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Add a Glossary Activity in Moodle

The Glossary activity allows users to create a list of terms and definitions, as in a dictionary, that course participants can search or browse. Teachers can restrict access to a Glossary so that only they can create entries, or they can allow students to add new entries as well. Instructors can also set up a glossary block to display random glossary entries on the course homepage.

Add a Glossary

  1. On your course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  2. Locate the Topic or Weekly Section where you will add the page. (If you are using the Collapsed topics format, open the Section.)
  3. At the bottom-right of the Section, click + Add an activity or resource. The Activity chooser will open.
  4. In the Activity chooser, select Glossary. A description will be displayed at right.
  5. Click Add. The Adding a new Glossary page will open.
  6. On the Adding a new Glossary page, in the Name field, enter a title. The name you enter will display as the link to the page on your course page.
  7. In the Description field, provide instructions or background information for your students.
  8. Adjust the glossary settings as needed. Click Expand all (top right) to view all settings. Commonly used settings include:
    • Duplicate entries allowed
      This allows the entry of more than one definition for a given word.
    • Allow comments on entries
      When this option is enabled, students and teachers can leave comments on glossary definitions. The comments are available through a link at the bottom of the definition.
    • Automatically link glossary entries
      Automatically links glossary words and phrases where they appear throughout the rest of the course. This includes student forum postings, internal resources, week summaries, etc.
    • Entries shown per page
      Sets the number of definitions students will see at once when they view the glossary list. If you have a large number of automatically linked entries, keep this number lower to prevent long loading times.
  9. Click Save and return to course.

Add a Glossary Entry

  1. On your course page, click the link to the activity (not the Update icon).

  2. Click Add a new entry (at top left).

  3. Type the word or phrase you want to define in the Concept field and add the definition in the Definition field.

  4. If you have created categories for your Glossary, you can associate this entry with one or more of the existing options by selecting them from the Categories list.
  5. If there are synonyms you want to include for the entry, add them to the Keyword(s) text area.
    Note: Only enter one word per line.
  6. To add an attachment such as a picture or an article, in the Attachment area, drag and drop a file (or files) from your computer onto the large blue arrow (or click Add to use the File Picker to browse for and upload a file).
  7. Adjust the Auto-linking settings as needed. (Automatically link glossary entries must be enabled in the glossary settings - see above.)
    Options include:
    • This entry should be automatically linked
      Automatically link any uses of the term within your Moodle course
    • This entry is case sensitive
      Specify that an exact upper and lower case match is necessary to automatically link to an entry.
    • Match whole words only
      Avoid auto-linking to anything but the complete name of the entry. (e.g., Glossary entry named "construct" will not create a link inside the word "constructivism".)
  8. Click Save changes to add the word to the Glossary.

Add a Category to Glossary

Entries can be put into categories to help organize your glossary. If you've enabled auto-linking, the category names can be linked along with individual entries. To create a Glossary category:

  1. On your course page, click the link to the glossary activity (not the Update icon).
  2. Click the Browse by category tab to view, add, and edit glossary categories.
  3. Click Edit categories. The Categories page will open.
  4. Click Add category.
  5. Enter a descriptive name for the category in the Name field.
  6. Select Yes or No from the Automatically link this category drop-down menu. Note: If you auto-link the category name, any occurrence of those words will be linked. When a student clicks on the link, they will be taken to the "Browse by category" page of the glossary.
  7.  Click Save changes.

Add the 'Random glossary entry' Block to Your Course

Add the Random glossary entry block to keep your students' attention focused on a glossary activity. You can configure the block to display random entries, the last modified entry, or you can cycle through entries in order added. You can also set how often to change the term displayed in the block.

Note: You can add more than one Random glossary entry block to a course.

  1. On your Moodle course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
  2. Scroll down the page to the bottom of the right column, and under Add a block, click Add....
  3. From the Add a block drop-down menu, select Random glossary entry. Your course page will refresh with the new block at the bottom of the right column. The block will display the message: "Please configure this block using the edit icon."
  4. At the top of the block, click the Configuration icon. 
    The "Configuration" icon looks just like the "Update" icon elsewhere in Moodle
    The Configuring a Random glossary entry block page will open.
  5. Configure the options for the block. Click particular headings to view those settings, or Expand all (top right) to view all settings.
    • Title
      Unless you provide a custom heading for the block, it will be named "Random glossary entry."
    • Take entries from this glossary
      If you have more than one glossary in your course, select which glossary to use.
    • Days before a new entry is chosen
      The default setting is "0," meaning every time the page refreshes a new entry is shown.
    • How a new entry is chosen
      Choose between these options:
      Random entry -
      displays a new entry at random every time the page is refreshed
      Last modified entry - displays the entry that was last modified
      Next entry - cycles through the entries in order and is especially useful when a number of days is also chosen, allowing you to make a "Quote of the week" or a "Tip of the day" that everyone sees
      Alphabetical order - cycles through entries in alphabetical order 
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Save changes. You'll be returned to the main course page.