Assignment activities in UR Courses (Moodle) enable students to submit their coursework online and allow instructors to assess, grade, and provide feedback.
Which assignment tool is right for you?
UR Courses currently has three distinct assignment types, so how do you select the most effective one to meet your pedagogical requirements around the types of assignments that students submit and the ways in which you deliver grades and feedback? To help select the most appropriate assignment tool please refer to the comparison charts below.
The assignment types currently available include:
Assignment This activity allows for digital submissions or for students to enter text directly. It is the basic Moodle assignment activity with numerous configuration options. This is the most robust assignment type, but it can be complex due to the number of configuration options available.
- Turnitin Plagiarism Plugin The Turnitin Plagiarism Plugin can be enabled for an Assignment activity, which then adds Turnitin functionality to the wide range of configuration options available. Using this option allows for additional functionality such as group submissions, blind marking, providing feedback files, etc. in conjunction with plagiarism checking. This additional functionality is not possible when using the simpler Assignment (Turnitin) activity type.
Assignment (Turnitin) A basic Turnitin assignment activity which checks submissions for plagiarism. It is simple to configure but does not support as many options as the Assignment activity.
Kaltura Media Assignment The Kaltura Media Assignment activity let's you create assignments that require students to upload and submit video which is stored on a local Kaltura CE server hosted on-campus. Instructors can view, grade, and provide feedback for each student's media submission.
Comparing Moodle's Assignment Types
The table below highlights the differences between assignment types within UR Courses.
|Assignment||Assignment (Turnitin)||Kaltura Media Assignment|
Supports a variety of submission types, including online text (with optional character limit), single or multiple files, images, etc.
Can be configured for individual or group submissions (using Moodle's Groups feature)
PDF file submissions can be marked up within the browser
Supports using an offline grading worksheet
Download all submissions at once
Provide feedback files and/or comments when grading
Supports advanced grading using a Marking Guide or Rubric
Supports anonymous or blind marking
Supports marking workflow to control release of grades or coordinate multiple markers
Allows for late submissions if desired
Supports using Turnitin for originality checking and Feedback Studio
Simple configuration; limited options
Easily upload submissions on behalf of students
Allows for late submissions if desired
Allows online grading in Feedback Studio
No file size restrictions as videos are hosted on our Kaltura CE streaming server
Accepts a variety of video formats that will become playable within the browser
Video submissions can only be played within UR Courses; they can't be linked to or shared
Submissions cannot be altered or deleted by students once submitted
|Assignment||Assignment (Turnitin)||Kaltura Media Assignment|
Numerous settings to consider and be aware of
Should not be used for video submissions because of upload limit. Video submissions may not play within the browser and have to be downloaded instead. The Assignment (Media) activity is recommended for accepting video submissions.
Does not allow for returning feedback files
Does not support blind marking
Submissions must be downloaded individually
Requires workarounds to be used with group submissions
Not generally available; request access by emailing email@example.com.
Uploads are not currently possible from tablets or mobile devices
The Assignment activity module enables an instructor to communicate tasks and collect work, as well as provide grades and feedback.
Students can submit digital content (files), such as Word documents, spreadsheets, images, audio, video, etc., depending on the assignment activity type and configuration. Alternatively, or in addition, the assignment may be used to require students to type text directly into a text editor, making it possible to restrict the number of characters for a submission. An assignment can also be used to remind students of 'real-world' assignments they need to complete offline, and thus not require any digital content submissions. Depending on the selected configuration, students can submit work individually or as a group, using Moodle's group functionality.
When reviewing assignments, instructors can leave feedback comments and upload files, such as marked-up student submissions, documents with comments, or audio feedback. Assignments can be graded using a numerical or custom scale, or by using an advanced grading method such as a rubric. Grades entered for an assignment will automatically appear within the gradebook.
Add an Assignment
To create an assignment:
- Turn on the Edit mode from the top right corner of the course page
- Click Add an activity or resource in the course section in which you want the assignment to be added
- Open the Activities tab and select Assignment
- Type the Assignment name.
- Type the Description including instructions and details regarding the assignment. It is important to be detailed. It is recommended that you copy and paste from your syllabus to avoid confusion and discrepancies.
- Put a check mark on Display description on course page if you wish to display the description in the course page for students.
- If there are additional files, drag and drop those into the file upload box.
- Choose the dates: When to allow submissions to begin, the due date and the cut-off date for late assignments. If these are not enabled, the assignment will be ongoing. The date by which the instructor is reminded to grade by can also be set. The Enable checkbox must be selected in order to change the dates; the time is based on a 24-hour clock.
- Always show description: If this option is not selected, students will not see the assignment description until the submissions are allowed.
This setting also makes any files attached to the assignment activity immediately visible to students (unless the entire activity is hidden on the course page). Caution should be used with this setting as some files are not intended to be seen by students in advance (i.e. exam questions, case studies used for exam purposes, etc.)
