ClozeFox Firefox Jetpack Update

06 Jan

The JetPack Design Challenge for E-learning is moving at full speed and our ClozeFox team has been busy lately. The features developed so far:

– The system can generally detect the ‘main text’ of ‘meaningful web pages’, such as newspaper articles, blog entries, magazine articles, etc., most of the time. It uses a very simple heuristic and implements this as a jquery selection. Not as good as natural intelligence but good enough for development purposes.

– By using an English word frequency list, the system detects if the ‘main text’ has a high probability of being in English. (By incorporating frequency lists for other languages such as German, French, etc. we will scale this functionality to other languages as well). It does this by comparing the current page’s word frequency with the top 20 words taken from the British National Corpus statistics.

– Then it proceeds to apply a cloze test strategy to the detected ‘main text’. The current strategy is STRATEGY_RANDOM which is basically something like ‘remove every Nth word from the text and replace it with a pull-down list and a constant distractor’. (Just as a proof of concept and debugging purposes, not as a linguistically and pedagogically meaningful test strategy at all).

Currently the plug-in is activated by a very simple way, by clicking on the Run ClozeFox! button on the bottom right corner of the browser status bar and some of the results look like these:

ClozeFox in action

ClozeFox in action

ClozeFox in action

ClozeFox in action

There is still a long way to go to reach something like that:

ClozeFox Settings Mockup

ClozeFox Settings Mockup

The source code repository is at

Now the development is moving in 2 parallel tracks, one being the linguistic part and the other is user interface / social collaboration part. We are about to implement meaningful and useful language test strategies and in the meantime we are exploring the JetPack platforms features for creating a UI and collaboration functionality.


Posted by on January 6, 2010 in e-Learning, jetpack4l



6 responses to “ClozeFox Firefox Jetpack Update

  1. Michael Butler

    January 6, 2010 at 13:19

    Just a thought, is there any way to add a search for just creative commons files? I suppose one could direct ones browser to here to begin with but to have an existing source to search through would make it even easier for teachers.

    Could you make your pictures bigger. It is hard to see what is being done at this file size (i.e. ClozeFox in action).

  2. Emre Sevinc

    January 6, 2010 at 13:24

    Dear Michael,

    – If you want to see the bigger versions of the pictures please click on them and then on the Flickr picture page choose the “All Sizes” link on the top left (it has a magnifier icon next to it).

    – We are planning to add a feature which can be summarized as: Recommend a page for a cloze test.

    Thank you very much for the feedback. And please do not hesitate to write more 🙂

    PS: Why do you mention CC licensed content? I mean does it matter in the context of creating a cloze text automatically? Our plug-in does not grab the content and publish it elsewhere so I couldn’t see why CC is relevant.

  3. Michael Butler

    January 6, 2010 at 16:04

    Good question, looked at from the perspective of a teacher I may want to publish this, assign this or bundle this for a class and I’m willing to bet there will be a way to do this eventually.

    In that eventuality, some schools might have I.P. use restrictions which could more easily be avoided by linking to CC texts. Futhermore, this would boast the visibility of CC material, a very “cool” thing to do and one that might get you press from certain sectors of academia.

    I’m not sure how much you have been considering this from a teachers perspective; that is really the only perspective that I have been considering.

  4. Emre Sevinc

    January 6, 2010 at 16:17

    I’m a little bit confused. Because in its current form this tool just modifies a web page that the user is looking at and tries to convert it to a cloze test. It does not tamper with the original page, e.g. if the user reloads the page he or she is going to see the original page again.

    Publishing a cloze test in this context would be something like that:

    – You find some nice article on the web.

    – You run the ClozeFox tool on that web page and check that it can modify the page into an acceptable cloze test.

    – You like the result. Now you tell your students “hey, why don’t you go and visit page XXX and click on the Run ClozeFox! button and do the automatically generated test.”

    Voilà. You just “published” a language test to your students without actually publishing anything. Anything but a web address. Since you did not copy the original text and re-published it at somewhere else, there’s no problem about violating any kind of license.

    Hmm, but on the other hand, if what you mean is to *copy* some text from some page (newspaper, yournal, blog, etc.), create your own web page and place that text into your web page, and then run ClozeFox on it and then re-direct your students to your page, well, then that’s a different story and in that case I can see the importance of CC very well. On the other hand, isn’t this mode of working more burdensome compared to simply directing your students to the original web page that you liked so that you don’t have to copy and re-publish it?

  5. Michael Butler

    January 6, 2010 at 17:26


    As a teacher of beginning students I may want to use texts that are published just for students at my level. Texts that are available online in book length (someday). Texts that I can use, reuse and modify in a variety of formats because there aren’t any I.P. restrictions.

    This may not be within your domain of concern at present and perhaps it shouldn’t be but I see teachers stretching this tool in this direction.

    I am assuming this tool works on HTML pages and that the resulting modifications will be readable. Is that correct?

    I hope I am not putting the cart before the horse. Thanks!

  6. Emre Sevinc

    January 7, 2010 at 11:55


    We consider language teachers and language learners our natural user-base and you are right about using CC-licensed, unrestricted material for your teaching purposes. Our ClozeFox fill-in-the-blanks test generator is fully compatible with any CC-licensed content.

    And yes, our tool works on HTML pages and the result is the same page, only that some of the words are converted into pull-down lists which the student should manipulate by trying to select the correct word.

    Thank you very much for the feedback and please do not hesitate to ask questions and contribute with suggestions.


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