Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

Kresge Library, Room 430
100 Library Drive
Rochester, Michigan 48309-4479
(location map)
(248) 370-2751
[email protected]

People Talking Silhouette

Quantifying Class Participation: Log Participation in the Moodle Grade Book

Mon Apr 18, 2022 at 07:30 AM

I include class participation in the final course grade for my in-person linguistics courses, but I have always found it is challenging to quantify. Participation is obviously not the number of times the student raises their hand to answer a question, but then how do I keep track of it? The Moodle grade book is helpful for this purpose. 

There are certain types of participation I keep track of with a grade of "Yes" or "No," meaning  "done" or "not done." At the end of the semester, I have a clear understanding of how much students participated in those ways, and students themselves also have a record of their participation. Including these items in the grade book signals that they are important for the course rather than merely optional.

Examples of Types of Participation to Track

The following are examples of the types of participation I include in the grade book.

One-time Items

The items below occur once during the course, and I track them when they come up during the semester. Did the student …

  • Sign up for a Chat with Your Professor appointment?
  • Make a posting and post a peer reply in the “getting to know you” discussion forum?
  • Upload a photo or other image to their Moodle user profile? 
  • Send me a description of the language they will work on for the final project?
  • Send me a description of their interviewee for the final project?
  • Send me their word list to be recorded for the final project so I can check it?

Repeating Items

I track the following items with an individual grade book entry each time they come up in the course. Did the student …

  • Send me a relevant YouTube video or other resource for class discussion? 
  • Submit the Moodle survey on a theme we will discuss in class?
  • Make the language recordings needed for analysis in class?
  • Complete practice problems at home to check in class?
  • Have their laptop set up as needed for a class activity?
  • Download information from Moodle for a class exercise?

How to Do It

For each entry in the grade book, I set up an Assignment in Moodle that has just a title and a description. Under “Submission Type,” I unclick “Online Text” and “File Submissions” so there is nothing for students to submit. (I learned about this option during QOTCC with Nic Bongers of e-LIS.) The assignment is an entry in the grade book, but students do not need to upload or write anything. 

Under “Grade,” rather than choosing “None,” I select “Scale” and then “No/Yes.” “No” means the student did not complete the item; “Yes” means they did. “Scale” includes other grading choices you might consider as well, namely: Denied/Approved, Fail/Pass, Does Not Meet Expectations/Meets Expectations/Exceeds Expectations, and Deficiente/Regular/Excelente.


I have found that tracking participation in a transparent manner in the Moodle grade book is helpful for giving students a fair participation grade at the end of the semester. Tracking specific participation tasks keeps students accountable and motivates them to be prepared for class. Including participation items in the grade book sends students the message that it is not just assignments and exams that contribute to their learning and course performance. Consistent preparation and engagement in class activities are also critical.

Save and adapt a Google Doc version of this teaching tip.

About the Author

Helena Riha is a special lecturer in the Linguistics Department and the International Studies Program. Helena has taught over 3,300 students at OU in 16 different courses, and she is currently developing a new online General Education course. Helena is the 2016 winner of the OU Excellence in Teaching Award. This is her eleventh teaching tip. Outside of the classroom, Helena enjoys watching her fifth grader design his own Lego creations.

Edited and designed by Christina Moore, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Oakland University. Others may share and adapt under Creative Commons License CC BY-NC.

View all CETL Weekly Teaching Tips. Follow these and more on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.