- Submission types: Choose the desired type of submissions. File submissions allow students to upload a file as their submission. Online text allows students to type submissions directly into Moodle.
- Maximum number of uploaded files: Choose the number of files that can be uploaded. It is recommended to set this number higher than the number of files you want students to submit.
- Maximum submission size: Students can upload files to a maximum of 128 MB.
- Accepted file types: Restrict the accepted file types for the assignment
- Word limit: Limit students' word count. This option is only available for online text.
- Feedback comments: If enabled, the marker can leave feedback comments for each submission.
- Annotate PDF: If enabled, instructors can mark up a PDF submission with highlights, drawings, stamps, and comments, etc.
- Offline grading worksheet: If enabled, the teacher will be able to download and upload a worksheet with student grades when marking the assignments.
- Feedback files: If enabled, the teacher will be able to upload files with feedback when marking the assignments. This must be enabled if you intend to upload a file with track changes.
- Feedback Poodll: If enabled, the marker can leave audio/video feedback for each submission
- Comment inline: If enabled, the submission text 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. This feedback option is only available if the Feedback comments checkbox is selected.
- Require students click submit button: If enabled, students must click a Submit button to declare their submission as final. If disabled, when the assignment closes, all submissions will be submitted (recommended).
- Require that students accept the submission statement: Require that students accept the submission statement for all submissions to this assignment.
- Attempts reopened: Determines how student submission attempts are reopened. The options are:
- Never - The student submission cannot be reopened.
- Manually - The student submission can be reopened by a teacher.
- Automatically until pass - The student submission is automatically reopened until the student achieves the grade to pass value set in the Gradebook (Categories and items section) for this assignment.
- Maximum attempts: The maximum number of submissions attempts that can be made by a student. After this number of attempts has been made the student's submission will not be able to be reopened.
Group submission settings:
- Students submit in groups: If enabled, students will be divided into groups based on the default set of groups or a custom grouping. A group submission will be shared among group members and all members of the group will see each other’s changes to the submission. Unless groups have been created within UR Courses, do not use this option. Note that if you use this setting, you should not change the members of these groups during the semester.
- Require group to make submission: If enabled, users who are not members of a group will be unable to make submissions.
- Require all group members submit: If enabled, all members of the student group must click the submit button for this assignment before the group submission will be considered as submitted. If disabled, the group submission will be considered as submitted as soon as any member of the student group clicks the submit button.
- Grouping for student groups: This is the grouping that the assignment will use to find groups for student groups. If not set, the default set of groups will be used.
- Notify graders about submissions: If enabled, teachers will receive a message whenever a student submits an assignment.
- Notify graders about late submissions: If enabled, graders (usually teachers) receive a message whenever a student submits an assignment late.
- Default setting for “Notify students”: Sets the default value for the "Notify students" checkbox on the grading form.
Turnitin plagiarism plugin settings:
The Turnitin plagiarism plugin allows the instructor to use a variety of settings to control how the assignment is checked for plagiarism.
- Enable Turnitin: Controls whether the Turnitin plugin is used for the assignment
- Display Similarity Reports to Students: Determines if Turnitin similarity reports are displayed to students
- When should the file be submitted to Turnitin?: Defaults to "Submit file when first uploaded". This selection cannot be changed.
- Allow submission of any file type?: If set to Yes, allows any file type to be submitted
- Store Student Papers: Allows the instructor to decide if the submitted papers are stored to be used as a resource in generating the similarity reports of future assignments.
- No Repository: Turnitin will not store submitted documents to any repository. It will only process the paper to perform the initial similarity check
- Standard Repository: Turnitin will store a copy of the submitted document only in the Standard Repository. Turnitin will only use stored documents to make similarity checks against any documents submitted in the future.
- Check against stored student papers: Select “Yes” to have the submissions checked against stored student papers, or select “No” to not check against stored student papers
- Check against internet: Select “Yes” to have the submissions checked against Turnitin's internet repository, or select “No” to not check the submissions against Turnitin's internet repository when checking for similarity
- Check against journals, periodicals and publications: Select “Yes” to have the submissions checked against Turnitin's journals, periodicals and publications repository, or select “No” to not check the submissions against Turnitin's journals, periodicals and publications repository when checking for similarity
- Report Generation Speed: Select when you want the originality report is to be produced. If resubmissions are allowed, they may take up to 24 hours to produce results.
- Exclude Bibliography: This setting allows the instructor to choose whether to exclude the text appearing in the Bibliography, works cited, or references sections of student papers to be checked for similarity
- Exclude Quoted Material: This setting allows the instructor to choose whether to exclude the text appearing in the quotes of student papers to be checked for similarity
- Exclude Small Matches: This setting allows the instructor to choose whether to exclude matches that are not of sufficient length to be considered when checking for similarity. The choices are "No", "Words", and "Percent".
