Adding/editing an assignment

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Adding/editing an assignment.


An Assignment is an activity that a teacher can select by a pull down menu in a course topic or week section. This page is about the Assignment settings, also found with the Update Assignment button.

Assignment name

Give your assignment a name (e.g. “Report on Topic Content”). The name entered here will be the name that learners see in the course content area. Learners will click on this name to view the details of the assignment and, if applicable, submit their work.

Description

The description of the assignment, which should include precise instructions for students regarding the subject of the assignment, the form, in which it should be submitted, the grading criteria etc.

Use this area to describe the assignment and explain what learners are expected to do to complete this task. The assignment description can be as brief or as expansive as you feel is necessary to meet the needs of your learners. However, it is to your benefit to provide as much detail and information as possible, especially at the start of the course while you are still establishing procedures. Generally, the more information you are able to provide here the fewer questions and problems your learners will have completing the task.

The assignment description field can also be used to provide information or resources related to the assignment. An instructor, for example, could provide some literature, a video clip, an image, or a link to a webpage, and then ask the learners to use these materials in completing the task. (Alternatively, the instructor could post these items using the Resource Module and refer students to them in the assignment details. See the section titled Resource Module for more information.)

Finally, if you are adding rich content, tables, etc. to your description, it is best to expand the HTML editor into full screen mode so you can make your webpage document look nice when participants view it.

Grade

The grade for the assignment is specified here. Choosing a number will become the maximum grade for this assignment. Apart from the numbers, one of the descriptive grades which have been defined for this course can also be picked.

If you will not be giving a grade for the assignment, choose No Grade.

Available from

Setting this date prevents students from submitting their assignments before this date.

The Available from date setting allows an instructor to set a day and time at which learners can begin submitting the assignment. This setting does not, however, hide the activity from the learners. Instead, the learner will see the activity, be able to view the instructions and use any materials you have include in the description, but the learner will not be able to submit or complete the assignment until the Available from date.

To activate the Available from date, make sure that the “Disable” checkbox is not marked. Then, use the drop down menus to choose the day, month and year. You can also set a time with the last two fields on the line. Note: the time is based on a 24 hour clock or “military time,” so 14:00 refers to 2:00 p.m.

If you do not wish to use the Available from option, just check the “Disable” checkbox by clicking on it; the rest of the field will turn gray and the date will be ignored.

Due date

And this prevents students from submitting their assignments after this date.

The Due date field works in much the same way as the Available from field with a few small differences. Unchecking the “Disable” checkbox activates the Due date option and you have the same ability to select a day, month, year, and time. If the checkbox is checked, then the due date will be not be applied.

As with the Available from setting, the Due date defines when learners are able to submit their assignment. However, with the Due date settings, you also have the Prevent late submissions option (below the date and time fields). Setting Prevent late submissions to Yes will prevent learners from being able to submit this assignment after the Due date. If you set Prevent late submissions to No, then learners can submit the assignment as long as the assignment is visible or accessible to them.

Both the Available from and Due dates are displayed for learners in the assignment details, but the Due date is also marked in the course Calendar as a visible reminder for participants. Furthermore, the indicator on the calendar will actually link learners directly to the activity!

Your use of the Available from and Due date settings will probably be dependent on the overall structure of your course. If you are facilitating an open ended course or a course with rolling enrollment, then you might find it easier to not apply the Available from and Due date settings (leave the boxes checked). This arrangement will allow the learners to access the assignments according to their own schedule and progress within the course. Alternatively, if you are working within a more structured format or adhering to a timeline, the Available from and Due date settings are useful for keeping learners on schedule. Using the Available from setting will make it possible for learners to preview upcoming activities, while at the same time, prevent them from finishing the course in the first week and not returning for additional activities or information. Likewise, the Due dates help keep the learners from lagging too far behind and decrease the likelihood that the learner will become overwhelmed by having to complete several weeks worth of work at once.

Prevent late submissions

Set to "No", assignments submitted after the due date will be marked as late, but students will still be able to submit them. Set to "Yes", assignment submission will be blocked after the due date.

