Using Assignments in OWL
The Assignments tool in OWL allows your students to directly submit their work to you within the OWL environment. The assignments can then be easily accessed and graded by you via your OWL Assignment Dropbox. The following guide will cover:
- Creating an assignment in OWL
- How students submit an assignment
- Accessing the submitted assignments through the OWL Assignment Dropbox
There are two ways you can create an Assignment in OWL. First, make sure you are under the BUILD tab, and then select ASSIGNMENTS from the left-hand navigation bar or click on ADD CONTENT LINK from the top of the main page and then select ASSIGNMENTS.
Accessing the Assignments Tool via the left-hand navigation bar will take you to the OWL Assignments inventory page that displays a list of all previously created assignments. Similarly, when you click on ASSIGNMENTS from the Add Content Link menu, your Assignments inventory is also displayed.
To create a new assignment click on CREATE ASSIGNMENT. The Assignment parameters page will appear. Enter a title for your Assignment. In the Instructions field you can either type out your instructions including HTML formatting, or if you’re less inclined to code HTML you can click on the ENABLE HTML CREATOR button on top the right-hand side. Clicking this button changes the plain Instructions field into a text area with tools similar to a word processing program. Using the formatting tools provided by the HTML creator you can enter the instructions for your Assignment.
If you already have your Assignment instructions in another file, or wish to attach additional files, you can click on ADD ATTACHMENT below the Instructions field. A window will then appear and allow you to browse to the file you wish to attach. Once you have selected the file you would like to use, click OK. The file name will then appear below the Add Attachments button.
The Assignment’s visibility (found under the Description field) is automatically set to hidden until you assign recipients to the Assignment (those who will see the Assignment). To assign the recipients scroll down to Assignment Recipients. You can assign the Assignment to all students, or groups of students.
Note: If you choose to assign the Assignment to groups of students, only one student will be able to submit a single copy of the group Assignment. If you want each student in a particular group to submit their own individual Assignment, assign the Assignment to ALL STUDENTS INDIVIDUALLY and use Selective Release to assign the Assignment to specific groups.
After you have chosen your recipients, Item Visibility will automatically change to Show Item and the Assignment will be visible to your students. Below Item Visibility you can also choose the submission format. There are two options: Text and Web Site. Use the Web Site option if the submissions will contain several linked files. Text is used for essays and papers, and is the most common submission format.
Under the Dates heading you can set the Due Date and the Cutoff Date. Submissions will still be accepted after the Due Date but marked late, while Submissions will no longer be accepted after the Cutoff date. You can also choose to create a Calendar entry with the due date of your Assignment.
Under Grading you can automatically create a Grade Book column for the Assignment by allowing the Assignment to be graded. You can then choose how you would like it to be graded, as well as whether or not the grades should be automatically released to the student.
Choosing to use a Grading Form allows you to attach a previously created Grading Form to your Assignment by clicking on Select Grading Form (see our manualette on using Grading Forms in OWL).
You can also associate goals with your assignments by choosing Select Goals. Goals provide your students with an idea of what they are required to achieve with the Assignment.
Clicking on the DOWNWARD ARROWS beside More Options reveals additional Assignment parameters. Here you can set whether or not your students can take back and re-submit an Assignment. This is useful if a student accidentally submits the wrong, or unfinished document and needs to re-submit before the deadline. You can also set the publishing options. You can choose to allow only the instructor to make a student’s Assignment public to the class, or the students as well as the instructor. You can also choose whether or not the instructor is notified when an Assignment is submitted. If you would like to be notified you can enter your email address into the field provided. An alert will be sent to that address when an Assignment has been submitted.
To submit an assignment your students will either click on an Assignment link you have created on your course page or by clicking on the ASSIGNMENTS link from the left-hand navigation bar. You can add an Assignment to your course page by going to the BUILD tab and clicking on ADD CONTENT LINK. Click on ASSIGNMENTS and choose the desired Assignment from the Assignment inventory.
If the students use the navigation bar to access their Assignments, they will be directed to the Assignments inventory page where they will be presented with a list of all available Assignments from which they will select the assignment they wish to submit.
Once they have selected the appropriate Assignment, a window appears with the Assignment instructions. Students can either type their work directly in the text box provided or add it as an attachment by clicking on ADD ATTACHMENTS. There is also a field for them to enter any comments they may have. When they are finished, they can either save the Assignment as a draft for future editing by clicking SAVE AS DRAFT or submit the Assignment by clicking SUBMIT.
In order to view, grade and return the Assignments that your students have submitted, you need to go to your Assignment Dropbox. To access your Assignment Dropbox go to the TEACH tab and scroll down the left-hand navigation bar and click on ASSIGNMENT DROPBOX under Instructor Tools. In the right-hand pane you will see five tabs. Clicking on each tab allows you to view the assignments that fall into the specific category. Clicking on an Assignment under the Submitted tab will open a window that allows you to view, save and return the assignment to the student. You can also include typed comments, or an attachment.