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Articles - MOARS Features
Written by Bill Pellowe   
Thursday, 27 May 2010 05:54

This is an overview of the features of MOARS (Mobile Audience Response System) v 0.8.3. MOARS is the free, open-source Mobile Audience Response System for students to use with iPod Touch, iPhones, and other mobile devices.

MOARS is designed to be used with students as a classroom response system and/or a mobile homework system. This is not an iPhone app -- the students use mobile web-based browsers to take quizzes and surveys. Even though the system is designed to be used with Safari on iPod Touch or iPhone, students have accessed the system from other mobile browsers and indeed, from regular computers as well.

Student side

  • Lightweight web app with simple html and css
  • Students log in with unique username and password.
  • Choice of language available if you install optional language packs.

  • Quiz answers are stored on the server for easy access by the teacher.
  • Quizzes are multiple choice (between 2 and 5 options).
  • Students can try again when they get the wrong answer. They're only penalized points on that question -- unlike simple ratio algorithms, under the MOARS scoring system, they'll never lose points by trying a second or third time. Instead, they receive proportionally fewer points based on how many times they've tried. We just think it's more educational that way.
  • Students can access their own grade-book to see a history of their quiz grades.

  • Surveys are multiple choice (up to 9 options).
  • Flood protection guards against multiple survey submissions from one student.
  • Multilingual support for questions and options. Database is UTF-encoded.
  • Students who finish a survey can see the results for their class displayed as a pie chart and in tabular form. A "refresh" button lets them see the latest results.

Teacher side

  • Teachers access the teacher area with a web browser on their computer.
  • Create and edit quizzes and surveys.
  • Export to Excel: The grade-book, the survey participation points, and the students' username & password table can all be downloaded in Excel-compatible files. These files also work well in Apple's Numbers program.
  • Multilingual support for questions and options. Database is UTF-encoded. (The site is currently only available in English, though. Teacher-side language packs will be available in a future release.)
  • Student management: Teachers can add students to classes, view student username and password data, edit student information, and drop students from classes.
  • See students' progress on quizzes and surveys in real time (by clicking a "refresh these results" button).
  • Teachers choose when to add the students' quiz scores to a grade-book. So, with in-class quiz work, you can store the grades before sharing the correct answers with the entire class. If it's homework with a specific due date and time, the teacher can choose that moment to put the grades into the grade-book.
  • The grade-book can be edited. Teacher can change their students' grades. Teacher can excuse students from quizzes so that the missed quizzes don't count against them in their quiz grade tally.
  • Survey results can be shown to students as a pie chart with a table of results. (The pie chart works on Safari and Firefox but has issues with Internet Explorer.)
  • Teachers can see who has taken the survey and who hasn't. Teachers can opt to award a participation point to students who have taken the survey.
  • Teachers can see who in their class is currently logged in. Teachers can log out an entire class if necessary (such as in an environment where the school has a class set of mobile devices).
  • Teachers can set homework with a "start" and "end" date and time. Research shows that regularly-spaced practice helps students retain more. Using this feature, teachers can restrict access to a homework assignment so that it is done within a particular window of opportunity. Homework assignments can be a quiz or a survey. The deadline will only apply to students in the class(es) that have been selected by the teacher.
  • Recycle quizzes: Recycling a quiz will create a new version of that quiz, with each question and all options in a new, random order. Useful for pre- and post-tests.
  • Reuse surveys: Teachers can issue a new shortcut (access code) for a survey, so that students can take the survey again. Useful for pre- and post-discussion surveys, or to measure changes over time.
  • Export quizzes to Word: Teachers can download a student version and teacher version of a quiz as a Word (.doc) file. (This feature will be standard in the next release of MOARS, and is currently available in the "Add-Ons" download section.)


Admins can do everything that teachers can do (in fact, the admin is also a teacher). Admins have a few more responsibilities:

  • Edit any teacher's quiz or survey.
  • Add and edit course information.
  • Add and edit teacher information.
  • Add students to any class.
  • Reassign students to different classes.
  • See everyone who is online. Log out any class if needed.

You Control It

Download and install this system on a web server (LAMP: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). You have complete control over it. Updates will be available from this site when needed. The download is free!


No registration is required for you to download or install MOARS.