LEO Guides

Assignment

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assignment iconThe LEO Assignment activity allows students to upload their assignments in a digital format. It accepts many different file formats, including Word documents, spreadsheets, PDF, images, and online audio recording. The Assignment activity can also be configured to allow students to type text directly into the LEO text editor for submission, or submit a Mahara ePortfolio page or collection. Submissions can be either individual, or group submissions.

Assignments can be graded using a numerical or custom scale, or using a rubric or marking guide. Grades are recorded in the gradebook and can be hidden from or released to students as required.

NOTE: The Assignment activity does not provide text matching for the purposes of detecting plagiarism. If you require text matching capability please use Turnitin. Alternatively, if you require students to upload video files for assessment the Kaltura Media Assignment activity is the preferable tool to use.

  • To learn more about ACU's text matching tool, please read our LEO Guide: Turnitin
  • To learn more about ACU's video streaming service, please read our LEO Guide: Kaltura
  • To learn more about using rubrics and marking guides, please see our LEO Guide: 'Rubrics and Marking Guides'.
While the LEO Assignment activity is certainly easy to use, there are certain considerations that need to be made before designing any kind of online assessment activity. Creating an online assessment is more complex than simply "transposing existing assessment items to some online system or tool" (La Trobe Resource Library, 2016). Instead, designing an online assessment task is a unique opportunity to consider the purpose and nature of your assessment. "Making decisions about whether, when or how to use online assessment in your teaching requires a clear focus on the nature and purposes of assessment and on the basic principles of assessment design" (Benson and Brack 2010, 107 cited in La Trobe Resource Library, 2016).

Three questions you may like to consider when moving your assessment into LEO:

  1. Which tasks might be best suited to quality student learning and feedback?
  2. How might the tasks take advantage of Technology Enhanced Learning tools available in LEO?
  3. How might the Grading and Feedback of this task be done in order to provide timely quality feedback to my students? (adapted from University of Wollongong, 2016).

It is important to consider not just the affordances of the tool you are using, but consider also the processes in place within your teaching team for grading, apportioning responsibility for grading, and, providing timely feedback to your students.

The Assignment activity allows teachers to collect work from students in the form of a digital file, review the submissions, download them, and provide both written feedback and numerical grades. The work a student submits is visible only to the teacher and not to other students. The student is required to agree to a Declaration of Originality at the beginning of each semester before they access LEO.

With the Assignment activity, students can:

  • upload one or several files, along with a message to their marker
  • paste their assignment text directly into an assignment text field, adding links, images
  • upload audio files
  • upload an individual or group submission
  • link to pages or collections created in their ePortfolio as evidence.

Benefits for students

Using the LEO Assignment activity allows your students more flexibility when it comes to the assignment submission process. Students can submit their assignments from anywhere they have internet access, eliminating the need to come onto campus for the purposes of putting a paper assignment into a dropbox, including outside of ACU's normal operating hours. The Assignment activity also allows students to incorporate multimedia and interactive elements into their assignment submission.

Benefits for teaching staff

The Assignment activity offers similar benefits to teaching staff as it does to students. Teachers are able to access the submissions of their students from any device with internet access, negating the need to come onto campus to collect physical assignments. Teachers are also able to set assignments with multimedia or interactive elements, in a way that isn't possible with paper submissions.

Other benefits of online assignments for teaching staff include:

  • enhancing students' assessment-as-learning experiences
  • helping teachers give timely and more comprehensive feedback
  • making it easier to manage large volumes of marking and administration
  • analysing student or group performance
  • recording students' learning processes
  • allowing automated assignment submission
  • online return of grades and feedback to individual students.

With the assignment tool, teachers can:

  • assess individual assessment submission
  • assess group submissions and provide feedback and grades to individual students within the group or as a group
  • provide inline comments for PDF file submissions
  • provide additional feedback by using a rubric or marking guide
  • use a marking workflow if you want to manually release grades to students at a specific time
  • use a marking allocation if you want to allocate students to a specific marker.

The Assignment activity allows teachers to collect student work, review and provide feedback, including grades.

Students can submit any digital content such as documents, spreadsheets, images, audio as well as links from their ePortfolio.There are numerous assignment, submission and feedback settings that allow teachers to customise the Assignment activity.

Each of the functionalities below can be enabled or disabled via the Settings page for your Assignment. To access the 'Settings' page for your Assignment activity:

  1. Click on 'Turn editing on'.
  2. Click on the 'Edit' dropdown to the right of the Assignment's name.
  3. Click on 'Edit settings'.

Editing the Settings for your Assignment activity will allow you flexibility around:

Individual students:

You can set up the Assignment activity within LEO to allow Individual students to upload a variety of digital content, add comments and access their feedback and grades online. Assignment settings can also send an email notification to students when their assignment is graded and grades released to them.

Editing the Settings for your assignment

You are able to enable the submission of multiple file types by editing the Settings under 'Submission types'. You are able to edit the Settings pertaining to email notifications by editing the Settings under 'Notifications'.