Settings for specific assignment types (1.7 onwards)

Each assignment type, except offline assignment, has further settings which are detailed on the relevant assignment type pages:

Assignment type (pre-1.7)

With the Assignment type setting (pre-1.7), you choose the type of assignment which defines how learners will complete the assignment and turn it in to the instructor. Assignments can be set up as offline activity, online text, or upload a single file.

Upload
A student can upload a single file. This could be a Word document, spreadsheet or anything digital. Multiple files could be zipped and then submitted.After learners upload their files in this arrangement, the instructor will be able to open the submission and then use the Moodle interface to assign a grade and offer comments as feedback.
In addition to using this activity to collect work from learners, some instructors and learners use this module as a tool for transferring projects from one location to another. For example, if an instructor offered learners an assignment of this form, the learner could upload a file he was working on at school and then, once home, retrieve it from the assignment screen to continue his work. With the right settings (offered on the next screen), the learner can then submit the new file from home to use at school again.
Online Text
This assignment type asks users to compose and edit text, using the normal editing tools. The online text assignment can be set up to allow learners to compose, revise and edit over time or such that the learner only has one opportunity to enter his or her response. Furthermore, with the online assignment, instructors can grade the work online and even edit and/or provide comments within the learner’s work.
The online text assignment is ideal for journaling and composition work.
Offline assignment
This is useful when the assignment is performed outside of Moodle. It could be something elsewhere on the web or face-to-face. Students can see a description of the assignment, but can't upload files. Grading works normally, and students will get notification of their grades.
The offline activity has a number of different applications. In general, the offline activity is designed for activities completed outside of the online environment. Additionally, if you are using the Moodle gradebook, the offline activity gives you the capability to add gradebook entries for assignments completed outside of Moodle or for non-graded activities within Moodle.
Specifically, an instructor in a hybrid or blended environment (combination of face-to-face and online instruction) may use the offline activity type of assignment to assign a project that the learner will physically present to the instructor at a face-to-face session. This arrangement allows the instructor to communicate the project expectations online while creating an entry for the project in the Moodle gradebook.
In another example, consider the instructor who gives reading assignments or assigns problems for practice. These activities wouldn’t necessarily be turned in for a grade, but the instructor needs a tool for communicating the assignment details. The offline assignment, with its unique icon, could be used as a consistent visual cue for the learners; learners would come to know that they can always look for the assignment icon to see what work they need to complete.
Finally, the offline assignment, as mentioned previously, is a tool for making entries in the Moodle gradebook. Perhaps an instructor wants to assign a grade for contributions to a class wiki; however, the wiki itself is an ungraded activity. The instructor could use an offline assignment to create an entry for the wiki contribution grade in the Moodle gradebook. In this example, however, the instructor may choose to hide the actual listing of the assignment in the Moodle course since it is primarily being used for the purpose of making a gradebook entry.

To complete the settings specific to the assignment type, click Next to proceed to the assignment details page.

Common module settings

Group mode

When course group mode is turned on, the group mode can be one of three levels: no groups, separate groups or visible groups.

No groups
There are no groups and all students submit their assignments in one Assignment area
Separate groups
Students submit their assignments within a separate Group based submission area and teachers/trainers can sort submissions by Group or view All Participants.
Visible groups
All students submits their assignment within a single Assignment area but may choose which Group to associate their submission with before uploading. Teachers/trainers can sort submissions by Group or view All Participants.

Visible

Choose whether to Show or Hide the assignment

ID number

Setting an ID number provides a way of identifying the assignment for grade calculation purposes. If the activity is not included in any grade calculation then the ID number field can be left blank.

Tips and tricks

  • Want to use an Assignment activity again? Copy the assignment by backing up the course and selecting just the assignment, with or without students and their data. Restore the backup to the same course or to a new course. Move the copied assignment and or edit it.
  • Want to use an Assignment activity in another course you teach? Use the import function in the course administration block.

See also