These FAQs have been created to support Teaching Online and Online Assessment during COVID-19 disruption.  This does not reflect our normal advice on planning and teaching for online-only delivery, and instead focuses on the basics that staff will need during this time. The FAQs are continually updated and include links to more comprehensive guidance where appropriate

You may want to start by reading our guidance on how to teach your courses online.

You May also Wish to Read our Quick Guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of Online Assessment During COVID-19 Disruption

The Moodle assignment activity is simply an interface that allows you to collect and evaluate student work.  Students may submit work as individuals or in groups.

  • Assignments can be configured to accept either online text (entered directly into Moodle by the student) or file submissions (during the Alternative Assessment period, text file submissions should be PDF, not Word).
  • It is also possible to use the assignment activity to provide comments and grades to support moderation for work that has taken place outside of Moodle (such as in Teams or Panopto for example). 

A range of grading and feedback mechanisms exist, providing high levels of flexibility.

  • At Bath, student submissions (whether physical or digital) are normally submitted anonymously in order to avoid perceptions of unconscious bias during marking. 
  • This requirement has been temporarily lifted for all new assignments and alternative assessments to simplify assignment management processes.
  • For this reason, staff should not set up anonymous assignments at the current time
  • It is hoped that by temporarily removing this requirement, staff will find it easier to manage their submission points – making it quicker and easier to grant individual extensions, troubleshoot student submissions, and identify any students who may require further technical support.

To create an Assignment activity in your Moodle course:

Add activity or resource image

  • Select Assignment from the menu that appears and click on Add

Activity chooser image

You can now give your assignment a clear and meaningful title and description, and modify the settings as appropriate.

In order to provide maximum flexibility, there are a large number of settings within the Moodle assignment activity. However, in the majority of cases, the default settings will be sufficient for your needs (though you should adjust the availability and due dates).

  • If you are unsure what a setting does, you can find contextual help within the activity by clicking on the icon that appears next to the setting, however for most assignments, you can complete the assignment settings as outlined in the FAQ below. 

 

Moodle Assignment Settings Setup and FAQs

  • The Description box should be used to provide details of the assignment question and/or hand in dates. 
  • Take time to make sure the assignment requirements and parameters are clear for students
  • Do provide clear guidance to students on what they need to do.
  • Do signpost your students to the support resources (e.g. Student Moodle Assignment FAQs, Skills Portal, Mitigating Circumstances, Academic Integrity and online resources).
  • Do not assume students will know what to do, and where they can get support and guidance.
  • If you already have the assignment details in electronic form, or you have a template that you’d like the students to work with, you can attach the file using the Additional files setting:

    Drag and drop your file onto the blue arrow, or click on it to open your file browser to browse for the file. Attaching Additional files

  • Where possible, do create submission points that are open for more than 24 hours.
  • The allow submissions from setting specifies the date from which Moodle will allow students to submit their assignmentallow_submissions_from setting
  • The due date should reflect the assignment deadline
  • Ensure that all due times/dates fall between 9am and 5pm BST during the working week.

Note:  Students will still be able to submit after the due date has passed but these submissions will be clearly labelled as having been submitted late.  If you want to prevent students from submitting after a specific date, you will also need to specify a cut-off date.  Moodle will not accept submissions made after the cut-off date. However, we DO NOT advise applying a cut-off date during COVID-19 as this might prevent students, who are experiencing technical issues, from submitting their work.

IMPORTANT: If you need to an ensure that an Assignment is only visible to students for a limited time, we recommend that you use the Restrict Access setting (see below).

To add a date/time restriction: 

  • In the Assignment settings, expand Restrict Access.
  • Click Add Restriction
    Add Restriction image
  • Click on the green Date button
  • Enter the date and time that you want your Assignment to become visible to students. (In the example shown below, students will only be able to see the Assignment after 12.00pm on the 6th April 2020).
    Date restriction image
  • Scroll to the bottom and click Save and return to course.
  • REMEMBER to make sure that you then make the Assignment visible using Show/Hide:
    Show_Hide image
  • It is safe to Show the Assignment, as visibility is now controlled by the access restriction: Visibility of assignment image

To make exam questions visible with a longer viewing window and a short submission window:

  • Upload the exam paper as a separate pdf file by choosing Add an activity or resource > File then attach your exam question pdf.
  • Scroll down and expand the Restrict Access setting.
  • Click Add Restriction
    Add Restriction image
  • Click on the green Date button
  • Enter the date and time that you want your Exam Question to become visible to students. 
  • If you need to turn off visibility of the Exam Question file after, say, 24hrs, set another access restriction by clicking on Add Restriction.
  • Click on the green Date button
  • Change the date option to ‘until’ and set a date/time 24hrs later than your ‘Date from’ access restriction.
    add access restrictions image
  • Scroll to the bottom and click Save and return to course.

