General Questions about Lightwork

Questions arising when using Lightwork

Frequently Asked Lightwork User Questions (Lightwork 2.4.x)

General Questions about Lightwork

What is Lightwork?

Lightwork is an application for supporting the management and marking of assignments. It aims at improving the efficiency of marking and increasing the quality of feedback provided to students.

Who has developed Lightwork?

The software development of Lightwork started in June 2009 as part of a project funded by the Tertiary Education Commission of New Zealand with Massey University as the project leader. The University of Waikato, The Open Polytechnic, The University of Canterbury, and the Wananga o Awanuiarangi also participated.

The requirement specification for Lightwork had evolved from about ten years of educational and e-learning research led by Eva Heinrich.

Who can use Lightwork?

Lightwork is open source software and as such is available to everyone/every institution.

As an individual teacher you need to check with your institution to see whether they have adopted Lightwork (and have enabled its Moodle installation to work with Lightwork).

Who owns Lightwork?

Lightwork is open source software and as such is not 'owned' by any individual or institution.

The Lightwork code is maintained and further developed by the Lightwork team located at Massey University.

How does Lightwork relate to Moodle?

Lightwork is designed to extend the assignment facilities already available in Moodle. In brief, the teacher sets up an assignment in Moodle, the students submit their work to Moodle, the teacher (and their markers) use Lightwork to assess the student work, the students find their marking results (marks and feedback) in Moodle.

What versions of Moodle is Lightwork compatible with?

Currently, Lightwork is compatible with Moodle 1.9 & Moodle 2.1. Keep an eye out on our develeopment roadmap to see upcoming releases.

Can I try Lightwork (even if my institution has not adopted Lightwork)?

Yes, the Lightwork team maintains test Moodle sites that have courses and assignments setup. Pretend student work has been submitted to the assignments. You can use these sites for exploring Lightwork.

Download Lightwork versions 2.4.x and connect to the Moodle site at
The user codes for teachers and students are constructed from the first name initial and the first seven characters of the last name (e.g. Dell Livingstone becomes dlivings). The password is ‘password’.

Which Lightwork version can I use?

The Lightwork version on your local computer needs to match the version of the Lightwork Moodle server package installed by your institution. Please ask your Moodle administrator.

Massey University: Users should install Lightwork version 2.4.12 which can be found on the downloads page (Status December 2011).

Where can I get Lightwork?

The Downloads section of the Lightwork home page points you to the latest version of Lightwork recommended for use in real teaching settings.

You can also get Lightwork directly from You will find both production and development versions there.

How do I install Lightwork?

After downloading the installer file, follow the instructions presented.

You can check the Installation FAQ at which provides version specific information for installation and upgrades.

When do I need to update my Lightwork version?

If your institution changes the version of the Lightwork Moodle server package installed on its Moodle site you will have to upgrade your local version of Lightwork. Lightwork  will prompt you should your local version and server version not match.

You can check for minor updates to Lightwork via its Help menu.

How do I update Lightwork?

Via the Help menu in Lightwork you can check for updates. Lightwork will inform you if newer production versions are available and will update itself (if you agree).

You can check the Installation FAQ at which provides version specific information for installation and upgrades.

(If you are experimenting with Lightwork and, for example, want to explore a development version, you need to download the installer file, uninstall any previous versions of Lightwork, and then run the new installer file. Depending on what new developments have happened in Lightwork you might have to remove your local Lightwork database first. If you are using Lightwork in a real teaching environment and are not too familiar with the technical aspects of Lightwork you might want to wait until the release of the corresponding new production version).

Which user platforms are supported?

Lightwork is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Where do I find help material?

Lightwork has integrated help pages which you can access via the Help menu. You can also press F1 to get context sensitive help. leads you to the help material like screen recordings or conceptual documents.

What information is required by the Lightwork team to investigate problems?

To analyse problems with using Lightwork, the Lightwork team will require the following information:

  • Your platform (Windows, Mac, Linux);
  • The Lightwork version number (see Lightwork Help menu, About Lightwork);
  • Screen shots showing the problem/error message in Lightwork;
  • The Lightwork log files, called 'lightwork.log' and 'lightwork.log.1'; you will find these files in the following locations:
    • Windows: Windows: C:/Documents and Settings/your_username
    • Macintosh: \Users\your_username
    • Linux: \home\your_user_name

Where can I get technical assistance for Lightwork?

