Assignments in Moodle (for Teachers)

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 6:34 pm.

Use a Moodle Assignment activity to:

  • Receive electronic assignment submissions. You can set up an Activity to have students submit papers to you electronically. Moodle is more secure and private than e-mail, is available to all students, collects all files into a single place, and time-stamps submissions. In the new version of Moodle, you can download all submissions for an Assignment at once for printing and/or electronic annotation.
  • Grade blind. Moodle Assignment gives you the option to identify submissions by a code while you are marking, and only reveal students’ names after you’ve assigned grades. Note: if you are asking students to upload files, be sure to tell them to leave their names out of the file as well.
  • Create an item in your Moodle Gradebook. Although Moodle Assignment is handy for receiving electronic submissions, that isn’t the only reason to use it. You can also create Assignment activities for “offline” assignments (e.g., attend one colloquium) so that you can track completion and award points for it.
  • Place assignment deadlines on your Moodle course calendar. Students can subscribe to this calendar to see deadlines in their electronic calendar of choice (Office365, Google, iCal, etc.).

How to Create a Basic Assignment

  1. Turn editing on.
  2. Click Add an activity or resource at the bottom of a course block.
  3. Select Assignment from the menu and click Add. This opens an Adding a new Assignment page.
  4. Enter an Assignment name.
    • We recommend including the date an Assignment is due in the Assignment name, as this will not show up on the main course page otherwise.
  5. Add a Description, which students will see when they click on the Assignment link.
    • If your instructions are short, you can put them here.
    • If your instructions are long and/or you want students to print them out, upload an assignment sheet under Additional files, and use this space to direct students to it.
    • See Guidelines for Electronic File Submission for things to include in instructions for this type of assignment.
  1. Under Availability, check Enable next to the following and set the date and time to specify:
    • Allow submissions from — the earliest date/time a student can submit
    • Due date — submissions after this date/time will be marked as late
    • Cut-off date — Moodle will not accept submissions after this date
  1. Under Submission Type, check Online text (if you want students to enter text in a text box) and/or File submissions (if you want students to upload a file) as applicable. Depending on your choice, you can set Word limit (online text) or the max number and size of uploaded files.

The remaining settings, including Grade, are optional, and are shown collapsed by default. Expand them to adjust as needed. Please refer to the inline Moodle documentation (click the question mark icons) for more information and email help@brynmawr.edu for a consultation if you have any questions.

Tips for Electronic File Submission Assignments

If you want students to submit files to you electronically, here are some items to cover in your assignment instructions that will make the process go more smoothly:

  • Preferred file format. If you need files to be in a certain format (e.g., Word docx or PDF) for your grading workflow, be sure to specify this. Note that many of your students will be more familiar with a Google Docs or Apple Pages workflow, and will not think to save files as Word documents or PDFs if you do not specify this. All programs should be able to convert documents to these two formats, and students can search their program’s documentation or com for step-by-step instructions. PDFs generally preserve formatting best across different platforms.
  • Preferred file naming conventions. Anyone who is sharing files should think about what filenames would make sense to the recipient. “Paper1.pdf” may make sense to the student who submitted it, but having 40 in your Download folder probably won’t help you. Specify any info students can include (i.e., course number, their last name) in the filename to make it easier for you to identify files. Hint: avoid accents and special characters, as some file systems don’t accept them.
  • Header/footer information. Is there anything students should or should not include in page headers or footers? If you plan to print submissions, page numbers and last names might be essential, but if you are grading blind, you may not want names on every page. If students need instructions on how to add page numbers and/or edit headers and footers in a document they can search their program’s documentation or com.
  • Citation conventions. Not exclusively for online submissions, of course, but do you want students to use footnotes, endnotes or parenthetical citations? Is there a particular style guide (MLA, APA, etc.) they should follow? Should URLs in citations be hyperlinks you can follow? Should they spelled out in visible text? (It is a best practice in online writing to use meaningful phrases as the link text for accessibility purposes, and let viewers hover over the link to see the URLs. However, if you will be printing the files, you won’t be able to hover and may need the full URL to be visible.)

Note about Microsoft Track Changes. Some faculty use Microsoft’s Track Changes to annotate student work while grading. Please note that Track Changes is only available in the full desktop version of Word. All students can access this version on public lab computers, and Bryn Mawr students can download it to their personal devices through their Office365 accounts. If you want to ensure students can view the Track Changes mark-up anywhere, you can export the Word doc as a PDF with the mark-up showing.

Assignment FAQs

Can students submit group work through a Moodle Assignment?

Yes! You will first need to set up the Groups (see …). Go to the Assignment, click Edit settings, and scroll down to the Group submission settings. Set Student submit in groups to turn on group submissions, and select which groups should be used under Grouping for student groups. It’s generally a good idea to test activities using groups with multiple “students” so you can see how the settings will work. Educational Technology Services would be glad to set up a sandbox for you, and serve as “students” for these tests. E-mail help@brynmawr.edu for a consultation.

How do I grade blindly in Moodle?

Go to the Assignment, click Edit Settings and scroll down to Grade. Set Blind marking? to Yes. Moodle will display assignment submissions to Teachers using participant numbers in place of names. Once you’ve finished grading the assignments, go the Assignment, click on Edit settings, and select Reveal student identities.

How do I download all files submitted for an Assignment at once?

Go to the assignment, and click Download all submissions in the list under Assignment Administration in the Administration block.

How do I give students an extension or make exceptions to a deadline?

To give extensions or make exceptions in advance, go to the Assignment and click User overrides (or Group overrides for a group) under Assignment administration. See the Assignment overrides screencast for a demo. To give an extension after a Cut-off date has passed (and users can no longer submit), go to the Assignment, click View all submissions, find the student’s name, and click Edit, then choose Grant extension from the drop-down menu.

Filed under: Moodle Tags: , by Jenny Spohrer

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