ESL job interview question: What can you tell us about Hot Potatoes?

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Hot Potatoes enable teachers create interactive web-based teaching exercises which can be delivered to any Internet-connected computer equipped with a browser. The exercises use HTML and JavaScript to implement their interactivity but you do not need to know anything about these languages in order to use the programs. All you need to do is enter the data for your exercises (questions, answers, responses, etc.), and press a button. The program will create the web pages for you, and you can then upload them to your server.

There are 5 basic programs in the Hot Potatoes suite:

1. The JQuiz program creates question-based quizzes. Questions can be of four different types, including multiple-choice and short-answer. Specific feedback can be provided both for right answers and predicted wrong answers or distractors. In short-answer questions, the student's guess is intelligently parsed and helpful feedback to show what part of a guess is right and what part is wrong. The student can ask for a hint in the form of a "free letter" from the answer.

2. The JCloze program creates gap-fill exercises. Unlimited correct answers can be specified for each gap, and the student can ask for a hint and see a letter of the correct answer. A specific clue can also be included for each gap. Automatic scoring is also included. The program allows gapping of selected words, or the automatic gapping of every nth word in a text.

3. The JCross program creates crossword puzzles which can be completed online. You can use a grid of virtually any size. As in JQuiz and JCloze, a hint button allows the student to request a free letter if help is needed.

4. The JMix program creates jumbled-sentence exercises. You can specify as many different correct answers as you want, based on the words and punctuation in the base sentence, and a hint button prompts the student with the next correct word or segment of the sentence if needed.

5. The JMatch program creates matching or ordering exercises. A list of fixed items appears on the left (these can be pictures or text), wth jumbled items on the right. This can be used for matching vocabulary to pictures or translations, or for ordering sentences to form a sequence or a conversation.

In addition, there is a sixth program called the Masher. This program is designed to create complete units of material in one simple operation. If you are creating sequences of exercises and other pages that should form a unit, you may find the Masher program very useful. The Masher can also be used to upload web pages not created with Hot Potatoes to the server. More...

There is a tutorial on editing source files in Hot Potatoes:

Also, there are a few good articles regarding Hot Potatoes: 

I hope the above was useful.

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