Linda Johnsonius, a SIMnet Digital Faculty Consultant from Murray State University, provided this advice on assigning projects:
I remember the frustration we had when we first implemented the grader. The grader is marking at a level we could never approach and students were suspicious. Gradually, over time, we developed a “system” that works well for us.
First: make sure every Instructor and TA works through every assignment before assigning it to students. There are places where the grader is very specific and working through it first allows you to head off problems. Knowing, for example, exactly which bullet. Or specifically which approach to setting a page number. Also, as good as the projects are, there are occasional ambiguities in the instructions. Finding these things first allows you head off a lot of problems. Besides, if push comes to shove, you can take 5 minutes (none of them take much longer) to whiz through the assignment in front of the class to SHOW that 100% is possible and not that hard to do.
When we make the assignment, we allow two opportunities. The student then has the grading feedback to re-examine their first attempt, look at the instructions, and figure out what they did wrong. We caution them to start over from scratch for the second attempt as trying to fix what you did wrong in the first attempt file is usually a disaster.