What is the advantage for a teacher in using the 'upload a file' or the 'advanced uploading of files' assignment module to collect a paper from a student versus just having them email the assignment?
I know a teacher that has had them email assignments and has had no trouble with that method, and is a little leery of trying to use Moodle to do the same job.
I've already mentioned to this person that the student will have definite confirmation that the document did indeed get uploaded and that there will be a time-stamp, but they say the emails give time stamps as well.
Any other advantages you can think of?
Off the top of my head:
- sure, the emails give timestamps, but the teacher has to figure out some custom way of extracting that information from the email repository to visually identify who in the class has submitted an assignment, who has not. This identification and other aspects of class management should be a lot easier within Moodle.
- The upload activity can be immediately connected to a mark, and the mark can be seen in the context of all marks, like any other Moodle activity. There's some manual housekeeping involved if the submission is managed in email instead.
- The time period during which the activity is open for student submissions can be controlled according to the needs of the curriculum. A teacher can do the same thing manually in email, sure, but (a) it's more trouble and (b) the time period isn't published/visible to all students within the course context.
All the points I've raised (and more that others who are more knowledgeable Moodle users could raise, and I hope will raise, in this thread) *can* be answered by doing some sort of custom integration between an email repository or even your teacher's email client (if absolutely necessary) and Moodle or whatever other application handles your gradebook, courseware, etc. But it's unnecessarily painful.
Please note: I'm not an educator. I'm an integration specialist (officially a DBA). That's why I'm weighing in on this thread. Even though I know it's possible to connect all the dots if needed, I am *still* saying: it's not a great idea to require integration custom work when you can get this type of functionality with no work at all.
From my perspective as a teacher, the "mark can be seen in context with all the other marks" aspect that Lisa names has been one of the most valuable reasons I would choose using the assignment module over email. It is a super huge timesaver for me to be able to copy/paste some of the same pointers to students in their feedback. This also gives me a place to see patterns of feedback that might be better addressed in a large group forum post if I find many are making the same types of errors. Finally, the assignment module also nicely locates all of your directions and feedback in one place for the student who might not be as organized as the teacher who is able to organize her/his email in a way that easily manages assignment intake.
There are more reasons, but these come to mind first.
I run an entirely online writing program for gifted kids. We use Moodle and email as two different formats of the same courses.
The virtue of Moodle is that assignments don't go astray, land in the spam bucket, or just vaporize.
Recordkeeping is immensely easier. The gradebook can be as simple or complicated as you wish. We use a simple system of [no grade] = not yet turned in, 0 = unacceptable or late, 1 = worked turned in & critique has been posted.
Messaging keeps a record of anything everyone says. Emails go out, but the record remains in the classroom. So, when Johnny makes a promise, it's there for everyone to see.
If you need to substitute or replace an instructor, all that has happened is there to be seen. In a purely email course, you would have to find and forward immense numbers of messages.
With advanced uploading, any changed or additional files are all in one place. With email only, you may start working on an assignment only to discover 40 emails down that there's another version, or that a missing piece has been sent separately.
We find Moodle's main classroom page a blessing. Students start at the top and "fall" down the page till the course ends. We rarely get "what's my assignment? where do I find it?"
If you need to make changes to an assignment, you don't have to rely on an email to all your students actually arriving in all your students' in boxes. You make the change in one place where it can't be lost or vaporized.
So, why does my program have both an email and a Moodle format for one course? Because the email format doesn't use forums for workshops. Web-based work takes more time because of the social aspect.