Moodle: Create and manage assignments

Moodle's Assignment activity allows students to submit work individually or as a group for grading. Instructors can also create "offline" assignments to add due dates for activities that don't require electronic submission to a Moodle site and/or add them to the gradebook.  

Before you start, you may need access to the following:

  • an Instructor of record or Other editing teacher role in a Bryn Mawr Moodle course

Why use the Assignment activity

  • You want to receive papers or problem sets electronically. Moodle is more secure and private than e-mail, is available to all students, collects all files into a single place, and time-stamps submissions. You can download all submissions for an Assignment at once for printing and/or electronic annotation.
  • You want to grade blindly. The Moodle "blind grading" option identifies submissions with codes and only reveals students’ names after you’ve assigned grades. (Note: if students are uploading files, you will need also to warn them NOT to include their name in the filename or on the pages of the file.)
  • You want to create an item with a due date, grade and/or completion tracking. You can also create Assignment activities for “offline” assignments, such as attending a colloquium, so that you and your students can track completion and any points awarded. Create the Assignment as you would normally, but uncheck all of the Submission options. 

Create an assignment

  1. Toggle Edit mode on.
  2. Go to the section where you want to place the activity and click +Add an activity or resource.
  3. Click Assignment
  1. Type in an Assignment name.
  2. Add a Description that students will see when they open the assignment.
    • If your instructions are short, you can type them in the text editor.
    • If your instructions are long and/or you want students to print them out, upload an assignment sheet under Additional files, and use this space to direct students to it.
    • See Guidelines for Electronic File Submission, below, for recommendations on things to include in instructions for this type of assignment.
  1. Under Availability, check Enable next to the following and set the date and time to specify:
    • Allow submissions from — the earliest date/time a student can submit
    • Due date — the date/time after which submissions will be marked as late
    • Cut-off date — the date/time Moodle stops accepting submissions (not visible to students).
  2. Under Submission Type
    • Check Online text if you want students to submit work by entering text in a text box
    • Check File submissions if you want students to submit work by uploading a file
    • Uncheck both if you do not need students to submit electronically for this assignment. 

Note:  Many Students come from K-12 schools that used a GoogleDrive type workflow, where they shared links to online files with teachers, rather than emailing copies or handing in printouts. If you don’t want links, uncheck Online text and explain this to students in your instructions.

  1. The remaining settings, including Grade, are optional and are shown collapsed by default. Expand them to adjust as needed. Please refer to the inline Moodle documentation (click the question mark icons) for more information 
  2. Click Save when you are finished.

Tips for electronic file submission assignments

If you want students to submit files to you electronically, here is the info you can include in the assignment instructions to make the process go more smoothly:

  • Preferred file format. If you need files to be in a certain format (e.g., Word docx or PDF) for your grading workflow, be sure to tell students this. Students who shared links to online documents with teachers and classmates in high school, may not be very familiar with the concept of a “file format,” but all document-editing tools, including online-only ones like GoogleDocs, can save documents in Word (doc/docx), PDF and .rtf formats. Students can search their program’s help docs or LinkedIn Learning for step-by-step instructions. PDFs generally preserve formatting best across different platforms.

  • Preferred file naming conventions. Anyone who is sharing files should consider whether their filenames make sense for recipients. “Paper1.pdf” may make sense to students, but having 40 files in your Download folder with that name won’t help you. Tell your students what info to include (i.e., course number, their last name) in the filename to make it easier for you to identify files. If you’re grading blind, tell them what info NOT to include. Hint: avoid accents and special characters, as some file systems don’t accept them.

  • Header/footer information. What should students include or not include in page headers or footers? If you plan to print submissions, page numbers, and last names might be essential, but if you are grading blind, you may not want names visible anywhere. If students need instructions on how to add page numbers and/or edit headers and footers in a document they can search their program’s help docs or LinkedIn Learning.

  • Citation conventions. Do you want students to use footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations? Is there a particular style guide (MLA, APA, etc.) they should follow? Should URLs in citations be hyperlinks you can follow? Should they be spelled out in visible text? (For example, papers published online often adopt the accessibility best practice of making the title of a work in a bibliography a link and letting viewers hover over or click on the link to see the URL, but if you plan to print the files, you may need the full URL to be visible.)

Note: If you use Microsoft’s Track Changes to annotate student work while grading, please note that it is only available in the full desktop version of Word (rather than Word online). All students can access this version on public lab computers, and Bryn Mawr students can download it to their personal devices through their Office365 accounts.If you want to ensure students can view the Track Changes mark-up anywhere, you can export the Word doc as a PDF with the mark-up showing.

Assignment FAQs

Can students submit group work through a Moodle Assignment?

How do I grade blindly in Moodle?

How do I download all files submitted for an Assignment at once?

How do I give students an extension or make exceptions to a deadline?


If you have any additional questions or problems, don't hesitate to reach out to the Help Desk!

Phone: 610-526-7440 | Library and Help Desk hours
Email: help@brynmawr.eduService catalog
Location: Canaday Library 1st floor