Anonymous or blind marking is an important part of the assessment and feedback process. For a student it ensures work is marked fairly without bias. However, there is an equally valuable requirement for academics and support staff to be able to identify students who have yet to submit their assignment and may be in need of additional support.

In the paper-based past, this was a relatively easy task. Students submitted assignments with cover sheets which could be easily removed my administrators. Assignments were tracked and handed to academics for blind marking.

Online assessment technology such as Turnitin and the Moodle assignment match-up quite closely to the workflow of paper-based assessment but with a few extra tools to help academics. There is no longer a need for students to identify themselves within their assignments as we know who they are when they log into Moodle. In fact, by the letter of the law, a student can be penalised for adding their name to an assignment. In reality, though, some departments still require students to provide a cover sheet in their assignment which invalidates the the blind marking setting in their Moodle or Turnitin assignment. My guess at the motivation for identifying students would be one of trying to help students and make ensure they don’t miss their deadlines. I’d be genuinely interested to hear the reasons for the need for cover sheets in the comments below.

What if there was a way for all the assessment stakeholders to get what they need and still preserve anonymity? Well luckily there now is a way to do this in Moodle.

On each UoP Moodle unit you will find a new report under Course Administration > Reports > Course Submissions.

When an assignment is live, course administrators and Online Course Developers can see a submission status, Turnitin paper id (or Moodle participant number), provisional grade and identifying information for each student in a cohort or group. This is all the information they will need to keep an eye on the process and transfer grading information to student records later on. With a bit of extra magic lecturers get to see a subset of this information including the identifying student information and a submission status even when an assignment is anonymised. For academics there is no link between the submission status and a specific submission, this is released to the academic after the post date. Coupled with a release threshold, which prevents anyone guessing who’s who, the report attempts to keep everyone happy.

Here’s an idea of what the report looks like in practice.

Click image for full size version

In the near future we plan to allow staff to download the data from the course submissions report to a spreadsheet making it easier to transfer to student records.

I’d be interested to hear if this makes online assessment a little easier. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments box at the bottom of this page. If you find the report useful you may find the new assessment course format helps you out too. A short introduction video is available here:

“Anonymous” image courtesy of Luciano Castello CC: