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How to set up a Moodle Assignment


Daunted by the number of settings? There's good news on several fronts. Though we explain the settings here at length here so that you know what's possible and most likely to help you, you'll probably find that you leave most on their defaults. Moreover, when you've created one Assignment you can duplicate it to save time with the next one. And to cap it all, at roll-over time if you reset your course you get to keep all the Assignments you've set up. So we think it's worth taking a little time up front.

  1. To add a Moodle assignment, click the Turn editing on button in the top-right of your page.   
  2. In the topic where you want the assignment to appear, click on the link to Add an activity or resource
  3. Select Assignments and then click the Add button; a new Assignment settings page displays. Let's look at each setting in turn.

See further down for particular Assignment settings for group submissions.

  1. Assignment name - type in a succinct, meaningful and unambiguous title for your assignment
  2. Description - give clear instructions about what the students are expected do - keep it fairly succinct so that students can see where to upload without needing to scroll, and note you can link students to more detailed information or documents (eg assessment criteria or coversheet) using the Link button in the Editor.
  3. Display description on course page - checking this box would display the aforementioned instructions on the front page of your Moodle course area; given the tendency for these front pages to become crowded, leaving it unchecked may be better.
  1. Allow from - enable only if you want to prevent submissions before a certain time.
  2. Due date - enable if you want to impose a the deadline; after the deadline students can still upload their work, but it is conspicuously marked late and markers can take the usual action for the department.
  3. Cut-off date - probably No, since it prevents students with mitigating circumstances uploading work, which in turn disrupts both their record in Moodle and your means of communicating their marks and feedback back to them.
  4. Always show description - this interacts with the Allow from setting. Set it to 'No' if you don't want the students to see the assignment prior to a certain date.
Submission types
  1. Online text - usually No - enable if you want students to type (or - safer - paste) directly into Moodle, instead of or as well as uploading a file or files.
  2. File submissions - usually Yes to allow students to upload files.
  3. Maximum number of uploaded files - if you want a multi-part submission you can set the maximum number of files here (note that you'll need to let students know whether the number permitted is the same as the number expected). In many cases a single file will suffice.
  4. Maximum submission size – alter the size of file students can upload, we recommend you leave this as the default which is the site maximum.
Feedback types
  1. Feedback comments - Yes will allow markers to type or paste summary comments on each piece of work directly into Moodle.
  2. Feedback files - Yes gives markers the option to upload a file of feedback for any student individually; these might be the student's original work with comments added using eg the Adobe Reader, iAnnotate, or MS Word comment function. Nb if you find you're repeating yourself and are worrying about your time, consider giving the whole cohort a single file of general feedback, made available elsewhere eg as a Page.
  3. Offline grading worksheet - Yes gives markers the option to download a spreadsheet into which they can enter a numeric mark and/or feedback comments - uploading the completed marksheet will update the Gradebook for each student.


    Want to give feedback first i.e. before you release numeric marks? First upload your Feedback Files, then follow after an appropriate interval with the Offline Grading Worksheet containing numeric marks. More on this in the M27 Moodle Gradebook miniguide.

