Moodle Faculty Guide
Welcome to Moodle! This guide will provide a reference for you as you work in Moodle.
Please familiarize yourself with the Moodle Policy, and this document before you work on your course.
You can click a link in the table of contents to skip to the topic you are interested in.
Note: Session Timeout
Moodle is set to automatically log a user out after two hours of no activity. All unsaved edits will be lost. Please make sure to keep this in mind as you customize your course and grade student materials.
Courses are created in a hidden state by default. You may wish to keep your course unavailable to students while you are developing it and then make it available it when you are ready. You will need to change the visibility of the course to allow students to access the course.
The default format of a Moodle course is chronological (by week). you can change this if you choose. To do so:
It is possible to add additional participants to a course. Students will be enrolled automatically through and integration with JICS (the Portal).
Guest access allows those without Beloit username and password access the course. Guests have view access to the course only. To allow guests:
Activities are items that can be graded in Moodle, resources are items that students view or listen to.
To add an activity:
There are two ways to add files to your course page:
Method #1: Simply drag and drop (!) a file from your computer onto the Moodle course page.
Method #2: Use the “Add a resource or activity” link.
From the left column of the window, select the activity or resource type you would like to add. When you select an activity or resource type, the right column will display a description of the activity or resource you’ve selected.
File Picker is the new interface for navigating the Moodle file system. While you can use the Drag-and-Drop feature on most pages, the File Picker gives you added flexibility and access to other file storage options (Repositories - enabled by the Moodle administrator).
Upload a File
On your file settings page, clicking the [Add] button will open the File Picker. Click on Upload a File in the File Picker to upload files, while setting the author and licensing of the file.
This is a special storage area for each Moodle user that you will be able to access from any of your course sites. It's a great place to store files commonly shared amongst various courses you teach in Moodle.
Server Files will allow you to access the file storage for other courses that you have access to in Moodle. If you suddenly decide that you want to add a file already used in another course site, you can go to Server Files > System and then navigate to your other course file to retrieve the document.
It is possible to for the Moodle administrator to enable repositories or other locations from which to pull content. Dropbox, Flickr, Google Docs and Youtube are examples of these. Check with your Moodle administrator if there is a repository that you would like to use.
To ensure your students’ ability to access licensed resources from off-campus, you’ll first need to locate the persistent URL for the resource. Persistent URLs (also known as “stable,” “permanent,” or “document” URLs) will always lead directly to the article or resource in question. To locate the URL, look for a link to the article’s citation, as seen here in JSTOR:
In EBSCOhost databases, this URL can be found by clicking “Permalink” in an article record as seen here:
Use these links instead of those found in the address bar since the latter may not always lead directly to the article or resource. Using persistent URLs to grant access to licensed resources is preferred to uploading article PDFs to Moodle. Doing so alleviates copyright concerns since copies of articles are not made with this method. Persistent URLs also allow library staff to accurately track usage of licensed resources.
Once you’ve found the resource’s persistent URL, you’ll then need to add EZproxy URL information to the URL to allow off-campus access if such information is not already present (appearing as “ezproxy.beloit.edu” somewhere within the URL). To do this, simply prepend the following snippet to the URL:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/3879078 --> https://ezproxy.beloit.edu/login?url=http://www.jstor.org/stable/3879078
Enter the full URL including the EZproxy information into the “Location” field following the instructions for “Adding a resource (Link to URL)”. If you have any questions about this process, please contact library or ITMS staff.
Note: If you are working from off-campus and have found a link in Moodle or on a website to a licensed full-text resource, but cannot access the full-text, check in your browser’s address bar for “ezproxy.beloit.edu” somewhere within the URL. If it is not present, prepend the following snippet to the URL:
You should then be allowed to authenticate and access the resource. If this process does not work, or if “ezproxy.beloit.edu” was already present in the URL upon first opening the link, please contact library staff.
If you attempt to access a licensed resource from off-campus and an error message appears, Please contact library staff by using the contact information at http://www.beloit.edu/library/askalibrarian. Be prepared to provide the name of the resource that you are attempting to access and the route by which you are trying to gain access (e.g. via Moodle, via BELCAT, via the FindIt@Beloit button). We will work to resolve the problem. In the meantime, you may try to gain access by changing your browser configuration settings as described here: https://www.beloit.edu/isr/it/campuscomputing/proxy/.
It is recommended that you create and download a backup copy of your course to and save it on an external device.
If you need help with Moodle please submit a ticket through SchoolDude. To do so:
Navigate to the SchoolDude Requestor page and enter your Beloit College email address to log in.
