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Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?

 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Core developers
Hi all,

It seems that a common issue with Moodle is that often submissions people try to send just gets lost somehow.

There are legitimate reasons for this, such as deadlines for submisions passing by (even in these situations I think students should be capable of at least saving what they have produced for themselves).

Sometimes, there are cases however that for various reasons things just get lost, causing wild frustration towards Moodle and even towards computers in general.

Do you have any stories to tell about when things went terribly wrong, or perhaps when Moodle seemed more reliable than you expected? Please share. The developers would like to understand issues different users have with Moodle, better.

If you wish, you can reply here or in this related forum thread.
 
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Picture of Bridget Robbins
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
 
As a teacher at the secondary level; I feel that deadlines/submission dates are a critical life skill...not just an academic skill. Moodle has really helped with this issue. Students are given a very specific deadline with Moodle assignments (down to the hour). In my never ending quest to have a "paper-less" classroom; I RARELY accept assignments after the deadline has passed. I often refer to the following situations when I am given weak excused for not having work uploaded to Moodle on time:
#1: If on April 15th your taxes have not yet been filed you will be assessed a fine; NO MATTER what excuse you give to the IRS. Plan ahead of time and file for an extension next time!
#2: If you show up to the airport for an international flight without your passport; do you think they will allow you to get on the flight? No.

I encourage students to save a copy of all of their work to their own computers; only after doing that should they upload assignments to Moodle. Even if they are composing the assignment itself in Moodle; I frequently remind them to copy and paste to a word document. As well, if a student legitimately attempted to upload an assignment before the submission deadline, it will be apparent in Reports, under the Admins. menu in the left hand column. If I check that specific student's report for that specific assignment and there was activity before the deadline, I certainly accept a paper copy or something comparable. The Report function really helps me to keep students and parents honest.

I feel that Moodle really helps teenagers manage their time better; in effect; when Moodle does not accept their submissions because they are late it is almost as if this inanimate program get to buffer the blow of disapointment and frustration. I would rather the angst be directed at the "computer" and not me. Of course we all know it's neither Moodle nor the teacher who is truly responsible.
 
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paula
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

That is a great idea, Bridget.  I have been trying to get teachers to do the same when we work online. 

So far at my site, I have found when I receive a complaint about things getting lost, when I go sit down with the person involved and we walk through the process, either a step was left our or the file was too big to upload.  I will let you know if I hear about anything else.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this type of information.

Paula Clough cool

 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Core developers
Thanks, Bridget and Paula.

I am rather surprised that nobody is sharing experiences about things getting lost due to issues with the system. (I did find one though) Of course, you can always choose whether to say the user was not careful enough or the system was too cumbersome. But apparently here the consensus is that mostly this is a honesty problem.

Paula, I would like to ask you -- when you sit down with a student and go through the process with them, what sorts of steps get left out, resulting in the experience of things getting lost? I am wondering here, what makes students expect things should have worked differently?
 
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Mary Cooch
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Documentation writersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup TestersGroup Translators
OK - this is NOT a case of things getting lost in the system but it taught me an important lesson,and it's a nice story - so I'll add it here anyway.

We had a case of a boy - let's call him Joe Brown - who claimed to have handed in assignments but the teacher wasn't receiving them at all.
The father was adamant he had stood over Joe and watched him upload them - to the correct course - and seen they had been uploaded. But they just weren't appearing in the class gradebook.

So the teacher himself stood and watched - as Joe logged in, went to the course, uploaded his work - it said uploaded successfully - and then waited for his teacher to check - and - no -the work was simply not there in the class gradebook.

So then they asked me. And I watched as.. etc etc; you can work out the rest!

It had me completely flummoxed until I looked at his profile, checked the users in site administration and checked the teachers class. There were two Joe Browns - and the one who had been added to the teacher's class list in that course was the other Joe Brown, in another part of the school. Our Joe was dutifully uploading his work - and it was being accepted because, the teacher had left the course enrollable. Joe had enrolled, was in the course, but just not appearing when the teacher was checking that class's work. The course was set up to separate groups with teachers unable to see other pupils and classes - it wasn't until I looked at All Participants that I found Joe, on his own, with all his work uploadedsmile

 
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paula
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers

Olli,

I have to think back.  Right now off the top of my head some of the reasons were:

  • Students (and teachers during Professional Development) were downloading the assignment file, working on it then uploading it without saving their work and couldn't understand why their worksheet was blank.
  • Students trying to upload a large file and not waiting for it to complete and get the completed message.
  • Students or teachers trying to upload a file that is too large.  The computer will seem to time out and they don't know why it hasn't uploaded.
  • Teachers setting up files for students assignments and then they don't show up... usually they forgot to "choose" the file when setting up, or uploaded it into a folder and didn't realize it hadn't been uploaded to a different place than the other ones they had uploaded.

These are mostly issues with new users who don't yet really understand the system, because we are still fairly new to Moodle at our site. 

Mary, thanks for sharing the story of Joe Brown, I will keep that in mind.  One more thing to look for.

Paula cool

 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
Group Core developers
Thanks, Paula.

I actually do believe a lot of these issues could be alleviated by making the uploading UIs more responsive. Will discuss it further in the developer thread I mentioned earlier.
 
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banjo player yoga
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
 
I've occasionally thought I uploaded a file and didn't because there are 2 things to do. (1)Browse for the file then (2) click "upload"

You find your file and see it in the browse bit and forget to upload it.

Bottom line is that you have to make sure it's there. The computer is working.

This is a good question for me coming into another year. I'm now thinking that I will not accept late submissions after the kids have used the thing a couple of times to get familiar.
 
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Picture of Nathan Hutchings
Re: Cases of Moodle 'eating' student or teacher-created content?
 
You are so correct... time management is a big issue and we are not doing students any favors extending deadlines. I have lost count of how many times I have given an extension to a students only to find myself under ridiculous pressure all because basically someone else could not get their act together.
 
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