JavaScript QuizMaker Help

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This program is designed to help you make interactive web-based tutorials and quizzes using Javascript. It is, admittedly, a very limited program, but this means that it is also very simple to use.

The Quiz it produces is an interactive web page that pops up feedback responses depending on the answer the student chooses for a question. These feedback messages can be simple, like Right! and Wrong!, or they can include explanations of why the chosen answer is appropriate or not.

You can save the quiz on your hard drive, distribute it to your students on floppy disks or put it on a web site if you like. If you print out the web page, it can be used as a test, because the answers don't show up on the printed version. Up to 99 questions can be included in one Quiz.

Using the program

To begin using QuizMaker, simply select the "Question" box by clicking it with your mouse, and type in a question. Then select the box marked "Answer 1", and type in the first multiple-choice answer. Press the tab key to go to the next feedback box, and enter the feedback message the student will see if that answer is selected.

Up to five answers can be entered per question. If you use fewer than five, only the number of answers you use will be shown.

Add question

When the question, answers and feedback messages are all entered correctly, click the button labeled "Add question". This brings up a window to let you know it has been added. Now you can clear the form by pressing the "Clear form" button, and enter the next question. If your next question is similar to the last one, you may not want to clear the form; just change the appropriate boxes and press "Add question" again.

Make quiz

When you are finished adding questions, press the button labeled "Make quiz". This brings up a new browser window with your quiz in it.

Save the Quiz

Save the quiz you have just made to your hard drive by choosing "File:Save As..." from the menubar. Choose the directory in which to save your quiz, and give it a suitable name. Be sure to save it as "source". If this option is not availabelin your browser, save your quiz by clicking the Save/Edit Quiz button. This takes you to another screen (actually just further down on the Quizmaker page) where you will find the HTML encoding the Quiz page. Copy this, paste it into a text editoror word processor, and save it to a file.

Clearing the form vs.starting over

To erase the whole quiz and start over, press the browser's "Reload" button. "Clear form" just erases the visible entries in the boxes on the form.

Add picture (optional)

Pictures or illustrations must be in GIF or JPEG format. Many drawing, painting, or image editing programs will let you save pictures in one of these formats. GIF is usually preferred for black-and-white line grawings, and JPEG is usually preferred for photographs.

QuizMaker lets you use either images from the Internet or local images on your own computer.

For on-line use, the image can be any picture from a site on the World Wide Web. To use a picture from the Web, you need to enter a complete URL (this stands for "Uniform Resource Locator", which is what web addresses are called) starting with "http://" and ending with ".jpg", ".jpeg", or ".gif" Be sure you use the URL for a picture on a web page (as opposed to the URL for the web page itself.) To do this on a Macintosh with Netscape, point to the picture on the web page with the mouse and hold the mouse button down for a second without moving it. This will bring up a menu that has an option to "Open this image". Choose that,then copy the image URL from the "Location" window. (This menu is reached in Windows by clicking the right mouse button.) Another option on that menu is "Save this image as...", which lets you copy the picture to your hard drive. If you do that, you can use it as a local file (see above). Be aware that copyright laws apply to web pages and their images.

Note that images with complete URLs should appear in your Quiz when you first make it, but images that are local files will not (you will just see a little square with a question mark in it). This is because the directions for finding local files assume that this file is in the same directory as file that encodes the Quiz page. However, when you first make a Quiz, it has not been saved to a file yet, so these directions don't work. After you save the Quiz file in the same directory as the image file and then open that saved version in your web browser, it should work.

If you use local files for images, they can be distributed on floppy disks and used off-line.

Add link (optional)

The "Add link" button lets you put a hypertext link to a World Wide Web page or to another HTML document in your quiz. This is similar to adding a picture, except you also specify words to represent the link. These will appear blue and underlined in the Quiz, and when the student clicks on them, he or she will be taken to the specified page. As with pictures, links can be either complete URLs, or local files stored in the same directory as the Quiz file. Links to local files only work from the saved version of the Quiz.

The best way to be sure you have the URL correct is to open the page you want to link to in your web browser and copy its URL from the location window. Most web page URLs start with "http://" and end with ".htm" or ".html"

Changing your Quiz

To change questions in Quizmaker's memory, simply enter the number of the question you want to change in the Question # box. When you click in the box where questions are entered, the quesion corresponding to the number will be recalled. Make any changes or additions, then add the revised question to the quiz. It will be added at the position specified, and the Question # value will then automatically change to put you back at the end of the Quiz.

