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Workshop for Peer Reviews

Why Use This

Workshop is a powerful peer (and self) assessment activity. Students submit their own work, either files or online text, and then receive a number of submissions from other students which they must assess according to the instructor’s specifications. If enabled, they may also assess their own work. The instructor can decide whether to show or hide the identities of the reviewers. Students are given two grades in the gradebook: a grade for the student's own submission and a grade for the quality of their assessments.

The instructor can provide example submissions for students to practice assessing at the beginning of the Workshop, and can choose to publish specific student submissions to highlight student work at the end of the Workshop.


Workshop has five phases. The instructor controls the switch from one phase to the next, and can move forward or back between phases.

After the initial Workshop setup screen, you will see the phases screen. The current phase will be highlighted green. Clicking on the “Switch to the…” link underneath the phase name will move the Workshop into that phase.

workshop phases

  • Phase 1: Set up - Instructor sets up the Workshop and creates the assessment form.
  • Phase 2: Submissions - Students submit their work. The instructor sets how the submissions will be allocated.
  • Phase 3: Assessment - Students assess their assigned submissions.
  • Phase 4: Grading evaluation - Instructor reviews submissions and assessments, provides feedback, and can override grades
  • Phase 5: Closed - Students can now see their grades and the feedback provided for their submission.

Setting Up Your Workshop

  1. In the section/module where you want your workshop, scroll to the bottom and click on the Create Learning Activity link.

 create learning activity link

  1. In the pop-up window choose Workshop.

 workshop activity on create activity pop-up window

  1. Give it a name and a description.

 workshop name and description

  1. Set the Grading Strategy:

 choose grading strategy

  • Accumulative grading: comments and a grade are given regarding specified aspects
  • Comments: comments, but no grade, are given regarding specific aspects
  • Number of errors: comments and a yes/no assessment are given regarding specified assertions
  • Rubric: a level assessment is given regarding specified criteria.
  1. Set the Grade for the submission. If you use categories in your gradebook, set the appropriate category.

 grade for submission

  1. Set the Grade for the assessment (reviews). If you use categories in your gradebook, set the appropriate category.

 grade for assessment

  1. Submission settings:

 submission settings section

  • Enter any instructions for submission for students
  • Choose whether students are submitting online text or file attachments
  • If allowing file attachments, set the maximum number of submission attachments
  • Select whether or not to allow submissions after the deadline
  1. Assessment settings:

 assessment settings

  • Enter any instructions for assessment for students
  • Choose whether or not students may assess their own work
  1. Feedback:

 feedback section

  • Overall feedback mode: if enabled there will be an overall feedback text box at the bottom of the assessment form where the reviewer can enter overall feedback. Choose whether enabled and required, enabled and optional, or disabled.
  • If you want reviewers to be uploading feedback attachments, set the maximum number of feedback attachments.
  • Conclusion: Enter a message you would like displayed to students when the workshop has closed.
  1. Example Submissions:

 example submissions section

  • You can provide sample submissions to provide students practice in assessing. If you will not be providing examples, uncheck the box. If you will provide examples, check the box and then choose the mode of examples assessment (voluntary, required before submission, or required before assessment).
  1. Availability:

 availability section

  • Set when the workshop is open for submissions, and when submissions are due. If you want the system to automatically move from the submission phase to the assessment phase, check the box for “Switch to the next phase after the submissions deadline.” Then, set when the submissions are available for assessment, and when assessments are due.
  1. Common Module Settings:

 common module settings section

  • Group Mode: Choose Visible Groups if you want submissions distributed between members of different groups (each group member must submit). Choose Separate Groups if you want submissions distributed between members of the same group.
  1. Restrict Access: Optional: see the faculty help guide on Restrict Access for more information.
  2. Activity Completion: Optional: see the faculty help guide on Activity Completion for more information.
  3. When finished, scroll up and on the left click “Save and display.”

 save and display button


Workshop Phases

Once saved, you will see the Workshop displayed like this:

workshop phases

Setup phase

  • Click Edit assessment form to provide detailed grading criteria for your students to use. See the section Edit Assessment Form section below for more information.
  • When finished, all checkmarks on the Setup phase should be green.
  • You are then ready to switch to the Submission phase, which lets students submit their work when it opens for submissions. Under Submission Phase, click “Switch to the submission phase.” The Workshop must be manually moved to the Submission phase in order for students to submit, it will not automatically move on its own. Don't worry about moving to this phase too soon, submissions will not be accepted until the date and time it is open for submissions.

