If you use the Moodle software to manage your course, you may have noticed a missing feature that you desperately need. Previous Blackboard and WebCT users are familiar with this feature and lament the lack of it in Moodle. This is the ability to download all the submission files for an assignment at one time. In Moodle, you must download each file individually per student. Some say this is a feature – that doing so prevents the mishmash of file naming problems (students naming the file the same name) and allows the faculty/grader to focus just on the one file per student.  However, most folks do not subscribe to this workflow.

There is a solution – it is the DownThemAll! Firefox extension. If you install it, you can go to your Moodle course, click on the assignment, click on the view # submitted link at the top right and then on the table of submissions page, use this extension to download all of the files on the page. Make sure you do this step for each page of students or set your preferences to display all students on one page. The Firefox extension allows you to set a pre-defined downloads folder, and when you run it, you can specify the file type you wish to download (such as .pdf, .doc, .docx, etc.). If you don’t specify, it will download all downloadable objects on the page – such as .jpgs and extraneous features of the webpage and not the actual student submissions.

This would be classified as a workaround or a hack but once you get the knack of using it, it will save you multiple clicks to download your student assignment files.

You can find this DownThemAll! extension here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/downthemall/

Tips for configuring DownThemAll! on a Mac (once installed):

  • In Firefox, click on the Tools Menu
  • Hover over the DownThemAll! Tools link and select the Preferences menu and a pop-up window will appear
  • On the General tab, leave all of the default settings, but make sure that the setting for If a filename already exists is Ask.

Tips for using DownThemAll! on a Mac:

  • Navigate to your course, click on the assignment, click on the view # submitted link to view the assignments
  • In your browser, click on the Tools menu, choose DownThemAll! tools, and select the DownThemAll!.. link.
  • In the pop-up window there are a few sections to configure (click to view larger image):
DownThemAll window

DownThemAll! setting options

  1. Link View: this displays how many links are on the page.
  2. You can check individual links to download from or check the box at the top of the column to select them all.
  3. You can choose where to save the files you are downloading to your computer (recommended).
  4. In the filters you can choose only those items to download that have the extension you specify. By default the software will scan the page and choose the settings relevant to content on the page but if you just wish to download documents or pdfs, only check the “Documents (pdf, odf, …) box (this will apply to .doc and .docx as well). Jump to #6 – if you have checked what you need. If not, go to #5.
  5. If you want to download just pictures and media, click this tab in the pop-up window. In the list displayed will only be image or media files.
  6. Click on the Start! button to begin downloading your files.