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How do I track student progress in a Moodle course?

It is possible in Moodle to configure activity completion for any/all course resources or activities which helps tutors to track how students are progressing through a course. As well as providing tutors with useful information, it can help with the student experience – there is a clear visual indication to students of which items in a course they have completed and which items still require attention.

Enable completion tracking in a course

Firstly, completion tracking needs to be enabled for the course.

From the course page, go to the course settings ( > Edit settings). Scroll down the to the Completion tracking section and set ‘Enable completion tracking’ to Yes.

Click Save and display to confirm the change.

Screenshot of the Enable completion tracking setting in the Course settings; in this example, set to Yes.

Once Completion tracking has been enabled for the course, it will then be possible to track completion against any of the activities/resources in the course.

Tracking completion for an activity/resource

With editing turned on, from the course page, locate the activity/resource for which you wish to track completion and click on Edit > Edit settings to the right of the activity/resource.

Scroll down the settings to find the ‘Activity completion’ section.

Configuring the method of completion

Screenshot of a dropdown list displaying the 3 different methods of activity completion: 'Do not indicate activity completion', 'Students can manually mark the activity as completed', and 'Show activity as complete when conditions are met'.

For activity completion there are three methods:

1. “Do not indicate activity completion”

Completion is not be tracked against this activity or resource.

2. “Students can manually mark the activity as completed”

The responsibility is with the student to “tick a box” when they feel they have completed an activity/resource. This can work as a simple checklist for the student who can then tick off items as they go and, on returning to the course, can easily pick up from where they left off in the course (as completed tasks are marked as such).

3. “Show activity as complete when conditions are met”

Moodle will automatically mark the completion for this activity/resource when selected criteria have been met. Options are displayed directly beneath the ‘Activity completion’ drop-down list, allowing you to select the appropriate criteria.

Selecting completion criteria

The available criteria will change depending on the type of activity/resource.

For example:

  • a URL resource might be configured so that a student must visit the link;
Screenshot of an example activity completion configuration for a URL resource. In this example, Completion tracking is set as "Show activity as complete when conditions are met" and the "Require view" criterion has been selected.
  • a Quiz activity might be configured so that a student must achieve the pass grade;
Screenshot of an example activity completion configuration for a Quiz activity. In this example, the Completion tracking is set to "Show activity as complete when conditions are met" and the "Require grade" and "Require passing grade" criteria are selected.
  • a Forum activity might be configured so that a student must create a new discussion of their own (rather than just simply post a reply).
An example activity completion configuration for a Forum activity. In this example, the "Student must view this activity to complete it" and the "Student must create discussions: 1" criteria are selected.

If more than one criterion is selected then all criteria must be met for the activity to be marked as complete.

Expect completed on:

If enabled, this can be used to define a ‘soft’ deadline for when the activity is expected to be completed; it does not prevent the student from completing the activity/resource after this date, but it adds the date to a student’s course calendar and is also listed in an exported ‘Activity completion report’ for manual comparison of the actual completion date vs the expected completion date.

What the student sees…

In the course

Once activity completion has been configured in a course, the student will see the course layout as before but to the right of any activities/resources that have been configured for completion tracking, a checkbox will appear.

If the checkbox has a dotted/dashed border then Moodle will automatically mark it as complete once the selected criteria have been met.

A screenshot showing how a student might see the completion status for an activity which has been configured as "Show activity as complete when conditions are met".

If the checkbox has a solid border then the student is expected to click on it themselves to mark the activity/resource as complete.

A screenshot showing how a student might see the completion status for a resource which has been configured as "Students can manually mark the activity as completed".

On the Dashboard

If one or more activities/resources in a course have been configured to track Activity completion, a progress percentage for that course will be displayed against its name on a student’s Dashboard:

Screenshot showing the student view of a Dashboard where a course contains at least one activity/resource where activity completion is being tracked. Underneath the course in this example is a progress bar showing "100% complete".

As 100% course progress is only achieved on having completed all tracked activities/resources in a course (regardless of whether they can be attempted/accessed by all students, e.g. some activities may only be available to a specific group), it is recommended that completion tracking should only be applied to those activities that can be attempted/accessed by all students in the course in order to avoid any confusion.

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Updated on May 21, 2020

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