It would be ideal if a journal entry could be used as the workshop input interface to eliminate as an OPTION to the upload. The workshops are a great idea but the level of complexity and variables makes it difficult to implement for my less sophisticated students...
the new version of the workshop module for Moodle 1.5 allows students to submit work via the HTML editor. This will probably meet your needs. However I like your suggestion of allowing students to prepare their submissions in a journal first and then to simply transfer them to the workshop. This could be an option for the teacher to associate the workshop to a journal and when the student opens the workshop the corresponding journal entry would be opened in the workshop submission editor automatically.
Combine that with meaningful emoticons and it'll be a real tool for providing substantive feedback... but anything to get students out of proprietrary (buggy) and costly, non-OS, formats is a big step IMHO.
thanks again for the tips Gustav!