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In this course, author Chris Mattia helps educators create online courses that complement classroom-based instruction and foster student interaction using the free learning management system Moodle. The course details the basics of setting up a test environment, disseminating course information, creating forums, and assessing student progress. Tutorials on building course materials with Moodle's built-in HTML editor, preparing and posting various types of media, uploading assignments, and evaluating tests automatically are also included.
Now, let's go ahead and create an assignment that is using the Advanced uploading of files type. In our syllabi, we can see that on May the 5th we want our students to hand in their final paper. This is a perfect type of assignment for advanced uploading of files because we specifically ask the students to be able to hand in any figures and tables as separate documents, so they are going to have to hand in multiple files. In order to create this assignment type, simply scroll all the way to the very bottom of your course, down here where it says Final Exam and Final Papers DUE! To keep from scrolling around, go ahead and hit the small box in the upper right-hand corner.
That will hide all the rest of our course content from us, so we can see just that box. Click the dropdown menu for Add an activity, and select Advanced uploading of files. We'll give the assignment a name: Final Research Paper. In the Description, we want to tell the students exactly what it is that we want them to do in order to complete this assignment, so let's be very explicit. We'll go ahead and type "Upload your final paper in Microsoft Word format.
Please, submit all tables and figures as separate documents. Be sure to follow the instructions to Authors." Now, the instructions to authors is a separate document that we haven't uploaded yet, so go ahead and select the text for that, click on the Insert or Edit a link tool in your toolbar. In the Link URL, hit the Browse button.
Make sure you're in your Private files section, BIOL432, and then go ahead and click on the Upload a file button. Hit the Browse button, and in the Chapter 07 exercise files folder there is a file called Instructions to Authors.doc. Go ahead and hit the Open button and upload this file. For the Title, just go ahead and type in "Instructions to Authors." Hit the Insert button to activate that link. As we saw earlier, because the theme that we're using does not have the correct link color, go ahead and select that text, go up to the Text Color tool and select our link color that we've been using: 000080.
Okay, our Description is all set. Let's go ahead and set up the parameters for this particular assignment. Go ahead and scroll down. Here we can see the Available from and the Due dates for this assignment. The Available from date is the first date and time that we want the students to be able to see that this assignment is available to them to begin completing. So in our case, if we decided that on April 1st, 2012 at say 10 o'clock in the morning we wanted the students to be able to start handing in that assignment, then we could go ahead and set this date in here.
We could leave the button for Enable checked, and until this date, the students would not be able to access the assignment type. But we want the students to be able to see this assignment from the first day of class all the way to the end of the term, so we'll uncheck the box for Enable. The Due date is the last date and time that the assignment is actually due. So according to our syllabi, this assignment is due on the 5th of May, 2012 at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.
Now this is perhaps the most common mistake that a teacher makes when they're setting up assignment due dates, and that is that the time is set in a 24-hour clock. So an assignment that's due at 5 o'clock needs to be set to 17:00 hours. If you set it to 5, then at 5 o'clock in the morning this assignment will come due and at 5:01 the students will no longer be able to complete the assignment. Make sure that you have the time set correctly. Now for training purposes, I like to go ahead and uncheck the Enable box for Due dates.
That way the assignment is always open to my students to be able to hand in. The next option here, Prevent late assignments, allows me to go in and control whether or not I want to have the students to be able to hand in an assignment after this particular due date. If I click the button for Yes and I have Enable set, then at 17:01 the student would not be able to hand in that assignment. I don't want to be quite that strict in this case, especially as a training exercise, so I'm going to go ahead and select No and deselect Enable.
If we scroll down a little bit, the next section is for Grade. The first dropdown menu allows us to set how many points that we want this assignment to be due for. When we look at our syllabi, we can tell that this assignment is worth 100 points, so I'll go ahead and leave it set to the default of 100. The next dropdown is for Grade category. Now, these are the grade categories that we set up back in the Getting Started chapter. The Assignment type that we want to set this assignment for is going to be part of the individual evaluation portion of the grade, because each student is going to hand in their own final research paper.
