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Moodle - Faculty QuickStart Guide   Tags: moodle  

This faculty quickstart guide for getting started with Moodle includes information about course settings, adding resources, setting up and conducting activities, and user profiles.
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Moodle - Faculty Quick Start Guide

Moodle Faculty Quickstart Guide

This faculty quickstart guide for getting started with Moodle includes information about course settings, adding resources, setting up and conducting activities, and user profiles.

What is Moodle?

Moodle is Whittier College's Course Management System. Moodle allows faculty to easily post course information, hold class discussions, communicate with students, and hold exams online. Faculty do not need to know how to build a web site to use Moodle; content is added through the use of online forms, and files made in Word, Power Point, Excel, and various other programs that can be added directly into Moodle. Moodle also provides advanced learning content development tools such as the Glossary Module, Book Module, and Lesson Module.

Why might I use Moodle?

Consider using Moodle to:

  • Organize and deliver digital content to students in your course (e.g., web links, resources, syllabi, short readings, simulations).
  • Capitalize on learning opportunities outside of class time. For example:
    • Student review of class materials/content covered in class (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, short quizzes)
    • Student preparation for the next class session
  • Encourage peer interaction and discussion
    • Threaded discussion using Forums
    • Group collaboration using Wiki assignments
    • Peer-review of written assignments
    • Development of a class glossary
  • Manage class logistics
    • Use the general news forum to make important class announcements.
    • Use the calendar to note events, due dates, etc.
    • Use Moodle messaging to email individuals or the entire class.
    • Use the grading features to accept assignments and/or to post grades privately.
    • Use Choice assignments to allow students to pick research topics.

Getting Started

  1. To access Moodle: open a browser window and go to:
    We recommend using the Mozilla Firefox browser (rather than Internet Explorer, Netscape, or Safari) when working with Moodle. If you don't have Firefox, download it from the Mozilla web site.
  2. To log in to Moodle: click the (Login) link at the top right of the window, next to the message "You are not logged in." Use your MyWhittier user name and password to log in.
  3. Look for these icons:
    Edit: click this icon to edit whatever it is next to.
    Help: click this icon to view a popup help window.
    Open eye: click this icon to hide something from students.
    Closed eye: click this icon to make a hidden item available (viewable by students in the course).
  4. The navigation bar at the top of each page will help you stay oriented as you explore different parts of Moodle.

Course Settings

To adjust your course settings, find the Administration block on your course homepage and click Settings.

Note that this link, and in fact the whole Administration section of your course, is only available to you (and the Moodle site administrator); students do not see the Administration block.

On the Settings page, you can change a number of settings about your course, from its name to what day it starts. For details about a setting, click the Help icon next to it.

IMPORTANT: please do NOT change the Short name or the Course ID number of your course.


The most important setting is the Format. The course format you choose will determine the basic layout of your course.

  • WEEKLY format: organizes the content blocks in seven day increments from the start date to the finish date of the course. Activities and Resources can be arranged according to the week.
  • TOPICS format: is not automatically labeled, and is not restricted to any time limit. Topics can be used to organize material more thematically.
  • SOCIAL format: oriented around a single forum, this format displays discussion topics as the central content of the course.

Note that the Weekly and Topics formats are very similar in structure. The main difference is that each box in the Weekly format covers exactly one week, whereas each box in the Topic format can cover whatever you like. The Social format doesn't use much content at all and is based around one forum that will be displayed on the main page.

Number of weeks/topics

This setting is used by the Weekly and Topics course formats, and determines the number of "boxes" down the middle of the course page.

In the Topics format it specifies the number of topics in the course. In the Weekly format it specifies the number of weeks that the course will run, starting from the course starting date and displaying one block for every seven days.


All courses are created with Availability set to "This course is not available to students" so that the course will not appear on any course listings, except to teachers of the course and administrators. This allows the teacher to open the class when and if they want.

Click the Help buttons on the Course Settings page for more details.

Uploading Files

Existing content can be added to your course by uploading files to the server. Web pages, audio files, video files, PDF files, Word documents, and Flash animations are examples of files that can be uploaded into your course and stored on the server. While your files are on the server, you can move, rename, replace, or delete them.

All of these actions can be performed using the Files link in your Administration block. The Files section looks like this:

Moodle files interface for instructors.

Note that this interface is only available to instructors - it is not accessible by students. The files that you upload are made available to students later on as "Resources." See the Adding Resources section below for more information.

As shown in the screen shot, folders are listed along with individual files. You can create any number of folders to organize your files, and move your files among them.

The file space is divided into four functional areas:

  1. List of files and folders. Click a filename or folder to open the file or folder.
  2. Checkboxes, to the left of the filenames. Click a checkbox (or boxes) then choose an action from the With chosen files drop down menu.
  3. Action list, to the right of the filenames. You can rename, unzip, or choose a file to link to a resource by clicking the appropriate action next to a filename.
  4. Drop down menu and buttons along the bottom of the list:
    • With chosen files: after selecting files (marking the checkboxes) you can move them into a folder, delete them, or zip them into a single file for easier download or transfer.
    • Make a folder: creates a new folder at your current level in your file space. You can nest folders as many levels deep as you like.
    • Select all / Deselect all: checks or unchecks all of the checkboxes in the current folder. Note that the top level is simply the parent folder to any folders within it. As you open folders, you can move back up a level by clicking Parent folder.
    • Upload a file: opens the standard file dialog box and allows you to search for the file you want to upload to your course.

Uploading files is currently restricted to one file at a time with a maximum file size of 50MB. If you want to upload multiple files at once (for example, a whole web site), it is often easier to use a zip program to compress them into a single file, upload the zip file, and then unzip them on the server (you will see an "unzip" link next to zip files).

