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Using Moodle assignments #1

Kay Bond

Faculty of Engineering

Computer Aided Engineering (MM3CAEUK) (AUT 12-13), Advanced Engineering Research Preparation (H14ERP UK) (AUT 12-13) and Advanced Engineering Research Project Organisation and Design (H14POD UK) (SPR 12-13)


Apart from one, assignments in modules MM3CAE, H14ERP and H14POD generally had non-‘text’-based files attached (they were code files, e.g. Creo 3D solid model CAE, MATLAB, Excel), as well as reports so Turnitin wasn’t really the best option as it is intended for text.  We still needed to use electronic submission of these so that staff could interrogate or run code - very necessary for assessment.  To some extent we only really use the submission aspect of the Moodle assignment function, rather than marking or returning marks and certainly this will be the case this coming year.

What did you do?

I have used Moodle assignments. I used the rubric option on a couple, which would be good for marking as it indicates what aspects gives the student a particular mark and there is an option to add further comments, thus good for feedback.   The rubric is a little unwieldy to set up but not impossible, however there are limitations on the system: for example it's not possible to combine use of a rubric for one section of text and free marking for another section of the same text.

How did it work out?

Electronic submission worked OK

It is possible to download all the submissions in one compressed file. 

What did students think?

The students are happy with online submission because of the nature of the subjects.

It can be a little confusing because they don’t always remember to submit and often just upload what Moodle terms a draft. 

They then panic after the deadline and hit Submit, then Moodle will then show this as a late submission. 

We had to check a couple of ‘histories’ to verify whether they were actually late submissions or had been inadventently ‘submitted’ after the deadline.

NOTE: You can disable the "submit for marking" button in the settings, which means that student will submit straightaway.  This gives you the option to allow students to continue to work on their assignments, or only submit when they are completely ready

Tips, recommendations and caveats

  • The display of the rubric within Moodle.Nottingham isn't brilliant. I hope this can be improved when the theme is next upgraded.
  • Moodle renames the submissions which makes it difficult to sort them alphabetically by surname.
  • I combine the use of the Moodle assignment with use of a spreadsheet that pulls in student names and ID, creates a marks/feedback sheet from the list for each student, this is part automated rubric (that generates comments based on the mark given) and part free marking, it populates the student list with a final mark column, etc. and then will generate an individual pdf for each student that I am likely to email out automatically. 
  • I can then use the spreadsheet to populate the marks in Moodle so that they have a record of the mark.
  • Currently feedback is given separately, as it is too onerous to upload a feedback PDF for each student one at a time for more than 160 students. 

Not only but also...

As an alternative to the Moodle Assignment In the School Chemistry Turnitin is used even when the submissions are not text (in their case formulae)
It enables staff to use the GradeMark feature within Turnitin to mark papers and provide feedback.

However, to be accepted by Turnitin, a submission requires at least 20 words.


Note added August 2015

You can now use Moodle Assignments WITH a Turnitin option. This provides staff with options to use either Moodle-based marking or Turnitin GradeMark.

More information

Moodle Help

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