Authoring Software

Authoring Software (Group 3)

1) What is Authoring Software?

  • Multimedia computer programs and tools that allow users, such as teachers, to author or tailor course materials (including assessments) for interactive learning tasks and other pedagogical purposes. Anyone who is reasonably "computer-literate" can create and tailor exercises for their own target learning audience. (Can also be used by students for the same purposes and to author other texts.)
  • Authoring Software is a new class of software, whose aim is to enable relatively unsophisticated computer users to create appropriate learning programs or "courseware." CALL authoring software programs offer a do-it-yourself approach to Computer Assisted Language Learning.
  • They remove the hassle of making technical frameworks from scratch. Modern CALL authoring programs are designed to be used by language teachers who have no knowledge of computer programming and allow them to have responsibility for the content of their work, leaving the functionality to be dealt with by the authoring program itself.
  • They allow users to display and create ideas and concepts by manipulating and combining program features and/or template(s). Authoring software can be used to automatically generate many types of pre-set activities for the language learner. Features may include: audio, video, built-in html, quizzes, mulitiple choice, fill in the blank, and many other assesment question formats.
  • Pedegogy takes priority over technology when working with authoring software ... something "techie" loses quality if the final product doesn't meet the learners' needs (
  • Assessment Authoring Software allows an educator to create formal assessments without having to hassle with issues of formatting. Educators can also use these tools to quickly create multiple versions of tests, or even different venues for testing. Tests can be given on a computer or printed off in a traditional manner.
  • Examples: Hot Potatoes, Question Mark, Markin, Quia, Quandary, Vokabel; MaxAuthor, Dreamweaver, FrontPage

2) What is the place of Authoring Software in the broader topic of assessment?

  • Authoring Software allows the teacher to input interactive feedback in assessment to support content knowledge, critical thinking, and students’ understandings.
  • The best designs offer more than just 'right or wrong' feedback. They support learning, reflective thinking, and understanding through branching explanations and verification.
  • Authoring software also allows the student to return to the questions or activities where they had difficulties and review/practice that specific skill again until they understand it.
  • Authoring software is useful for self-directed learning and learner autonomy, readily accommodating students' self-monitoring and assessment of their own learning. Authoring software provides choices of activites/assessments for the learner, which promotes autonomy and satisfaction in the classroom.
  • The nature of assessment using authoring software helps learners use metacognitive strategies (i.e. centering, planning, and evaluating their learning).
  • Authoring Software allows teachers to adjust assessments according to learning styles and for feedback received from previous activities.
  • Authoring Software easily allows interactive assessments and readily accommodates audio and visual feedback.
  • Authoring Software allows teachers to focus on evaluating course objectives. Those that offer test banks and other options make it easy to align assessments with standards.