Saving and retrieving questions as ASCII text

To save questions in a form that can be re-read into memory for revising a Quiz at a later date, click the Save/Edit/Load Quiz Data button. This displays another part of the quizmaker interface (really just further down on the same web page) where the data for all questions in the current Quiz are displayed. This data is updated by pressing the Make Quiz button in the Quiz Entry Screen. Special tags are used to identify the data as follows:

!#Q: = begin question
!#L: = link associated with question
!#P: = picture associated with question 
!#a: = answer "A"
!#A: = feedback for answer "A"
!#b: = answer "B", if any
!#B: = feedback for answer "B", et cetera
!#X: = end of question data

Here is an example of some Quiz Data:

!#T:Polymerase Chain Reaction Quiz
!#Q:Which of the following is an advantage of single-primer PCR?
!#a:Less synthetic DNA is incorporated into the product.
!#A:FALSE. Each strand of PCR-amplified DNA incorporates one molecule of primer, regardless of whether the two strands hare a common primer sequence or not.
!#b:Unknown sequence adjacent to a known sequence can be amplified with a single primer.
!#B:FALSE. While there are techniques such as panhandle PCR that use a single primer, they rely on engineering a known primer sequence on the far side of the unknown sequence.
!#c:No primer-dimer artifacts.
!#C:TRUE. A single primer cannot form an easily amplifiable primer dimer because they form hairpins.
!#Q:Which end of a PCR primer can be extended by polymerase?
!#a:The 1' end.
!#A:FALSE. DNA has no 1' end.
!#b:The 2' end.
!#B:FALSE. The 2' carbon does not represent an end of a DNA strand.
!#c:The 3' end.
!#C:TRUE. DNA polymerase begins at a free 3' end of a primer and adds DNA in the 5' to 3' direction.
!#d:The 4' end.
!#D:FALSE. DNA strands do not have a 4' end, only 5' and 3'.
!#e:The 5' end.
!#E:FALSE. DNA polymerase synthesizes DNA int eh 5' to 3' direction. DNA synthesized chemically by the phosphoramidite method is made in the 3' to 5' direction, however.
!#Q:Which nuclease activity does Taq polymerase NOT have?
!#a:5' to 3'
!#A:FALSE. Taq DNA polymerase I DOES have a 5' to 3' nuclease activity, that is, the ability to digest DNA ahead of it on its template. This activity allows nick translation.
!#b:3' to 5'
!#B:TRUE. Taq polymerase does not have 3' to 5' nuclease activity. This is the "proofreading" activity that lets a polymerase back up and correct a mismatch.
!#Q:Which of the following significantly inhibits PCR?
!#a:12% sucrose
!#A:FALSE. Sucrose at a final concentration of 12% can be included in PCR reactions for use as a PCR-compatible gel-loading dye.
!#b:Wooden toothpicks made of birch.
!#B:TRUE. Extract of wooden toothpicks can drqmatically increase the amount of Taq polymerase required for PCR amplification.
!#c:0.2mM cresol red.
!#C:FALSE. Cresol red can be used as a PCR-compatible gel-loading dye along with sucrose.
!#Q:What is the minimum time required for denaturation in rapid-cycle PCR?
!#a:One minute.
!#b:30 seconds.
!#c:Less than one second.
!#Q:If 1 nanogram (10<sup>-9</sup> g) of template is put into a reaction, and 1 microgram (10 <sup>-6</sup> g) are produced, approximately how many doublings took place?

!#A:CORRECT. A one thousand-fold increase in the amount of DNA requires approximately ten doublings (2 to the tenth power = 1024)
!#Q:Which of the following is an effect of 0.5 mM manganese chloride on PCR?
!#a:Decreased reaction rate.
!#A:Not that I know of.
!#b:Increased polymerization efficiency.
!#B:I don't know about that.
!#c:Increased error rate.
!#C:TRUE! In fact, this is a commonly used approach to using PCR for "random" mutagenesis.
!#d:Oxidation of deoxyribonucleotides to ribonucleotides.
!#D:That would be a trick.
!#e:No effect would be expected.
!#E:Oh, effects would be expected, all right.
!#Q:Which of the following six base sequences is not a type II restriction enzyme recognition site?
!#A:WRONG. This is an EcoRI site.
!#B:WRONG. This is a BamHI site.
!#C:WRONG. This is a BstYI site. R = purine, Y = pyrimidine. Thus this site is palindromic.
!#D:CORRECT! This is an Eco 57I	site. The recognition sequence is: \r5´-CTGAAG(N)16^-3´\r3´-GACTTC(N)14^-5´
!#E:WRONG. This is a HindIII site.
!#Q:Estimate the Tm of the following primer by Itakura's rule: 5'-gatcatgatcagatgcag-3'

!#a:37 <sup>o</sup> C
!#b:85 <sup>o</sup> C
!#c:52 <sup>o</sup> C
!#C:4 * (G+C) + 2 * (A+T) = 4 * (5+3) + 2 * (6+4) = 52 degrees C
!#d:451 <sup>o</sup> F
!#D:No, that's a Ray Bradbury sci-fi novel.
!#Q:Consider the following DNA sequences:
SEQUENCE 1: 5'-acgtgtcacagtgcatgaaccactctatagctgtaccatagatacatttgcattga-3'
SEQUENCE 2:	5'-gtacgtcggacatgattatcgtgcgcgtagcgttagcttagcaatcggcatattca-3'
Which of the following primer sets could be used to fuse sequence 1 above to sequence 2 by overlap extension?

