Zoho Challenge review
Today, for a change, I am going to recommend against using a tool. The product is Zoho Challenge, an online test creation app. It’s part of the Zoho online office suite, which includes more than a dozen apps. Zoho Challenge is not listed with the other apps on the main Zoho page; it’s off to the side under “Utilities.” Right away it’s a challenge.
A basic Zoho account is free for personal use, so I decided to log in and try creating a test. After logging in, I had three options: 1) create tests, 2) enter questions, or 3) manage users. I took the first option and began to make up a test. Alternatively, I could have entered questions and then added them to a test.
There are four question type options: Multiple Choice, True of False, Fill Up The Blanks, and Descriptive Answers. There is no option for matching questions. Zoho can randomize the order of your questions and pick questions from a pool at random. It can also randomize the order of answers for all the questions on a test (not just questions you select).
The process of creating the test and adding questions was simple, but I found parts of the design confusing. For example, on the main list of tests you need to hover over a test to see the options for working with the item. New users would find that unhelpful. If you want to edit questions in a test after saving the test, you choose “View questions.” That sounds like previewing to me, rather than editing. In general, the screen designs are very open, so lot of scrolling is required. IMHO, the interface could be a lot more efficient.
When I previewed the test, my two fill-in the blank questions did not work – my correct answers were not recognized as such. I looked for help and couldn’t find any links to help, support or FAQs. From the home page you can click “support”, but there is no documentation for Zoho Challenge. When I signed up for Zoho Challenge I received a confirmation email with links to a help page, but those pages are not linked to the actual site. Even after combing the help pages, I still don’t know why my question doesn’t work.
I did not explore either the Question Banks functionality or the management module. The system allows you to create and manage lists of “candidates” and “evaluators.” It also creates banks of questions so that items can be re-used. Questions can also be tagged, allowing you to find the same item under “Chapter1” and “Photosynthesis.” Tests can be made available to anyone or only to “candidates” you invite. You can also specify data and time limitations when the test can be taken.
Two experimental tests are available at http://challenge.zoho.com/cclark2 – hover over a title and click “Take Test.” You also have the option to embed a test in a website using an iframe code, just like you would with a YouTube video.
I applaud the good folks at Zoho for offering a free tool for creating tests online and I imagine they will eventually remedy the issues I have cited here. However, I cannot recommend this product to my colleagues at Notre Dame as it stands. Our course management system, Concourse, handles their needs much better.