Promoting Peer Assessment: Workshop
Setting The Scene
Improving the quality of assessment and feedback
mechanisms is of key interest to the University of Bath.
Therefore, this scenario demonstrates one of the
online assessment and feedback mechanisms
currently available to lecturers at the University of
The Moodle Workshop activity is a tool that facilitates
self and peer assessment, and which can encompass
a huge array of options. This activity allows
participants to assess each other's projects, as well as
exemplar projects, in a number of ways. It also
coordinates the collection and distribution of these Figure 1: The University of Bath Moodle homepage
assessments, before presenting the tutor with an
interface which allows them to view peer-assessment qualitative and quantitative data and if required, add their
comments and marks.
The following hypothetical scenario highlights some of the key features of the Moodle Workshop activity and
suggests ways in which it may enhance or complement existing assessment and feedback mechanisms.
Stage 1: Workshop Task Inception
a. Using a traditional approach
At the beginning of semester 1, students must write a short project proposal – no more than five A4 pages in
length – which in previous years’ has been formatively assessed by the unit tutor. However with large numbers of
project proposals to mark, it often take a number of weeks before students receive any feedback on the
proposals. Understandably, this can become a source of frustration for students.
b. Thinking of an alternative approach
For this academic year, the unit tutor will be taking a different approach. Rather than submitting hard copies of
project proposals to the departmental office, students will submit work using the Workshop activity feature within
the Moodle course for this unit. Students will be given a deadline after which time they will be unable to submit
Once the assessment period has begun, students will anonymously peer assess three
project proposals, giving and submitting comments under three given criteria. After the
assessment period has finished, the unit tutor will read through the peer-assessment
comments, giving overall feedback both on the News Forum within the Moodle course for
this unit as well as during a lecture.
Using this assessment and feedback mechanism, students will receive more rapid
feedback on their project proposals than in previous years from both their peers and the
Furthermore, with more people commenting on work therefore a likely increase in
feedback, the overall quality of project submissions at the end of semester 2 will improve
through students having a clearer understanding of marking criteria and project
Figure 2: Adding an activity
Stage 2: Creating The Workshop Activity
For the unit tutor, creating the workshop is arguably the most important stage in the five-stage framework. It is
important to decide upon and note the following five key details before attempting to create the workshop activity
Submission Title Whilst “The Unit Workshop” may seem like a good idea initially, it may
not be the only workshop the lecturer ever creates within this Moodle
unit. “The Project Proposal Workshop” is likely to be more appropriate.
Grading There are two options to think about here:
• Grade for Assessments: This is the maximum grade given to the
assessments made by students of their own and/or other work.
• Grade of the Submissions: This value determines the maximum grade
which can be awarded to a submission.
Allowing Resubmission To encourage an increased level of self reflection, it is suggested to
allow students to resubmit work, given that the deadline for submissions
has not passed.
Number of This is a useful tool allowing students not only to see the criteria for
Assessment Examples marking, but also how a specimen piece of work is assessed. The unit
for the Teacher tutor has opted to set this to zero.
Start/End of Submission It is recommended that the submission period and assessment period
Period do not overlap. Students will be unable to submit work once the
submission period has ended. Once the assessment period begins,
Start/End of students will be allocated a number of assignments [three as set by the
Assessment Period unit tutor] for peer assessment.
As the table above illustrates, planning the workshop activity thoroughly is important. Whilst it is possible to amend
the workshop settings during the lifecycle of an activity, it is not recommended and users should proceed with
caution. Further settings such as workshop description and teacher/student mark weightings also need to be set at
this stage too. For the submission and assessment period, the unit tutor has stated the following details:
Start of Submissions Monday 4 December 2006 0900 hrs
End of Submissions Friday 8 December 2006 1700 hrs
Start of Assessment Saturday 9 December 2006 0900 hrs
End of Assessment Friday 15 December 2006 1530 hrs
Release of Grades Friday 15 December 2006 1700 hrs
Once these dates and times have been setup in the Moodle Workshop
settings, the various activities will begin and end accordingly without any
further intervention from the unit tutor.
Figure 3: An example of how the Workshop activity will be displayed in the Moodle course
Furthermore, these events will appear both in the “Upcoming Events” block
(figure 4) within the Moodle course for this unit as well as in the students’
personalised Moodle calendar.