REMEMBER to make sure that the Exam Question file is visible using Show/Hide:Show_Hide imageIt is safe to Show the Exam Question file, as visibility is now controlled by the access restriction.

Next, create an Assignment submission point as normal, using the Restrict Access setting in the Assignment settings to apply a narrow time window for students to make their exam submissions. 

(In the example shown below, students will only be able to see the Exam Question between 2.00pm on the 5th April and 2pm on the 6th April 2020. The Exam Submission point will only be visible to students for the final two hours that the Exam Question is visible):

restrict access exam setup image

 

  • When you have added a restriction to hide your assignment submission point, it is recommended to add a label to your Moodle course page to provide your students with summary information for each assessment before the assessment window opens
  • Turn editing on then select Add an activity or resource at the bottom of the relevant course topic

Screenshot showing option to add label

  • Select Add and choose the Label option under Resources

screenshot of example new label with text

  • Enter text into the label to provide summary information 
  • You can highlight sections of the text then choose the Link button in the toolbar to include hyperlinks to additional guidance (e.g. online submission guidance)

screenshot showing text editor with link option

  • Choose Save and return to course. Your label will appear at the bottom of the relevant topic. Select, hold and drag-and-drop the four-square arrow to move the label above your assignment (or click once on the arrow and select the destination to reposition it). Students will now see the label with the summary information above their assignment submission point

screenshot highlighting arrow to move label

  • Once the assignment has been created, and submissions have started to come in, clicking on the assignment link then View all Submissions will take you into the Grading Table where you will be able to see an overview of all submissions
  • By default Moodle will accept submissions after the due date up until the (optional) cut off date. (Any submissions received after the due date will be clearly marked as late)

Late_submission_indicator

 

  • Should it be appropriate to grant an extension for a student, locate the student concerned, and in the edit column adjacent to the student’s name, right click and choose grant extension and add the required extra time:

grant extension image

  • This is possible only where students are using online text submission (typing directly into the Moodle interface).  It is strongly advised against using this submission type for substantive pieces of work (as any unexpected connectivity issues could result in loss of work)
  • Instead, we recommend that students manage the word count in their file submission (e.g. using the word count tool in Microsoft Word), before exporting to PDF and uploading the resulting file to Moodle.

  • Yes, use the maximum number of uploaded files setting to specify how many files students can submit.
  • By default this setting allows each student to submit up to 20 individual files.  Whilst there is no requirement to do so, you can of course reduce this number if you wish.

  • No, this is a global setting in Moodle, and increasing this at a site wide level would have significant implications for the service.
  • Typically the only files students may wish to upload, which would exceed the 50mb single file limit, would be video files. These should be uploaded to Panopto which, unlike Moodle, is a dedicated streaming server and equipped to handle large video files. 
  • Please go here for instructions on setting up an assignment folder in Panopto.

  • Although Moodle can accept any file type, we recommend PDF submission (which is the default setting) wherever possible. Please do not allow Word file uploads during the Alternative Assessment period as Moodle automatically converts these to PDF, creating significant unnecessary load on the Moodle servers.
  • Should it be necessary for students to submit in other formats, you can allow this by adjusting the accepted file types setting:

    Under accepted file types click the green Choose button to select from a long list. Then scroll to the bottom of the list and Save changes.

  • Please note that if you are using Urkund for originality checking, most word-processed files can be checked by Urkund, but some other file types cannot (see:  list of file types supported by Urkund.)

