Moodle FAQ


  • This page works a lot better with Javascript ON. Click on a question to see the response.
  • Although Moodle sites can be configured in various ways, most of the information here is generally applicable.
  • This is a work in progress – feel free to leave your own question as a comment at the foot of this page.

Moodle courses are built using items which are either resources (ie content) or activities. These are added to the blocks in the central panel. In the screen shot below, note how each item has an icon and a title:

The icon helps us identify what sort of item it is – eg the icon for Forum activities looks like this:  

When logged in to your course:

  • Click on your name if you want to change your password or edit your profile. Because establishing a personal presence is generally seen as important to effective learning and teaching online, it’s standard practice to upload a photo of yourself to your profile. Some people prefer to be represented by an avatar or a photo of their cat ☺
  • In the administration menu in the left-hand column, click on Settings to change your course settings. While there are lots of options here, the one you’re most likely to need early on is to change the number of topic blocks to display or to change your course from Topics to Weekly format.
  • If you want to start editing or creating content for your course, click the Turn Editing on button – usually near the top right corner of the Moodle window, but may also be found under the Administration menu on the left hand side. This will display a set of editing icons next to every item:

When editing, each block includes two drop down menus:

Choosing an item from one of these drop-down menus adds an item of that type to the block.

The most common Resources you will probably need to use are:

  • Compose a text page or web page
  • Link to a file or web site

The most common Activity you will probably need is the Forum. The quiz, glossary and wiki are also very commonly used.

You’ll see this icon a lot when working in Moodle:
It provides context-sensitive help on using whatever function you are carrying out so can be really useful as your most immediate source of help. The help opens in a new window.

At the bottom of most screens you’ll also see:
This provides more general help for the page you’re looking at. By default, this does not open a new window – you might find it useful to ctrl-click or right click the link to make it open in a new window or tab.

Check out this free online book for clear and detailed explanations of all the Resource and Activity types as well as ideas on how to organise your course. You can access it online or download it as a PDF file.

If you can’t work it out yourself, contact your e-learning advisor. It might even be me.

When your Moodle course is ready to go, you need to make it available to students. This can be done by going into settings (under the Administration block in the left hand side) and setting ‘Availability’ to ‘This course is available to students’ then click ‘Save changes’:

Most courses use ‘automatic enrolment’ by default. That means that students will be automatically enrolled in your Moodle course from the student database. If your course has not yet been made available, they won’t be able to see it or access it even though they are enrolled.

In general, you should make your Moodle course available from day 1 of the course at the latest – although there may be times you need to make an exception to this.
It can be really useful to make your course available before the course starts – that way, students can get started on the readings and doing some prior thinking. But activities requiring a cohort (such as discussion or collaborative activities) can cause a problem, as early starters can get demotivated if no-one responds to their contributions. So those activities might be best hidden until the course starts. It can be very useful to make your questions forum available early so that students can ask questions before the course starts

But: if you make your course available before the start date and post an announcement to the news forum, only those already enrolled will receive the announcement via email. So you might find it more effective to delay posting a welcome announcement until the day the course starts.

There’s no simple way to change the author of forum postings – basically the name and photo of the previous teacher attached to forum postings are generated by the system. Since Moodle is based around a social approach to teaching and learning, the identity of authors is always retained.

You can reset the course but that will empty out all the forums and you will lose those posts altogether, which is probably not what you want! You can edit the other teacher’s posts and they will show as having been edited by you (but will still appear as being created by her).

If you need to create new posts under your own name the simplest way is to copy and paste the text of each of the earlier messages to a new post then delete the earlier one. This takes a bit of time but it gives you the chance to update or amend the post which is normally needed anyway.

Most blocks on the Moodle page can be moved using the small arrow keys. Topic blocks (in the centre column) can be moved up or down, while the smaller blocks in the left or right columns can be moved left or right to the other side column, or up and down.

But… many organisations have a standard layout for courses, and it will cause problems for students and teachers if you mess with this layout without good reason. For example, the illustration shows a block which allows users to search the institution’s library from within Moodle. Every course has this same block in the top right corner of the Moodle course page.

In general, anyone with teacher rights can hide, delete or shift this block to somewhere else on the screen. However, even moving the block will detract from the user’s ability to quickly find the information they need.

So, as a rule of thumb, never change the position or visibility of the standard blocks on the Moodle screen unless there is a pressing need to do so.

When you are viewing a forum thread (ie a topic with replies) you can change the way the thread is displayed – eg oldest first or newest first or threaded form or nested form.

But these are just temporary options for the viewer, so they don’t change the general forum settings: any reader (eg a student) can change the display options when viewing a forum thread. So however you set the option, it won’t change how the student sees the thread.

  1. Log in to Moodle
  2. Click on your name near the top-right where it says ‘Logged in as…’.
  3. Click on ‘Edit profile’
  4. Change your name in the ‘First Name’ field
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Update profile’

PS: while you’re editing your profile, you should also upload a photo of yourself and write a brief personal note in the description field.

Not what you were looking for? You are welcome to contact me with your own question

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