Review: Ajax Marking Block for Moodle 2

The plugin that I am reviewing today is the practical timesaver for people marking submissions – the AJAX Marking Block.

Background

This block has been around since 2008. It is developed by Matt Gibson who has been migrating it work on Moodle 2. Although it currently works for Moodle 2 not all features are active yet.

What does it do?

Currently when a teacher wants to get a complete list of all work to be marked, there is no way to get a complete list of every submission without going into the courses. This block solves that issue. When you place this block on the front page, the teacher is then shown all of the unmarked work that has been submitted by students in their courses.

The list of submissions needing marking are broken down by course and expands to show the individual modules and student submissions. When you click on the course, it expands, and then you see the assignments that have submissions. When you click on the assignment it expands to show the list of names that have submitted. One nice feature is that when you click on a name it will bring you directly to the work to be marked in a pop-up window.

As this is a recent migration from 1.9, not every feature is enabled yet for the Moodle 2 version.

Currently the block supports the following submission types for Moodle 2:

  • Assignment
  • Forum (only if ratings are on)
  • Workshop
  • Quiz (essay questions only)

The Moodle 1.9 version also supported the Journal activity.

Is it simple to install?

It was straight forward to install. You can download the plugin directly from the plugin database or access it through Github where you can browse the source code too.

After downloading the zip, and unzipped it there was a folder called ajax_marking. I uploaded this into the moodle/blocks folder of my Moodle site.

When logging in as admin to the site I was prompted to upgrade to install the module. It installed and produced no errors. There was no new global settings created by the plugin.

 Is there documentation for it?

The Moodle Docs page provides an overview of the functionality and an update of what the difference is for the Moodle 2 version. and then details all the screens that a teacher or student can see, and explains the key features and settings. The README.txt in the zip provides an overview on the functionality.

Is it easy for the teacher/admin to use?

The block is very simple to use. Once added to the page, the teacher can just expand the courses that they want to look at and click on the name of the student they want to correct. The submission then appears in a pop-up.

One very helpful feature is that once you have graded the submission in the pop up, and clicked on submit it will close the pop up and auto-updated the listing in the block so that submission does not appear anymore to be marked. However, if you want to continue marking all the submissions you may prefer to go into that particular assignment using the grading interface without the pop up.

The Moodle 1.9 version has a feature not yet ported for Moodle 2 which enables configuring on a per assessment basis if you want to hide it, or have the groups show up in the expanding tree. I can’t wait for this to be working on Moodle 2 as well.

Is it easy for the learner/student to use?

This is not a block for students as the block requires you to have a teacher role on a course to see the submission listing.

Does it do what it promises?

Yes it does, or will when fully ported. I liked the Moodle 1.9 version, and it will be great when all the functionality is fully ported over to Moodle 2 so keep an eye on it. This is a simple time-saver and it is easy to use. If you are a teacher having to mark submissions across a number of courses, this is going to be a block you talk to your Moodle admin about.

Stars: 3 out of 5 stars for this activity.

**Standard Reminder**

These reviews check out the plugin for usability not for security. If you are considering installing any module on your site you should also check that is secure and does not impact the server performance.

 

Creative Commons Licence
This work by Gavin Henrick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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