Figure 4: The key workshop activity
dates displayed in the Upcoming
Events block for the Moodle course
Stage 3: Opening The Workshop
The workshop will open at 0900 hrs on Monday 4 December 2006 . From then until the end of submissions time,
students will be able to upload their assignments into the activity. So to aid the anonymising of the peer
assessment process, students are asked to name there proposals “Project_Proposal.doc”, rather than include
their own name in the filename. Furthermore, students are also asked to an short abstract detailing the focus of
their project proposal. The unit tutor receives an optional notification of each submission via email.
Project Proposal Workshop Now Open Students are able to log into Moodle
by Unit Tutor – Monday 4 December 2006, 09:02 AM off campus, to submit their project
proposals. The unit tutor posts a
message to the News Forum in
Moodle, which all students are
subscribed to, reminding them that
submissions are now due.
Some students will receive an email
of the post whilst others will prefer
to read this information through an
RSS feed reader.
Figure 5: A post on the course “News Forum”
Stage 4: Peer Assessment Activity
After the assessment period begins at 0900 hrs on Saturday 9 December 2006, students are now able to peer
assess assignments. When setting up the workshop activity, the unit tutor set these number of peer
assessments a students must perform to three. These must be done before the deadline passes. The unit
tutor has asked for students to assess each piece of work under three criteria, as shown in Figure 6 below.
When peer assessing work, a
student must leave a
comment along with a mark
out of 10. More specific
assessment criteria is
available to students for
download from the Moodle
The unit tutor uploaded this
assessment criteria document
when he setup the workshop,
but set the option to only
release this file for viewing
upon the assessment period
starting. This was to avoid
students having assessment
criteria to hand when
completing the assignment.
Figure 6: Setting assessment criteria in the Moodle Workshop activity
The unit tutor logs into Moodle and notes that several students are yet to complete their peer assessment
activity. Furthermore, after reading some of the peer assessment comments, he notes some students are
being overly critical of their peers’ work. Once again, he posts a message to the News Forum with some of
Stage 5: Closing The Workshop
[End of Activity]
The workshop closes automatically on Friday 15 December 2006 at 1530hrs. This allows a 90 minute period
during which time the unit tutor can read through selected peer assessment comments and leave specific
comments where appropriate. It also gives the unit tutor time to draft yet another News Forum post detailing the
general themes which have come out of the peer assessment activity such as the breadth of topics being
researched and the thoroughness of thinking in the majority of proposal. To those students whose project
proposals require additional work, the unit tutor has suggested some remedial work before resubmission of work
using the Assignment activity in Moodle.
Peer assessment grades and comments are released to students at 1700hrs, where they are able to see both
the quantative marks awarded by their peers as well as qualitative comments. Using a post-activity forum with
the Moodle course for the unit, students have been encouraged to post their thoughts on the exercise in an
attempt to promote and encourage the need for both self and group reflection.
Extending The Moodle Workshop Activity
During this short case study, we have aimed to give lecturers at the University of Bath an idea of the types of
opportunities available to them when using the Moodle Workshop activity. Inevitably, there are further features
within this activity which will allows lecturers to extend its potential usage.
• Reaching Agreement
If assessment agreement is being used, the unit tutor is able to hide the grades before agreement. Students (the
person "marking" and the person being "marked") will have to reach agreement on the comments only. Once
they have agreed the comments are fair, then the grade is revealed to the submitting student.
• Types of Assessment
There are multiple ways in which the facilities provided within the workshop activity can be utilised. Therefore, all
of self-, peer- and tutor-led assessment is possible within this activity.
• Saved Comments
Frequently used comments can be added to the assessment form so that there is no need to re-type them each
time they are required. These "stock" comments appear below the Feedback/Comment box. Clicking on the
comment adds that text to the Feedback box, as illustrated in Figure 7 below.
Figure 7: Assessment of a Project Proposal by the unit tutor
Contact the e-Learning Team
If this case study has been useful and you would like explore the usage of the Moodle Workshop activity within
your own teaching, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the e-Learning Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
18 December 2006
this case study was prepared by the e-Learning Team at the
Learning & Teaching Enhancement Office, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY
Tel: +44 (0) 1225 388388 | Email: email@example.com