Creating ClassQue Queries

The guide describes how to generate queries with ClassQue.
You will need a copy of the classquequerycreator.jar file.

Queries

One of the main uses of ClassQue is to pose questions to students and to collect their answers.
ClassQue refers to these questions as queries.

ClassQue supports five types of queries:

Each query has a prompt (the question), a name (the title of the query), and in the first two cases a list of possible answers.

Queries are typically stored in a query file that contains one or more queries. These files have a special format and are created with the ClassQue Query Creator utility, which prived an intuitive GUI for query creation. Queries in a file can also be grouped into collections called surveys.

Running the ClassQue Query Creator

You must have Java installed on your machine to run the ClassQue Query Creator program.
To learn about installing Java on your machine, look here.

If you are using windows, you can run the program by clicking on the classquequerycreator.jar file on your desktop or for an explorer window. On a Linux machine, make sure the classquequerycreator.jar file is executable, right click on it and choose the appropiate version of Java to run it. Alternatively, from a terminal window, execute:
      java -jar path-to-file/classquequerycreator.jar

Figure 1 shows the initial ClassQue Query Creator menu. There will also be a second window labeled Classroom Query Preview which we will discuss later.

Each query has a type, a name and a prompt. The name is used to help you remember which query you are looking at. The prompt is the actual question.


Figure 1
Figure 1: The initial window of the query creator.

Most of the controls are on the menu bar at the top of the frame. Use New Query to create a new query.
Use the Type combo box to choose the type of query. For now, choose the Choice type which represents a multiple choice question. Type in a name and write you question in the Prompt field.
Figure 2 shows the main window after a name and prompt have been filled in for a Choice query. Some new Choice Menu items appear.

Figure 2
Figure 2: The initial window with a choice query, name, and prompt.

A Choice query has a list of answers, similar to a multiple choice question. When a choice query is being edited, the Choice menu appears under the query name. Each time the New Choice button (to the right of the type combo box) is pushed, a new answer field is created.
Figure 3 shows the main window after the New Choice button has been pushed 4 times and the four choice fields have been filled in.

The Delete button on the left of each choice will delete that choice. Be careful, there is no undelete option. The up and down arrows on the right of ieach choice item allow you to move choices up and down.
Figure 4 shows the Classroom Query Preview window corresponding to Figure 3.
This window shows a preview of what the student will see when this query is sent.


Figure 3
Figure 3: The main window with a choice query and four answers.


Figure 4
Figure 4: The preview window corresponding to Figure 3.


Saving and loading query files

Use the File menu item to load or save files. The options are Load, Save, Import, and Save as Text. Choose the Save menu item. This will bring up a save file dialog and you can choose the name of the file for saving the queries. I like to name these files by the course number and lecture number they will be used in, but there is not restriction on how to name the files. Avoid using extensions that are reserved for other file formats such as .doc or .html. I usually use the .txt extension.

You can load a file into the query creator by using the Load item from the File menu. This works in a similar way and brings up a load file dialog, allowing you to choose the name of the file previously created using the query creator. Note: Loading files appends queries to the currently loaded queries. This implies that if you load this file after saving it, you will have two copies of the queries in the query creator. Use the Actions -> Delete All menu items before loading a new file if you want to replace the queries currently in the query creator.

The Save as Text menu item from the File menu will save the queries in a file that can easily be read. This format, however, cannot be used by ClassQue and the ClassQue Query Creator cannot read files that were produced in this way. It is useful for printing out queries or for using a spell checker.

Creating Queries

A new query is added to the current queries in the creator as follows:

Editing Prompts and Choices

You can modify the contents of a prompt or choice field by typing in that field. Clicking on one of these fields in the white background. You can modify the selected field using the buttons that appear above the field.

By default, the text you type in a prompt or choice field is treated as standard text. Entries of tabs or returns and multiple blanks are ignored and all text appears on one line. You should always look at the ClassQue Query Preview to see what the students will see.

There are two ways to use formatted text. Use the Actions -> Formatted Entry menu item. Now you can enter carriage returns and multiple blanks. This is useful for simple formatted text.

You can get more control of what the prompts and choices look like by entering HTML code directly. Change back to to the normal entry mode using Actions -> Entry as Source. How if one of the entry fields (for the prompt or a choice) starts with an HTML tag: <html> the following text will be displayed as HTML. You can easily add or remove the beginning HTML tag by using the HTML button that appears above the field. Other buttons make it easier to enter HTML. The tt, pre and Color buttons insert pairs of tags. If pushed when no text is selected, start and end tags are inserted at the current position and the cursor is moved between the two tags, so that text entered will have the selected format. If pushed when text is selected, the selected text will be surrounded with the appropriate tags. The Color button brings up a menu of standard colors. The easiest way to enter a non-standard color is to use a standard color and then directly edit the generated HTML.

You should not switch back and forth between the two text entry types: formatted and source. The formatted entry type is only for simple formatted entry and does not support most of the HTML tags.
Switching form source to formatted might remove some of the tags.

Displaying all queries

Use the Windows -> All Queries menu item. This displays the ClassQue All Queries window which shows all of the queries in the current query file. Clicking on one of the queries makes it the current one and shows it in the main window.

You can select a group of queries by selecting one and then shift-clicking on another. The selected all of the queries between these two. Four buttons across the top of the window allow you perform actions on the selected queries. You can use the Down and Up buttons to move the selected queries. The Duplicate button duplicates the selected queries and the delete button deletes the selected queries. Be careful, there is no undelete operation. The Duplicate and Delete buttons show which queries will be acted upon. If only one query is selected, they show the query number (the order the query appears in the list). If more than one is selected, they show a range of query numbers.

Working with Surveys

Normally, when you send a query to the students, they only see the query that was most recently sent. They cannot work on another query until a new one is sent, and after that time they no longer have access to the previous query. A survey is a collections of queries. When a survey is sent to the students, they have access to all of the queries of that survey and can move among these queries. Similarly, the teacher can look at each of the queries in the current survey. This allows students to work at their own pace.

A survey has a name and a collection of queries. You create a survey using the ClassQue Query Creator by making a query of type Survey Start. This type of query does not correspond to a question. It does not have a prompt, but does have a name. All queries after this one and until a Survey End query (or the end of the list) will be in the survey. A Survey End query is also created by selecting it in the Choice combo box. A Survey End query is just a place holder and has neither a prompt or a name.

You can easily move queries in and out of a survey by creating a Start Survey query and using the ClassQue All Queries window to move queries in or out of the survey. In the ClassQue All Queries window, queries that are in a survey are shown surrounded by a box with a border containing the name of the survey.


Figure 5 shows the ClassQue All Queries window for a file containing five ordinary queries and a survey containing five additional queries.
Figure 5
Figure 5: The All Queries window showing a survey.

Annotations

You can annotate each prompt or choice by choosing the menu item Action -> Annotations. This will display the annotation fields for each prompt and choice.

Annotations are not seen by the students during the class. Can be use used to insert notes or grading information for the reporting programs. Contens of the annotation area are simple text (not HTML). Use the Return key on your keyboard to start a new line. You are not allowed to use tabs or back quote characters in an annotation field.