My typical exam format includes several pages of matching, multiple choice, true/false, and other “standard” questions before settling into a series of more demanding short answer questions that typically include tables, graphs, and figures that the students must annotate or label or add to as part of their responses.  The Moodle Quiz module is perfect for the former but not the latter.  Moreover, I always give students a choice of which questions to ask among the more demanding questions.  For example, I might write four questions, and they must respond to two.  Or I might provide images of three pairs of specimens, and they have to compare and contrast between the paired specimens for two of these.  These more demanding questions just cannot be incorporated to my satisfaction in Moodle, so I write up this portion of the exam as a Google document, and the students write up their answers in their own version of this Google document that they turn in by sharing their work with me (i.e., they give me access).  A Google doc allows students to see all their choices by scrolling through the options (one per page) and choosing which to answer (on that same page).

If images need to be annotated or labeled I insert those as Google drawings, and students can click on the image and enter edit mode to provide that work.  Moreover, they can refer back to the figures/tables/charts from one of these questions when responding to any other question anywhere in the exam.  If these were included in a Moodle question, they would be accessible only while students were working on that particular question.  (Note: I find that giving students these figures relieves some of the exam pressure they feel, and having these figures available throughout the entire exam allows me to write tougher questions.)

The real plus side comes in the grading.  The Moodle Quiz format does much of the grading for you.  For short answer questions, Moodle allows you to insert grader notes that serve as prompts for your comments to the students when grading those questions “by hand,” and you can copy and paste from the notes into the comments section.  With the Google doc portion of the exam, I find that students write less “fluff” and their responses are terser and more logical than the handwritten responses I have received in the past.  Of course students will make mistakes, and many of these will be quite similar to mistakes made by some of their fellow students.  By grading all of one question at a time and having all those individual Google docs open as tabs, I can jump back and forth from one to the next, copying and pasting my comments from one into the next, editing as needed to fit the specific response I am grading at the moment.  Overall, I find the time I spend grading exams has been cut significantly – perhaps by half.