Along the lines of the Essay writing in Moodle tip, I thought it might be useful for us to collate the different ways in which students can create a document collaboratively using standard Moodle features. If you have more efficient ways in your organisation, please add them.
Working together in a wiki activity is what I imagine many people would first suggest. See Wiki.
- It's standard Moodle.
- Clicking on the History tab allows you to see all changes and revert them if needed:
- Students may add comments as well as editing the wiki directly.
- Unless your students only edit a single page, they will need to understand wiki editing which is not intuitive.
- Editing is problematic with a large number of people working on the wiki at the same time.
- You can't grade a wiki (although you can add a grade item and manually grade in the gradebook.)
Group assignment with online text:
Since Moodle 2.4, it's been possible to set up assignments so that students can work together and present a final piece of work as a collaborative effort. See Assignment settings
- With the online text option it is easy for students to click and edit the document.
- You can force all students to submit, ensuring everyone in the group pulls their weight and each member sees who has not yet done their "bit".
- You can grade them as a group or individually according to how you feel they contributed:
- Setting up a group assignment, and getting the settings right so it works as you wish, is a bit tricky.
- (As far as I can see) there is no easy way to see who has added or changed what in the submission, if you need to know this.
Linking to an online doc:
Strictly speaking this is not making use of standard Moodle but I am including it as it is a popular option. The link could be added as a simple URL.
- If Google docs or Word online are used, students are able to collaborate with tools and formatting they are comfortable with.
- The documents save automatically and seem to work well with a number of people editing simultaneously.
- You've gone outside of Moodle and have to set up a separate item beforehand.
- If the link is available for anyone to edit, there is no history of who did what. If they are required to log in to be seen, an extra step is required (although this might be fine if your organisation is connected to Google or Office 365; I'm not sure.)
- It's not automatically connected to the gradebook, although, as with the wiki, you can set up a grade item and grade manually.
I have seen Moodlers saying they give teacher rights to students to edit a book collaboratively. This is not to be recommended for security reasons. The capability to edit book chapters is intended strictly for trusted users. However, there must be other ways I've missed - what are they?