Submission phase

  • Students will now be able to submit their work until the deadline you specified in the settings (unless you allowed late submissions).
  • Click the link Allocate submissions to decide how to allocate submissions, and what to do with students who did not submit. See the section Allocate Submissions below for more information.
  • During this phase you can see how many students have submitted and how many still need to submit.
  • If you set in the Availability settings of the Workshop to switch automatically from the submission phase to the assessment phase, you do not need to do anything else. If you did not, when ready to move to the next phase click “Switch to the assessment phase” link underneath Assessment Phase. This phase will be highlighted.

Assessment phase

  • Students will now be able to assess the work of their peers according to the instructions and form you provided for them.
  • You can monitor their progress by looking at the grades underneath the phases screen.
  • When you are ready, under Grading Evaluation phase click the “Switch to the evaluation phase” link. This phase will be highlighted. The Workshop will not move to this phase automatically, you must click the link.

Grading evaluation phase

  • Here, the system calculates the final grades for each student for their submission and for their assessments. The Moodle help page Workshop Grading gives more information on how the grades are determined.
  • For the grade for assessment, you can decide how strict you want the comparison to be. If you are not sure, leave it as the default 'fair'.
  • You can recalculate the grades several times.
  • You can change grades here if you need to.
  • Publish submissions: You can publish specific student submissions to highlight student work to the whole class. Click on a submission in the workshop grades report and scroll down to 'Feedback for the author'. Check the box to publish this submission. Students will see it once the workshop is closed.

Closed phase

When you are satisfied with the grading, click “Close workshop” link underneath Closed. The Closed phase will then be highlighted and students will then be able to see their grades, any published submissions, and a conclusion (if you added one). The Workshop will not automatically move to this phase, you must click the link.


Edit Assessment Form

Accumulative grading form:

 accumulative grading form

  1. Enter the description for the first aspect to be assessed.
  2. Set the maximum grade for this aspect.
  3. Set the weight for this aspect.
  4. Repeat 1-3 for all desired aspects. If more than 3 aspects, click the button “Blanks for 2 more aspects” to add more.
  5. When finished, click Save and close.

Comments form:

 comments grading form

  1. Enter the description for the first aspect to be assessed.
  2. Repeat for all desired aspects. If more than 3 aspects, click the button “Blanks for 2 more aspects” to add more.
  3. When finished, click Save and close.

Number of errors form:

 number of errors form

  1. Enter the first assertion. An assertion is a statement or question that can be answered by the reviewer as either passed or failed. For example “Has less than three spelling errors,” or “Meets length requirements,” etc.
  2. Enter the Word for the Error and the Word for the Success. For example, No/Yes, Present/Missing, Good/Poor, etc.
  3. Enter the weight for this assertion.
  4. Repeat 1-3 for all desired assertions. If more than 3 assertions, click the button for “Blanks for 2 more assertions” to add more.
  5. Click “save and continue editing” to see the filled-out Grade Mapping Table. This will show, based on the weight of the assertions, the grade for the submission based on the number of errors. Make any desired changes.
  6. When finished, click Save and close.

Rubric form:

 rubrics form

  1. Enter the description for the first criterion.
  2. Set the level grade and definition for each level.
  3. Repeat 1-2 for each criterion. If more than 3 criterion, click the button for “Blanks for 2 more criteria” to add more.
  4. Choose the rubric layout.
  5. When finished, click Save and close.


Allocate Submissions

There are three ways to allocate submissions:

  • Manuel allocation: you manually assign reviewers and reviewees.
  • Random allocation: the system will randomly assign reviewers based on set options.
  • Scheduled allocation: The system will automatically allocate (randomly) the submissions to be assessed once the deadline for submissions has been reached.

Anonymous Reviews

If you want the reviewers to remain anonymous, you will need to edit the Workshop permissions.

  1. While viewing the Workshop, click the gear icon in the upper right to open Workshop Administration. Then, click on Permissions.

 permissions link under Workshop Admin

  1. Scroll down to Activity: Workshop and for the setting “View author names” click the trashcan to the right of Student and Student With Access to Hidden Course.

 view author names setting

  1. Scroll to the very bottom and click the link “Back to Workshop…”

 back to workshop link