Create and Manage Assignments in Moodle

Use a Moodle Assignment activity to:

  • Receive papers or problem sets 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. You can download all submissions for an Assignment at once for printing and/or electronic annotation.
  • Grade blind. If you choose this option, Moodle identifies submissions with codes, and only reveals students’ names after you’ve assigned grades. (Note: if students are uploading files, you will need to warn them NOT to include their name in the filename or on the pages of the file.)
  • Create an item in your Moodle Gradebook. Moodle Assignment isn’t only for receiving electronic submissions. You can also create Assignment activities for “offline” assignments, such as attending a colloquium, so that you and your students can track completion and any points awarded.
  • Place assignment deadlines on the Moodle course calendar. Students can subscribe to reminders and “push” the calendar to other calendar programs (Office365, Google, iCal, etc).

How to Create an 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.
    • Tip: Include the date the Assignment is due in name, so it is visible on the main course page.
  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, below, 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 — the date/time after which submissions will be marked as late
    • Cut-off date — the date/time Moodle stops accepting submissions (not visible to students).
  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. Note that many of your students come from a GoogleDocs type workflow, where they shared links to online files with teachers, rather than emailing copies or handing in printouts. If you don’t want links, uncheck Online text and explain this to students in your instructions.

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 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 is info you can include in the assignment instructions to 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 tell students this. Students who shared links to online documents with teachers and classmates in high school, may not be very familiar with the concept of a “file format,” but all document-editing tools, including online-only ones like GoogleDocs, can save documents in Word (doc/docx), PDF and .rtf formats. Students can search their program’s help docs or LinkedIn Learning for step-by-step instructions. PDFs generally preserve formatting best across different platforms.
  • Preferred file naming conventions. Anyone who is sharing files should consider about whether their filenames make sense for recipients. “Paper1.pdf” may make sense to students, but having 40 files in your Download folder with that name won’t help you. Tell your students what info to include (i.e., course number, their last name) in the filename to make it easier for you to identify files. If you’re grading blind, tell them what info NOT to include. Hint: avoid accents and special characters, as some file systems don’t accept them.
  • Header/footer information. What should students include or 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 visible anywhere. 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 help docs or LinkedIn Learning.
  • Citation conventions. 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 or? (For example, papers published online often adopt the accessibility best practice of making the title of a work in a bibliography a link, and let viewers hover over or click on the link to see the URL, but if you plan to print the files, you may need the full URL to be visible.)

Note about Microsoft Track Changes. If you use Microsoft’s Track Changes to annotate student work while grading, please note that it is only available in the full desktop version of Word (rather than Word online). 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 Groups in Moodle). 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 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.