Learning Innovation Unit, Dublin City University

Learning Innovation Unit

Charlie Daly - Rich feedback in Moodle

Principal Applicant

Charlie Daly

School or Unit

School of Computing

Additional Applicants

Dave Donnellan, School of Computing, ddonnel@computing.DCU.ie

Amount requested



For a number of years we have provided rich feedback on Java programs to our introductory programming students. We would like to incorporate this feature into Moodle. Additionally, we would like to extend it to handle many other types of assignment (e.g. .pdf files).

The idea is that a student's assignment is presented as the background to a drawing program and an instructor can type/scribble/circle comments directly onto the assignment, exactly as one would with a paper based assignment.

This keeps all the advantages of electronic submission (record keeping, ease of access, paperless) while adding the benefit of rich feedback.

In addition, it is possible for instructors to build up a list of common points and therefore avoid repeated work when providing feedback.

Another aim of this project is to translate our assignment feedback system into a Moodle compatible system. This would make maintenance simpler, link more easily to Moodle based courses and make possible its use outside the School of Computing.

Project URL


Will the project facilitate flexible access (in the context of lifelong learning or otherwise) or facilitation of longer-term provision for special needs


Is the project related to the development of DCU's six academic themes


Strategic Context

Web based education is naturally inclusive and flexible which are important aims and which coincide with DCU's values. In addition, the project is obviously directly related to the theme 'education and learning'.

Implementation Plan

The project will be carried out by two computing intra students supervised by Charlie Daly.

Pedagogical basis: feedback is the essence of computing. The reason that 'one-on-one' is regarded as the highest form of teachingis because of the quality and speed of the feedback. Electronic submission supports speedy feedback, but it does not support quality feedback. This project aims to address this need.

The project will begin on the 18th of April and continue until 29th July.

The project plan is quite straightforward and therefore I foresee no obstacles in meeting this schedule. In addition, I have managed similar projects in the past to a successful conclusion.

Impact and Evaluation

High quality feedback will improve the learning for students.

A non-moodle version has already been implemented and has been tested and written up in the ACM ITi Computer Science Education conference in June 2004. (see http://www.computing.DCU.ie/~cdaly/feedback/)

We will follow the same plan of Moodle surveys and usage logging to evaluate improvements.

Feedback Opportunities

The developers will give a weekly presentation (half hour) to summarise the current progress of the project. As soon as the functionality is implemented, it will placed on a test server so that progress can be monitored.

Dissemination and Sustainability

Moodle activities are automatically viewable by Moodle users and can be dissemated simply by being added to Moodle. In addition, we intend to publish the work and to present the work at a seminar of the teaching and learning series.

The maintainance problems will be addressed simply by being part of the Moodle open source package. High quality packages are eagerly adopted and maintained by Moodle users.

Detailed Budget

€9000 two computing students for 15 weeks at 300 per week.

€1600 two development computers at €800 each.

€10600 Total

Support from Head of School/Unit

Michael Ryan (head of the school of computing) has indicated to me that he fully supports this project.

Other Information

A number of years ago a student emailed me a Java program. I printed it out and wrote my comments directly on the printout. I then used a scanner to scan in the image and the comments so that I could email the result back to the student. Although this was very laborious, the feedback to the student was of a high standard. I decided that I needed to create a system that supported this high quality feedback without the associtated problems to the instructor. This led to the current project which has worked well. To ensure the dissemination of this project we need to move the system to a more standard platform, Moodle.

Another point is benefit to the Intra students themselves. Last year, 4 students worked on Moodle related projects and learned much from the projects. They enjoyed working as members of staff and liked interacting with academic staff from outside the school of computing.