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The workshop activity is designed to facilitate peer assessment of work. It can support both group and individual work across a range of media, including documents, images, presentations, and videos. The workshop can also facilitate self-assessment of work, which can encourage the learner to be reflective and constructively critical of their own work. 

Enable site settings

Go to Site administration > Plugins > Activity modules > Workshop.

Creating a workshop

  1. Click the Turn editing on button to make the page editable. 
  2. From the Add an activity... dropdown menu select Workshop
  3. You will need to complete the settings to your preference. 
  4. Click Save & display or Save and return to course.  

(This video above is taken from the Assignment and workshop course in the Totara Academy).


There are many different settings available for Workshops, which are broken up both in the system and below into sections. In every section some settings are marked with an asterisk, this means that settings is mandatory and you'll be unable to save without completing that setting. 





Workshop name

The name of the workshop. This will appear on the page so it is advisable to try and make it descriptive and succinct.-


You can optionally add a description of the activity.-

Display description on course page

If ticked the description will display on the course page.-

Grading settings

Grading strategy

The grading strategy determines the assessment form used and the method of grading submissions. There are four options:

  • Accumulative grading: Comments and a grade are given regarding specified aspects.
  • Comments: Comments are given regarding specified aspects but no grade can be given.
  • Number of errors: Comments and a yes/no assessment are given regarding specified assertions.
  • Rubric: A level assessment is given regarding specified criteria.
Grade for submissionSpecify the maximum grade that can be obtained for submitted work.-
Submission grade to passYou can set the minimum grade required to pass. The value is used in activity and course completion, and in the gradebook, where pass grades are highlighted in green and fail grades in red.-
Grade for assessmentAs well as getting a grade for the work they submit learners can be graded on how well they assess others work, this setting allows you to determine the maximum possible grade for this.-
Assessment grade to passYou can set the minimum grade required for the assessment aspect in order for the learner to pass.-
Decimal places in gradesDecide how many decimal places you wish to display in the grade.-

Submission settings

Instructions for submissionThis is the space to add any instructions about the content, layout, or format of the submission or any other relevant instructions.-
Maximum number of submission attachmentsSet the maximum number of attachments (files) a learner can submit.-
Submission attachment allowed file typesYou can enter a comma-separated list of allowed file types (such as; jpg,png, pdf). If this is left empty then allow file types will be allowed.-
Maximum submission attachment sizeDetermine what the maximum size of file for upload can be. By default this will be the site limit and you will not be able to set a size larger than this, but you can restrict it to a smaller size.-
Late submissionsTick the box to allow submissions after the deadline.Late submissions cannot be edited.

Assessment settings

Instructions for assessmentInclude any instructions for learners assessing the work of their peers. This might include suggestion on what to look for and instructions about the limitations or extent of review required.-
Use self-assessmentIf ticked learners will be able to assess their own work.-


Overall feedback mode

If enabled, a text field is displayed at the bottom of the assessment form. Reviewers can put the overall assessment of the submission there, or provide additional explanation of their assessment. There are three options:

  • Disabled: The overall feedback is turned off.
  • Enabled and optional: The overall feedback box is present, but it's usage is optional.
  • Enabled and required: The overall feedback box is present and it's usage is forced.
Maximum number of overall feedback attachmentsThis is the maximum allowed number of feedback files that can be attached.-
Feedback attachment allowed file typesFeedback attachment allowed file types can be restricted by entering a comma-separated list of file extensions, for example; mp4, mp3, png, jpg. If the field is left empty, then all file types are allowed.-
Maximum overall feedback attachment sizeBy default this will be the maximum site upload limit. You cannot increase it above the site limit, although you can restrict it to a smaller size if you wish.-
ConclusionConclusion text is displayed to participants at the end of the activity.-

Example submissions

Use examplesIf enabled, users can try assessing one or more example submissions and compare their assessment with a reference assessment. The grade is not counted in the grade for assessment.-
Mode of examples assessment

You can determine when the example submission will be available. The options are:

  • Assessment of example submission is voluntary.
  • Examples must be assessed before own submission.
  • Examples are available after own submission and must be assessed before peer assessment.


Open for submissions fromYou can set an open date for the workshop from which submissions can be made.-
Submissions deadlineYou can set an close date for the workshop after which submissions can't be made. -
Switch to the next phase after the submissions deadline

If the submissions deadline is specified and this box is checked, the workshop will automatically switch to the assessment phase after the submissions deadline.

If you enable this feature, it is recommended to set up the scheduled allocation method too. If the submissions are not allocated, no assessment can be done even if the workshop itself is in the assessment phase.
Open for assessment fromYou can set an open date for the workshop from which assessments can be made. -
Deadline for assessmentYou can set an close date for the workshop after which assessments can't be made. -

Other settings

There are also common settings such as the Common module settings, Restrict access, Activity completion, and Tags.

Using the workshop activity

When using the workshop you will need to understand how the different parts work, such as how to move between phases, how to action tasks, and how to grade work.

