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Course creation and Settings: Using activity completion to track student progress

QMplus provides a number of features which allow you to guide students through a module and to monitor their progress. At the heart of these features is activity completion. This allows you define completion criteria for particular activities with the activity automatically being marked as completed when those criteria are met. It is also possible to set up activities where completion is indicated manually by the student.

Once you have set up activity completion, you can use the activity completion report on your course area to get an overview of how your students are engaging with your activities. Activity completion can also be used in conjunction with other QMplus features such as the completion progress block, course completion, certificates, badges and conditional activities.

What activity completion looks like

What activity completion looks like

When activity completion is enabled in a QMplus course area, checkboxes will appear to the right of activities which have completion conditions defined. Examples are shown in the previous screenshot. Notice that the checkboxes for the first 3 activities look the same whereas the last one looks slightly different:

  1. Automatic completion: the first 3 activities have automatic completion criteria defined on them. When those criteria are met, the activity is automatically marked as completed with a tick in the checkbox. The student cannot manually check or uncheck the box. Different activities have different criteria which can be set, for a discussion forum, you may say that the student has to start a discussion and post a response to another discussion for the activity to be considered complete. For a glossary activity, you may state that they have to post two definitions of their own. For a quiz, they may have to take the quiz and achieve a certain grade before it is considered complete.
  2. Manual completion: in order to mark this activity as completed, the student must tick the checkbox manually themselves. This can be useful for tasks which are not linked to activities which can have completion set on them. In this case, the task is to update their QMplus Hub profile. There is no way of automatically checking that the student has done this so an option is to get the student to indicate that they have done it by checking the box.

The activity completion report

Once you have activity completion enabled and set up in your course area, you can use the activity completion report to see how your students are engaging with your activities.

Where to find the activity completion report
The activity report can be found by under the Reports item in the Settings in your course area.

Activity report

The activity completion report lists for each student whether they have completed an activity or not. If you are using groups in your course area, you can filter the report by group.

New feature for 2018/19 – you can now mark an activity complete for a student by ticking the appropriate box in the activity report.

You can also download the report as a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet data includes not only whether a student has completed the activity but also the date on which they completed it.

The completion progress block provides another way of visualising overall student engagement with your activities. You may wish to consider using this as well as just the activity completion report.

How to turn on activity completion

The activity completion feature is not enabled on QMplus course areas by default so before you can make use of it, you will have to enable it.

Edit settings menu

completion tracking 2

Go to the Settings block in your course area and select Course administration > Edit settings. Scroll down to find the Completion tracking section and select Yes from the drop down menu. Scroll to the bottom of the page and save your changes.

Setting up activity completion on an activity

Once you have enabled activity completion for your course area, you can now enable it on any activity. This is done through the activity settings.

Accessing activity settings

To edit the settings on an activity you have already created, turn editing on and click on the Edit settings icon next to the activity.

Scroll down the settings page until you find the Activity completion section.

Activity completion section

To enable activity completion select either Students can manually mark the activity as completed or Show activity as complete when the conditions are met from the drop down menu. If you select the latter, you will now be able to set the conditions you require for the activity to be considered complete. These settings will vary depending on the type of activity.

Activity completion settings on a forum

This screenshot shows the settings which are available for a Forum activity.

For this activity to be considered complete:

  1. The student must start at least one discussion in the forum
  2. The student must respond at least twice to other students’ posts in the forum
  3. It is expected that 1 and 2 will have been done by this date
The completion settings vary by activity so you will have to check which settings are available for the particular activities you are using.

Tips for using activity completion

Don’t forget about the manual completion option

Although the automatic completion functionality is the most immediately useful option there are times when getting students to manually indicate their completion of a task can be useful e.g. if the activity is not related to a QMplus activity. You can even set up manual completion on labels in a course area which would allow you to create a primitive form of checklist. However, if you are interested in checklists, we would recommend looking at the checklist activity itself.

Be cautious with the “view” condition

Nearly everything in QMplus has the view condition associated with it including resources such as files, books and pages. While you can use this view condition to track students, this can often end up not being particularly useful i.e. just knowing that someone viewed a file does not tell you if they actually read it. If it is important that you track whether a student has read something, you might want to consider using the manual completion option instead of automatically tracking views. It is also possible to find out whether a student viewed something without having to use activity tracking, you can use the course logs for this.

Don’t enable activity completion on everything in your course area

Think about what information this is giving both you and your students. Have a look at the information you can get from your course logs.

Next steps

You might want to look at different ways in which you can use activity tracking:

  • Using the completion progress block to track student progress, and to allow students to track their own progress
  • Using conditional activities to guide students through your course
  • Awarding badges or certificates for activity completion

Did this answer your query? If not, you can raise a ticket on the online Helpdesk or email: its-helpdesk@qmul.ac.uk . Alternatively you can also request a particular guide or highlight an error in this guide using our guides request tracker.

Produced by the the E-Learning Unit at Queen Mary University of London.
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