To preview any file you have uploaded, just click its name. Your web browser will take care of either displaying it or downloading it to your computer.

To change the contents of a file, edit it on your local computer then upload it again.

Important: if you upload a file that has the same name as a file that already exists on your site, your new file will not be displayed automatically. You must refresh your browser to see the new version. If the file displays in a frame, you may have to refresh that frame specifically.

Note: if your content resides on the Web, you don't need to upload files at all - you can link directly to your pages from inside the course. See the Adding Activities and Adding Resources sections below for more information.

Adding Resources

Resources are the content of your course. You can create simple text-based resources by typing directly into a form. A resource can also be any file you have uploaded, or any file you can point to using a URL.

To link to a file:

  1. On the drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
  2. In the next window, Name your link (this can be the file name or whatever you want the students to see)
  3. click the Choose or upload a file button.
  4. In the Files window, click Choose to select a file from your existing files list
  5. Click Save and return to class
(or add a new from within the File folders window, as follows:)
  1. Click the Upload a file button.
  2. In the next window, click the Browse button, navigate to the file, select it, then click the Open button.
  3. When the correct filename is displayed in the window, click the Upload this file button.
  4. Back in the Files window, select the newly-added file from your files list.
  5. Scroll to the bottom click Save and return to class

To link to online articles:

Full-text articles in library subscription databases can be linked to from your Moodle course site.

Some of the library's full-text subscription databases allow you to create links to an article simply by using the URL you get when you retrieve the article. In other resources, including Academic OneFile, JSTOR, and FirstSearch, the databases provide methods for generating stable URLs (a.k.a. persistent URLs) that can then be used for creating article-level links. More information on providing stable links will be provided soon.

Once you have the stable URL, follow the instructions below for creating links to web sites.

To link to a web site:

    1. On the drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
    2. In the next window, if you know the URL of the web page, enter it in the Location field.
    3. If you don't know the URL, click the Search for web page button to open a browser window.
    4. When you locate the page, copy its URL, close the browser window, and paste the URL into the Location field.


In you Course page
Turn editing on
Click the down arrow next to Add a resource
Click Insert a Label
Type in the information you want displayed on the front page of the course
You can use the html editing bar to
      1. Make bold   
      2. Highlight
      3. Use headers
      4. Add links
      5. Add pictures  

    Labels are used for organization, as a way to add pictures, to inform…

Setting Up Activities

Building a course involves adding course activity modules to the main page in a logical order. You can change the order any time you like.

To turn editing on: click the Turn on editing link under Administration, or the button at the top right of the page. This toggle-switch shows or hides the extra controls that allow you to manipulate your main course page.

To add a new activity: go to the topic section or week where you want to add the activity and select the type of activity from the drop down menu.

After adding your activities, you can move them up and down in your course layout by clicking the little arrow icons ( ) next to each one.

You can delete an activity using the X icon ( ), or edit it using the edit icon ( ).

Summary of standard Moodle activities::


An assignment is where you set a task with a due date and a maximum grade. Depending on the type of assignment, students will be able to upload one file to satisfy the requirements. The date a student uploads a file is recorded. Afterwards, you will have a single page on which you can view each file (and how late or early it was), and then record a grade and a comment.

There are four assignment types in Moodle:

  • Advanced uploading of files: if you would like be able to comment on a student's file and upload the version of the file with your comments, choose Advanced uploading of files under Assignment type. This will still allow the student to upload a file, which you can then open and grade, but from the grade screen you will be able to upload the commented version. Students will see both their original and your commented version of their file.
  • Online text: this assignment type asks users to enter text using the normal Moodle editing tools. These assignments are graded online with the ability to add inline comments or changes.
  • Upload a single file: similar to the advanced uploading of files, this assignment type is more limited, allowing for students to upload one file. This assignment type also lacks the ability to upload files back to the student.
  • Offline activity: assignments don't necessarily have to consist of file uploads. You can create offline assignments to remind students of real-world assignments they need to complete. Currently, these "offline" assignments are used to record grades for activities that don't have an online component.


A Choice activity is very simple - you ask a question and specify a choice of responses. Students can make their choice, and you have a report screen where you can see the results. It is ideal for quick polls and class votes.


This is the module where discussion takes place. When you add a new forum, you must choose one of four different types: a simple single-topic discussion, a free-for-all general forum, a one-discussion-thread-per-user forum, or a question-and-answer forum.

Under "Force everyone to be subscribed", you can make the forum act like a list server, in that posting a message to the forum automatically sends an email to everyone who is subscribed.

Forums may also be used as graded assignments.


This module allows you to design and present quizzes consisting of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. Your questions are kept in a categorized database, and can be re-used within courses and 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.




Adding Students or Teachers

  1. In the Administration block, click Assign Roles.
  2. Select the role you wish to assign (Teacher, Student, or Guest).
  3. On the Assign Role page, enter all or part of the name of the person you wish to add in the Search field.
  4. When the search is complete, select the correct name from the box on the right of the page, then click the left-pointing arrow to add that name to the list on the left.

Note: to unassign someone from a role, select their name on the left and click the right-pointing arrow.

User Profiles

To change or add information about yourself, such as your email address, click your name on the top right of the page next to the Logout link.

Your profile will open, showing the information others can see about you. Click the Edit profile tab to change your email address, upload an image, or add/change other pieces of information.

Instructional Technologist

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Kathy Filatreau
Contact Info
Wardman Library
Whittier College
Tel: 562-907-4843
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