It’s the start of the academic year and the start of a new project. Following on from last year's Moodle/ProMonitor plugin pilot and with the help of Carol, I’ve designed an assignment submission template to help with the standardisation of coursework submissions, archival process and the retrieval of submissions for the GDPR.
If you wish to find out more about the first Moodle/ProMonitor pilot, please click here.
While submission templates have little effect on the use of the Moodle/ProMonitor plugin, they do provide benefits in regards to enhancing reporting on assignment submissions in relation to pre-agreed assessment schedules. Currently, assignment schedules are detailed through a course validation process led by the Quality team. For example, Course A, Unit 1, assignment 1 will take place on 10th October, assignment 2 on 20th October and so forth. By using a submission template, the assignment number can be worked out by matching the order in which each Moodle Assignment appears in a Moodle topic.
This actually highlights a development need for the Moodle/ProMonitor plugin that I will look into next academic year. The ability to set an assignment from a sub menu for cross referencing against other College data will enhance reporting further and remove the need for a template for ordering. It should be easy to program and will offer significant benefits in tracking submissions.
Again, this makes little difference with markbook data synchronisation. However, use of a submission template does mean that I can provide better support for the assignment set up process. While it is being rolled out, I have added traffic light coloured checklists to each course, highlighting units that have been set up correctly. The checklist will indicate those units that will sync and those that have been incorrectly set up.
I’ve also been able to build an Assessment Schedule block that takes assessment schedule data out of the Validation Application and presents it to learners and lecturers to help them organise submissions.
While time consuming to design and deploy, the templates have been very useful when rolling out training by ensuring a consistent approach could be maintained from team to team. Lecturers may work in more than one area so it helps to have the exact same submission method meaning they only need to learn the process once. It also reduces the amount of training material that needs to be developed. Feedback from learners and lecturers, especially Team Leaders, has been positive with the main feedback being that on courses that are coursework heavy, it’s much easier to find assignments in one place instead of searching through large amounts of subject material. It has also helped support teams provide better support because it’s now the same process each time.
We’ve been able to share good practice with digital submissions that includes the completion of a checklist (guiding students through the upload process) for first term modules. The checklist needs to be completed in order to unlock the submission area ensuring completion. Further examples include pre-prepared cover sheets (with sensible filenames) attached to assignments whereby students can download an assignment, start work at the end of the document and then upload their work. This is helpful because it saves students from having to copy and paste a cover sheet from a separate document to their work. Pasting a table can be especially fiddly and frustrating.
Work-wise, this project did involve training all teams at Further Education level and this included repeat sessions. Being personally involved with all training, it was great to hear feedback as the project progressed and as a result, the templates evolved to become more and more useful. For example, the project evolved by including Moodle’s Workflow feature to release work to students in controlled waves and feedback about further developments for next year.
Update: Following key feedback from this year, I have a few changes to implement including locking submissions to PDF on courses where the Annotate PDF plugin is used and to fix the view to Moodle’s Assignment marking system on Access courses. I also intend to make some subtle theme changes to clearly display when topics are hidden (the default setting in the template) since this led to a rise in support calls.
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