Glossary Moodle ISU


The Glossary activity in Moodle allows participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary. Glossary can be used in many ways: the entries can be searched or browsed in different formats; a glossary can be a collaborative activity or be restricted to entries made by the teacher; and entries can be put into categories. The auto-linking feature will highlight any word in the course located in the glossary.

Add a Glossary to Your Course

  1. Open Settings Gear Menu, and Click Turn editing on. For more information, see Moodle ISU Overview

  1. Locate the week/topic in which you wish to add the Glossary.
  2. Click Add an activity or resource.

  1. Select Glossary.
  2. Click Add.


  1. Type the name in the Name text box.
  2. In the Description field, Type any instructions or reminders for your students. They will see these instructions when opening the Glossary.
  1. If you would like this description displayed on the course page, Click the Display description on course page box.

Note: You can choose whether the glossary entry will be in the main or secondary glossary by selecting its Glossary type. A main glossary is a glossary in which entries from secondary glossaries can be imported. There can only be one main glossary in a course.


Allows you to determine how the entries interact.


  1. Approved by default - if set to Yes then new entries appear automatically. If not, then the teacher must approve each one first.
  2. Always allow editing - if set to Yes then entries are always editable. If not, then students can only edit their entries during a set editing time.
  3. Duplicate entries allowed -  allows the entry of more than one definition for a given word.
  4. Allow comments on entries - students and teachers can leave comments on glossary definitions. The comments are available through a link at the bottom of the definition.
  5. Automatically link glossary entries - turning this on allows individual entries in this glossary to be automatically linked whenever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the same course. This includes forum postings, internal resources, week summaries, quizzes, etc,.
  1. Enabling linking for the Glossary does not automatically turn on linking for each entry - the Add a new Entry form includes the option that must be selected in order to automatically link the entry wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the course.
  2. To turn off the automatic linking of glossary entries for an activity such as a quiz or forum you will need to do the following for each activity:
  1. Click on the activity in your course that you wish to turn off the automatic linking for.
  2. Locate the Settings Gear Menu and click on Filters.
  3. In the Filter settings window, locate Glossary auto-linking and use the drop-down menu to change the option to Off.
  4. Click Save changes.


Specifies how entries in the Glossary will look and how it is sorted.

  1. Display format-  specifies the way that each entry will be shown within the Glossary. The default formats are:
  1. Continuous without author - similar to simple style. Shows the entries one after the other without any kind of separation, but the editing icons, if your theme supports it.
  2. Encyclopedia - like 'Full with author', however, attached images are shown inline.
  3. Entry list - this lists the concepts as links.
  4. FAQ - useful for displaying lists of frequently asked questions. It automatically appends the words QUESTION and ANSWER in the concept and definition respectively.
  5. Full with author - a forum-like display format showing author's data. Attachments are shown as links.
  6. Full without author - a forum-like display format that does not show author's data. Attachments are shown as links.
  7. Simple, dictionary style - this looks like a conventional dictionary with separate entries. No authors are displayed and attachments are shown as links.
  1. Approval display format - it is possible to set an alternative display format, for when entries are approved, that can differ from the display format on the course page. This could be useful, for instance, if a tutor wants to see who made a particular glossary entry before approving it, but doesn't want the students' name to be displayed for others on the course page.
  2. Entries shown per page - decide here how many entries to show per page
  3. Show alphabet links - if set to Yes, users can browse the Glossary by letters of the alphabet
  4. Show ‘ALL’ link - if set to Yes, users can browse all the entries at once
  5. Show ‘Special’ link - if set to Yes, users can can browse the Glossary by special characters, such as @ and #.
  6. Allow print view - this provides a printer-friendly version link for students.

Note: Teachers are always provided with a printer-friendly version link.


  1. Grade category -  is an option that allows you to put the grade into the different categories you have already created in your gradebook.
  1. For more information, see Gradebook: Using the Gradebook 
  1. Grade to pass - Determines the minimum grade required to pass.

Note: This section will not be available once you have started the glossary and your students gain access to it.


Allows you to rate the entries.

  1. Roles with permission to rate - Glossary entries can be rated using a scale. By default, only teachers can rate glossary entries, though students can be given permission also. Contact the ITRC staff for more information.

Note: Any ratings given are recorded in the Gradebook.

  1. Aggregate type - gives different ways the entries can be rated.
  2. Scale - lets you decide the type of grading that will be done, the scale, and the possible maximum points.
  3. Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range - sets the time when students will be able to rate the entries.

Common module settings

  1. Choose whether to Show or Hide the Page (default is Show)
  2. Enter an ID number only if you want a way of identifying the activity for grade calculation purposes. If the activity is not included in any grade calculation then the ID number field may be left blank.

Restrict access

For more information, see Restrict Access

Activity completion

For more information, see Activity Completion

To save:

  1. Click Save and display to add new entries to the Glossary.
  2. Click Save and return to course to be taken back to the main course page.
  3. Click Cancel to delete the Glossary.

Note: The new activity will always appear at the bottom of the list within the week/topic you have chosen. Use the 4-sided arrow to drag and drop the activity to the desired location.

For more information, see Glossary module

For additional information, contact the ITRC - (208) 282-5880 or email

This work was done by Instructional Technology Resource Center at Idaho State University and is licensed under the Creative Commons Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit Attribution Noncommercial 3.0 United States or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.