  • Under the Feedback types setting all options are ticked by default.  We recommend that you leave all options ticked to provide yourself with flexibility at the marking stage.

feedback_options setting

  • Feedback comments provides a small comment box in the Moodle PDF grading window. This is recommended for short summary feedback comments. This comments box is also appears in the Offline Grading Worksheet.
  • Annotate PDF refers to Moodle’s built in grading interface. If a student submits a PDF (which is the default setting), you will be able to read and annotate the file online (without having to download it)
  • Feedback files allows you to upload comments as a separate file. Typically many staff ask students to submit files as PDF documents, which can then be downloaded in a zip file, and annotated offline using Word’s comment/review functions. The files can then be added to a new zip folder and re-uploaded into Moodle (provided that the filenames are not changed).
  • Offline Grading Worksheet (and Bath version). These are typically used where an internet connection is likely to be unavailable or otherwise unreliable.  They provide a downloadable .csv file (which can be opened and edited with Excel) with student names and grading and feedback columns, allowing for entry of grades and feedback whilst offline. It can then be re-uploaded to Moodle when a network connection is next available and this will in turn populate all student Grade columns within Moodle. The Bath version is almost identical to the offline grading worksheet (and works in the same way), and differs only with the inclusion of University of Bath student numbers. Please do not use Anonymous Marking during COVID-19 disruption.

We recommend that you do not change these settings, as although they can be useful within particular contexts, they aren’t necessary for the majority of assignments.

  • Require students to click the submit button. Not recommended as students can sometimes ‘forget’ to click it, leaving the submission visible to markers, but still in draft.
  • Require that students accept the submission statement means students must agree to a short statement confirming they are submitting their own work etc.  Students will be required to accept a statement confirming that they are submitting their own work when taking Alternative Assessments.  This will be set as the default, do not change this setting
  • Attempts reopened. Recommended setting is manually which allows you the discretion to allow another attempt for individual students if necessary.

  • For Group submissions, ensure you have first created Groups in Moodle and allocated students. You can add students manually or allow students to allocate themselves with the Group Choice activity.
  • Students submit in groups If enabled students will be divided into Groups based on the default set of Groups or a custom Grouping. (In most instances you will not need to set up custom Groupings).
  • A Group submission will be shared among Group members and all members of the Group will see when one member uploads the submission.

Important: You must set up Groups and allocate students to them before creating a Group assignment.
Creation of a Group assignment where no Groups have been defined, will allow students to see / overwrite each other’s submissions.

  • Require group to make submission. If enabled, students not allocated to a Group cannot submit. 
  • By default a Group submission made by one member of a group will be placed against all members of the group in the Grading Table. Teachers can mark any member of the group. In the grading page for each student is a tick box allowing grades and feedback to be returned to all members of the group.

    apply_grades_to_all_group_members setting

  • Notify graders about submissions. We recommend you set to ‘no’ especially if you have a large cohort.
  • Notify graders about late submissions may be useful to set to ‘yes’
  • Default setting for “Notify students”. If set to ‘yes’ individual students receive a notification as soon as comments are uploaded. We recommend setting to ‘no’ and using Marking Workflow to manage feedback notifications en masse for any assignment already created.
  • During the Alternative Assessment period when you will not need to provide feedback to students, avoid use of Marking Workflow and please ensure that you have hidden the Gradebook item and Assignment link *before* you commence marking. 

  • Assignments submitted to Moodle can, in turn, be automatically submitted to Urkund.

  • Urkund is an online text-matching service which checks electronic, text based submissions against a large database of material (including journal articles, websites and other student submissions) and produces a scored originality report for each piece of work 

  • Originality reports make no judgement regarding plagiarism, they simply highlight matching text fragments, enabling the reviewer to determine whether or not plagiarism has occurred.

  • Once an assignment has been uploaded to Urkund, the application will produce two things:
    • Urkund Analysis score – This number shows how much of a student’s assignment matches content from Urkund’s databases.
    • Urkund Analysis report – Alongside a copy of the student’s original work, this report gives further detail on the specific sources of matching text.
  • Urkund is enabled by default. For further details please see here.

  • This is the default and simplest option, so we would strongly recommend sticking to it during the Alternative Assessment period.
  • Grading must be done out of 100% if you wish to use Grade Transfer to transfer grades to SAMIS.

  • Marking Workflow allows individual student submissions to be placed into different stages of the marking process. (These are: not marked; in marking; marking completed; in review; ready for release; released).
  • Marking Workflow may be a useful tool for managing moderation, but if you are going to use it during the Alternative Assessment period be sure to hide the Assignment link and Gradebook item for your assessment before setting Marking Workflow status of any submissions to ‘Released’.

It is possible to set up an assignment in such a way that grades can be transferred into SAMIS by the Unit Convenor (who will have Teacher+ access to the course). 

Full details can be found at: https://teachinghub.bath.ac.uk/tools-and-resources/tel/moodle/new-grade-transfer-tool/

 

Useful Links