This is part one of a three part series of Convergence blog posts on Moodle 2 Activities.
Moodle 2 has a slew of new features and enhancements that improve on the experience from version 1.9. Among these new features is the Workshop activity, which functions as an extension of the Assignment activity and adds peer assessment capabilities into the mix. The Workshop activity is very useful and engaging for both the instructor and students, but be warned, it’s definitely an advanced feature best implemented by seasoned Moodle instructors.
Here is the Cliff Notes version of how it works:
- The instructor builds the activity.
- Students complete and submit their assignment.
- Instructor assesses student submissions.
- Students assess their classmate’s submissions.
- Students receive two grades in the gradebook.
- One score for their submission.
- One score for their assessment of their classmates’ submissions.
The instructor can control which students assess which other student’s submissions, or allow the system to randomly select the pairings.
The tricky part to this whole equation, is understanding the grading process, and it’s not what you would expect. Let’s start with the score that each student gets on their own submission. This is calculated (with default settings in place) as the average of all assessments received, including the instructors. This final scores can be weighted or overridden by the instructor, however. The score that students get for assessing other student’s work is based on how close they are to the mean. Another words, if Tommy gives Suzy a 32/100, and everyone else gives Suzy an 80 or 90, then Tommy will get a poor grade for his assessment, because he deviated substantially from the mean.
This is an excellent explanation of the Workshop activity and its grading process:
Moodle Workshop 2.0 – a (simplified) explanation, by Mark Drechsler
Complexities aside, the Workshop activity is very interesting, because it provides students with another perspective on the assessment process, and also encourages interaction between students. Furthermore, the activity can be altered to allow self-assessment, and you can even restrict peer assessments to comments only (i.e. to lower the stakes and make it full-credit-for-participating).
If you want to spice things up in an otherwise passive CLE course, this is definitely a good way to do it!