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Using Moodle by Jason Cole

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Chapter 6. Workshops

The workshop activity is the most complex tool currently available in Moodle. Workshops are designed so a student’s work can be submitted and offered for peer review within a structured framework. Workshops provide a process for both instructor and peer feedback on open-ended assignments, such as essays and research papers. There are easy-to-use interfaces for uploading assignments, performing self-assessments, and peer reviews of other students’ papers.

The key to the workshop is the scoring guide, which is a set of specific criteria for making judgments about the quality of a given work. Open-ended assessments are difficult to score reliably, unless there are very specific performance dimensions the reviewers should follow, such as the presence of a thesis and strong evidence supporting each point. For example, if a grader receives 15 student essays, she may review each one in turn. She will probably spend more time on the first few papers, carefully marking the grammar and structure of the essay. As the grader becomes fatigued, she may move to a more holistic scoring heuristic, deciding if an essay is “good” or “bad.” The level of feedback given to each student can vary depending on where they are in the pile.

Good scoring guides ask specific questions about the work being evaulated. Making a judgment about whether there is a clearly written thesis statement in an essay is a much easier task than deciding if an essay is “well written.” As you develop your workshop, ...

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