If you are a staff member at Massey University please contact the ITS helpdesk. See Massey Help Desk contact details

If you are from another institution please enquire at your institution.

If you are exploring Lightwork, for example to see if it would be a suitable tool for your institution, please register at to get in contact with the Lightwork team via the Forums or via Issues (once you have been setup with the appropriate access rights). The Lightwork team will try to help, but please understand that our resources are limited.

How can I give feedback to the Lightwork team?

Your feedback on Lightwork is very welcome. Please register at and use the Forums to provide feedback.

How can I get in contact with other Lightwork users?

The Forums available via at (you need to register to contribute) are a good place for discussing anything related to assignment marking with Lightwork.

How can I contribute to Lightwork?

The Lightwork team welcomes contributions (translations, documentation, sample marking rubrics, evaluations, experience reports, tutorials for users, testing, code, money, ...). Please contact Eva Heinrich ( for discussion.

Questions arising when using Lightwork

How do I get started with using Lightwork?

The first step is to define a Moodle connection and to use this connection to download course and assignment data from Moodle. You then need to define a marking rubric for an assignment and allocate markers. You refresh your Moodle connection to synchronise data between Moodle and Lightwork. After downloading the student work you can start marking.

You can find more detailed help in the supporting material accessible via

How do I know that Lightwork can connect to my Moodle site?

If Lightwork has successfully established a connection to your Moodle site the name of your connection is displayed in the square brackets in the top of the Lightwork window.

How does Lightwork deal with user access rights?

You provide Lightwork with your Moodle username and password (when setting up and using your Moodle connection). Lightwork presents these credentials to Moodle and Moodle determines the access rights you have. Lightwork encrypts your username and password before sending it to Moodle.

Lightwork can only access assignments of courses for which you have editing or non-editing teacher access (some institutions use different names for these user roles, please check with you Moodle administrator if you need clarification). A editing teacher becomes a Marking Manager in Lightwork, a non-editing teacher becomes a Marker in Lightwork. These roles are defined on course level. This means that you can be a Marking Manager for one course and a Marker for another course. If you have a different role for a course, e.g. if you are a student in a course, Lightwork will not show you any data for this course.

What do the terms Marking Manager and Marker mean?

As a Marking Manager your tasks in Lightwork are to define a marking rubric, to allocate who is marking whom, to oversee progress and quality of marking, and to release marking results to Moodle and therefore to students. A Marker marks student work. The Marking Manager can also do marking.

The idea is that the Marking Manager is the person responsible for the assignment.

How should we setup the marking team in Moodle?

The person responsible for an assignment should be setup in Moodle as editing teacher and as such will have the role of Marking Manager in Lightwork. Anyone assisting as markers has to be setup in Moodle as either editing teacher or as non-editing teacher.

Can I mark by myself?

Yes, you can. You need to be setup in Moodle as editing teacher. Lightwork will then regard you as a Marking Manager. All you need to do to be able to mark is to allocate all marking to yourself.

You will still have to go through the mechanisms setup in Lightwork to enable marking with a team of markers (e.g. the marking statuses). To keep working in Lightwork efficient you might want to make use of the bulk options of passing several (or all) assignments from one status to another.

Are the marking data protected on my PC?

By default Lightwork stores all data (student work and a local database with marking information) in a protected user specific area on your computer.

Why can I not see all courses I expect to see in Lightwork?

When setting up Lightwork for a Moodle site a mapping is done between the user roles in Moodle and the Lightwork user types of Marking Manager and Marker. This is done to ensure that Lightwork only displays student and assignment data for courses the user has marking access to. Different institutions use different names for these Moodle roles.

Massey University: If you are a teacher on a course in Stream, you will be Marking Manager in Lightwork for this course. If you are a non-editing teacher you will be a Marker. The reason for not seeing a course you expect to see in Lightwork could be that you are Course Creator for this course in Stream. If this is the case go to ‘Assign roles’ in the administration block of your course in Stream and add yourself as a teacher.

