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Assignment Best Practices: Selecting a submission type

Online Text

Students insert text responses by typing directly into a text field in their Internet browser. Best used for short-response assignments, such as summaries, quick-writes, reflections, etc. You also have the option of limiting the number of words allowed in a submission.

Benefits of this Setting

  • Entries are time stamped to create a record for attempts and submissions. This is useful for reconciling common problems (e.g., formatting documents from various word processors, overdue submissions, unsuccessful submission attempts, etc.).
  • Word limit allows you to created more specific assignments.
  • No paper. Graders can enter the assignment and give grading feedback online.
  • No need to download anything to your computer and use disk space. Graders can enter, view, and grade each assignment submission directly in GauchoSpace.

Limitations of this Setting

  • For Students
    • Depending on Internet connectivity, the page can time out while students are still typing in the text field. Any unsaved work will be unrecoverable. Solution: We recommend that students compose in a word processing application (e.g., MS Word). When they are ready to submit their assignment, they can copy and paste their work into the text field.
  • For Instructors/Graders
    • It is not easy to revisit individual assignments. For example, if you want to highlight exemplary work in a class session, you have to come up with a work-around (e.g., maneuver through the grade book or the assignment itself; copy and paste text into a separate document for later use).
    • The online assignment must be graded online via GauchoSpace. You cannot download the assignment, work offline, or save it for later.

Upload Files

To submit an assignment, students are prompted to upload a file from their computer. Graders may view the assignment submissions and grade online within the assignment grading interface* or download the files from the assignment and provide feedback directly in the file or on a separate rubric/scoring guide. Multiple files and file types can be uploaded by changing settings.

in Moodle 3.1

*Note: On December 16, 2016 a major update to GauchoSpace was performed, upgrading the core software from Moodle 2.8 to 3.1. The most notable change to the Assignment Activity is the new grading interface, which makes grading assignment submissions easier in GauchoSpace. If you would like to get the maximum potential out of the new assignment grading interface, you will need to make sure that your students submit PDF documents ONLY. The split screen grading view does not work to view any other filetype other than PDF at this time. For more information, see Grading an Assignment.

Benefits of this Setting

  • Ease of use and communication with students. Submissions are time stamped, and late assignments are indicated in red font. If you allow late submissions, the online submission relieves some of the hassle of having to arrange late turn-in to an instructor mailbox, office, or external email address.
  • Entries are time stamped to create a record for attempts and submissions.
  • Feedback. Graders can use editing tools (e.g., track changes, insert comments, etc.) within the word processor to provide margin feedback or enter comments directly on the document. In some cases, typed feedback may be more legible than hand-written feedback.
  • No paper. Graders can download the assignments to their computers and view/grade on-screen.
  • Efficiency. Assignment settings can be changed to allow one or more files, so students can upload multiple documents for a single assignment. This can be good for assignments with multiple drafts, elements, or types of formatting (e.g., .pdf, .docx, .jpeg, .pptx, etc).

Limitations of this Setting

  • For Instructors/Graders
    • If you do not require that PDF files are submitted, you will need to view, provide feedback, and/or grade the assignment submissions offline, then re-enter GauchoSpace to enter or upload grades and/or feedback to students.
    • File formatting. Some instructors run into trouble with file formatting. For example, if a student completes an assignment in Pages (word processor for Mac), the document saves as .pages and cannot be read by a program like Microsoft Word. Instructors either need to be clear about their file format preferences (e.g., one might inform students to submit work in .pdf or .docx format) or obtain an open software that is compatible with the format in which the document was submitted (e.g. use Pages to open .pages documents).

Submission comments

Enabling this option in addition to either or both of the other assignment submission options (Online Text and Upload Files) allows students to leave a note for the instructor in addition to the assignment itself. This might be useful if students upload multiple documents and leave a comment about read order, or if there are additional instructions that might be of use.

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