Managing Student Work using Moodle: Part 2

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How Assignments Look to a Student

I’ve logged out and then logged back in as student John Smith. As far as offline assignments are concerned, they are carried out in the real world. In that instance, Moodle is used to manage grades and notes. If I click on my Offline assignment, I just see a description of the assignment:

Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

My second assignment requires students to upload a file. In the next section, we experience a little of what life is like as a Moodle student when we try uploading a project submission to Moodle.

Taking the Student’s Point of View—Uploading a Project File

It is a very good idea to see what we are expecting our students to do when we ask them to upload their project work to us online. At the very least, when we ask students to upload their project work to Moodle, we need to know what we are talking about in case they have any questions. If you don’t have a student login or you are still logged in as yourself and have asked a colleague to check that your assignment is working correctly, it’s a good idea to take a good look over their shoulder while they are running through the following steps. Together, let’s run though what a student must do to upload a file to us…

Time for Action – Uploading a File to an Assignment

I only have one computer to work from, so the first thing to do is for me to log out and log back in as my pretend student “John Smith”. If you have the luxury of having two computers next to each other then you can log in as yourself on one and your pretend student on the other at the same time. You might have two different browsers (e.g. Firefox and Internet Explorer) installed on the same computer. If so you can log into one as a teacher and the other as a student. Don’t try to log in as two different people on the same computer using the same browser—it doesn’t work. Now that you are logged in as a student…

  1. Return to the course main page and click on the Advanced uploading of files assignment you added earlier. You will be presented with the following page:
  2. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

    The top half of the page is our description of the assignment. The second half allows us to upload a file and, because I configured the activity such that students could include comments with their submission, has an area allowing us to add a note. Students can browse for files and upload them in exactly the same way as we upload our teaching materials to the course files area. If they want to add a note, then they need to press on the Edit button (at the bottom of the previous screenshot).

  3. Click on the Browse… button now. The File upload dialog is displayed. This allows us to select a file to upload. You can choose any for now, just to prove the point. I’ve quickly created a text file using Notepad called example_submission.txt. Select the file you want to upload and press the Open button. The name of the file is now displayed in the box:
  4. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

  5. Press the Upload this file button. You will now see the file listed in the Submission draft box:
  6. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

    Repeat this process for your other project files.

  7. To add a note to go along with the submission, I can press the Edit button at the bottom of the page. Try leaving a note now. (If your assignment has been configured so that students are prevented from leaving a note, you won’t have this option.)
  8. If I am happy that this is the final version of the project and I want to send it for marking, then I can press the Send for marking button at the bottom of the page. Pressing this stops me from uploading any more files:
  9. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

  10. That’s it. We’re done:
  11. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

What Just Happened?

It was easy for us to convert our assignments to Moodle. Now, we’ve seen how easy it is for students to convert to using Moodle to hand in their assignment submissions. Now, we’ve actually got a piece of work to mark (albeit a pretend piece), I am ready to start marking.

Before moving on to the next section, make sure you are logged in as yourself rather than as a student.

Marking Assignments

Managing student grades and the paperwork associated with student submissions is one of my biggest headaches. By converting to Moodle, I can avoid all of these problems. Let’s see how easy it is to mark assignments in Moodle.

Marking Offline Assignments

My Offline assignment, the poster project, is being carried out in the real world. Currently, I take a digital photograph of the poster and record my comments and grades on separate pieces of paper. Let’s see how I can convert this to Moodle…

Time for Action – Mark an Offline Assignment

  1. From the course front page, click on your Offline assignment.
  2. Click on the No attempts have been made on this assignment/View 0 submitted assignments link in the top right-hand corner of the page. You are now taken to the Submissions page. I’ve only got one student enrolled on my course—the pretend student my admin put on my course for me—so this is what I see:
  3. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

  4. To grade John Smith’s work, I need to click on the Grade link, found in the Status column. The Feedback dialog is displayed:
  5. Moodle Course Conversion: Beginner's Guide

  6. I can use this dialog to comment on a student’s work. At this point, I could include a photograph of the poster in the comment, if I wanted to (or I could get the students to take photographs of their posters and then to upload the images as part of an online submission).

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