What is FETLAR?
The FETLAR project is the MSOR community's bid through the Subject Centre strand for the Open Educational Resources (OER) call from HEFCE/JISC. This project takes place in the pilot phase to encourage and enable the open sharing of educational resources. The FETLAR project addresses the challenge associated with students' mathematical skills and competencies on transition into higher education and the need to raise the retention rate of first-year students on science and engineering courses.
More here and here
Download full documentation for these technical tools here
What does FETLAR provide?
FETLAR provides a raft of electronic learning content.
It also provides the infrastructure to deliver end-to-end electronic assessment to students within a VLE.
What does "end-to-end electronic assessment" mean?
The phrase, "end-to-end" is used to denote the process of creating
electronic assessment content and then delivering it to a student. To
achive it, a solution must provide the ability to:
- Author questions
- Create assessments from the questions
- Publish assessments
- Deliver assessments to students
- Record students' performance on assessments
Assessments should be presented to students within a familar environment,
e.g. a VLE, and integrated alongside the appropriate learning objects
in that VLE.
QTI is an IMS
open standard format
that represent assessment content and results. It is intended to allow
assessment materials to be authored and delivered on different systems
and promote interoperability between systems. This means that the investment
of time and resources in creating content is protected: in the
event that a system ceases to be supported, an alternative system
can be deployed. Because the open standard is inherently interoperable,
the content can still be used on a different system. In contrast, if
a system using a closed standard is deployed, in the event that the
system ceases to be usable, the content then becomes useless.
What's the difference between a question and an assessment/test?
A question is a single item presented to the student for their answer,
e.g. "what is 2+2?". An assessment is a series of questions, potentially
arranged into sections, presented to the student in a sequence.
What is virtualisation?
Virtualisation provides a complete simulation of a computer. The
simulated computer can have a simulated hard disk, pre-populated
with software and pre-configured. When the simulate computer runs,
the software on its simulated hard disk also runs.
Such virtual machines can
be easily distributed as binary files (rather than physically hauling
a real computer around) and copied (difficult with a physical computer
unless you have a Star Trek replicator!). Among other things, this makes virtual machines
an ideal medium to distrbute server software in a ready-to-run state,
without someone needing to purchase an expensive physical server,
or knowing how to set such a beast up.
The FETLAR Virtual Appliance
The Virtual Appliance leverages virtualisation to provide a FETLAR "black box". This is a ready-to-run, complete instance of all the tools required to deploy FETLAR
content with a minimum of configuration.
There are installation guides explaining how to run the Virtual Appliance using VirtualBox and
A visual representation of how the Virtual Appliance can be used to achieve end-to-end electronic assessment delivery can be found here.
FETLAR Virtual Appliance (522Mb)
- Can be used with freely available virtualisation software such as VMWare Player or VirtualBox
- Needs little configuration or knowledge of complicated server-side technologies.
- Comes already loaded with an installation of Moodle, with MathAssessEngine and QTIPlayr - in short, everything you need to immediately start pushing QTI assessments to your students.
- Available with or without FETLAR content already loaded.
to install the FETLAR repository into this image, type install_repo into the virtual machine's Linux console.
Other technologies used in FETLAR
- The System for Teaching and Assessment using a Computer Algebra Kernel
- Open source project, written entirely from a mathematics perspective.
- Active user and development community
- STACK content and application is included in the FETLAR Virtual Appliance
- For more information click here.
- The QTI item bank.
- Used by Mathqurate and Spectatus as an option for content storage and retrieval
- Developed by CARET at Cambridge as part of the QTITools project.
- Included in the FETLAR Virtual Appliance.