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Using Moodle Workshops for peer and self-assessment

This article introduces the Moodle Workshop, a powerful tool for formative assessment, peer-feedback, and self-evaluation.

Many of us are either thinking it or have heard it mentioned before – formative feedback.

For those who aren’t familiar, formative feedback is any form of feedback given prior to an assessment which helps students refine their work and achieve their learning outcomes.

This doesn’t always have to be formal, and it doesn’t always have to come from a member of staff. In fact, formative assessments can be peer evaluations or self-guided, and one tool that makes this possible is the Moodle Workshop.

What is a Moodle Workshop

The Moodle Workshop is an advanced but powerful activity. It is essentially a type of assessment split into three stages:

  1. Submission: Students input or upload their work.
  2. Assessment: Students assess each other’s work using criteria provided by the tutor.
  3. Grading: The tutor gives students a combined assessment of their work and the quality of the feedback they provided others.

You can set-up a workshop to be graded. For example, you can set it up so that students receive 80% from their peers and 20% for the quality of the reviews they gave others, or you can set it up for comments only. That said, we recommend avoiding grades, especially if the goal is for students to get feedback on a draft of their work before submission. The same is true if it’s a self-assessment or if you’re using a Workshop as a space for students to get peer feedback on project or dissertation ideas.

When to use a Workshop

Simply put, Workshops let students give and receive feedback. They are an excellent way of ensuring students understand the course learning outcomes and are progressing towards their final assessment. For tutors, the key benefit is that they enable you to monitor your students’ progress without adding to your workload.

Here are some ways you might consider using a Workshop

  • Peer feedback on early drafts before a final, summative assessment.
  • Peer feedback on major project or research proposals.
  • Students answer questions on a reading or lecture then comment on each other’s ideas.
  • Students introduce themselves in an icebreaker activity and reply to 2-3 of their peers.
  • Students self-assess a draft of their work before submission to see if they are meeting the learning objectives.

How to set-up a Workshop

This video demonstrates how to prepare a Workshop, what settings to use, and how it works for both staff and students.

Also consider browsing Thom Kaczmarek’s presentation on using Workshop among other helpful Moodle activitiy types.

Tips for using a Workshop

  1. Provide clear assessment criteria with elements that students can easily identify in each other’s work.
  2. Ensure your activity instructions are clearly aligned with the assessment criteria.
  3. Demonstrate how to submit and provide feedback.
  4. Set clear rules and expectations around providing constructive feedback.
  5. Explain to your students that their feedback will also be assessed by you.
  6. Link the Workshop to a future assessment for example, as a draft submission.
  7. Include instructions on how to use a Workshop in the activity description.
  8. Remember to manually switch to the next stage when the previous stage is over.

Also, ensure students know they can contact The Digital Space for technical help.

If you’re thinking of trying a Workshop, consider contacting LCC Digital Learning Team for support.

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