The fact that all work is submitted electronically, date-stamped and stored automatically is a fantastic convenience. No more arguments about whether work was submitted on time! It allows students to submit work at their convenience, from home, and this is another huge plus. By changing the settings to allow re-submissions as well, one can allow students to submit drafts for feedback, and to my mind this is the clincher. Because it is all done on a single interface, the convenience alone makes paperless assessment on Moodle a pleasure. Well, it is marking, so maybe pleasure is putting it too strongly!
The great drawback, though, is the fact that one cannot write on a page! The simple convenience of making easily recognisable editing comments, and handing back to a student is largely lost when going paperless. One can use comments in word, save the document and then post it back as a feedback file on Moodle, or can make comments in the comments box, but neither of these are as handy as simply writing on a text in red pen!
Some teachers use tablet pcs with a stylus to achieve this, but it still involves saving the file and uploading it to Moodle as a comment file. This is time-consuming and detracts from the ease of the rest of the marking experience.
I would urgently ask for Moodle developers out there to look at this question, a way of combining the current ease of opening student submissions for assessment, with the ease of marking with a stylus! Without having to save and re-upload!
That’s my Christmas wish-list!