Keywords: assessment, submission, feedback, grading, marking.
What is it?
Moodle Assignment lets you set, receive, mark, and give feedback on students' submitted work. It accepts multiple files and different file types. Moodle Assignment allows anonymous submissions, and the marking tools include highlighting, inline and summary comments, separate feedback files, and drawing. You can download original and marked submissions, and this affords offline marking. Group work can be submitted by a single student with all marks and feedback being returned to all the members of the group. Marks and feedback, including for anonymous submissions, can be uploaded back to Moodle. Each submission is private between that student (or group of students), their marker(s), and staff in the Moodle space. Moodle has a brief, illustrated overview of Assignment.
Find out more about the differences between Moodle Assignment and Turnitin at UCL.
Why use it?
- Upload any file type the marker can view and r eceive a submission receipt by email.
- Receive feedback without uploading any files e.g. on an artefact or performance.
- View any marks and feedback given via Moodle (once released).
- See their feedback across modules in their My Feedback page.
In terms of running assignments it allows you to:
- Display clear instructions and key dates for students.
- Collect uploaded work (it also enables assignments without file submissions).
- Select some or all assignments to download and mark offline.
- Manage and monitor multiple marker processes.
- Allow students to submit as a group, and give marks and feedback as a group.
- Keep marks and feedback hidden from students until ready for release.
Moodle Assignment offers a sophisticated marking environment with:
- Online marking on a single screen, including feedback comments and other annotations.
- The option to bulk-download, mark offline, and bulk-upload again.
- Marking grids and rubrics (can be feedback only or numerically weighted).
- Any kind of file accepted.
Who can use it?
Staff can set up assessments, set up criteria as grids or guides, give marks and feedback either online or offline, download submissions, and export marks and summary feedback.
Students can see key dates, submit work (if applicable), view and interact with feedback, download their marked work. What students can do, and when, depends on settings chosen by staff.
Before I start...
- Set up some Test Student Accounts so that you can try out your assignment from a student point of view. Only this will allow you to anticipate what instructions students will need, and where they should be displayed.
- Consider the kinds of feedback you will give. If you have a marking grid you are expected to use, ensure you have it to hand.
- Organise a hands-on demonstration session for any other colleagues who will be using Moodle Assignment in the way you anticipate, but are unfamiliar with marking there (students are sensitive to inconsistencies of marking approach).
- Think about the instructions you will give students, including about engaging with their feedback.
- Have the agreed dates for deadlines and release of marks to hand.
- If you are marking anonymously and need to keep copies of still-anonymous submissions e.g. for External Examiner use later, then write a diary note to download these before anonymity is lifted when marks are released.
How do I set one up?
- To add a Moodle Assignment to your space, Turn editing on, then click on the Add an activity or resource link and select Assignment.
- To see all settings click the Expand all link.
- Enter an Assignment Name and Description (use for brief instructions - displays at the top of the Assignment page).
- Some settings we'd particularly like to flag up:
- Anonymous marking - student names will be anonymised until after marking (you can mark anonymised submissions offline).
Marking workflow - enable this to allow all marks and feedback to be released at the same time. It can also help coordinate multiple markers.
- Marking allocation - this allows allocation of markers to work after the deadline; however, if you know in advance who will be marking whose work then it's probably easier to use Groups for this. Marking allocation depends on Marking workflow being enabled.
- Require students to click submit button - only use if you have a good reason, since there's a tendency for students to overlook the Submit button and assume that uploading is the same as submitting. When the Due Date passes the submission is locked, so as long as marking begins after the Due Date it is fine to set this to No.
- Students submit in groups - each group submits work in common, and the marks and feedback you give are distributed to all students in that group*.
*IMPORTANT: If you enable group submissions you must tick the 'Require group to make submission' option, as there is currently a bug in Moodle where it will display an unstyled page with 'You can't add comments' written at the top if this is not ticked. When enabled, this setting means that users who are not members of a group will be unable to make submissions.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and display.
- Hide the grades until you're ready to release - see 'Keeping grades hidden until the release date' in the Moodle Assignment guidance.
- A Moodle video on setting up an Assignment.
- Detailed step-by-step guidance on Assignment_settings is available from moodledocs.
If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).
If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.
- Instructions - be aware that students can get straight into an Assignment, bypassing any other notices on your Moodle space's front page. So do put your instructions into the Assignment's Description - that way students are guaranteed to see them.
- Releasing marks
- To keep marks hidden from students until the marking process is complete - you need to hide that item in the Gradebook (you can use the 'Hidden until' setting). Unless you do that, by default marks and feedback will be revealed to students, one by one as you save them. You can also use Marking Workflow, but unless you have multiple markers we think it takes more effort).
- Avoid using 'Hide' for the whole assignment, though, since students may want to refer back. If you want to limit the period of late submissions, use the 'Cut-off date' and/or 'Grant extension' (see Moodle guidance on granting extensions).
- When marking, remember to click 'Save changes' before navigating to the next submission.
- Multiple markers should coordinate carefully, especially if marking offline with bulk-downloaded submissions and a marksheet. Before uploading those again it's very important to coordinate carefully with any other markers.
- Offline marking is not compatible with use of Moodle Rubrics or Marksheets - those need to be completed online (though you can always download the submissions to view offline).
- Group submissions - if this is set to 'Require all group members submit' this means that each group member needs to be instructed to submit. This is effectively requiring each student's approval for the submission, which is good in theory as long as students need to know they are supposed to do this. There needs to be a process in place which anticipates a few group members not submitting, for whatever reason (possibly they just forgot).
Examples and case studies
- Elodie Douarin (UCL SSEES) used Moodle Assignment including rubrics, to help her students relate feedback to assessment criteria. Read her project report.
Questions & Answers
- Detailed step-by-step guidance on using Moodle Assignment is available from moodledocs.
- Giving external examiners access to assessed work
- Interested in peer assessment? M37 - Moodle Workshop.