We just need something which notifies students that they have (non-digital) homework due.
Is there any 'assignment' activity plugin which results just a simple calendar notification?
We stopped using the default assignment plugin because:
If the student does not upload a file, the assignment notification never 'expires'.
In the 'course overview' the student always sees a 'you have assignments pending' message, even when they don't.
The list of past homeworks in the course overview also grows too long.
We hid the 'course overview' for this reason, so they could only see these assignments in the calendar.
But also then when viewing an assignment, there is a whole bunch of confusing information there...
The top is fine, except you have to look at the 'grading summary' section to see the due date.
The 'grading summary' section is confusing because it has stats for 'submitted' and 'needs grading', which is not relevant to us.
Likewise the 'submission status' section is also confusing, because it contains labels like 'no attempt'.
The worst is the label 'not graded', because the homework *is* usually graded.
The red 'assignment overdue' message is very misleading; the child may have done this homework, but their parent may think they haven't.
At the moment, we are just entering homework as a calendar event, but this is not ideal either; it would be great to have an 'entry' on the course page (like the default 'assignment' plugin provides), as a record of homework given and also so that notifications could be simply hidden and re-enabled when the course runs again next year. Using the calendar, the teachers will have to search in the calendar in the previous year for the correct homework, instead of it being handily listed on the course page.
The standard assignment plugin should suit your need just fine, as long as you're using a relatively recent version of Moodle. If you create an assignment, and untick all the submission options, it won't require that the students submit anything. It will still show in the calendar / upcoming events, and you can use it to provide information about the assignment (via the description); you can also grade it any way you can grade a regular assignment, and it'll show up in the gradebook. If you set a due date, the assignment will still appear in the upcoming events list for the entire day on which it's due, but the date/time will be greyed out once the specified time has passed. It should disappear completely from the upcoming events list the next day.
If you'd like it to disappear as soon as the due date/time is reached, make sure that your Moodle site has the "Enable conditional access" (or "Enable restricted access", depending on your Moodle version) setting enabled under "Site administration -> Advanced features", and you can add an "until" date restriction to the activity - click the "eye" icon so that it gets struck through, which will completely hide it from students (including in the upcoming events list and calendar) at the specified date/time. See the docs for more information. (These instructions assume at least Moodle 2.7 - if you're using an older version of Moodle, check the docs for the appropriate version.)
> as long as you're using a relatively recent version of Moodle
We're stuck on v2.5 for at least the next year. Sorry, forgot to mention that.
> The standard assignment plugin should suit your need just fine
As explained, we have children's parents (who do not speak English well) looking at these notifications to try to work out what the homework is that the children haven't written in their diaries correctly, and the assignment page is too cluttered and confusing for them. I'm talking about this page, when you view an assignment:
All we need is the very top part (although it would be nice to get the date due up there too).
> but the date/time will be greyed out once the specified time has passed
Nope. It stays active, and every assignment shows the children a message that they have outstanding assignments pending. The teacher has to go into the course and manually hide the assignment. With up to 10 homework assignments to juggle each week, it is too much for them to remember to switch off the assignments manually. They need to be able to set-and-forget. Besides, some children may be absent for a week or two, so it is necessary that they are able to look at a few old notifications.
The calendar events sent to specific course 'groups' are actually almost perfect in the way the homework notification is set and displayed. Except it would be great to also have the homework note as a course activity like the assignment module. Also, there's a bug in that if you edit a calendar entry, you cannot change the group it was set for. Hence I'm wondering if there is an activity module for simply giving notifications?
I've just tried it out on 2.5, and had very similar results to my earlier post. It looks as though you may not be unticking all of the submission options - make sure you untick the circled boxes (and any others, if you have additional submission plugins installed) on the assignment settings:
It should then appear like this to students:
Hopefully the information there is easy enough for your students and their parents to understand; if the parents are seeing the "grading summary" information, you should check which role they have been assigned and make sure that they are not a teacher (or non-editing teacher) in the course - otherwise they'd be able to grade their own children's work, which you probably don't want! If they have a role other than those, check that role's permissions to ensure that they don't have permission to grade.
On the due date, after the time that it's due, the upcoming events block looks like this:
and as of the following day, it'll look like this (other assignments notwithstanding):
Thanks so much for going out of your way to test this for me. I can't believe how helpful some people are on this forum!
I went back and played with the assignment module some more.
I did get some mileage by hiding the submission and feedback elements of the plugin, making it easier for the teachers to input assignments.
It's still not as simple as inputting a calendar event though.
I was also lazy when I posted my earlier screenshot by not logging in as a student first - of course, they don't see the 'grading' section.
A couple of things still put me off using this plugin though:
· The message 'grading status: not graded' is still qute confusing/misleading.
· We can't use the 'course overview' block because of the permanent 'assignment pending' messages.
(Actually I can't test this further because I previously hid that block, and now it won't display again for authenticated users!)
But you've certainly given me pause for thought. It definitely would be very useful for the teachers to have a list of assignments in a topic area when they want to re-use or update them, rather than have to go searching through the calendar. I need to think about whether that is worth the slightly more cumbersome, confusing aspects of the assignment plugin though.