby
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mgfranzCommented:
Where does it say in this thread that rowby is used to using WYSIWYG editors?  He has used FrontPage...  I still say ASP or JavaScript is the way to go.  Besides if needed, ASP and JS is fairly easy to debug by ANY knowledgable scripter...
Tom also made a good point about hosting servers again, in house with a good budget, vs. virtual at a IHS.

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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Hi,  I'm still digesting all of this.

Mgrfrnz,

I have a feeling we will subcontact out the initial coding.  ANd I'd then want to maintain it myself as I start to learn how to use the program myself.

As which way to go ASP or Cold Fusion, of course ColdFusion is extremely sexy and I now people who rave about it.  

Ttom, I'll check the link.  Thanks for getting it.

Rowby
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cheekycjCommented:
I still believe JS would be a good was to go. A combination of Client
and Server side (if needed for DB or file access) Its not that hard to implement.

CF (html like lang.) would be the easiest but more pricey way to go.

ASP- I know nothing. (just don't like M$)

CJ
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AemerginCommented:
After going through two weeks of discussion .. couldn't you have typed up a few tests by now? At least we all know that paper and pencil are Y2k compliant.
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mgfranzCommented:
LOL.....
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Hi, everyone.

I'm enjoying and appreciating all the imput.  

My client is still making up his mind and I'll will get back to everyone here.

I wish Experts Exchange had a way of dividing up points.

Or at least giving some kind of credit to people who offer suggestions at all.

After all I get points simply by asking questions here!

ROwby
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mgfranzCommented:
You would have to post questions targeted to those individuals you feel worthy, then delete this one.

Mark
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TTomCommented:
In general, if you post a request to Customer Service, they will assist in creating questions/splitting points, etc.

Tom
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SiteSeeCommented:
I can't believe nobody mentioned Macromedia's newest contribution!!!
http://www.macromedia.com/software/coursebuilder/ 
......it's just what the doctor ordered...pricey, but excellent!

Steve
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Rowby GorenAuthor Commented:
Thanks Steve. I ran the Macromedia solution by my client and he gave it a "thumbs up".


Rowby
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