Ask4Summary: Question and Answer Service for Moodle Courses

The service aims to use the VIP Research Group's N-Gram and POS Service and the AskCOVIDQ algorithm to scan course content and provide users a summary for their question.
This project is under supervision of Dr. Maiga Chang, Professor at the School of Computing and Information Systems, Athabasca University.

About the Current Project

Ask4Summary is a Moodle plugin aiming to provide users with a summary based on part of speech similarity to their question. The plugin will go through course material, gather the sentences - and their N-Grams and Part of Speech - and store it into its learning database. Afterwards, when a user asks a question, it will compare the N-Grams taken from their sentences and produce a similarity coefficient from the frequency of those same N-Grams in the learning database. Then, it will return the most comparable sentences.

  • The course material scanned remains in the database, allowing fast lookup in Ask4Summary's learning tables.
  • The plugin can return up to 12 comparable sentences for any user question, from up to 5 documents in the course.
  • The plugin currently supports use of Word Documents, Powerpoint Presentations, PDFs, URL webpages, and built in Moodle Pages.


N-Gram POS Service

Ask4Summary uses the VIP Research Group's N-Gram POS Service - it collects N-Grams validated by the top 15 parts of speech from the DBPedia database.


Ask4Summary derives the summary algorithm from the VIP Research Group's ASKCOVIDQ serivce. It utilizies cosine similarity on vectors created from the frequency of N-Grams in the user's question, and the learning database.

How to Access


Plugin Directory

Access the Moodle plugin directory for Ask4Summary.

Github Repository

Access the repository for Ask4Summary directly.

About Us

Our Mission

Our research aims to utilize the VIP Research Group's services to provide Moodle courses with a question and answer service.

Our Supervisor

Dr. Maiga Chang is a Full Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at Athabasca University, Canada.

Research Goal

The research focuses on using the N-Gram Part of Speech service capable of verifying valid n-grams from a user's question or their course material. Then, it would utilize a derivation of the AskCOVIDQ summary algorithm to compare the frequency of generated N-Grams that are stored in the database.

Our Team


Maria is a Charter Civil Engineer specialized in data science and spatial analysis for large public and environmental infrastructures, holding a Master's Degree in Big Data & Visual Analytics and in Occupational Risk Prevention. Maria is currently writing her PhD doctoral thesis in Computer Science at the International University of La Rioja and pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems at Athabasca University.


Supun De Silva is an undergraduate student at Athabasca University pursuing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computing Information Systems with a minor in Game Programming. My current research interest is in artificial intelligence in education, specifically identifying student learning weaknesses and providing adaptive feedback. Other areas of interest include cloud computing, system administration, web-based system development, network programming, database administration, game programming, and system analysis and design. Outside of schoolwork, I like reading books and weightlifting.

Mohammed SALEH

Mohammed Saleh is an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Computer Software Engineering. His main research focus was the development of the Ask4Summary plugin; but, Mohammed is also interested in software development and video game production. Other than computing, Mohammed enjoys the outdoors and sports.


Mikhail Vinogradov is a Software Developer and Cloud Practitioner with a passion for innovation and solving problems through technology. His extracurricular interests include Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Systems Architecture, and Biotechnology. He recently completed his Master's of Information Systems at Athabasca University and is looking for his next project to pursue his PhD.

Sayantan PAL

Sayantan Pal is an undergraduate student. He is pursuing Computer Science and Engineering from Heritage Institute of Technology, India. His research interest lies in the domain of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Information Retrieval, Human-Computer Interaction, Data Mining, and Recommender Systems.



The installation process of Ask4Summary.

  1. Installation from the Plugin Directory
  2. Installation directly into Moodle files


The administrator and teacher configuration of Ask4Summary.

  1. 0:00 to 2:35 - Administrator specific settings
  2. 2:35 to end - Block configuration settings

Teacher Use

A guide on how teachers can use Ask4Summary.

  1. How to use the Logistics page
  2. How to optimize course resource scanning

Student Use

A guide on how students can use Ask4Summary.

  1. How to ask a question
  2. How to view the response

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Ask4Summary can be used as a question and answer service for your Moodle course. It will attempt to get sentence content from your course material, and return an answer to the user.

  • Ask4Summary uses two of the VIP Research Group's services - the N-Gram POS service, and the AskCOVIDQ summary algorithm. Ask4Summary directly uses the N-Gram POS service to get the N-Grams and Part of Speech from the user's question and the course material. Then, it uses a derivation of the AskCOVIDQ summary algorithm to produce a response based on frequency of N-Grams in the question and in the database.

  • Check the Installation, Configuration and Teacher Use videos above for a comprehensive guide on Ask4Summary.

  • Yes, Ask4Summary may be updated in the future to improve the course material scanning, the N-Gram POS service, and the summary algorithm in the future; but, there is no immediate plan to do so.