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Juggle fewer files with Moodle’s online text

With the new online text feature in the assignment module,  you can juggle fewer files and save time.

This assignment feature allows students to complete composition work without having additional software installed on their computer, and it allows you to grade without ever leaving the LMS.

To see all the features of the assignment module visit:  http://docs.moodle.org/22/en/Assignment_module

Online text can simplify your life

Online text can simplify assignment gathering because  student writings are stored in Moodle like a webpage and instructors can read and provide feedback directly in Moodle.

Uses for online text

The online text assignment can be set up to allow learners to compose, revise and edit multiple times or enter a single response.  You can use this feature for:

  • Essays
  • Short answer questions
  • Responding to a short quiz
  • Reflection
  • Journals

Karl Sienerth, Chemistry Professor, discusses his use of the online text tool for student journals.

(The video is from Summer Tech-cation, a set of online courses designed for Elon faculty this summer. Learn more about Summer Tech-cation on E-Net.)

Allow resubmitting

It’s best to set it up for resubmitting because it allows:

  • students to click “Save changes” and return to the page to add/modify content
  • the iterative process to unfold naturally
  • students to resubmit assignments both before and after grading

Email alerts

If enabled, teachers receive email notification each time students add or update an assignment.

Comment inline

I really like this feature, if enabled the student submission is copied into the feedback comment field during grading.  You can suggest modifications and/or offer comments within the assignment by changing the color of the text and writing your thoughts.  By placing comments in parentheses/brackets and changing the color, you’ve created feedback in Moodle similar to the Microsoft Word track changes feature.  Regardless of how you provide comments, the original document is kept intact.

If inline comments are not enabled, then a separate comment area appears under the original submission.


Online text has limited formatting options. If page formatting is important to the assignment (like footnotes, page lengths, etc.) it would be better to use either “Upload a single file” or “Advanced uploading of files” for the assignment.

Image by Flickr user garryknight / Creative Commons licensed BY-SA 2.0

About the author

Cheri Crabb, PhD, Academic Technology Consultant with TLT, has a career in academia focused on instructional design and development using integrated electronic media systems for blended learning.

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