The final section here, Advanced uploading of files, allows us to have fine control over how we want the students to upload their files. The first option allows us to set the Maximum size of files that we want our students to upload. In this case, 128 MB would be a little generous. We're going to go ahead and set this value to only 20 MB. Now, that's 20 MB per file. So if they have got a 20 MB Word file and a 20 MB file for each of their different files that they are attaching, that would still be pretty generous.
the next option, Allow deleting, This would allow students to upload a file and then change their mind and remove it out of a list of files that they are uploading. You may want to go ahead and leave this set to Yes, especially if you have a large assignment that's going to take a lot of time for the students to be able to hand in. That way, if they're making revisions, they can continuously add and subtract those documents from the assignment until the assignment due date is finally there. The next option is Maximum number of uploaded files. In our case, because we're going to expect the students have multiple figures and tables attached to their paper, we should go ahead and set this to a higher value.
But you can easily control how many files that you want the students to be able to hand in. I'll go ahead and set my value to 10. The next option, Allow notes. The Notes section allows a student to be able to communicate directly to us about the assignment that they're handing in. So in the case of this final research paper, we may want to have the students to be able to explain to us what files that they are uploading and how they should all be put back together, since we're asking them to hand in multiple files. I'll go ahead and select Yes for this option.
The next option, Hide description before available due date. If we set this option to Yes and up here in the Available from date, we have that date enabled, then until this particular date, the students would only see the assignment name inside of their course listing. They wouldn't be able to see the description and thus be able to see the instructions as to what it is we're expecting them to do. Now, I believe in full non-disclosure within my courses, so I like to make sure that my Available from date is not enabled, and I like to have my Hide description set to No, so that the description of my assignment is always there, the students can always look and see what it is that I'm expecting of them.
The next option, Email alerts to teachers, my suggestion for this is to set this to No. We all get way too many emails and knowing at the exact minute that a student has handed in their paper and then having to have an email that comes into our inbox to be able to look and see that that's happened is probably a bit excessive. Now there may be cases where you really need to know exactly when a student has handed in their assignment and you want that immediate feedback; in which case, go ahead and set this option to Yes. But for now, I'm going to leave it set to No. The next option, Enable Send for marking button. This button appears at the bottom of the Assignment Type, so students are able to upload their files, add notes, and then before the assignment is considered completed by the student, they have to click a button at the bottom that says Send for marking.
I know a lot of faculty that this causes a little bit of grief for, because their students have not been properly instructed that they must go in and click this button in order to have that assignment be fully handed in. So word of warning: if you set this to Yes, be sure to provide clear instructions to your students as to what the expectation for them is when they're handing in their assignment. For now, I'm going to go ahead and leave my Send for marking set to No. You can scroll down a little bit further, and now we have some common module settings.
We're not going to use groups as part of this assignment yet, so we're going to go ahead and leave the Group mode set to No groups, Visible set to Show so the assignment does show for our students, and we're not going to set an ID number. Go ahead and hit the Save and return to course button, and here we can see that our Final Research Paper assignment has been added to our course during week 15. Go ahead and use the Move Right button to be able to move that listing to be aligned with all the other listings in our course. Now I want to look at two things very quickly.
First of all, let's look and see what this assignment looks like as an instructor when we click on the link. Go ahead and click on the link Final Research Paper. Here we can see that when you go into the assignment you're able to see the specific description that we gave to the students. In the left-hand column, under the Settings section, there is an option for Switch role to. Click the dropdown menu there and then click the button for Student. Now we can see exactly what a student would see if they were in this assignment. They see the description of the text, they see a place for them to submit their files and a place for them to upload their files, and they see a Notes section right here where if they hit the Edit button they get a standard web editor to be able to add the notes about the files that they have submitted.
Go ahead and click the button for Return to my normal role to go back to your view. Inside of your view you have a little bit of feedback. One piece of feedback is right here. It says, "No attempts have been made on this assignment." If you click on that link, it will take you into the Quick Grading section for this assignment. Now, we're going to go into this grading view in a later movie, but for now I just wanted you to know that this option was here for you. Let's go ahead and return all the way back to our course, and now we can go ahead and reset our course, so we can bring back all of the other content of our course.
Click the double box that's here in the upper right-hand corner to show all weeks, and then go ahead and scroll all the way back up to the top of the page. The advanced uploading of files type of Assignment is probably the most common assignment type that you're going to be using when you're building your Moodle courses. It's by far the most flexible of all of the different assignment types, because you can have a mix of both a single file, multiple files, and online text that you can have the students hand in to you.
If I was going to learn only one type of assignment, I would learn how to use the Advanced uploading of files assignment type.
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