Not all learning can be done through online lessons. Groupwork and independent tasks are just as important.

Assignments in Valamis take up that role. 

In Valamis, Assignments are tasks that are assigned to users or groups of users, where they should upload a file or document as a submission.

This submission is then assessed by an instructor, who gives a score to a group or a user.

The main view shows a list of Assignments, which you can filter by categories, status (published or draft), and scope (all courses or current course).

You can sort Assignments by their deadline or alphabetically. You can opt to show or hide assignments with expired deadlines.

Creating a new assignment

Click Create assignment. The following dialog will have the following options:

  1. Title

  2. Type:

    • Personal - an individual assignment, where you assess each user separately. This type of assignment will be available to all members of a selected Course.

    • Group - a collaborative assignment for groups of people. See more on that further.

Note that you can’t change the type after saving the new assignment.

  1. Course - select a relevant course for this assignment. You will see a list of courses in which you are a member or an administrator.

  2. Deadline - set a date and time by when the users have to submit their tasks.

  3. Late submissons - if you have a deadline, you can allow learners to be late with their submissions. For this, check this box, and set an additional and final deadline.

  4. Assignment text - describe the assignment.

  5. Documents - attach related documents. You can upload documents from Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive, which you need to set up. To do so, configure these services in Valamis Administration.

  6. Instructors - choose the users who will able to assess the submissions and give their marks. This list will display a list of users based on the logic of the organizational or site structure.

  7. Categories - select or add a category to the assignment.

Click Publish or Save draft. Drafts can only be seen by instructors. Learners will only see published assignments.

Assignments will show up in the list of Assignments for members of a relevant Course.

Creating groups

Only the learners who are members of a study group created by an instructor can submit group assignments.

Select the Group type of assignment when you first create it.

Save the assignment.

Go to Members tab, and click Group creation.

The list will display users based on the logic of the organizational or site structure.

There are two ways to create groups:

  1. Use Search to find users you want to group together. Once you've selected them, click Create group. You can omit some users here, or group every single one.
  2. Use randomized groups. For this, click Create random groups and check Auto-generate groups from all course members. The automatic grouping will group all members of the assignment. Automatic grouping is possible if you have not yet created any groups.

Define the group size that you want to have. The maximum size is 50 members in one group.

Valamis with auto-generate random groups, each with the defined number of users from the available user pool. Naturally, you can't always divide all users evenly, so you will see a notification about the number of users in a "leftover" group.

You can change a group name by clicking on it. You cannot change group members in an already created assignment.

With Etherpad integration, it's also possible for learners to simultaneously edit their submissions. 

Each user's edits are highlighted in the text with a different color. 

In the top-left corner, you can see the common editing and styling tools, like lists, undo/redo buttons, etc. You can also clear the colored highlights from the text by clicking the "eye" button. Keep in mind, that this action will clear the existing colored text highlights for all users, and you can Undo that right after. It doesn't affect the edits after that.

In the top-right corner, you have the buttons for the following:

  • Import/Export menu
  • Editing history, where you can browser document versions and even replay the editing process
  • A button to Star the current version for easier access in history later on.
  • View settings menu, where you can define various settings:
    • Make chat always visible on screen in a sidebar.
    • Make both chat and user list always visible on the screen.
    • Toggle color highlights for users.
    • Toggle line numbers.
    • Toggle right-to-left editing.
    • Change font type
    • Change UI language (for Etherpad)
  • Copy link
  • User list and color legend.

Submitting assignments

As a learner (individual or in a group), you will be able to add submissions for evaluation.

To do so, open an assignment in your list.

You will see its description, status and deadline. You can also download any related documents, if they are present.

To submit an Assignment:

  1. Type a comment in Your answer field.
  2. Attach the files.
  3. Click Add submission or Save as draft. You can later delete or publish your draft as a submission. The instructor will only see a published submission.

After adding the submission, you need to wait for evaluation by instructor.

Group assignments work the same way, except you will also see the members of your group. Anyone from your group can submit a group assignment. The grade is given to a group, not to an individual learner.

Evaluating assignments

As an instructor, your task is to evaluate the submitted assignments. Note: you can also download all submissions for an assignment through the Actions menu.

Open any assignment.

You will see the list of users or groups and their submission status. By default, students are sorted according to the readiness status of their assignments, showing the students that are ready for evaluation first.

If somebody has submitted an assignment, you can either grade it or send it back to be re-done. In the latter case, once the assignment has been reworked and submitted, you can do the same thing again.

It's also possible to use Urkund anti-plagiarism system with Valamis. It will automatically check the submitted assignments for plagiarism.

For this, you need to set up the Urkund API in Valamis Administration. To view the plagiarism report in the completed task, click Urkund → Show report.

Preferences for assignments

In Preferences, you can specify Default scope, Default category, and Maximum submission file size.

If not specified, the corresponding filters will be displayed. If you specify the scope or categories in these fields, the filters will not be displayed and assignments will be automatically filtered based on these settings.

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