Online text assignment
This assignment type asks students to submit text, using the normal Moodle editing tools.
Teachers can grade them online, and even add inline comments or changes. Online text assignments, together with Blogs, have replaced the non-standard Journal module.
These settings are in addition to the general assignment settings outlined on editing an assignment.
By default, students cannot resubmit assignments once the teacher has graded them. If you turn this option on, then students will be allowed to resubmit assignments after they have been graded (for you to re-grade). This may be useful if the teacher wants to encourage students to do better work in an iterative process.
Email alerts to teachers
If enabled, then teachers are alerted with a short email whenever students add or update an assignment submission.
Only teachers who are able to grade the particular submission are notified. So, for example, if the course uses separate groups, then teachers restricted to particular groups won't receive any notices about students in other groups.
If this option is selected, then the original submission will be copied into the feedback comment field during grading, making it easier to comment inline (using a different colour, perhaps) or to edit the original text. Of course even if the teacher makes inline comments and changes, the student's original submission is kept intact.
If inline comments are not permitted, then the teacher will see the student’s submission and a separate area for making comments.
As reflective learning and formative assessment have a greater presence in education today, the online text assignment proves a useful way for students to record their thoughts and feelings about a particular topic or theme within the Moodle environment itself. Tutors can set up online text activities that ask students to reflect on both rhetorical or assigned questions depending on the learning outcome or goal.
Online text assignments can also be free spaces set up by the course tutor for students to reflect at moments of their own choosing within a course. It is perfectly acceptable to make use of the online text assignment as a private space for personal learning and reflection in some instances (ie. no tutor feedback) and as a collaborative space between tutor and student in others (ie. tutor feedback, comments and/or short discussions). Pedagogically, both methods of using the activity are good learning models for the former allows students a reflective space of their own to develop their ideas, whilst the latter gives them a space of private support with you that provides them with reliable feedback.
How you decide to monitor online text activities is, of course, up to you. The most significant element of monitoring is to provide students with clear guidance of when and how this will take place. For instance, if you do not plan to monitor the activity at all, be sure to inform the students that this is a private space for their own personal use (although tutors will be able to read entries) and be clear that no feedback will be provided. Alternatively, if you wish to make contributions in the form of feedback, be sure to inform the student that, for example, they can expect feedback and comments from you once a week or every two weeks. In terms of feedback and expectation levels, keeping communications between you and students very clear will ensure a level of trust necessary to build and maintain a community in your e-learning environment.