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Information about planned and released features


Formula Question Type

MJ 23 Aug 2013 [Edit: Sigrid Röhling 19 Sep 2013]:
Please note, that you should not (re-)install the formula question plugin (e.g. if you made it compatible with ILIAS 4.4.x yourself) after the formula question code is integrated into the core. The core update process will deactivate existing formula questions plugins (only in the database though; we do not purge the plugin from the file system automatically). Since there are no changes concerning the related database tables, no migration process is needed. Existing data will be reused by the core question type. If you still have the plugin installed please remove it from the file system by running:
rm -rf <ILIAS>/Customizing/global/plugins/Modules/TestQuestionPool/Questions/assFormulaQuestion

1 Requirements

The Formula Question Plugin by Helmut Schottmüller is one of the most useful question types for ILIAS. This question type allows to offer formulas that have to be solved by learner. Each formula gets randomized values out of a defined range (min - max) and with optional pre-defined measurement units.
The Formula Question is often used in mathematics and natur sciences education. Up to now it is only available as a plugin, which always needs additional funding to make it compatible with new ILIAS versions. Therefore and due to the advantages and needs for this question type we think it should become a core question of the ILIAS test and assessment tool.

2 Status

3 Additional Information

  • If you want to know more about this feature, its implementation or funding, please

4 Discussion

Plugins are nice, but we need to ensure that question types work after an update. Our professors would not use it, if they need to be afraid that it does not work after an update.
JF 28 Jun 2010: In the case of question plugins for the test and assessment component we let the maintainer (Helmut Schottmüller) decide which question type should become a core feature and which not, since he knows how many times a question type has been requested by users.
Shortly after the JF above we talked to Helmu Schottmüller about that feature. He told us that he had passed all his projects to databay. The reson why he hadn't put formula questions to core was that the units are not binded to the questions and can be changed from every "question editor" for the whole ILIAS installation.
So we contact databay to develope a soloution for that together. Result is a new Pluginversion published here. Now question editors need to copy units from pool categorys to thier questions or enter new ones, bevore they can use them. Pool categorys are only changeable by administrators.
Additional we added a feature where you can chose the result type: each, decimal, fraction coprime fraction.
We think formular questions are now ready to become a core feature. Please discuss again.
JF 19 Dec 2011: We ask Jan Posselt, the current T&A maintainer to participate in one of the next Jour Fixes and make a presentation. We then will decide on its integration into the core.
2012-04-03 J. Erkens FH Aachen: No decision yet?
JF 2 May 2012: Björn Heyser is the new maintainer of the T&A component. Up to now he was not able to make a presentation of this plugin at the JF.
2012-12-06 J.Erkens FH Aachen: What's up with Björn Heysers or Jan Posselts Presentation? We are highly interested in funding core integration.
JF 10 Dec 2012: There was no presentation yet but we still appreciate to have this question type in the core. Please get in contact with Björn Heyser bheyser (at) to trigger some progress. We schedule a presentation of this feature and possible migration into the core for the next Jour Fixe (January 2013).
2013-01-25: Presentation will take place on JF 5 Feb 2013.
2013-01-29: HS Karlsruhe will fix several bugs in the formular question plugin, we are waiting for the offer by qualitus. It would make sense to do bugfixing first and then make it a core question. So bugfixing is for the 4.2 version of the plugin.
Attached a list of bugs we have found, at the moment we don't know if all things can be fixed, depends on the costs. For further information on this contact:
JF 5 Feb 2013: We appreciate the feature and support the move to the trunk with 4.4. The interface should be streamlined and structured (e.g. subheading should be used in forms) and import/export should work. Jochen Erkens will put some screenshots of the editing screens into this page. We will continue to discuss the interface.
Promised screenshots:
BH, 27. Feb:
The further discussions should not only involve the user interface, but also the technical/conceptional issues mentioned by the HS Karslruhe. Not all of them are quit fixable I think.
JE, 27.2.2013:
Discussion issue by issue in mantis? "Not all of them..." is a little bit general.
JE, 27.2.2013:
Added our current version of formula plugin manual for version 4.2.
JE, 22.3.2013:
A first interface suggestion for question editor:
Alex Killing, 22 Mar 2013: @JE This is a big improvement, I like it.
Mikko Vasko, 28 Mar 2013: Here are a couple of ideas/requests our professors would like to see in the Formula Question Type:
  • Possibility to exclude certain numbers when defining variables, for example "$v1= -5...5, exclude 0" or "$v2=2...10, exclude 3,5,7,9"
  • Add following functions: factorial (n!), exponential function exp(), error function erf()
  • Possibility to combine multiple choice questions and formula questions (similar to cloze/Lückentext-question)
  • Exponent should accept rational numbers (currently only integers are accepted).
2013-05-29 Jochen: Some more mockups
Jochen 2013-05-29: Added some mocups. Please discuss on next JF, so we can do next steps with DataBay.
JF 10 June 2013: Thanks for the mockups. We appreciate an implementation according to these screens.
MJ 23 Aug 2013: Integrated (as it is, but ported the ui to ILIAS guidelines) into core (with 4.4.x).

5 Implementation

BH 15 July 2013: The trunk integration for this question type is contracted and scheduled for ILIAS 4.4. However it is possible that the integration can not be accomplished, because of missing development resources. In this case another working plugin version will be released and the core integration will be postponed to ILIAS 4.5.
MJ 23 Aug 2013: Finished integration of the plugin into core. The ui was ported to the ILIAS ui standards (almost 1:1 according to the mockups, except a few input fields).

Last edited: 19. Sep 2013, 13:12, Undisclosed

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