Should I use the Moodle grade book?

You do not have to use the Moodle grade book unless you want.

When we started using the Moodle program at Eckerd College and surveyed students about its good and bad features, one common response indicated delight in being able to access their grades easily and quickly. Most students seem to like (and feel it is important) to know what their grades are on assignments and what their current average is in the course.

The grade book can be an important communication tool between the professor and the student. If grades are missing from the grade book this can alert students that they may have forgotten to take a paper out of their backpack. It can also alert them that their paper has been misplaced by the professor or been placed erroneously into a different pile of papers.

In some courses a professor will wait until almost half of the course has been completed before starting to post grades. In these cases almost always there are a few students whose prior low performance in the course shows a marked improvement once the grades are posted. For some of these students, the improvement seems to come when they see some individual low grades, while for others the improvement seems to come when they see how a series of low grades is impacting their overall average in the course.

The grades in the Moodle program are secure, backed up, and can be retrieved even if a professor's personal record is lost. The grades in the Moodle program are not official grades. The only grade that is entered into the official record of the student is the grade that the professor enters on the official grade site (in ECWeb) at the end of the course.

If a graded assignment is turned in electronically, the Moodle program has a record of when the assignment was submitted, when it was graded, and, if the grade was changed, when this change was made.

A personal note:

When I teach I long for the students who want to learn the fascinating information in the course. I resent the importance that students place on grades. Later in life, how well they learn to think and what they learn will be so much more important than the grades that they get in the course.
And then I remember a semester in graduate school. I chose to audit a course that I was very interested in taught by an excellent professor. At the end of the semester I had learned much more in all my other courses -- courses where I was less interested in the material and taught by professors whose ability to teach and explain material wasn't quite as good. For me, grades were important motivating factors that encouraged me to learn, and I didn't learn as much or work as hard in a course where I wasn't being graded.
Bill Junkin