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A Quick Tour of Moodle for Students

This page provides a quick introduction to Moodle, a learning management system (LMS) at UMass Amherst used to deliver course content and host online learning activities.

Log in, and Log Out of Moodle

  1. To log into Moodle, visit http://moodle.umass.edu.
  2. Click Log in with OIT NetID. (The login button will show at the top-left of on a large screen, but on your phone you may have to scroll down to find it.)
  3. The Web Login page will open. Enter your OIT NetID and password and click the arrow ( login arrow ) or press enter/return on your keyboard. Links to help with passwords are on this page.
  4. When you have successfully logged in, you will be returned to Moodle and will see a message at the top-right of the page: "You are logged in as Your Name (Logout)."
  5. When you are finished with Moodle, be sure to click Log out, then quit your browser especially if you are using a public or shared computer. This will ensure that no one else can access your UMass accounts.

Find Your Courses

Once you log in, the Login block will be replaced by the My courses block where you'll find links to your current courses.

my courses

If you log in and don't see your course in this block:

  • The course may not yet be open to students, so be sure to check again after the first day of class, or ask your instructor.
  • Not all classes use Moodle. Check your course schedule in SPIRE, and click the "LMS" icon ( SPIRE LMS icon ), if available, to go to the correct Learning Management System.

If you are still having problems, contact the OIT Help Center and notify your instructor so that we can help you and keep track of Moodle issues.

You can get to your Moodle courses a few additional ways:

  • In the Navigation block, click the My Home link to go to a personal homepage for all your courses. Simply click any course title to open the course. This page also lists upcoming deadlines.
  • Also in the Navigation block, you'll find links to your courses under My courses. This menu is especially handy for moving between Moodle courses.
  • From go.umass.edu, go to Classes (log in, if needed) and look for a yellow M icon (for Moodle).  Click the Moodle icon to get a snapshot view of the Moodle course activity—handy on your phone or other mobile device. Links to activities like assignments or quizzes will take you directly to Moodle.

My Home

For an overview of upcoming deadlines in all your Moodle courses, use My home (found at the top of the Navigation block). This page lists all of the courses you are currently enrolled in and allows you to quickly navigate to new assignments. You can also customize this page and add additional blocks to the right side, including the calendar, to help you stay organized.

To add a calendar to the My home page:

  1. Click the Customize this page button in the upper-right corner of the My home page.
  2. On the next page, find the drop-down menu in the Add a block block (on right) and select Calendar.
  3. Click Stop customizing this page, and now your calendar will appear whenever you navigate to the My home page.

Typical Course Layouts

Courses in Moodle are usually organized in two or three columns. These columns may contain Blocks that are often customizable, and topics where your instructor will post content and assignments for your course. 

Three column layout

The three column layout consists of a center section where your instructor will post information about the course, links to resources and assignments, and other activities you'll be doing on Moodle. On either side are blocks which you can use to navigate in Moodle, as well as access resources specific to your course such as your grades, upcoming assignments, discussion forums, announcements, and calendar.

three column layout (Click to enlarge)

Two column layout

On occasion, you may see a course page with a two column layout. This works exactly the same as a three column layout except that all blocks are on one side of your screen.

Two column layout (Click to enlarge)

Mobile Layout

You'll notice that on smaller screens such as a phone or small tablet, the page layout will rearrange for easier viewing: Blocks (Navigation, Activities, Calendar, etc.) will move to the bottom of the screen below the main course content.

Tips on Submitting Work

  • Submit assignments on time.  In Moodle your instructor may close assignments for late submissions, so don't expect to be able to electronically submit an assignment past the deadline.
  • Look for a confirmation screen to make sure your assignment is submitted. (This might look different depending on the kind of assignment.)
  • Know which file formats your instructor will accept (.pdf and .doc are usually preferred).