Why can I not allocate markers?

To allocate markers you have to create a marking rubric first and you have to be a Marking Manager. Marking allocations can only be made in the Management perspective

Where do I find the student work files?

The work students have submitted are not automatically downloaded to your local computer. You need to download this work explicitly. This happens in the Marking perspective with the command ‘Refresh submissions’.

Can I mark on two different computers?

Yes, you can. Please remember to call ‘Refresh Moodle Connection’ (from the Moodle menu) when finishing work on one computer. When starting on the second computer refresh your Moodle connection again.

Do I need to be online when using Lightwork?

You need a network connection for downloading information from your Moodle site. Once this is done, however, you can work offline. To release marking to Moodle or to share marking information with your marking team you have to be connected to the network again.

Why can my markers not see information I have provided/Why can I not see what my markers have done?

A marking team shares information via a Lightwork data space in Moodle. Uploading information from a local computer to this Moodle data space is a deliberate step. If you cannot see information you expect to be able to see make sure all members of the team have called ‘Refresh Moodle Connection’ (from the Moodle menu).

Why are no feedback sheets created?

Check to make sure you have set the marking rubric 'ready for marking'. This setting indicates the marking rubric is ready and can be used for marking.

Can markers add their own frequently used comments?

No, not at this stage. Only the Marking Manager can add frequently used comments.

How do I make the marking rubric available to students?

You can upload a marking rubric (which has been set ready for marking) from within Lightwork to Moodle. It will be visible to students as part of the assignment specification. To upload a rubric to Moodle, right click the documents folder of an assignment and select 'Upload documents'.

When can students see their marking results?

Students can only see marking that has been released to Moodle in the Release perspective. This release can only be done by the Marking Manager.

Where can students see their marking results?

Students see their marking results as for any other assignment in Moodle by clicking on the assignment entry. If you have provided access to the Moodle Gradebook students can see their results there.

What are marking results?

Marking results are:

  • A mark or grade;
  • A feedback sheet (which is based on the marking rubric and contains the individual feedback for the student);
  • A release comment (e.g., to be used if you have deducted marks for late submission);
  • A copy of the student's work annotated with your feedback (if you have done so).

Do students see grades or marks?

This depends on setting both in Moodle and in Lightwork.

The student can se their result in the Moodle Gradebook. If you choose in Moodle to show grades then grades will be shown; if not, then marks will be shown.

If you only want to show marks you need to choose the setting of not showing marks on the feedback sheet returned to students. This applies to analytic marking rubrics only, as no marks are shown for feedback sheets based on holistic rubrics. You choose this setting as part of defining the marking rubric.

Do students need to use Lightwork?

No, students do not use Lightwork. They submit their work to Moodle and receive their marking results from Moodle.

Are Lightwork marks transferred into the Moodle Gradebook?

When you release marking results from Lightwork to Moodle the marks are entered automatically into the Moodle Gradebook.

If your institution has implemented a mechanism to transfer marks from the Moodle Gradebook into another system, this will happen for assignments marked with Lightwork in exactly the same way as for assignments marked directly in Moodle.

Can I use Turnitin for similarity checking?

If your institution has implemented a connection to Turnitin for similarity checking for assignments you can still take advantage of this when using Lightwork. Choose your Turnitin setting within your assignment specification as normal. Lightwork will display the link to the similarity report and the similarity index in its marking interface.

What is a Pre-Reading Assignment?

A Pre-Reading assignment is a new assignment type that has been developed specifically for the Pre-Reading Service at Massey University, that offers students the opportunity to send assignment drafts for comment prior to submission for marking. This service is characterised by a very large number of students who have access to this service and a comparatively small number of students (still in the thousands) who submit their work. Pre-Reading provides formative feedback only.

The Pre-Reading assignment type is available to all Lightwork users. It can be used to provide optional submission options to students for formative feedback only. The Pre-Reading features of Lightwork are currently not documented (status Jan2011), but documentation is forthcoming.


Last Update: December 2011