(This video above is taken from the Assignment and workshop course in the Totara Academy).


The workshop is broken into phases (as outlined below). These help to walk you through the assessment process from start to finish, and include a checklist of tasks to be completed before moving onto the next phase. You can move phases without completing all of the tasks, but this may cause problems further down the line. To action a task, simply click on it and you will be taken to the screen required to complete that task.

If you did not set up automatic phase changing in the settings and wish to do this manually then you can do so by clicking on the light bulb icon () alongside the desired phase to move to that phase. You can skip phases but this is not recommended as you might miss out on doing something. It is also possible to go back to a previous phase, although again, this can have consequences. 

PhaseDescription and tasksTasks

Setup phase 

This initial phase lets you complete any initial setup stages, including checking you have provided instructions to learners on how the process works and guidance on what is expected of them. It is also helpful to provide an assessment form to guide learners when they are grading others' work.

  • Set the workshop description.

  • Provide instructions for submission.

  • Edit assessment form.

  • Prepare example submissions.

  • Switch to the next phase.

Submission phase

In this phase learners can submit their work. It is also the time in which you can allocate work for the peer assessment phase. It might be easiest to wait until all submissions have been received before allocating them for assessment.

  • Provide instructions for assessment.

  • Allocate submissions (this will lists the number of expected, submitted, and to allocate submissions).

Assessment phase

During this phase learners get to assess the work of one or more of their fellow learners (depending on your settings).

  • Switch to the next phase.
Grading and evaluation phaseThe Grading and evaluation phases gives the trainer a chance to set the level of Comparison of assessment. This setting specifies how strict the comparison of assessments should be. The stricter the comparison, the more similar the assessments need to be in order for a high grade to be obtained.
  • Calculate submission grades (this will list numbers of expected and calculated grades).

  • Calculate assessment grades (this will list numbers of expected and calculated grades).

  • Provide a conclusion of the activity.

CloseThis is the final stage and signifies the workshop being closed. After this no more submissions or assessments are allowed and all grades released. There are no tasks associated with this phase as at this stage the workshop is simply closed.

Assessment form 

During the Setup phase it is important to complete the assessment form otherwise learners will have difficulties when trying to assess work as there will be no place for them to make comment or allocate grades. Which options are available to be configured will depend on the Grading strategy you choose in the settings. 

  • Accumulative grading: The assessment form allows you to outline a number of aspects which the submission should be graded on, you can specify a maximum grade for each section, a grading method (point, scale, or none), and give that aspect a weighting (how much of the overall grade it will make up).
  • Comments: The assessment form allows you to outline a number of aspects which the submission should be graded on.
  • Number of errors: Allows you to outline a number of assertions with a designed word for successfully meeting the assertion and one for failing to meet it (by default this is Yes for success and No for error). You can also set a weighting for each assertion (how much of the overall grade it will make up). 
  • Rubric: You can set out a number of criteria with different levels. So for example criteria one might be, 'Demonstrates a clear understanding of the topic'. This might then have four grade levels as followings; Level 1: Does not show any understanding of the topic. Level 2: Shows a basic understanding of the topic. Level 3: Shows a good understanding of the topic but fails to demonstrate an ability for practical application. Level 4: Demonstrates a thorough understanding of the topic in both a theoretical and practical context. 

Allocating submissions

There are three mode for allocating learners work for assessment:

  • Manual: You can manually choose who will review whose work. 
  • Random: You can configure settings so that the system can randomly allocate assessments. Settings include the number of reviews (how many submission each person is allocated to review) and whether learners can assess work without having made a submission. Allocation will take place immediately. 
  • Scheduled: Allows you to configure the same settings as for Random but allocation take places at the end of the submission period (after the submission deadline). 

Assessing submissions

How you assess the work will depend on your role in the course (as both trainers and learners can assess the work, although trainers will not be allocated the specific submissions in the same way learners are).

  • Trainer: As a trainer, once the workshop is in assessment phase, click the link to the learners submission (the title of their submission) then click the Assess button. You'll be able to complete all of the required assessment as laid out via the assessment form and you can add a weighting (to give the trainer review more value in the overall grade). Click Save once you're done. 
  • Learner: As a learner simply go into the workshop and look for the Assigned submissions to assess section near the bottom of the page. In there will be any submissions you've been assigned to review, which you can do by clicking the Assess button under each submission. Then complete assessment form and then click Save once you're done. 

Calculating and amending grades

During the Grading and evaluation phase you can set how strict the comparison between assessment of a submission has to be (with a stricter comparison meaning the assessments have to be more similar to achieve high marks). You can also override any learner given grades you feel are unfair. 

To override a grade, click on the grade you wish to override and then choose the new grade you wish to give from the dropdown menu for Override grade for assessment, then click Save and close

On this page

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Assignments and workshops in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use these tools, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

Provide feedback about this page using the link in the bottom right of this page. 

Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?