Moodle 3.1 is making strides on a persistent instructor request by unifying the grading interface of the Assignment activity. In a recent post, they explain how a teacher can see an “assessment stream” to grade one after the other. Student menus also allow to see a personal grading page.
Grading is, by far, the most time consuming activity for online learning professionals. We know so, deep inside, it’s probably why it feels somehow alleviating to see that research agrees with our feelings and beliefs. A paper published in the Journal of Educators Onlinereveals that “Grading papers and assignments” take on average 36.9% of the time invested on teaching tasks, and 45.7% of actual instructional components. This is twice the time instructors allot weekly for “student communication” or “teaching and course facilitation”, and almost three times what we invest in “professional development”, “instructional content development” and “research and service” combined.
With the latest unoconv tool enabled, Moodle can transform any file a student submits for grading as PDF. This makes assignments easier to
- highlight and annotate.
- download for offline viewing, keeping its layout.
- deliver feedback.
- keep records of submissions and grades as they were sent.
Another ambitious feature is the ability to view all submissions at once.
Read Moodle’s “Quick Guide” on the Assignment activity here.
Are you optimistic about this update? Please try it in full next time you are grading papers and let us know your thoughts. In any case, I wonder what comes to your mind if I bid you to think about the “best grading experience possible”. One that is pleasurable, valuable and agile. How does it look like, and how close does Moodle 3.1 comes to it? There are of course limitations, technical, pedagogical, institutional. But I just would not want to think of learning professionals as foreordained part-time markers.