- Exclusion Value: If "Words" or "Percent" are selected in the "Exclude Small Matches" field, then this field is used to define the size of the “small match”.
- Attach a rubric to this assignment: Create a rubric using Turnitin’s Rubric Manager and use it in the marking scheme for the assignment
- Grade: Select the type of grading used for this activity. If "Scale" is chosen, you can choose the scale (Default competence scale, Pass/Fail, Separate and Connected ways of knowing, and Alpine Levels) from the "scale" drop down list. If using "Point" grading, you can then enter the maximum grade available for this activity.
- Grading method: Choose the advanced grading method for calculating grades in the given context. To disable advanced grading and switch back to the default grading mechanism, choose 'Simple direct grading'.
- Grade category: This setting controls the category in which this activity's grades are placed in the gradebook
- Grade to pass: This setting determines the minimum grade required to pass
- Anonymous submissions: Anonymous submissions hide the identity of students from markers. Anonymous submission settings will be locked once a submission or grade has been made in relation to this assignment.
- Hide grader identity from students: If enabled, the identity of any user who grades the assignment submission is not shown, so students cannot see who marked their assignments
- Use marking workflow: If enabled, marks will go through a series of workflow stages before being released to students. This allows for multiple rounds of marking and allows marks to be released to all students at the same time.
- Use marking allocation: If enabled together with marking workflow, markers can be allocated to particular students
Common module settings:
- Availability: This setting determines whether the assignment is visible to students or hidden from students.
- Show on course page: the assignment is visible for students.
- Hide from students: will make it invisible for students.
- Make available but not shown on course page: a link to the activity must be provided from elsewhere, such as a page resource
- ID number: Setting an ID number provides a way of identifying the activity for grade calculation purposes.
- Group mode: The group mode defined at course level is the default mode for all activities within the course. Each activity that supports groups can also define its own group mode, though if the group mode is forced at course level, the group mode setting for each activity is ignored. This setting has 3 options:
- No groups - There are no sub groups, everyone is part of one big community.
- Separate groups - Each group member can only see their own group, others are invisible.
- Visible groups - Each group member works in their own group, but can also view other groups.
- Grouping: A grouping is a collection of groups within a course. If a grouping is selected, students assigned to groups within the grouping will be able to work together.
Restrictions that can be added are:
- Completion tracking: If enabled, activity completion is tracked, either manually or automatically, based on certain conditions. Multiple conditions may be set and the activity will only be complete when ALL conditions are met. A tick next to the activity name on the course page indicates when the activity is complete.
- Require view: Students must view the activity to complete it.
- Require grade: If enabled, the activity is considered complete when a student receives a grade. Pass and fail icons may be displayed if a pass grade for the activity has been set.
- Expect completed on: This setting specifies the date when the activity is expected to be completed. The date is not shown to students and is only displayed in the activity completion report.
Edit Assignment Settings
- Open the Assignment
- Select the Settings option from the navigation bar
- Adjust settings as desired and press Save and display
User and Group Overrides
Overrides can be entered for assignments to allow particular individuals or groups different submission times.
To setup a user/group override:
- Open the Assignment
- Click on the More option from the navigation bar, and then select Overrides from the drop-down menu
- Select User overrides or Group overrides from the Overrides drop-down menu, and then click on the Add (user/group) override button
- In the Search field, enter the user or group to override. It is best to use ID numbers to search for users.
- Enter the override details in the following fields as appropriate: Allow submissions from, Due date, Cut-off date, and Time limit
- Select Save or Save and enter another override to add additional overrides
Managing Assignment Submission
To grade an assignment:
Login and select the course title.
Select the assignment name on the course page.
Details of the assignment appear:
- Participants: number of participants in the course.
- Submitted: number of participants in the course who submitted their assignment.
- Needs grading: number of participants that have not received a grade.
Click on View all submissions to see all submissions
The Status Column is where the status of the assignment is located.
Click the title of the submission to view the student submission. To upload feedback to the student, track changes within the document and save a copy.
Click Grade to enter grades and feedback for the student as well as upload a file back to the student.
To input comments for the student, enter them in the Feedback comments section.
If you made comments in the file itself, to return the file to the student, attach the file in the Feedback Files section.
When all changes have been made, select Save changes.
To move to the next student click the green arrow in the top right-hand corner.
To download all assignment submissions:
- Login and select the course title
- Select the assignment name on the course page
- Click on View all submissions to see all submissions
- Details of the assignment appear. Click on the Download all submissions button on the right-side of the course page
- A zip file will download. Open the file and review it.
- Mark students' submissions.
After downloading all submissions, if the file name is kept the same when creating feedback, all files can be uploaded back in one upload using the Upload multiple feedback files in a zip option from the Grading action drop-down list.