3) Benefits of Authoring Software

· Ease of use for every party involved and ability to assess specific skills from each student.
· Allows the author (teacher) to create specific types of assessments and receive interactive feedback which they can use to target problem areas.
· Authoring Software can allow choice and promote autonomony in the classroom by catering to different learning styles.
· The author does not need to be extremely computer literate to operate and program this type of software.
Hot Potatoes (
· Generates a number of quizzes that can be completed online.
· Interface available in a number of languages.
· Creates a variety of applications (cross-word, cloze, multiple choice, etc.).
· Very user friendly.
· Includes a tutorial to guide new users through the process of creating an application.
· Ability to save projects.
· The “masher” allows one to create a series of exercises into a sequential unit.
Charles Kelly's Online Quiz Generator (
· Generates a quiz that can be printed to paper or put online in various formats.
· Can create the data using a regular word processor (can write quizzes offline; run a spell checker and use other features of the word processor; easily archive quizzes for future use).
· Allows for use of the same data file to generate quizzes in various formats
· Multiple-choices are randomly shuffled.
· No chance of human error if you have typed your data properly.
· Can easily edit the quiz data (delete and add questions).
· Questions do not all need to have the same number of choices.
· Can include feedback for any choice.
Hyperstudio (
· Offers tools to create rubrics, portfolio pieces, various assessments, brainstorming tools, visual organizers, project planners, desktop publishing features, and multimedia presentation capabilities.
· Offers alternative avenues for collaborative learning and project-based learning.
· Promotes a variety teaching styles?
· Might integrate various functions and speed up the work.
· Contains a teacher’s guide with project–based ideas, curriculum guidelines, and various tutorials.
· Supports drag and drop development (easily add video, audio, and image files onto the HyperStudio file).
· Presents an integrated media library browser (from a window the user can search through video, audio, and image folders).
· Supports browser settings.
· Provides a vast variety of means to create and manage cards.
· Offers context sensitive help.
· Online documentation and help.
Quizstar (
· Create multi-lingual quizzes to take and review online.
· Allows students to review their quizzes online.
· Increase or decrease number of attempts students are allowed.
· Offers Report Management tools.
· Imports graphs, video images, or charts.
· Manage classes (make public or private, create/edit description, add password if desired; view/edit list of quizzes assigned to each class; view/edit student rosters and student passwords; accept students who register themselves; post notices for a class; delete classes).
· Provides a large variety of quiz options, including games and graphic images in answer choices.
· Contributors collaborate on quizzes.
· Students can create quizzes as study tools.
Quia (
· Create 16 types of games and activities and 10 types of quizzes.
· Create classes and track quiz results.
· Create class pages for communicating with students.
· Maintain an online schedule and calendar.
· Upload images and audio clips.
· Copy and modify any of Quia's two million activities to suit your own needs.
· Share activities with anyone in the world.
Telos (
- A "template-based multimedia authoring software for language learning and testing"
- Provides more educational independence for tutors and learners
- Includes offline learning mode (template tasks) and editing mode (templates can be modified or created) as well as an online converter
- Tasks include dialogue exercises, gap fills/drop-n-drag/multiple choice, video situations, etc.
- "Learner packages" can also be created to help organize tasks with hyperlinks to serve as "navigation paths"
MaxAuthor (
- Create language instruction courseware for over 40 languages utilizing audio, video, footnotes and graphics
- Record sentences and words separately in target language with an option of 5 different languages for translation
- Students can use MaxBrowser (a hyperlinking multi-media browser), Listening Dicatation, Pronunciation, Vocabulary Completion, and Audio Flashcards
- Some of the above tasks provide immediate feedback to the student, overall progress and printouts to give to the teacher.
- Tutorials and manuals provided on website
Test Generator (
-Create printable or web-based tests.
-Create tests with 10 different types of questions.
-Computer-based tests can grade some types of questions automatically, and offer specific data for classes and students.
-Easily create different versions of tests.
-Easliy create study guides for tests.
Wizard Test ( )
-Bosts high level of flexibility in formatting tests.
-Allows importing of images of many file types.
-Offers catalouges of test content for many subjects.
Easily create multiple versions of tests.
Easy Test Maker ( )
-Extremely easy to use. Easy editing features.
-Free trial. Online. No need to download anything.
-Has most feature of many expensive test generators.
-One can print from the site or import into Micorsoft Word (this feature is in Beta).

4) Drawbacks of Authoring Software

  • General:
  • · They might be restricted to only deal with a limited range of exercise types rather than have the ability to create a cohesive course of learning.
  • · Some software requires a higher level of computer ability and knowledge to be able to successfully utilize the program for your classroom
. Accurately matching pedegocially sound instruction with the technological abilities of both the instructor and students
  • Preset question formatting is often not very flexible.
  • Specific:
  • Hot PotatoesHot Potatoes (
  • · Some more complicated projects could require a great deal of time and labor.
  • · Not entirely intuitive. Requires some practice.
  • · Help file is complex.
  • Charles Kelly's Online Quiz GeneratorCharles Kelly's Online Quiz Generator (
  • · Offers only multiple choice format.
  • · Importing of media files is not possible.
  • · Limited tool (does not offer quizzes, class management or students’ report tools).
  • HyperStudioHyperStudio (
  • · No built-in system to monitor students’ progress.
  • · It is necessary to spend a considerable amount of to get acquainted with the program, and it will take just as much time to familiarize students with its features.
  • · The logical organization of menus is not always immediate.
  • · The help documentation seems to assume that the reader already knows what HyperStudio is.
  • QuizStarQuizStar (
  • · Limited quiz creation (quizzes more for content-based instruction rather than language instruction).
  • · Uploads are limited to common kinds of formats (mp2, jpeg, pdf, etc.).
  • · Uploads are limited to files of 2MB each.
  • TelosTelos (
- May be very time-consuming to create tasks/learning packages from scratch or you are limited by the given templates
MaxAuthor (
- Only MS Windows and Internet based
- In order to create a lesson, you need to spend a good amount of time on the project.
- Appears a little more technical than some of the quiz generators mentioned above
- Korean alphabet is different for this program than the letters on the keyboard
Test Generator (
-To fully utilize the Test Generator one may want to get tests banks from your testbook, which may mean an extra cost.
-To fully utilze the Test Generator one may need training on how to use and interpret all of the data collecting tools.
Wizard Test ( )
-expensive ($389 per subject / $3,499 for any 12 subjects and $29.95 per CPU)
Easy Test Maker ( )
-It may be difficult to import images.


