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Joule Winter Release: Using and Grading Moodle 2.3 Assignments

The Moodle Assignment module has undergone major changes in the newest Joule release that includes core Moodle 2.3. Now instead of having four separate types of Assignment activities (Single File Upload, Advanced Uploading of Files, Online text, and Offline), they are condensed into a single Assignment activity with the ability for instructors to define settings indicating the allowed submission types. The Assignment grader has also undergone changes: a new layout, options to lock/unlock student submission(s), and the ability to prevent submissions per student. The new Assignment module also works in combination with Joule grader, a two-pane grading interface that allows for both the instructor and student to view submissions, grades, and give comments back and forth on assignments.

The following are five tips to using the new Assignment module:

1.    Give students choice for how they would like to submit by enabling both text submission and file submission in the same activity. Define the settings as “Yes” for the “Online text” and “File submissions”. When file submissions is enabled, the instructor can define the number of files that may be submitted and the maximum file upload size.

2.    Comments and feedback on student submissions is a great way to aid in student learning and to achieve greater success on their class work. Set the “Comments submission” to “Yes” to enable students to submit comments about their assignment submissions. Set “Feedback comments” to “Yes” to allow instructors to give comments about each student submission. Finally, set “Feedback files” to “Yes” to allow instructors to send a file back to an individual student. For instance, these files may be a copy of the file submitted by the student with instructor notes.

3.    Use the new Assignment Grading summary page to track the submission process. During the assignment submission period, identify submitted drafts, final submissions, and items needing grading. Use the “View/grade submissions” link to open the Assignment grader interface.

4.    The new Assignment grader interface has a few additional options compared to the previous version. Use this view to grade, lock/unlock submissions, or prevent submissions for individual students. Additionally instructors can filter by students that submitted the activity or by assignments needing to be graded. The columns that display in this view are based on the Assignment’s configuration (i.e., if you enabled Online Text, you will see an Online text column).

5.    Use the Joule grader to grade assignments quickly. It has a two-pane grading window (which works with Assignments and Advance forums) that allows instructors to view the submitted text and/or document(s) in the left-hand side of the page and enter the grade and feedback area in the right-hand side. Instructors can now download a zip folder of all files from a student, view multiple files in-line and easily navigate through them in a seamless fashion, and grade using the Marking guide method. When grading using an Advanced grading method, a pop-up window opens to quickly select the grading guidelines and leave feedback. Additionally instructors and students can post comments back and forth to each other about an assignment to ensure the greatest level of success for the student.

This is a brief overview of some of the new features in Moodle 2. If you would like to learn more about the Assignment module and Joule grader join us for the What’s New in Moodle 2: Instructor webinar.

~Janelle Gieseke

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