Author your own assessments in Yacapaca: now in Alpha

Finally, Yacapaca has an authoring environment for teachers. It’s not even in beta yet; we’ve labeled it an ‘alpha’ release, and we’re making it available only to a very small number of invited teachers. Nonetheless I’m excited, the more so because it took twice as long as expected to get to this point. We’ve been working on it solidly since I first annouced we’d do it in January.

To recap what this means, Yacapaca authoring enables teachers to:

  1. get started by just signing up for an account; there’s nothing to download nor server to set up.
  2. *write a bank of multiple choice questions that optionally include formative feedback to each possible response.
  3. *create one or more quizzes from the question bank.
  4. set those quizzes for their students to do online. The quizzes are presented in Flash, which allows us to fully randomise and time-limit them.
  5. see all students’ responses on the web in realtime.
  6. analyse the results in several different ways, including graphical presentation of class results.

* points 2 and 3 aren’t in the animated Yacapaca Demo yet.

And it’s free. Our money comes from the commercial assessments we sell on the system, so we don’t plan ever to charge you for putting your own tests on there.

To the best of my knowledge, this is a world first. There are plenty of systems that let a teacher create and set a quiz, but nearly all use HTML not Flash. None of the free ones collate feedback for the teacher. Even the commercial alternatives offer a much thinner range of assessment and analysis features, and of course they cost an arm and a leg.

The only slight drawback is that, unless you’re in our alpha testing group, it’s not actually available yet. I’m writing this now partly as a blatant tease to build demand, and partly because it’s been a long slog since I first promised this in January and I’m just dying to tell someone about it.

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