Do encourage students to learn together through shared Moodle-based experiences
Moodle is not just about text, images and links. There is a Moodle philosophy that presumes that that learning is particularly effective when constructing something for others to experience. Moodle was born with collaboration in mind.
Do encourage your students to experience Moodle together, not as a book that has been posted to the Web, but rather as members of an ongoing, active learning community.
This means that your job as a 'teacher' can change from being 'the source of knowledge' to being an influencer and role model of class culture, connecting with students in a personal way that addresses their own learning needs, and moderating discussions and activities in a way that collectively leads students towards the learning goals of the class.
Do encourage students to be security-conscious
Students should be very careful about posting personal information to any web site, even your Moodle site. Encourage them to use common sense in this area.
Do enter brief, helpful summaries for your resources
When students click on the resources link, it is helpful for them to see not only the title of the resource, but also some descriptive information about that resource. Many teachers prefer to skip the summary, but it takes only a few moments to add one and doing so is an act of kindness toward your students and colleagues.
Do set an enrollment key
Unless you want the whole world to join your course (possible, but usually not the case), do not leave the enrollment key field blank in the course settings. This one-time password will keep out everyone except your students. If necessary, change the key after all of your students have enrolled. That way, the students won't be able to share the key with others, because they won't know it.
Do encourage students to think before they post
Many students have a very casual approach to posting to forums. This presumably comes from their many online interactions with their friends. This may be what you are looking for, but you will often want more thinking than that to occur when students are communicating in your class. Encourage students to consider the advice built into Moodle about being a little more critical in one's approach to forum interactions.
Do use labels to appropriately divide/annotate your course sections/weeks
If you use labels INSTEAD of the default topic/week editing section, you'll have less trouble when you migrate portions of your course over to another (when you append and don't overwrite, section notes are lost, but labels are not).
Do encourage student feedback about course structure, usability, content etc.
Your students will be the experts who will be able to tell you if you have set up your course well, if they found it to be user friendly, and so on. Be sure to ask them for constructive feedback about what works and doesn't work. Their responses may sting a little, but can be very helpful. The choice, questionnaire and feedback modules are good for this purpose. Moodle also makes it very easy for you to act on that feedback and modify your course as necessary on the fly.
Do hide menu options on internal resources pop-up windows
When you create a resource that is a text page, webpage, or internal file that opens in the browser, use the "Show settings" button to make the window pop-up options available. By setting these resources to open up as a secondary window, you can leave your main Moodle course page as a "launch platform" for your course. Using the additional options, you can create a nice streamlined window without all the normal browser menus. You can even size the window. It's a good idea to leave the allow scrolling and resizing windows available, as you may not always be able to predict how much screen space you need. Once the participant has viewed the window, they simply close it, taking them smoothly back to the course page.
Do share with colleagues
Communicate often with colleagues here at moodle.org, at your own school, and anywhere else you discover moodlers. Each person you meet will have different ideas to enhance your own creativity in your use of Moodle resources. When you find that something works well, always share it with others!
Don't let Moodle overwhelm you
Moodle is big. You can do all sorts of educational stuff with Moodle, so much stuff, that beginners can be overwhelmed by all there is to learn. But is it necessary to master all of Moodle right away? Of course not.
Start with modest goals like posting lesson plans and links to useful resources and go from there. Take your time and be patient. If you do have difficulty learning to do some of the more sophisticated things, turn to the Moodle community for assistance. In a few months, you will be Moodling like a champ!
Don't assume that the coolness of Moodle will inspire or motivate your students
Many teachers are amazed and impressed by what Moodle can do. Astonished, even. They simply assume that their students will share their enthusiasm. Well, maybe... But remember that it is good teaching (online or otherwise) that inspires students. Don't expect Moodle to do the teacher's job.
Don't violate copyright laws
If you inappropriately borrow the works of others, your students will do so, too. That is probably not what you want to teach them.
Instructors and students using Moodle should ensure that anything uploaded to Moodle does not violate FERPA or copyright laws. If you have questions about copyright, please see our Copyright and Filesharing page and Copyright FAQ’s.
Please familiarize yourself with the Moodle Policy, which in part states, “Keeping full document copies in a course after the semester is over may violate copyright law. Licensing restrictions for some journals require that all copies be removed from online courses at the end of the semester; therefore we strongly recommend that all full text copies be removed from courses at the end of every semester.”
“Teaching Do’s.” http://docs.moodle.org/en/Teaching_Do%27s. December 18, 2006.
“Teaching Don’ts.” http://docs.moodle.org/en/Teaching_Don%27ts. December 18, 2006.
