Checklists are a great way for students (and the instructor) to track progress in a course. There are two options for creating/using checklists:
The Checklist Tool is added as an activity in the course. The instructor adds tasks and deadlines to the activity, and students manually check off items as they complete them. The checklist tool allows instructors to see all students' progress at once (via block), and students can see their own progress.
Note: By default, the Checklist Tool is a graded activity, but can be set to a grade of "0" (and then removed from the gradebook).
Completion tracking can also be used by students and instructors to track student progress in a course. Completion tracking is set up via the settings for each activity, then students can check off items (or they are checked off automatically based on criteria).
Students check off items as they complete them and can see which items have been completed via the Moodle course page. Instructors can see how students are progressing in the class via the Administration block (Reports --> Activity Completion).