Set your classes up with no effort on your part
Why would you need to "set your classes up"? Surely if the course is enroll able, your students can just enter and take part in all the activities? They can indeed, but unless you put a password (enrolment key) on the course then any students on your Moodle could enroll and take a look around. That might be fine if you have an "open door" policy to your course – but in the real world, I wouldn't expect extra students to come in and join my Advanced Level French class, and so the same might apply in Moodle. Likewise, although my colleague and I share teaching resources and experiences, we don't actually mark each other's students' work – we have separate grade books. The same should apply to Moodle. If more than one class is sharing a Moodle course, it’s important that the classes are on different pages of the grade book rather than everyone all listed together.
So how do we do this without having manually to add every single student? If your Moodle admin hasn't done this for you already, then log in to your course and click on Groups in the course administration block:
- Now click on the button Create group as in the next screenshot:
- Write the name of your class in the Group Name box, as it might say in their timetable for example. If you wish to put a description of this class you may do so, but it isn’t necessary.
- Scroll down to the Enrolment key box and enter a password for this class only. (Hint: it might be easier for them to recall if you make it the name of their class) If you click Unmask you will be able to see what you are typing:
- Click the Save changes button, and you will be returned to the Groups page where you will see your class with (0) next to its name. That's telling you there are no students in there yet!
- Repeat the process with all the other classes sharing your Moodle course. Your Groups page might end up like this:
- And finally… click to go back to your main course page and then, in the course administration block, click on Settings.
- In the page that comes up next, set Group mode to Visible or Separate and in Availability set another password (enrollment key).
This enrollment key never gets used! It is simply there to keep unwanted students out! It doesn’t matter what you set it to or even whether you yourself remember it or not.
What just happened?
We created empty pages in the grade book ready for our students to populate. All that’s left to do is for you to let them know, either face to face or via email, what their individual class enrollment key is. When they first access your course, they will be prompted to enter this key and will automatically go straight into the correct class page in your Moodle grade book - in alphabetical order too. You and your colleagues then can select from a drop down list which group’s work to mark. Much better than manually writing or typing them into an old-fashioned paper grade book! And much quicker too, than the other Moodle method, of adding students one at a time into the groups before the course starts. Why should you have to do all the work when they could do it for you?
Set your grades for marking
Okay - so we now have our classes organized to send us some work in Moodle. Moodle offers two "ready-made" marking schemes known as scales: a number scale up to 100, or a letter scale. But what if you wanted to mark your students' assignments in a different way? Say "pass/ merit/ distinction" for example? Or, as a languages teacher, using French words? It is very simple in Moodle to add another "scale" which you, as a teacher, can use in all your assignments in your course. So let's do it!
- Click on Grades in the course administration block:
- In the drop down box or the tabbed heading , select Scales as in the following screenshots:
Different versions of Moodle have differently-styled grade books – the key word to click on is Scales!
- Click on Add a new Scale
- In Name, give a descriptive name for your new grades like French marking/Levels of Attainment and so on.
- In the Scale box, type in all the marks you want to give, separated by a comma as in this screenshot:
- Scroll down and click Save changes and you're done!
What just happened?
We made a new custom scale, which can be used anywhere we can mark work on our course. Our Moodle admin can also make it as a standard scale, available throughout our Moodle. The next time we set up an assignment, our new grading will be there for us to select:
Ready to go!
With our classes now set up and a personalized mark scheme available we are ready to engage in another year’s Learning. Happy Moodling!
In this article, we learnt how a regular teacher can:
- get their classes set up as groups on a Moodle course page
- add their own customized marking scales
If you have read this article you may be interested to view :
- Controlling Which Class Sees Our Resources in Moodle
- Adding Worksheets and Resources with Moodle
- Interacting with the Students using Moodle 1.9 (part 1)