The book module enables a teacher to create a multi-page resource in a book-like format, with chapters and subchapters. Books can contain media files as well as text and are useful for displaying lengthy passages of information which can be broken down into sections.
The file module enables a teacher to provide a file as a course resource. Where possible, the file will be displayed within the course interface; otherwise students will be prompted to download it. The file may include supporting files, for example an HTML page may have embedded images or Flash objects.
Note that students need to have the appropriate software on their computers in order to open the file.
The folder module enables a teacher to display a number of related files inside a single folder, reducing scrolling on the course page. A zipped folder may be uploaded and unzipped for display, or an empty folder created and files uploaded into it.
IMS Content Package
An IMS content package is a collection of files which are packaged according to an agreed standard so they can be reused in different systems. The IMS content package module enables such content packages to be uploaded as a zip file and added to a course as a resource.
The label module enables text and multimedia to be inserted into the course page in between links to other resources and activities. Labels are very versatile and can help to improve the appearance of a course if used thoughtfully.
The page module enables a teacher to create a web page resource using the text editor. A page can display text, images, sound, video, web links and embedded code, such as Google maps.
Advantages of using the page module rather than the file module include the resource being more accessible (for example to users of mobile devices) and easier to update.
The URL module enables a teacher to provide a web link as a course resource. Anything that is freely available online, such as documents or images, can be linked to; the URL doesn’t have to be the home page of a website. The URL of a particular web page may be copied and pasted or a teacher can use the file picker and choose a link from a repository such as Flickr, YouTube or Wikimedia (depending upon which repositories are enabled for the site).
Assignments allow the teacher to specify a task that requires students to prepare digital content (any format) and submit it by uploading it to the server. Typical assignments include essays, projects, reports and so on. This module includes grading facilities. *You may also see an “Assignment (2.2)”. This is the old type of assignment.
The Chat module allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussion via the web. This is a useful way to get a different understanding of each other and the topic being discussed - the mode of using a chat room is quite different from the asynchronous forums. The Chat module contains a number of features for managing and reviewing chat discussions.
A choice activity is very simple - the teacher asks a question and specifies a choice of multiple responses. It can be useful as a quick poll to stimulate thinking about a topic; to allow the class to vote on a direction for the course; or to gather research consent.
The database activity module enables participants to create, maintain and search a collection of entries (i.e. records). The structure of the entries is defined by the teacher as a number of fields. Field types include checkbox, radio buttons, dropdown menu, text area, URL, picture and uploaded file.
The external tool activity module enables students to interact with learning resources and activities on other web sites. For example, an external tool could provide access to a new activity type or learning materials from a publisher.
This activity can be the most important - it is here that most discussion takes place. Forums can be structured in different ways, and can include peer rating of each posting. The postings can be viewed in a variety for formats, and can include attachments. By subscribing to a forum, participants will receive copies of each new posting in their email. A teacher can impose subscription on everyone if they want to.
This activity allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary. The entries can be searched or browsed in many different formats. The glossary also allows teachers to export entries from one glossary to another (the main one) within the same course. Finally, it is possible to automatically create links to these entries from throughout the course.
A lesson delivers content in an interesting and flexible way. It consists of a number of pages. Each page normally ends with a question and a number of possible answers. Depending on the student's choice of answer they either progress to the next page or are taken back to a previous page. Navigation through the lesson can be straight forward or complex, depending largely on the structure of the material being presented.
This module allows the teacher to design and set quiz tests, consisting of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. These questions are kept in a categorised database, and can be re-used within courses and even between courses. Quizzes can allow multiple attempts. Each attempt is automatically marked, and the teacher can choose whether to give feedback or to show correct answers. This module includes grading facilities.
A SCORM package is a collection of files which are packaged according to an agreed standard for learning objects. The SCORM activity module enables SCORM or AICC packages to be uploaded as a zip file and added to a course.
The Survey module provides a number of verified survey instruments that have been found useful in assessing and stimulating learning in online environments. Teachers can use these to gather data from their students that will help them learn about their class and reflect on their own teaching.
Wiki The wiki activity module enables participants to add and edit a collection of web pages. A wiki can be collaborative, with everyone being able to edit it, or individual, where everyone has their own wiki which only they can edit.
A history of previous versions of each page in the wiki is kept, listing the edits made by each participant.
Workshop A Workshop is a peer assessment activity with a huge array of options. It allows participants to assess each other's projects, as well as exemplar projects, in a number of ways. It also coordinates the collection and distribution of these assessments in a variety of ways. The Workshop module is contributed by Ray Kingdon.