Visit the Moodle 4.1 Docs for the Assignment activity.
To grade using Turnitin:
If Turnitin integration was enabled for the assignment, feedback can be entered into the Turnitin Document Viewer.
To open the Document Viewer:
- Select the Assignment name
- Click on the View all submissions button to see all submissions
- Click on the Grade option and when the grade window appears select the pencil option just next to the Turnitin ID of the submission in order to view the submission
- The Turnitin Document Viewer will open
- A - Grade - Enter the grade for the submission. This grade will automatically be entered into the UR Courses gradebook.
- B - Grading options - Click anywhere on the submission to open the grading options
Quickmark - Uses the defined quickmark options (ie. Improper Citation, Awk.)
Comment - Creates a free text comment field that appears as a comment bubble
Inline - Creates an inline comment which appears as text
- C - Grading actions - Use these actions to add a rubric or add a voice comment
- D - Similarity actions - See below for detailed similarity options
The Filter option allows the user to adjust what will constitute similarity (ie. Amounts of words, etc.). In the above example, 11% of the submission is similar to another source. The listing of sources identifies what percentage of the submission comes from each source. For example, Source 1 is in red font and 6% of similarities come from this source. In the submission, all sections from source 1 will be in red font with an identifier of 1.
In the above example, because quoted material was not excluded from the similarity check, Turnitin flagged this portion of the submission as similar. High similarity numbers may not be indicative of the actual similarity depending on what setting choices have been made.
Rubrics are an advanced grading method used for criteria-based assessment. The rubric consists of a set of criteria plotted against levels of achievement. A numeric grade is assigned to each level. For each criterion, the assessor chooses the level they judge the work to have reached. The raw rubric score is calculated as a sum of all criteria grades. The final grade is calculated by comparing the actual score with the worst/best possible score that could be received.
To define a rubric:
- Open the Assignment
- Select Advanced grading
- Select Rubric in the Change active grading method to drop-down menu
- Select Define new grading form from scratch
- Enter the Rubric name and, if desired, a description for the Rubric
- Click Add criterion to add additional criterion
- Click on Click to edit level to add a description for the point level. To edit an already entered description, click on the description to make the change
- Click Add level to add another level to the grading levels for the criterion
To grade an assignment using a rubric:
- Open the Assignment
- Details of the assignment will appear:
- Participants: the number of participants in the course
- Submitted: the number of participants in the course who submitted their assignment
- Needs grading: the number of participants that have not received a grade
- Click on the View all submissions button to see all submissions
- Click on the Grade button to begin grading
- Change the view in the bottom right-hand corner to make the rubric full screen
- For each criterion, click the grade level that is appropriate for the submission. Selections will appear with a green background.
- Press Save changes or Save and show next
Example: The student received 3 points for Content, 1 point for Design, and 2 points for Creativity, for a total of 6 points. As this assignment has 9 possible points, the student received a 6 out of 9 for this assignment.
Assignments configured to accept File submissions within the Submission types setting, and the Annotate PDF option within the Feedback types setting, are available for annotation from within the browser.
The Libre Lambda Document Converter has been enabled and configured to convert student assignment submissions into PDF files for annotation from within the assignment grader interface. This does not replace the original submission, but allows for PDF annotation from within the browser.
The following file types are currently supported for conversion to PDF for annotation:
doc, docx, rtf, xls, xlsx, ppt, pptx, html, odt, ods, txt, png, jpg, gif, pdf
Additional information on annotating submissions is available within the Moodle docs.
Once annotations are saved, the annotated PDF will be available to the student as part of their feedback on the assignment. The student can access this feedback from the assignment page itself. The feedback can be downloaded as a PDF document, or viewed inline within the browser.
When downloaded as a PDF, comments are appended to the last page of the document, and linked to from elsewhere within the document itself.
When the annotated PDF is viewed inline, comments expand upon interaction, or can be toggled on and off by using the Expand/Collapse all comments button, (highlighted in the screenshot below).
Assignment (Turnitin) activity
The Assignment (Turnitin) activity enables you to create a Turnitin assignment within your course using the Turnitin Moodle Direct V2 plugin. This links an assignment activity in Moodle to an assignment or assignments with Turnitin.com. Once linked, the activity allows instructors to assess and provide feedback for student's written work within UR Courses while using the assessment tools available within Turnitin's Document Viewer. The assignment(s) can also be accessed through Turnitin.com or by using the Turnitin app for iPad.
If you are interested in accessing this integration, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaltura Media Assignment activity
The Kaltura Media Assignment activity let's you create assignments that require students to upload and submit media which are stored on the U of R Kaltura Premium server. Instructors can view, grade, and provide feedback for each student's media submission.
- Refer to the Kaltura Media assignment activity guide for additional documentation.