All LMS offer assignment tools. The lecturer sets up an assignment by providing a task description and parameters for submission dates and possibly extension periods. The students submit their electronic assignment documents via the LMS. The lecturer accesses the assignment document via the LMS, by viewing them either directly in the LMS environment or by downloading the documents to their own computer. The lecturer can return electronic copies of marked assignments to the students via the LMS and/or can provide feedback to the students via the LMS. The LMS keeps track of all submission details and marking comments and results. It provides statistics on marks and the marks can be exported in common file formats ready for upload into other institutional systems.
Using electronic exchange of documents is faster and more reliable than posting and distribution of paper copies. Deadlines are controlled by the LMS reducing the administrative effort and allowing students to make full use to the time until the deadline. Using an institutionally provided LMS means that the institution is responsible for data security and backup, releasing the individual lecturer of these tasks. Most assignments are produced in electronic format and electronic submission reduces the need for printing. Some document format can only be submitted electronically. Receiving assignments in electronic form is the precursor for the use of more sophisticated tools to support handling and marking of assignments.
Electronic assignment documents require the marker to either read on screen or to print. The willingness to read on screen will depend on length and type of document, the quality of the screen available and personal preference.