Assignment Grading hack for Moodle 2

One of the biggest frustrations with Moodle 2 is the changes to the theme that create an iframe scroll effect for content that exceeds the width of the theme.

For example, if your theme is 1000 pixels wide, the gradebook doesn’t get pushed off the edge, as in Moodle 1.9, but instead is wrapped inside the container with an additional horizontal scroll bar.  Whilst this does look neater, it makes grading assignments with many users a cumbersome task.  And here at Leeds, this receives the most complaints from tutors.

Tutors have to scroll to the bottom of the page to find the horizontal scroll bar and then back up again to find the student.  Even pressing the right arrow key on the keyboard doesn’t stop them from finding their place in the table, and sticky user profile pics doesn’t cut it either.

I know this year I said I would refrain from hacking the course code but this is a necessity.

After much deliberation I decided the cleanest and tidiest way to improve the grading of assignments was to replace the user pics column with an additional status column.

Now when a tutor views an assignment they see the link to either “Grade” or “update” right next to the student name.
No more sideways scrolling and it’s quick and easy to see what hasn’t been marked.

To do this I edited mod/assignment/lib and around line 1478

Change
$row = array($picture, $userlink, $grade, $comment, $studentmodified, $teachermodified, $status, $finalgrade);
to
$row = array($status, $userlink, $grade, $comment, $studentmodified, $teachermodified, $status, $finalgrade);

All we have done here is replaced $picture with $status.
I then made some CSS changes to make the link appear more like a button by adding some padding and a background colour and border.

Now everyone is happy I can get back to my other tasks….for now anyhow!