How do I use an assignment?

Valid for Moodle 2.8.  Updated on 7/20/2015.Assignments were designed primarily as an accessment tool, but they can be used for other purposes.  For example an assignment can function as a dropbox for collecting student files.

Creating an assignment

  1. From your course page, turn editing on and go to the Topic or Week in which you want to add the assignment.
  2. Click on the Add an activity drop-down box and select Assignmentor you can select Assignment from the activity chooser. The interface for adding an activity is divided into a variety of sections.
    Assignment General settings
  3. Give the assignment a descriptive name and some general description. Both fields are required. You can have the descripton appear on the main course page. It will also appear on the assignment page the student sees when they click on the assignment. You can also pass some files to the students for them to use in the assignment.

    Assignment Availability settings
  4. You can specify the earliest and latest date when submissions will be accepted.  If neither of these fields in enabled, submissions will always be accepted.  You can also determine whether to accept submissions after the close date by setting a later cut-off date
  5. The Always show description option determines whether students can see the description even when they can't complete it.
    Assignment Submission settings
  6. The Submission types section allows to select between different ways students can respond to the assignment. You can select as many different response formats as you want. The basic formats are
    1. Online text: The user types their response to the assignment directly into Moodle.
    2. AV Recorder: The student records an audio or video response to the assignment. This assumes that they are working on a computer with microphone or web cam. Instructions on using the AV recorder are available.
    3. File submissions: This allows the student up upload files for the instructor. This performs the function of a dropbox. Students can't see each other's submissions.
  7. Multple Recordings allow you to permit a student to submit more that one recording if they are using the AV Recorder assignment type. This can be useful if the recording is going to be long. It is often easier to submit it in many small pieces rather than making the student re-record the entire thing if they make a mistake.
  8. Number of uploaded files and Max submission size are fairly obvious. If the max size available from the pull down menu is too small, try editing the course settings to increase the value allowed. If it's still not enough, talk to the IT department.

    Assignment Feedback Types settings
  9. Feedback type determines how students will get feedback for the assignment. For simple feedback, Feedback comments will probably be sufficient. If you want to respond with a file, such as returning the submitted file with comments written in it, select Feedback files.

    Assignment Sub Settings settings
  10. By default, a students submission is available to the instructor as soon as it is created or uploaded. By setting this to Yes the student must explicitly submit the assignment. Until then anything created/uploaded is saved on the system and the student can edit or replace it.
  11. It is possible for a student to resubmit a new response if the attempt is reopened. The Attempts reopened option determines under what conditions a reattempt is allowed. If a reattempt is permitted, Maximum attempts determine how often this can be done.

    Assignment Group Sub settings
  12. If you are using groups in your class, you can apply those groups to assignment. If the Students submit in groups they get to see each others submissions. You can also decide whether all the students need to submit which can be a useful setting if you want a single group submission.

    Assignment Notifications settings
  13. You can have messages send to your graders - usually the course instructor - when a submission is made either on time or late.

    Assignment Grade settings
  14. In the Grade block you can specify the number of points for the assignment (or if it isn't graded at all).  If graded, an item will automatically be added to the gradebook. If you use categories in the gradebook you can specify which category to put the grade for this assignment in. Blind marking hides the identity of the student from the grader until after the assignment is graded.
  15. Common module settings, and Restrict access are common activity options. Usually the defaults will be fine.
  16. Remember to click on either the Save and return to course or Save and display button when done.

Instructor View of an Assignment

To see what your students have submitted for an assignment, click on the link for the assignment.  You'll get the standard assignment interface, except that you'll see a View/Grade all assignments link.

Assignment screen

As an instructor the Submission status information has no meaning.

Clicking on the link to View/grade all submissions to bring up the listing display. Unfortunately this display is so wide you will have to scroll to see it all.  Here we've divided into several images. Note that if you click on the dash icon right below a column header you can collapse that header.

First part of assignment submission display

While this looks complicated, basically it's just a list of the people in the course. In this case two files has been submitted. 

Second part of assignment submission display

By clicking on the entry in the File Submissions column you can see the file that was submitted. If a recording was made there will be a column containing the recording. Clicking on the icon in the Grade column will take you to a screen where you can enter a grade, provide written feedback or add files to be returned to the student.

Part 3 of assignment submission display

The actual grade is displayed at the extreme right of the table.

Below the table are some options.

The most important here is the Quick grading option.  With this checked there will be a field added to the Grade column that allows you to directly enter a grade. You will also get a new button below the table to save the quick grades. Important: If you don't click on the button to save the grades, any grades you just added will be lost.