Group work:

You can set up the Assignment activity within LEO to allow a group member can submit work on behalf of the group. Students can lead their own group project by submitting individual digital content. Group members can view, edit and provide comments on each other’s work. Teachers can provide feedback for the entire group project or provide individual members of a group feedback and grades. Enable or disable these under 'Group submission settings' from the Settings page.

Workflow:

The Assignment activity allows you to 'split' large classes into groups, to allow the Lecturer in Charge (LIC) to delegate grading responsibilities to more than one marker.  Each marker provides separate grades, feedback and notes to individual students or within their assigned groups. You can enable 'Use marking workflow' under 'Grade' from the Settings page.

Feedback:

Some file types (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF) can also be marked online using the built-in inline grading tool. Bulk download of assignment and bulk upload of feedback files is possible and advisable for large classes. You can edit your Feedback settings under 'Feedback types' from the Settings page.

Advanced grading (rubrics/marking guides):

You may like to think about using rubrics to grade assignments submitted via the Assignment activity. Creating rubrics calculates the grade, provides more detailed information about how the student has met the criteria and provides consistent feedback to students. Unlike the settings available above, the settings to enable the use of rubrics/marking guides in your Assignment activity are available in the 'Administration block' under 'Assignment administration', then click on 'Advanced grading' (Administration > Assignment administration > Advanced grading).

  • To learn more about using rubrics and marking guides, please see our LEO Guide 'Rubrics and Marking Guides'.
You can add a practice assignment to your LEO Unit, to give your students the opportunity of interacting with this tool. This can help to negate some of the anxiety your students may have if they are using a learning platform for the first time. Setting up a practice assignment will also allow you and your teaching team to dry-run your grading processes.
Feedback and Assessment. (2016). 1st ed. [PDF] University of Wollongong. Available at: http://www.uowblogs.com/moodlelab/files/2016/02/Online-Assessment-and-Feedback-handout-ur3d97.pdf [Accessed 27 May 2016].

Innovations in Assignment Marking, Massey University. (2016). Case Study - Using the assignment tool of a learning management system. [online] Retrieved from: http://etools.massey.ac.nz/casestudyat.htm [Accessed 29 May 2016].

Latrobe Resource Library. (2016). Digital Learning Strategy: How do I design effective online assessment activities in my subject?. [online] Retrieved from: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/ltlt/resource-library/sources/design-effective-online-assessment-activities [Accessed 27 May 2016].

In this case study, an anonymous lecturer talks about using the Assignment activity for the submission of assignments for a course in the social sciences, which is delivered both internally and to distance students.

Benefits attributed to using an assignment tool of in LEO include:

  1. Assignments don’t get lost and are automatically time stamped.
  2. The students get an automatic submission confirmation.
  3. The are no postal delays.
  4. A range of options for marking is available, from printing and marking on paper to directly marking the electronic copies.
  5. Teaching staff have a repository of all assignments.

This case study was developed as part of the eCDF funded project ‘E-Learning Framework for Formative Assessment’. This was a joint collaboration coming from Massey University, and Victoria University of Wellingon, New Zealand.

Innovations in Assignment Marking (2016). Case Study - Using the assignment tool of an elearning management system. [online] Retrieved from: http://etools.massey.ac.nz/casestudyat.htm [Accessed 29 May 2016].

This case study outlines how Moodle was used to facilitate online learning for postgraduate students who were enrolled in an Integrated Human Studies course at the University of Western Australia. The Assignment activity and the gradebook, were used to communicate outcomes to students. Students were surveyed, and were asked to identify which of the elements of the learning management system were the most effective in supporting their learning in Integrated Human Studies. 80% of respondents identified that "uploading work to be submitted" was effective.

Paynter, M. and Bruce, P. (2016). Case Studies: Using Moodle for Collaborative Learning with University and Senior Secondary Students. In: 1st Moodle Research Conference. [online] Heraklion, Crete - Greece. Retrieved from: http://research.moodle.net/67/1/04%20-%20Paynter%20-%20Case%20Studies-%20Using%20Moodle%20for%20Collaborative%20Learning.pdf [Accessed 30 May 2016].

Milne, J;, Heinrich, E., Ramsay, A., Morrison, D., Granshaw, B. & Moore, M. (2007). Survey report on the use of e-learning tools for formative essay-type assessment.Retrieved from: http://etools.massey.ac.nz/research.htm [Accessed 30 May 2016]

Moore, M., Granshaw, B., Milne, J. & Heinrich, E. (2007). Software tools which can support working with essay-type assignments. Retrieved from: http://etools.massey.ac.nz/research.htm [Accessed 30 May 2016]

Paynter, M. and Bruce, P. (2016). Case Studies: Using Moodle for Collaborative Learning with University and Senior Secondary Students. In: 1st Moodle Research Conference. [online] Heraklion, Crete - Greece. Retrieved from: http://research.moodle.net/67/1/04%20-%20Paynter%20-%20Case%20Studies-%20Using%20Moodle%20for%20Collaborative%20Learning.pdf [Accessed 30 May 2016].