Assignment settings

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This page describes the various configuration options available within the Assignment module - both at the Site level and the Activity level.

Module Settings

The following configuration options are available under Site Administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Assignment

Maximum size

An Administrator can specify the maximum size of any individual file uploaded within the Upload Single File or Advanced Upload of Files Assignment type across all courses on the site. This limit may be equal to or less than course file upload limit

Count

Applicable the Online Text Assignment type only, you can set whether Moodle automatically counts the number of words or letters of a submission. A word or number count is displayed in parenthesis to Teachers and Learners after the Last Edited date and time stamp within the Assignment submission.

Show recent submissions

This option allows everyone to see notifications of submissions in Recent activity reports and the Recent Activity Block, within a course context. Note that the default for this option is Yes which means students will be able to see when classmates have submitted or updated any Assignments.

Activity Settings

The following configuration options are available when creating or editing/updating an Assignment activity.

To add a new Assignment activity to your course login with the appropriate access rights (e.g.editing teacher, course creator or administrator) and Turn Editing On. Within the required Week or Topic Block click on the Add and Activity dropdown menu arrow and select one of the four different Assignment activity types.

To edit an existing Assignment activity, login to your course with the appropriate access rights (e.g.editing teacher, course creator or administrator) and Turn Editing On and select the Update icon against the relevant Assignment item. Alternatively, after logging into your course simply click on the name of the Assignment activity you wish to edit and then click the Edit Settings link under Assignment administration within the Settings block.

General settings

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 expensive 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.

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.

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.

Upload a single file settings

Allow resubmitting

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.

To make a resubmission, it is important to note that the instructor does not have to do anything else for the user to make their resubmission, other than that one setting for Allow Resubmitting. Even if they grade the assignment, the user needs only upload a file again to overwrite the old file, and then the submission will be marked as needing to be graded again in the View # submitted assignments page.

Note: Moodle will sometimes appear not to be uploading a resubmitted assignment - you seem to be downloading the original assignment. This is a cache issue, in short, go to "Tools > Clear Recent History" in Firefox or "Tools > Delete Browsing History > Delete Temporary Files" in Windows Explorer. The newer file will then appear.

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.

Maximum Size

This setting specifies the maximum size of the file which the students can upload as their submission. If your students are uploading word processing documents or spreadsheets, typically you only need to allow for a few megabytes. If your students are submitting multimedia projects or other files with many images or audio clips, then the space allowed will need to be larger.

Online text settings

Allow resubmitting

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.

Comment Inline

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.

Advanced uploading of files

Maximum size

This setting specifies the maximum size per file of each of the files that the students can upload as their submission. For example, if you set the limit to one megabyte, students can upload files up to one megabyte in size. If your students are uploading word processing documents or spreadsheets, typically you only need to allow for a few megabytes. If your students are submitting multimedia projects or other files with many images or audio clips, then the space allowed will need to be larger.

Remember there are other places which can place limits on the maximum file size. The course administration block, the site administration block and several server files which are outside the direct control of Moodle.

Allow deleting

If enabled, students may delete uploaded files at any time before submitting for grading.

Maximum number of uploaded files

Maximum number of files each participant may upload, this number is not shown to students. It is a best practice to remind students of the actual number of requested files in assignment description. For example: "Only 3 files maybe uploaded in this assignment."

Allow notes

If enabled, students may enter notes into text area associated with the assignment. This text box can be used for communication with the grading person, assignment progress description or any other written activity.

Hide description before available date

If enabled, assignment description is hidden before the opening date.

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.

Enable Send for marking button

If enabled, students may progress from Draft status by clicking the Send For Marking button. The submission is then pushed through for grading.

NB this means that they can no longer edit their submission (to do so would risk invalidating any work their assessor had done on their submission). If students regret their decision and wish to edit, they need to request that somebody with editing access reverts them to Draft Status.

As we know, the "Send For Marking" button pushes an assignment through for grading if enabled. After the send for marking button is pushed, to get back to that draft stage and remove their submission, the teacher must step in. This is also true if Send For Marking is never turned on; the teacher must take steps to give the student a chance to resubmit.

To revert to the draft stage or let a student resubmit, click on the assignment activity, then click on View # submitted assignments, in the upper right. On the page with the roster and their submissions, click Grade (or Update for students who have already been graded) for the student who should get to resubmit. When the new window opens, click Revert to Draft at the lower right, or click the black X to delete their files.


Marking and sending back work in Moodle video:

<mediaplayer>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SahXhi3zLqs</mediaplayer>

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.

Site administration settings

The assignment module has additional settings which may be changed by an administrator in Settings > Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Assignment.

Maximum size

This is for setting the default maximum file upload size (subject to course and site limits).

Count

This is the setting to choose whether to count the number of words or the number of letters in an online text assignment.

Show recent submissions

This is for setting whether students can see other students' recent assignment submissions in the Recent Activity block and the Full report of recent activity. Teachers can always see all recent submissions. If disabled, students can only see their own recent submissions.

See also