Fair Allocation – FAQs

Frequently asked questions

It makes sense to give each choice a unique name if you want to set up groups later in the process, and to avoid confusion for students. However, Moodle will let you name multiple choices with the same name so please take care to avoid this.

You can change the dates even after students have started making choices. For example, if you change the end date to a later time, you will extend the time they have to make or edit their choices.

The algorithm cannot be run before the end date, even if you know that all of your students have finished making their choices.  However, if you are happy that all choices have been made you could shift the end date so that the activity closes early.  You can then run the algorithm.  Make sure you communicate these decisions to students, so they are not caught out (i.e. if they intended to re-visit their choice before the original end date).

If the fair allocation choices are named the same as groups that already exist in your Moodle space, then running the group option within the fair allocation activity will create new groups with the same name.  If this is done accidentally you can manually rename the new groups.

You can delete groups as you normally would. A previous bug, where groups created through the fair allocation activity could not be deleted, has been fixed.

No.  Students who don’t take part will not be allocated by the algorithm.  However, you can allocate them quite quickly; use one of the distribution buttons, or manully allocate them from the manual allocation screen.

You are advised not to change choices once the activity is open. Unexpected behaviour may result if you do.

Choices are displayed in alphabetical order (e.g. Project A, Project B etc.).  If, for example, you include days in the choice names (e.g. Mon Project A, Fri Project B), then they won’t display in chronological order. This doesn’t affect the functionality but may catch your students out if they don’t read the information carefully. Think carefully about how you name the choices if the order in which they are presented is important.

Running the algorithm relies on a process in Moodle called the ‘cron’.  This facility usually runs every minute but occasionally it can be delayed if there are a large number of activities to be processed in Moodle. When running the algorithm, you may see a message that tells you the process has been delayed.  If you wait a short time and refresh your browser page the algorithm should run as expected.

We recommend that you start each Fair Allocation activity from scratch to avoid problems. However, in testing, duplication can work where the choices (in the copy) are deleted and re-added. Where the choices (in the copy) are merely edited, we have found that any subsequent attempt to create groups (from allocations) fails.

If you want to ‘reset’ a Fair Allocation activity for a new co-hort, this can be done from the Moodle Reset option as normal.

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