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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 that we have our Gradebook set up inside of Moodle with the grade categories, it's time to start creating assignments and linking those assignments to the Gradebook. During the first week of the term we are going to be giving the students an introduction to tropical marine ecosystems, so they'll have a little bit of experience about what types of ecosystems are available. So let's give them an assignment so they can start thinking about the specific area that they want to focus on during their field studies in Belize during the spring-break portion of the trip. To do this we have already gone ahead and added the assignments area, and we are going to hit the dropdown menu for Add an activity, and there are a lot of different options here, but the one that we are going to start off with is the Online text.
This is one of the simple assignment types, and it's perhaps even the most simple. We can simply give this assignment a name, "Research Project Ideas," and in the Description field we just want to go ahead and put the instructions as to what it is that we want the students to do. This tells the students what it is that they need to do, very cleanly, gives it a nice focus. Let's go ahead and scroll down and look at some of the options for creating this assignment. The first couple of options here, Available from and Due dates, by default both of these are set as Enabled, and it gives a range of dates that is usually set to the weeks of the course.
A couple of things to note: First of all, that when you can go ahead and click the Day you now get a pop-up menu that has a clickable calendar. The second thing to note is, over here in the Time--we've got the Day, the Month, the Year--and then the Time and the Time is always set up on a 24-hour clock. If you want your assignment to be available starting at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, you would not select 02, because that would be 2 a.m. This is not so bad when you're starting an assignment, but it can be really frustrating for the students when you're ending an assignment and they think it's due at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, but you've set the time to be 2 o'clock in the morning, and by the time they get up the assignment is already unavailable.
So unless you have a really good reason for going ahead and forcing your students to complete an assignment in a specific time period, you may want to go ahead and simply uncheck both of these Enable buttons. That will make it so that the assignment is always due for the students, no matter when they come into the course and access the materials. You can if you would like, if you have these two enabled, you can though set a Prevent late submissions option here, which would prevent the students from going in and submitting the assignment after a specific time.
So if this assignment is set to expire at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, or 1400 hours, then you could hit the Prevent late assignments and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon the student would not be able to complete that assignment any longer. This can be very helpful if you have some students that are not really following along, you really need to kind of enforce the rules a little bit more on them. This is a great way to be able to do that. But for now we are going to ahead and leave these options turned off. The next section is the section on Grades.
All assignments generally start off being worth a hundred points, and what I would like to do is I am going to go ahead and make this assignment, because it's just a getting started thing, I am going to bring this down and I am going to make it only worth 10 points. The next option here is Grade category. I can go ahead and select that, and look at this. Here are the Grade categories that we just set up in our Gradebook in the last movie. So in this case, we are going to categorize this 10 points. We kind of put it in the Individual Evaluation portion of the research project.
So we'll go ahead and select that category and after we create this assignment, we will see what that has done to our Gradebook. And come on down here, Online text, Allow resubmitting. If you would like the students to be able to come in, enter in their information, hit Submit, and then come back in at a later time and resubmit-- change their mind, essentially-- you can set this to Yes. And I am going to go ahead and set this to Yes, because one of the challenges that may happen is, especially in the beginning, when you're first getting the students used to using the Moodle system, they may make a few mistakes.
They may submit an assignment and not realize that they've submitted it, or you have to know where to go into that assignment and open it back up for them. And it can be a little bit of a hassle, especially in the beginning portion of your course, to be able to have to go in and constantly reset those things. So it's a personal option for you to go ahead and choose whether or not you want to do this. I am going to go ahead and set this to Yes. The next option, Email alerts to teachers. If you want to get an email every time one of your student submits their assignment so that you know immediately when that assignment has been submitted so you can go in and you can grade it right away, go ahead and set this item to Yes.
Personally, I get enough email already, and one of the great things about Moodle is the students can go in and they can complete their assignments and then when I am ready to grade it, I can log in to Moodle, I can go into the Grade section, and I can grade that assignment. All the materials are right there. So I am going to go ahead and leave that one set to No. And this third option here, Comment inline. I am going to go ahead and set that one to Yes right now. What that's going to allow you to do is to go ahead and add some feedback to your students inline within their online text that they've submitted.
It will put your text in a different color, and we will explore how that works at a later time, but for right now I'll go ahead and set this to Yes. Go on down here to the bottom and we've got the Common module settings. These are for group. We don't have group set up yet, so we are going to leave that set to No groups. Visible, this is, remember, if we want this assignment to be visible all the time, or if we want to have this essentially prepped up for the students and then at the specific time when we want to release that information to them, we can go in and edit this file and change the Show to Not show.
But we are going to leave it to Show for right now. We are not going to use an ID number. So let's go ahead and hit Save and return to course, and let's see what happens. Come on down here and we see underneath of our Assignment section we have our Research Project Ideas, and we will do a little bit of a clean up her. We will use the Move Right button here to bump it in underneath of that heading. And if we come up to the top--we'll turn Editing off to see what this looks like-- we can scroll on down, and there we go. We have our Assignment, and Research Project Ideas is right here underneath of it.
Now let's have a quick look at our Gradebook and see what happened in our Gradebook. Over in the Settings section, click on Grades, and right here under Individual Evaluations you can see Research Project Ideas. It's gone ahead and added that item in the right category, and we are able to be able to grade that assignment right there. Let's go ahead and go back into our course. Let's go to BIOL 432. I will scroll back down. We are going to go ahead and click on the Research Project Ideas to see what it looks like.
And if you were a student, you would have a little field right here for you to be able to enter in that information right here. You wouldn't have to go any further. As an instructor, you're able to see right here at the top that currently no attempts have been made on this assignment. As soon as your students begin completing the assignment and they'll submit their work, this link right here will change and it will tell you how many students have submitted the assignments. Now since this is a link, we can go ahead and click on this and it will take us into the grading for this assignment.
So here we have all of our students listed out. We have a field that will show all of the grades, any comments that we've submitted back to them, any information about last modified of the submission-- so the submissions is going to have the final text that they've had--and anything that we finally grade on it. For each of these assignments you are able to click on the individual link for grade that's over on the right-hand side for Status, and you are able to see the submission that the student has made.
You're able to assign them a grade, and notice it's already given us a 0-to-10 scale because we told it this assignment is only worth 10 points, so Moodle has done all that work for us. We can scroll down a little bit further. We have a section where we can provide some feedback directly to the student right here, and we can save our changes. And I am going to go ahead and hit Cancel though, so it will take us back into this page, and there is one other quick thing that I want to show you right here. If we scroll down just a little bit further, there are some Optional settings here. We can say Show > All, Show just submitted grades, or just the required to grade.
So as you are going along, if you have some students that have submitted their work early, and you've gone in and graded it already, you can go ahead and hide those that you have already graded, so it reduces the amount of clutter that you need to see. You can see the Submissions to show, per page, and I really like this option here, Allow quick grading. Go ahead and hit the check box for that and hit Save preferences. Now you're able to see all the work right here in this one table view. You're able to add comments back to the students, and you're able to assign grades to them.
Now one bit of warning here: if you do use this function and you've gone in and you've entered a whole bunch of information, make sure you scroll all the way down to the bottom as soon as you are finished and click the Save all my feedback button. If you don't click the Save all my feedback button, you will have done an enormous amount of work and Moodle won't save your feedback. So you always have to make sure you scroll down and hit that button right there. Let's scroll back up to our course, and we're going to go back to BIOL 432 in our breadcrumbs, and that's going to take us back into the main view of our course, and that gives you a quick overview of setting up and working with a simple assignment.
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