!#a:<pre>5'-acgtgtcacagtgcatg-3', 5'-catagatacatttgcattgatcaatgcaaatgtatctatg-3', 5'-gtacgtcggacatgatta-3', 5'-tgaatatgccgattgctaa-3'</pre>
!#A:No. The last two primers amplify sequence 2, and the forst primer matches one end of sequence 1, but the second primer forms a hairpin loop.
!#b:<pre>5'-acgtgtcacagtgcatg-3', 5'-tcaatgcaaatgtatctatg-3', 5'-catagatacatttgcattgagtacgtcggacatgatta-3', 5'-tgaatatgccgattgctaa-3'</pre>
!#B:TRUE. These primers could be used to make a head-to-tail recombinant product.
!#c:<pre>5'-acgtgtcacagtgcatg-3', 5'-tcaatgcaaatgtatctatg-3', 5'-gtacgtcggacatgatta-3', 5'-tgaatatgccgattgctaa-3'</pre>
!#C:No. These primers just amplify the two original sequences and do not introduce any overlap.
!#d:<pre>5'-acgtgtcacagtgcatg-3', 5'-tcaatgcaaatgaatctatg-3', 5'-catagatacatttgcattgatgaatatgccgattgctaa-3', 5'-gtacgtcggacatgatta-3'</pre>
!#D:CORRECT. This would make a tail-to-tail recombinant product.
!#e:Answers B or D above.
!#E:TRUE. They would form recombinants with sequence 2 in different orientations relative to sequence 1.

This data can be selected with the mouse, copied, and pasted into a test editor or word processor. At a later date, previously saved data can be pasted back into this window, and re-entered into Quizmaker's memory by pressing the "Add This Data to Current Quiz" button.

Editing your Quiz

If you are comfortable with HTML, you can also edit the Quiz Page (that is, the code for the Quiz page that Quizmaker has generated) by hand. Be aware that changes made in this page will not be entered into Quizmaker's memory, and will be overwritten when you press "Make Quiz" again. If you intend to modify the quesions, answers, and feedback, you should make the changes in the data file, as described below. Changing the Quiz Source Code is best for making cosmetic changes, or for adding things that Quizmaker does not help with (like adding a paragraph for instructions, for example.)

Some browsers, such as Netscape version 2, will not let you save the Quiz file from the menu on the Quiz page. In these cases, you can save the files by copying the Source Code from the Source Code window, pasting it into a word processor or text editor, and saving as ASCII text. since this page is written in HyperText Markup Language (HTML), you should use a file name that ends with ".htm" or ".html>

Since your questions, answers, and feedback are in the HTML file in plain text (except for apostrophes and so forth as described below), you can simply change them without worrying about what all of the other tags and commands do. Remember to save the edited file as plain ASCII text, not in your word processor format.

Simple tips on HTML

The question and answers may contain HTML formatting elements. Here are some simple HTML formatting tags that might be useful:


	<p> inserts a new paragraph marker.
	<B> turns on bold face, and </B> turns it off.
	<CENTER> turns on text centering, and </CENTER> turns it off.
	<I>turns on italics, and </I> turns them off.
	<FONT SIZE=5> turns on a really big font, and </FONT> turns it off.
	<FONT SIZE=-2> turns on a really small font, and </FONT> turns it off.

In the source file, the questions are in an "ordered list", which starts with the HTML tag "

    " and ends with the tag "
". In the list, each question starts with the tag "
  • ". The questions are NOT numbered in the HTML code; numbers are added automatically when the page is read by the browser.

    Feedback box restrictions

    HTML formatting may not be used in feedback messages. Some special characters can be added as follows:

    	tab:         \t
    	new line:    \n

    If you want to modify a Feedback message by editing the HTML file, be aware that these messages have to be slightly modified in order to work in alert boxes. Specifically, apostrophe characters are replaced by %27 and quotes are replaced by %22.

    Making cross-platform quizzes

    Note that this Javascript QuizMaker program will work on Javascript-enabled browsers on any type of computer. This includes Netscape 2.0 or higher on both Windows and Macintosh. The quizzes/tutorials it generates should run on the same types of computers. To make your quizzes easy to use for the widest audience for distribution on floppy disk, you should use DOS-style "eight.three" filenames, such as "quiz.htm"

    Free software

    This program is made available as a service to the academic community by the Attotron Biosensor Corporation. The latest version can be found at It is specifically designed to be included in a single file, so it is very easy to download a copy onto your computer (the program file even includes this help file inside itself). With the QuizMaker window in front, use "File:Save As..." from the menubar to copy the program to your hard drive. Then you can open the QuizMaker file (choose "File:Open:Page in Navigator..." for NetScape Navigator 4.0), and use it off-line for making quizzes. QuizMaker may be freely used and distributed. If you modify the QuizMaker program, please acknowledge the original source.

    Tell us what you think

    Please let us know if you find this program useful, or if you have suggestions for improvements. If you have problems with QuizMaker, please let us know what type of computer you are using, and which version of which browser. Send feedback to

    Copyright 1997, Attotron Biosensor Corporation