Fair Allocation – what is it?

Student preferences

This activity allows students to rate choices according to their preferences. The activity supports multiple different rating strategies (e.g. Accept-Deny, Rank, Points, Likert-scale). After a predefined time period for the student to make their choices, an algorithm works out the distribution (of students to choices), while aiming to maximise the overall satisfaction with that distribution.

Additional features:

  • Choices have maximum sizes (e.g. a project can be allocated to a fixed number of students).
  • After the automated distribution, the allocations can be changed manually by staff (including for students with no rating).
  • There are two options available to distribute any non-participating students to the various options.
  • Moodle groups can be created to match the choices (e.g. a group for Project A with all the allocated students added to it).
  • The students can review the published allocations inside the Fair Allocation activity.

For a simple vote or allocation on a first-come-first-served basis, you can alternatively use the Moodle Choice Activity.

Why is Fair Allocation useful?

This tool can be helpful for such activities where you want to provide students with some element of choice but where the choices are limited. By allowing students to identify their preferences there is a greater sense of fairness when the allocations are made. Examples where you may choose to use this:

  • For project, thesis or presentation topic allocation – where you have a limited number of projects or topics where only a fixed number of people can work on them. Students can rate their preferences and be allocated to a one that suits them.
  • For seminar or tutorial meeting slots – where you have a fixed number of places available over several different slots, you can ask students to rate the ones that are most appropriate for them.
  • For peer-presentation meeting slots – where you want students to meet together in groups to deliver and peer-review presentations.

What does Fair Allocation involve?

Running a ‘Fair Allocation’ activity involves several steps:

  1. Adding the activity to Moodle and configuring the appropriate rating strategy and other settings.
  2. Creating the options/choices for the students to rate.  You can provide text, or upload a document, with information to help students make decisions.
  3. The activity opens, and students rate the options/choices.
  4. The activity closes:
    • Students are allocated to the assorted options (automatically timed or when a button is clicked).
    • Student allocation can be manually reviewed and/or changed if necessary.
    • Students who did not take part can be automatically distributed to fill up the spaces available for each option.
    • Groups for each option can be created and students automatically added to the relevant group.
    • The allocation can be published so that students become aware of their allocation.
    • Reports can be viewed and/or exported (.csv) showing how the students rated the options, and how they have been allocated to a given option.
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