Online assignment handling


 The aim was to replace the current paper system and outdated online assignment handling system by adapting the Moodle assignment handling module to fit our requirements. The Moodle adaptations have been made available to the wider Moodle community.

 Technical development

Technical development implemented essential functionality not available in the standard Moodle assignment module. This included: 

  • assignment deadline extensions (as a new module and modifications to existing code);
  • a Registry workflow (to reflect the academic quality assurance process required by the Department and University for handling assignments);
  • new capabilities and roles in the Moodle permissions system to match Departmental roles and processes;
  • the addition of optional extra input parameters (e.g. word count, and plagiarism statement) at the point of assignment submission.

 The pilot studies

The pilot studies enabled us to verify that the functionality developed fitted our requirements and that its usability is acceptable to tutors, students, Registry staff and IT support staff. To do this , we have had to traverse the test-tweak-retest cycle several times. Sometimes this has been required to redefine the way the system will coordinate with other Departmental activities when rolled out more widely. Along the way, we have developed guidance documentation for users of the system, and investigated ways to resolve any administrative issues around its implementation.


The new system is being piloted and will be availble more broadly for the 2011/12 academic year. Evidence suggests it can offer an enhanced service to students, who now can submit assignments at any time, where ever they are located.  It also provides significant efficiencies in asignment handling time for the Registry staff as well as a reduction in paper handling and photocopying and better auditing and control. Reduction in paper storage is a further advantage both in terms of less physical space being required and also in terms of less staff time being required to retrieve data from the archive.