Have You Checked Out The New Moodle Grading UX Prototype?

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Earlier this month, Damyon Wiese, posted about HQ starting the development of a new grading interface in the forums. He also posted a link to the specification doc that contains mock ups of the new design.

Check out the initial design below:

I think this is very timely as the grading interface is one of the aspects of Moodle that is being cited as a main reason for schools switching to, or initially choosing, Canvas. Take, for example, the headline of this article about Santa Barbara City College’s decision to move to Canvas. (Although, fair, it is also important to note that California will be paying for the new system and one has to wonder why those same funds were not used for continued Moodle evolution.)

As pointed out by Martin Dougiamas in the same forum, however, most manual grading happens in the Assignment block, and as such, it is important to improve the grading interface and flow there as well.

The question remains, however, whether or not there will be substantial user – and by that I mean in-the-trenches student and teacher – input into this most critical aspect of the LMS. This is your opportunity, Moodlers, to get in the game and actually suggest changes that will make the LMS everyone’s killer app.

What are your suggested improvements to the gradebook or grading in the Assignments block? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

11 Responses

  1. This should include the ability for students to grade each other’s work (peer review). Essentially giving students the same tools (rubric, marking guide) the instructor has. This could be relatively simple or extremely complex functionality. But it should be included.

  2. @disqus_K0qNCBuDlF:disqus – Thanks for the thought! I think this is a great suggestion and I’m going to post this in the appropriate forum over at so it is in the mix.

  3. Scott, for peer to peer grading I think we’d need it in the Workshop plugin.

    Or you can adjust roles in courses/assignment level to allow peer grading as well.

  4. If you review the specification this is something that is lacking. The spec only talks about assignment grading. The redesign of the interface should centralize the grading process for all activities not just enhance how I grade assignments. if it is limited to just assignments then users have to learn a different grading interface for quiz or workshop or forums.

  5. You actually wonder why the *state* of California chose not to direct funds to Moodle development? It’s because Canvas’s grading ecosystem (both the gradebook functionality and actual grading interface) is VASTLY superior to Moodle’s and covers all of its activity types; moreover, it’s been in place for years and is rock-solid. So I think if you’re CA, you want to go with a sure thing, rather than the promise of potential half-measures. In fact, this mockup looks nearly identical to Canvas’s interface. I concur with some other posters that unless this is a comprehensive grading interface that accounts for all activity types *and* includes a vastly superior gradebook view for both instructors and learners, this may only serve to confuse users. That is, I would not be in favor of a nifty interface for simply the Assignment activity. If effort is going to be made, then it should be for a modern and comprehensive grading ecosystem, such as Canvas has had for many, many years.

  6. This kind of division of functionality is exactly what Jason Hardin is talking about above. One should not need to be limited to the Workshop module to allow peer-to-peer (or self) grading. I realize you can adjust roles in the assignment to allow peer grading, but this is a cumbersome process not well understood by most instructors.

  7. I’m not against expanding functionality, but the assignment grader is a much needed improvement now. It’s one of the main features that is held up as a reason why Canvas is superior to Moodle (which I don’t believe is true).

    Refactoring of other assignments to utilize this feature, and to allow p2p or self grading in all assignments is definitely something that I’m hope will be explored in the future.

  8. Thanks for the thoughts, Jason. Beyond this stream of functionality, I think the bigger picture shows that schools are very much leaning on their LMS to either boost or underscore their value proposition in response to the student body’s expectation for operating online, etc.

    If you’re a current, or recent, Moodle user, what specific ways would you create a holistic grading overhaul?

  9. Yes, I am a current Moodle user, and indeed I’m the functional Moodle manager for my university. And in my experience, the largest general complaint about Moodle is its gradebook ecosystem. Everything from configuring it, to entering/editing grades, to displaying grades. All of it feels inferior and dated compared to Canvas or even – shudder to think – Blackboard. I completely understand that much of Moodle’s design philosophy is built on the idea of a lightweight, extensible open-source platform, but in my experience most users struggle to use the base gradebook effectively, much less to any advanced degree. A good portion of my time is spent working with faculty on gradebook questions.

    Anyway, you ask what could be done for a holistic grading overhaul? You’d have to scrap the existing system. Entirely. And then what should result, I dare say, is something close to Canvas’s current system, which again incidentally is nearly identical to the mockup presented in the article above. This is of course a hugely complex conversation, one I know that many rather smart people have spent collectively thousands (or more) hours on. But it can be done well, or at least much better, as Moodle’s competition exhibits. In general I love Moodle, for many reasons, but its gradebook and grading system really need to improve, and quickly, or I fear that attrition to other offerings will only speed up.

  10. While I do not teach now, I have in the past and I currently help faculty at a college where I have seen the grading problems. Here are the three things I must be able to do to grade, and right now I have to go to three places to do this.
    1. Grade writing submitted electronically – It looks like the interface you have planned allows me to do this part more easily. It will not be useful if it takes too long to load. I need to be able to quickly move between submissions
    2. bulk fill empty scores – having graded the submissions, I now need to go to the screen that allows me to edit all the scores. There I can bulk fill, but it overrides the grades, which it should not do. All I want is that it is a zero. If I allow students to turn things in late, I want the zero there but they can still submit and I can grade it easily (#1) and change the grade. Right now I would need to do that in two places.
    3. jump around the gradebook to fill in miscellaneous late scores. Let’s pretend that these are not moodle activities but graded items so I have a collection of scores to enter. The most efficient way to do this is to go to the standard gradebook view, turn on editing and scroll around adding scores as needed. The problem is that if I have a large gradebook with 200 students, it takes forever for this to load and save. And of course this is also an override which makes it hard to grade late assessments.

    I want to be able to do all of this from one interface. The interface above doesn’t cut it unless it is one part of a larger system.

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