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Moodle - Faculty QuickStart Guide: Quick Start

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

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: Use your MyWhittier user name and password to log in in the Login box on the Home page of Moodle.
  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 Edit settings.

Note that other than Grades... the Administration section of your course is only available to you (and the Moodle site administrator.) Students only see their own grades through the Gradebook in the Administration section. 

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 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.

Faculty must change the settings in their Moodle course to make it visible to students.

To make the class available to students:
On the front page of the course
In the Administration box
Click on Edit settings
Click the down arrow next to the Visible field
Choose Show
Scroll down and click Save

Course Maintenance

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.

Adding files got decidedly easier in Moodle 2.X.  To add files to the front page of the course, make sure editing is turned on and then drag your file directly onto the Moodle page:

To add Multiple files to a Folder:

With Editing turned on
Click on Add and Activity or Resource
Scroll down to Resources and click on Folder
Click Add
Name your Folder
Then drag and drop files to the Files area
Scroll down and click Save and return to course
(To add further files, click on the folder and continue to add, edit or delete files)

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 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.

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

To link to a web site:

  1. Click on Add an Activity or Resource.
  2. Scroll down to Resources and click on URL
  3. Click Add
  4. Name the URL and add a Description
  5. Paste the URL
  6. Click Save and return to course


    1. Click on Add an Activity or Resource.
    2. Scroll down to Resources and click on Label
    3. Click Add
    4. Type in your Label information
    5. Click on Show editing tools in the tab area to
      1. Make bold
      2. Highlight
      3. Use headers
      4. Add links
      5. Add pictures
    6. Click Save and return to course
    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.

  1. Turn editing on
  2. Choose the week or topic box where you'd like to add an activity
  3. Click on Add an activity or resource
  4. Choose the type of activity (Assignment, Forum, Quiz, etc.) and click the radial button next to it
  5. Click Add
  6. Give the activity a name and add a description
  7. Choose the options appropriate for that assignment (grade, due date, etc.)
  8. Scroll down and click Save and return to course

Should you need to move your activity, they can be moved up and down in your course layout by clicking the four-headed arrow icon ( ) to the right of the activity title.

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:

      • File submission: 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.
      • 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. Uncheck file or online text and you will create an offline activity.


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.


Offers feedback or evaluation options.  Question types include Radial box, Check box, Rate (scale,) and text.

Assign Roles

    Adding Students or Teachers

    1. In the Administration block, click Users
    2. Click Enrolled users
    3. Click Enroll users
    4. Select the role you wish to assign (Teacher, Student, or Guest).
    5. On the Enroll users page, enter all or part of the name of the person you wish to add in the Search field.
    6. When the search is complete, select the correct name and click Enroll.

User Profiles

    To change or add information about yourself, such as your picture or interests, click on My profile settings in the box below Administration on the left side of the screen, then click Edit settings..

    Your profile will open, showing the information others can see about you. Click the Expand all  link to open all the options (upload an image, or add/change other pieces of information.)  Scroll down and click Update profile when finished.