Submission settings
  1. Require students to click submit button - probably No. Enabling it can be useful where there's no particular deadline (Due Date) - it can signal to staff that they can start marking. But in practice there usually is a deadline, and moreover there's a tendency for students to overlook the Submit button and assume that uploading is the same as submitting. In any case, when the Due Date passes, the submission is effectively finalised - which, in combination with staff being discouraged from starting marking before the Due Date, usually means that this setting can be safely left at No.Or if Yes, then you really do need to let students know about it in your instructions. If you are using groups in the assignment, setting 'submit' to No forces 'Require all group members submit' to be set to Yes, which in practice means that after the first student has submitted, the others have to confirm the submission by submitting a piece of work. The current file is made available by default, but it is possible to overwrite it with another file!
  2. Require that students accept the submission statement - if you're using Groups, then No because it contains phrases like 'own work'.
  3. Attempts reopened – probably Manually. Determines how student submission attempts are reopened. The available options are; Never - the submission cannot be reopened, Manually - the submission can be reopened by a tutor or Automatically until pass - the submission is automatically reopened until the student achieves the grade to pass value set in the Gradebook (Categories and items section) for this assignment.
  4. Maximum attempts – The maximum number of submissions attempts that can be made by a student. After this number of attempts has been made the student's submission will not be able to be reopened.
Group submission settings
  1. Students submit in groups - enable if you have set up Groups for your course and want each Group to submit a single shared piece of work.Works in combination with the aforementioned
  2. Require all group members submit - enabling this means that each group member must click their respective Submit buttons before a shared piece of work can be submitted as a Group.
  3. Grouping for student groups - enable if you have set up Groupings of Groups (ie you are setting the assignment only for a sub-set of the students enrolled in the Moodle area, but not for the rest).
  1. Notify graders about submissions - probably No. Enable only in the unlikely case that Tutors want an email every time any student uploads work. However, see the next setting:
  2. Notify graders about late submissions - probably Yes. Enabling this will alert markers to newly submitted work after the deadline, which saves you having to check for it.
  3. Default setting for "Notify students" - probably No. Enabling this will notify students as they are marked and given feedback. Notify students in bulk instead when uploading feedback.
  1. Grade - select from the dropdown menu (note there is a No grade setting if you want to give feedback only). If the scale you need isn't there, contact ele@ucl.ac.uk about adding it.
  2. Grading method - you can have; Simple direct grading i.e. a mark and summary feedback, Marking guide - sets out criteria but omits the Rubric's levels of achievement; allows a comment and mark for each criterion or Rubric - sets out criteria and levels to which each has been met, and allocates marks to each level, generating an overall mark at the end.
  3. Grade category - if you've set up any categories (ways of grouping assignment grades) in your Moodle Gradebook, you'll be able to select one here.
  4. Anonymous marking - usually No. Enable if you want to mark work with the students' identities hidden, and revealed after the marking period.


    MS Office documents contain information that can identify the author. To remove this
    Open the document. Click on "File" (on the menu bar), and then "Info"
    If there is one present, right click on the Author, and select "Remove Person"
    Save the document

  5. Use marking workflow – probably yes. If enabled, marks will go through a series of workflow stages before being released to students. This allows for multiple rounds of marking and allows marks to be released to all students at the same time.
  6. Use marking allocation - probably yes. If enabled together with marking workflow, markers can be allocated to particular students.
Common Module settings
  1. Visible - Show (unless you want to hide it from students until you come back and manually Show it - n.b. there are other ways to prevent students from submitting).
  2. ID number - if you want to put Moodle's Gradebook to work calculating different marks perhaps with different weightings, then type in a (unique) number to refer to when you set up these calculations.
  3. Group mode - yes if you've enabled Students submit in groups, above (set to either Visible or Separate - it makes no difference). Only this will enable you to filter by Group in the Gradebook. Also enable if you have markers who have been allocated the work of existing groups of students to mark (it is invaluable if blind marking is enabled); that will allow markers to easily isolate the work allocated to them and save them from sifting through a large cohort. 
  4. Grouping - TBC n.b. avoid intersecting Groups (i.e. students who are part of more than one Group), use Grouping of non-intersecting Groups instead.
  5. Available for Group members only - check this checkbox if you are using Groupings.
Restrict access settings [to come]
Activity completion settings [to come]

Once you've completed the settings (and you can change them after saving - though not after students have begun to submit) click on Save and return to course.

Group submissions

Say you're a staff member who wants to set up groups, each of which makes a single submission in common - and let's say that submission is one file (though in practice it could be more). How can you do this?
First set up your Groups.
Then set up your Assignment. The particular Assignment settings just below have the following implications:

  • For students - the first group member to submit a file is marked Submitted for grading - but other group members have the chance to overwrite that. Each subsequent submission overwrites the preceding one. The file in place at the Due Date is the file that will be submitted for marking. In other words, it is assumed that submissions made by any single group member were agreed by all. This should work fine, as long as expectations about negotiation and agreement are explicit and that an appeals process is in place. 
  • For markers - after the Due Date when the marker goes to the Grader to start marking, the students who haven't made any uploads are shown as not having submitted. This doesn't matter though, since if one group member had already submitted an approved file, there wouldn't have been any reason for subsequent group members to do so again. The marker can then filter by group, and will notice that each group member displays with a single file in common. Correspondingly when the marker gives their marks and feedback to one group member, those become common to the others. 

Here are those settings:

  1. Set the Students submit in groups setting to Yes.
  2. Set the Require that students click submit button setting to No.
  3. Set the Require each group member to submit setting to No.
  4. Set the Require that students accept the submission statement setting to No.

To discuss any other combination of settings - for example if there's no deadline or you want to mark on a first-come-first-served basis - contact ELE.