Course creation and Settings: Using activity completion to track student progress
Note: This guide is relevant until mid-August 2022. Guidance relevant to the new QMplus theme will then be available here
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 students indicate they have completed an activity by manually ticking the completion box.
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.
This guide covers:
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:
- 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. Students cannot manually check or uncheck the box. Different activities have different criteria which can be set, for a discussion forum, you may say that students have 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.
- Manual completion: in order to mark this activity as completed, students 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 a student has done this so an option is to get them 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.
The activity report can be found by under the Reports item in the Settings in your course area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This screenshot shows the settings which are available for a Forum activity.
For this activity to be considered complete students must:
- Start at least one discussion in the forum
- Respond at least twice to other students’ posts in the forum
- It is expected that 1 and 2 will have been done by this date
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 basic 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, making students actively indicate completing the task. Or you might consider using a quick knowledge check quiz. It is also possible to find out whether a student viewed something without having to use activity tracking, you can use the QMplus 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.
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
- Setting up a checklist activity
- Awarding badges or certificates for activity completion
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Produced by the the Technology Enhanced Learning Team at Queen Mary University of London.