I work at school that manages its students' grades and assignments with Moodle. I can't fix that, but in the meantime I am moving everything I can to another system.
A significant amount of the time I spend managing my courses is lost to bad design. It's very close to the feeling being in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Every single little thing I want to do in Moodle is held up by page load after page load. Putting a simple gradebook together of assignments and exam can take about 15 minutes... or 30 seconds on any basic spreadsheet software.
Waiting for the page to load after adding each individual homework assignment bad enough. After they add a second screen with a progress bar for "recalculating grades", I felt like they were mocking me. It takes less time to wait for that to finish than it does for a page to load, and you just pointlessly gave me another!
It blows my mind that editing is not on by default for teachers. Just... why?? What possible use could I have for turning editing off? It's just one more button to track down, and wait for another page refresh every. single. time.
Once I can edit, I cannot copy and paste columns of scores into the gradebook. I cannot edit the total number of points of the assignment without trekking into another three screens of waiting.
Adding assignments into the schedule just isn't worth it. Most of my classes have assignments that are difficult to write except by hand on paper, and I'm not going to ask everyone to scan everything. If I can do it online, I do it through WebWork, which is better in basically every way. Of course, the one time I did start putting the assignments into Moodle, all my students were told that every one of them was due on week 1, because apparently, the week in which you create the assignment has nothing at all do with when it's due!
I just went into my gradebook setup to change the maximum number of points of an homework packet. Surprise! It's connected with a Moodle assignment, so I can't do that there. I have to dig for three more screens to fix it. Did I mention that this is one assignment of five that I have to change?
Today, my "turn editing on" button started throwing me to a different part of the site entirely. I have no idea why, but nobody is going to be able to see their latest grades for a while, I guess.
This is a significant downgrade from 2010, when my classes were doing the whole thing on Google Docs. If I weren't tried to this site by the rest of the school, I would drop it like a rock and never look back.
It's sad that you are giving up. I've used Moodle since 2005, back when things were really slow and confusing. And even then, it wasn't that bad (substantially better than what we had before). You're right, you can't cut and paste to the grade book. But you can upload grades with a csv file, which is a better way anyway, because it would reduce error potential. And yes, when you manually add grades, you have to save BEFORE you move to the next page.
And if your site is so slow that page loads take that long, you need to talk to your tech support about performance. That's not normal. My site is very fast. At my old job, we were running 2.8 and had 18,000 student accounts with over 10,000 courses (five years of archive) and we rarely had any slowness at all and we had a crap ton of resource hogging sql reports running all. the. time.
As for assignment...when you built the module it asked you what date you wanted it due on. If you didn't tell it the right date, you can't expect it to show the right due date. It kind of sounds like your rushing is undermining your production. Look at activity settings, don't assume.
I frequently yell at my computer for doing what I told it, not what I wanted...of course, it did what I told it! Figure out what you actually want and ask it for that.
It saddens me to see you're so disappointed with the Moodle instance your school is using. Some of the issues you address probably have to do with:
- the version of Moodle may be outdated ==> a lot of work has been done on making Moodle more user friendly
- the server your Moodle is running on may not be adequately configured ==> Moodle is more than just your day-to-day CMS and runs quite a few heavy duty background processes, which may require more than the server has to offer
- Moodle focuses on Learning management and is not a dynamic online collaborative workspace ==> It's less dynamic than Google Docs, but what it lacks in this, it more than makes up for in tools for creating and managing engaging learning experiences
Having considered the technical part of the issues, the next bit has to do with having a good instructional design for your course and knowing which resources/activities can be used for which parts of what you're teaching.
Also, it pays to have a good course format (grid, topics, weeks, ...) to have a nice visualisation of the course contents.
To conclude: properly setting up and managing a Moodle instance requires serious skills. Your school may benefit from contacting a Moodle implementation specialist to improve performance and make Moodle meet your organisation's requirements. It may pay to contact a Moodle Partner near where you're based.
I truly believe that you speak from experience. But what disappoint me is the fact that you have not reported your problems earlier. You joined moodle.org only to tell your sad story - just 12 hours prior to your post.
Another observation: You said, "I work at school that manages its students' grades and assignments with Moodle." Did I hear right, the school uses Moodle _only_ as a management tool for students' grades? Impossible may it sound, I have seen a University which does exactly that: 90% of their courses are just shells until the final week of the semester, when the lecturers start transferring the grades from their Excel sheets to Moodle.
Taking about the grade book, I remember threads complaining of its slowness. From memory the problematic table had 9000 rows and how many columns I don't know! And this quote, "Every single little thing I want to do in Moodle is held up by page load after page load. Putting a simple gradebook together of assignments and exam can take about 15 minutes... or 30 seconds on any basic spreadsheet software." shows that you do not understand how "spreadsheet" calculations are done in an Apache server through PHP! Call yourself lucky that the connection didn't timeout.
I fully believe you that further GUIs like the progress bar didn't help. But it was beyond help, for sure.