What is Peer evaluation and how can I use the Moodle Workshop tool?
Peer evaluation (or peer review) is a student-centred assessment approach that allows students to develop a deeper insight into the quality of their own work through the evaluation of peers’ work. Students take responsibility for judging the work of their peers using the assessment criteria and providing formative feedback.The Moodle Workshop activity is designed to facilitate peer assessment, and can also be used for peer review. The workshop has a number of stages where students upload work, staff can allocate work for review, and students provide feedback and / or marks to each other. There are a number of options including providing example submissions for students to practice peer review, allocating submissions manually or automatically and using different grading strategies.

How does it work?

The work flow for the Workshop has five phases. The workshop activity may take place over days or even weeks. The teacher switches the activity from one phase to another.

Typically the workshop moves from one phase to the next: from Setup to Submission, Assessment, Grading/Evaluation, and ending with the Closed phase.

Staff can see an overview of progress in the Workshop planner tool. It displays all Workshop phases and highlights the current one. It also lists all the tasks the user has in the current phase with the information of whether the task is complete or not.

  1. Set up phase – you can set up an assessment form which reflects your assessment criteria
  2. Submission phase – students upload their work
  3. Assessment phase – students provide feedback
  4. Grading evaluation phase – staff review the feedback and marks before releasing them to students
  5. Closed – students view their submissions, their submission assessments and potentially other published submissions.

Video Transcript

The workshop activity module is a peer assessment activity. With the workshop:

  • students are able to submit an assignment for grading;
  • students are able to assess the work of their peers;
  • teachers are able to grade the work of the submitted assignment, as well as the assessment submitted by the students;
  • once the assessment period is over the assessments are averaged and graded according to the teachers configurations in the workshop settings.

The workshop activity has five phases. In the setup phase, the teacher sets the workshop description, provides instructions for submission and edits the assessment form. In the submission phase, the workshop is open for students to submit their work. In this phase the teacher provides instructions for assessments and sets up scheduled allocations of the assessments. In the assessment phase, the workshop is open for students to assess the work of their peers. In the grading evaluation phase, the grades are calculated. And in the closed phase, the workshop is ended and the students are able to view their grades.


It’s a useful tool which is designed for managing peer assessment and which can be used for formative peer review.

You can find a brief outline of how the Moodle workshop works in the Moodle workshop activity quick guide.

Why should I use the Moodle workshop?

The Moodle workshop provides a tool within the Virtual Learning Environment, so it is easy for students to access. You can customise the submission instructions and the assessment form to reflect your assessment criteria.

You can choose whether to allocate submissions for review manually (for example if you want students to review work on a similar topic, or across a range of quality) or randomly. You can include an example for students to practice peer evaluation.

Carrying out the peer assessment activity online means that students can assess work anonymously. It allows time for students to reflect while they formulate feedback.

Read more about the advantanges and disadvantages of the Moodle workshop
Are there any issues of which I need to be aware?

The workshop tool has a number of options for submission and allocation of work, and allows some control over grading strategies. However it follows a fairly rigid structure once you activate the workshop phases.

You will need to monitor progress and send reminders to students, because it’s important for students to work within the deadlines set.

It’s not easy to understand how grades are calculated, but it is possible to manually overwrite a grade if needed. The Moodle workshop may not be the best tool for peer assessment of group work, as it requires students to upload an item of work, and the grading approach doesn’t produce a ‘weighting’ which can be applied to an assessors mark.

It can be difficult to understand what students see when they take part, so it’s a good idea to set up a test version of the workshop first, and to trial it from a student view.

What are the implications for Teaching and Learning?

Peer assessment is a student-centred approach where students take a more active part in the assessment process. Students need to understand the benefits of the exercise, and why they are being asked to complete a peer assessment exercise. It’s crucial that students are given opportunities to fully understand the assessment criteria (by involving students in co-creation of the criteria, or providing opportunities to practice peer assessment).

You will need to:

  • provide clear guidance on using the Moodle Workshop to students
  • give students opportunities to learn how to provide effective feedback by modeling appropriate, constructive criticism and descriptive feedback
  • reinforce the benefits of peer evaluation to students, including how it will help them to evaluate their own work and become more self-directed learners
  • create an environment that feels safe for interpersonal risk-taking, so that students will feel confident in evaluating their peers
Examples@Bath
Title: Peer Evaluation: Moodle Workshop tool and Web PA: Dr Richard Kamm, School of Management, Jeff Barrie, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
This LITEbox discussion event considered use of the Moodle workshop tool for peer evaluation, and use of Web PA for assessment of group work. Find out more and watch the recording in the event write up. A further supporting Case Study discusses Using the Moodle workshop tool for peer review with Distance Learning students in the Faculty of Engineering and Design.

Title: Peer assessment – using the Moodle workshop: Professor Andrew Heath, Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
Peer assessment – using the Moodle workshop discusses the use of peer evaluation to improve formative feedback opportunities for students who are submitting lab reports for the first time.

External examples
TitleLinkComments
An even better peer feedback experience with the Moodle Workshop activityhttp://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/digital-education/2015/12/21/an-even-better-peer-feedback-experience [online, accessed 01 September 2017]Mira Vogel, Digital Education Advisor at UCL, reflects on developing a peer assessment activity using the Moodle workshop and provides recommendations based on three iterations of the activity
Case Study – Moodle Workshop Activity for Peer Assessmenthttps://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/moodle/2017/01/09/moodle-monday-case-study-moodle-workshop-activity-for-peer-assessment/ [online, accessed 01 September 2017]Dr Sam Yoward in Physiotherapy at York St. John University used the Workshop Activity as part of the Professional Development module for first year Physiotherapy students.
Who can I speak to @Bath?

There are a range of Professional Services available at the University to support implementation of teaching and learning initiatives. In the first instance your Director of Learning and Teaching or Faculty/School Learning Technologist will be able to put you in touch with other academics who can share their experiences and offer pedagogical advice.

  • Technology Enhanced Learning Team The TEL team are responsible for management of Moodle, and a range of other supported institutional technologies, and can provide pedagogical and technical advice and support on use of these, and help with related technical issues. Faculty/School Learning Technologists work closely to support academic staff with use of technology inside and outside the classroom, and have a broad range of practical experience in matching appropriate technical solutions to desired learning outcomes.
  • Academic Staff Development Team Provides advice and support and activities for staff development for academic staff.
  • Curriculum Development Support and advice with all aspects of programme and course design.
  • Student Engagement
Guides and Support Material

Moodle Workshop

Moodle Workshop Guidance

The Moodle Workshop is easy to set up as it is already built into Moodle, and can be used for peer assessment, for normal assessment, or just for getting students to discuss the unit’s content in a structured format. The load of feedback activity can be distributed among students rather than relying solely on staff, though moderation is necessary.

Features of the Moodle Workshop include:

  • Ability to set dates for automatic changing between submission stages (open submission, upload proposal, give feedback, etc.)
  • Automatic or manual assignment of people to each other – though it can be beneficial to manually allocate specific people to specific topics, with the added benefit of ensuring no students are matched with those enrolled on Moodle but not active on the course
  • Ability to see who and who hasn’t participated
  • Can get grading to be done
  • Ability to set multiple criteria for feedback with instructions on what students need to do (similar to regular Moodle assignments)
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