The Navigation Block is the most reliable way to find your way around Moodle.
In the Navigation bar (or “breadcrumb links”) at the very top of the page, Home links to the entry page for all of Moodle. Click the course name to return to the main course page from a sub page.
Note: Grayed-out text in the Navigation bar is for reference only, and is not cilckable.
In Moodle, a course is delivered via a single page, divided into columns. The sides contain Blocks and the center contains Sections.
The side columns of a Moodle page contain Blocks. The Navigation and Settings Blocks are required, but other Blocks are optional. You can rearrange the Blocks in the sidebars and set whether particular Blocks show only on the course home page, or on all pages.
Most Blocks update dynamically with information about the course. For example, Blocks such as Calendar and Upcoming Events update when date-based activities are added to the course. The HTML Block can be added to post static text in a side column. The Remote RSS Feed brings in the latest blog posts or other RSS content from outside Web sites.
Which Blocks show at any moment depends on where you are in Moodle. The Blocks displayed on your course home page are different from those displayed when viewing an assignment or forum. Which Blocks are displayed can also depend on your Role in the course. For example, teachers may see Blocks that students don't see.
For more about blocks, see Add and Remove Blocks in Moodle.
The central column of the main course page is divided into Sections where your course content and activities are shown. You can use the sections to organize your course by topic, content type, or chronologically, in which case you can have Moodle automatically provide a section per week, or you can name the sections yourself.
Inside the sections of your main course page, you will put links to Resources (PDFs, Web pages, URLs, etc.), and Activities (discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, etc.). Labels (a type of Resource) can be used to add text, and images to Sections.
Section names can be changed by clicking on the Update/Edit icon at the top of each sections when Editing is turned on.
The overall settings for your course are found in the Settings block of your main course page. Click Edit Settings to make changes.
Some settings are populated automatically with information from SPIRE when the course is created. Other settings are up to the instructor.
The Edit Settings screen is where you choose to format course sections by Topic or Week, determine how many sections appear in the center column, choose a theme (visual style), and make grades visible to students.
Note: The Settings Block is context-aware. To edit the settings for your course, you need to be on your main course page. For example, if you open a Forum activity and click Edit settings in the Settings block, it will open the settings for the forum.
Click Turn editing on at the top-right of your course page.
When editing is on, small icons will appear next to ?each editable element on the page (see image for a summary of each icon). Rolling over an ?icon tells you its name and what it does.
To add content to your ?course, go to a Section and click Add an Activity or Resource (at bottom right of each section when editing is on).
Depending on your role in Moodle, you may be able to switch to other roles; for instance, if you are a Teacher, you can switch to a Student role to see how the course looks to a student, or switch to Non-editing Teacher to view the course as a teaching assistant.
(For more, see Roles in Moodle.)
Note: Instructors are enrolled in courses as Teachers and as Students. This allows instructors to submit Quizzes, Assignments or other graded Activities, then work with their own grades in the Moodle grade book to confirm grade calculations are correct.
Throughout Moodle, you will see circles with question marks "?" ( ). Click these to get information about the associated element. Some are simple glossary entries, others offer more detail.
You can also find OIT help links ( ) when adding activities or resources, which will open the help page for that topic in the OIT Support Center, with instructions customized for how Moodle is set up at UMass Amherst.
The "i" at the bottom of a page links to the "Moodle Docs" help for the page-type on the Moodle.org site. Moodle.org offers many pages of documentation and forums on several versions of Moodle can can be daunting to navigate. If you do want to look for help from Moodle Docs, keep an eye on the date of forum posts, and the version of Moodle being referenced--we are using Moodle 2.2.
OIT provides step-by-step help pages on most features available in Moodle at UMass Amherst: Search the "OIT Support Center" from oit.umass.edu, or to browse by topic, go to the Moodle area of the OIT Support Center.
Instructors, TAs, and departmental support staff are welcome to contact the Instructional Media Lab with questions about Moodle at (413) 545-2823 or email@example.com.
The back button works!
You can use the navigation in your browser to move around in Moodle. If you attempt to navigate away from pages with unsaved changes, Moodle will warn you to save your work.
Use the "Eye" icon to hide things.
To hide Sections, Blocks, Activities or Resources from your students, click Turn Editing On and click the Eye icon next to the item you wish to hide or show.
URLs can link directly to your course site.
If you want to bookmark your course, or put a link to it in an email or on a Web page, you can use the address in your browser's location bar (URL) to link directly to your Moodle course. A log in screen will control access, and only those enrolled in the course will be given access.
Be aware that blocks can be "docked."
Moving blocks to the Dock (at left) can provide extra screen space, but can be confusing when you or your students' don't realize you've done so.
Files uploaded to your course pages are deleted from Moodle if deleted from the page.
When you upload a file to a course page, it goes into the System Files for your course. Moodle does not provide a tool for managing those files; if you delete the link to a file from your course home page, it deletes the file from Moodle. Be sure you have a backup on your own computer! (Note, an alternative that provides more traditional file management is to upload your course files to your My Private Files area.
The gradebook in Moodle has many built-in functions.
The Moodle Gradebook is a powerful tool that provides instructors with the ability to do complex calculations and organize student grades in a variety of ways. You can mark tasks as extra credit, drop the lowest "x" scores from a category, ignore blank grades in a category if the work is optional, and sum up the total score in a given category (e.g. all Quizzes) and make it a percentage of a final grade.
Use the News Forum for announcements.
Only the instructor can post to the News Forum for a course, and when they do an email is automatically sent to everyone enrolled in the course.
Moodle sends email tool notices when course members are "subscribed" to different activities.
You can have Moodle send email notices to you or your students when forum posts are made, Assignments submitted, grades posted, etc. Individuals can control some aspects of subscription from individual activities and in their My profile settings.