Teachers can be bogged down by grading assignments, but selecting the right settings in Moodle’s “Assignments” page can remove some of the hassle.

After Moodle’s open source content manager is set up and the first page has been formatted to include labels and a few uploaded documents, adding assignmentsprovides the quickest way to make Moodle truly interactive.

The Grade Section

Grading an AssignmentSeveral settings have to be tweaked for the grade or it’s method and category to matter. The “Grade” drop down menu gives teachers and ability to set the highest grade possible or even to specify “No grade” for a chosen assignment. If a teacher is working with traditional averages, the “100” that appears probably provides the best choice.

As for the “Grading method,” eachers who aren’t as comfortable with Moodle may want to choose “Simple direct grading” at first. Even if the assignment requires a rubric, teachers can hand the student a rubric that explains how the grade was calculated and simply put the grade in on Moodle. Of course, this method does not optimize Moodle’s potential, but it does keep teachers from getting so frustrated at the beginning that they stop using Moodle.

After teachers have created and worked with a couple of assignments, they will probably want to use a rubric to grade the activities. Then, they should simply choose “Rubric” in the drop-down menu and press “Save and display” at the bottom. The next page will allow teachers to create a rubric or use of the templates. No templates are provided, and each teacher has to create his or her own, but any teacher who has ever used RubiStar will find these rubric about as easy to create.

As for “Grade category,” teachers will have to set up the gradebook, which can be found in the “Settings” section of the main page or course home page. The “Settings” section can usually be found in the left or right columns, depending on the selected theme. Honestly, the gradebook is not easy to set up, but it’s better to have a few assignments completed because the grades and assignments may actually help guide the teacher through the process. Still, teachers who use an external gradebook may simply want to copy the grades from the assignment page to the other gradebook where the weights and categories will be more relevant.

The Assignment Process in Review

  1. Consider how students should turn in work: should they upload it, write it online, or perform it in class?
  2. Choose one of the four assignment types from the drop-down menu titled “Add an activity….” Teachers will probably want to start by choosing either “Online text” or “Upload a single file.”
  3. Name the assignment, describe the assignment, and decide if this description should appear on the main page.
  4. Decide on a due date or click the box that eliminates due dates.
  5. Decide how the assignment will be graded. Teachers who want to use a rubric will be guided to a page to create that rubric once this form has been completed.
  6. Teachers must decide if they want to allow re-submitting, and there’s almost no reason not to, but there are several reasons to allow students to fix a mistake online or after a copy of the assignment has been uploaded.
  7. Teachers should click “Save and display” because it’s easier to proofread on the next page than it is in the text box.

Note About Moodle Versions

These suggestions assume that the teacher is using Moodle version two, but the assignments are not completely different in previous versions. For example, Moodle offered only two assignment types in one of the previous versions (Online text and Upload a single file), but these directions should be helpful in setting up those assignments. Comments are appreciated if teachers find a version or a theme that does not work with these suggestions.