1) Where can these tools be found? (URL)


2) How much are they? ($$, shareware, freeware, etc.)

· Multimedia Annotator: $30; Multimedia Lesson Builder: $30; $50 for package including both
· Macromedia Authorware 7: $2999
· ToolBook Rapid e-Learning Studio Bundle: $2295
· QEDOC: authoring tool: free for contributors; quiz player: free for everyone
· Hot Potatoes: free to download (freeware for educational purposes)
· Quizstar: free to use online, $250 for the CD ROM
· Hyperstudio: free to preview, teacher’s edition $160, student’s edition $70
· Charles Kelley’s multiple choice quiz creator: free to use
· Quia: $49/year (less for groups); free for 30 days
· Xercise Engine: 150 Euros; demo package free
- Telos: 145 Euros; 50% public education discount but not sure if it applies to US schools
- MaxAuthor: free for non-commercial use
-Test Generator: $159 for the desktop version, $779 for the LAN version. Prices for other versions are not listed because of the range of options available with each.
- eduware Wizard Test: $389 per subject / $3,499 for any 12 subjects and $29.95 per CPU
- has a free $30 day trial. Then, to access Plus! features one pays $14.95 for 1 year, $19.95 for 2 years, or $24.95 for 5 years.

3) Are they difficult to use?

· Hot Potatoes is among the most popular of the authoring software available, as it is very easy to use. Of the free programs, this was certainly the one with the greatest ease of use and the widest application. It is capable of creating multiple choice, short answer and matching. No one application is more difficult to use than the other. Another bonus of this site is the fact that its “templates” are available in a variety of languages.
· Quizstar is also very easy to use. Once the required registration is complete, one can begin creating quizzes. What makes this an excellent product is the fact that it has a variety of options. The program guides the user through the process, presenting the options in a menu format.
· Despite the SLOW download, Hyperstudio seems very easy to use. The bulk of the preview was a tutorial, which made the process of exploring this software easier.
· The Kelley program is among the most difficult of the programs to use. This online program requires a series of complicated steps.
· Quia is easy to use. Questions guide you through the creation of materials.
· QEDOC is easy to use, but some applications are more complicated than others.
- I was not able to test Test Generator , but the screen shots available reminded me a lot of ExamviewPro which my district uses. Examview is fairly easy to use, but I learn quickly by trial and error. Some educators would not be comfortable using Test Generator without prior training.
- For a free demo version of the eduware Wizard test go to their free demo page.
- Is really easier than any test generator I've used. I was impressed iwth how easy it is to mark the correct answer for the automatic answer key option. For Matching sections you can just create the lists and the comptuer automatically mixes up the order of the answers. You don't ahve to decide how may will be on teh list before starting either.

4) What kinds of assessment do they enable teachers to conduct?

· Graphical, imaged and conceptual representations of student’s assumptions: associations, networked, tree-branching, and non-linear thought patterns
· Assessment of students’ understanding or lack of understanding of concepts and procedures through students' selection, arrangement, and linking of ideas; also, how students use software: e.g., power point presentation
· Monitoring throughout the learning process as well as final outcome
· Evaluation of complex, higher-order thinking skills and processes, and authentic assessments: e.g., students’ approach to webquests
· Quick quizzes, MCQs, gap-fills, short answer, matching and ordering
· Concise, focused assessments in minimum of time
· Students’ understanding of media and their use in effective communication
- the eduware Wizard Test Offers a test generator with multiple question types, but it also offers games for review purposes.
- allows the user to create T/F, multi-choice, short answer, matching, and fill in sections.

Academic Articles
1. Bangs, P. (2006). ICT4LT Module 2.5: Introduction to CALL authoring programs. Retrieved July 23, 2006 from
2. Bickerton, D. (1999). Authoring and the Academic Linguist: the Challenge of MMCALL. In K. Cameron (ed.) CALL: Media, Design and Applications, 59-79. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.
3. Bickerton, D., Stenton, T. & Temmermann, M. (2001). Criteria for the Evaluation of Authoring Tools in Language Education. In A. Chambers & G. Davies (eds), ICT and Language Learning: a European Perspective, 53-66. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger.
4. McFarlane, A., Williams, J., & Bonnet, M. (2000). Assessment and multimedia authoring – a tool for externalising understanding. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 16. 201-212.

1. Sussex Language Institute - List of Authoring Tools Retrieved November 12, 2006.
2. Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies of The Higher Education Academy at the web address: Retrieved November 12, 2006.