Moodle FAQs

DON'T FORGET TO LOOK AT THE "Getting Started in Moodle for Staff" Guide

This guide has been developed by the Learning Technology Unit (LTU) to assist Writtle staff acquire the basic skills necessary to set up and deliver a "course" in Moodle.

This FAQ page has been developed as a short cut to help you locate answers to the more common questions asked about Moodle and its functionalities. It is split into two sections. The first examines questions concerning the general functionalities of Moodle and the second relates to questions associated with the various "Activities" available in Moodle.

If you can't find what you are looking for then please get in contact with the LTU through this email address: or the following extensions: Sandra: 25761 or Andrew: 25617 or Florence: 25653.


General Questions

How do I prepare a course for a new cohort?

You should reset your course.  Reseting a course removes student data and non LDAP students and resets turnitin assignments so that Turnitin recognises the course as a new class.

Before reseting you can make a full backup of your course yourself but please download it and remove it from moodle to conserve space.  Alternatively contact the LTU to make a backup which will be transferred to an archive server from where it can be restored, complete with user data, if required.

Once you have backed up any student work that you want to keep go to Settings and choose Reset.  Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose Select Default.  If you are happy with the choices choose 'Reset course'.  (You may want to select Student against 'Unenrol users').

How are students enroled onto my course?

Automatic or LDAP enrolment
  1. Students are made live on a module on UnitE.
  2. Groups matching the unitE module code have been set up on Active Directory (AD) - the college network.  Each night a procedure runs which updates these groups so that the students match those in UnitE.
  3. Modules on Moodle have been set up with their course ID number the same as the module code.  When a student logs onto Moodle an automatic check is made and if a student is in an AD group which matches a course ID number they are added to that ‘course’.
For some modules the course ID number does not match a module code on Moodle.  This is often because it is a common module where a number of module codes on UnitE equate to a single module on Moodle.  An example of this is Sector Studies where there is one Moodle module but codes of H0040167AG, H0040167AN, etc. on UnitE.  Conversly, Postgrad Research Methods has one code on UnitE but two modules on Moodle.

Where codes do not match students can be manually enroled or can be given an enrolment key so they can enrol themselves.

Manual Enrolment

To manually enrol a student go to Settings – Users – Enroled users and choose Enrol users.

Self Enrolment

The Enrolment key for student enrolment can be found in Settings – Users – Enrolment methods – Self enrolements (Student).  (Choose Edit and Unmask against Enrolment key).  Although a key may be set when a course is initially created it can be changed by the Module Leader.

Is there an easy way to upload files?

Yes.  Turn editing on.  From Add a block choose Drag and drop upload.  Files can now be dragged into your course and dropped at the appropriate place.  Some versions of Internet Explorer do not support Drag and Drop upload.

Can I use Turnitin for iPad to grade and leave feedback on my student’s papers?

Yes.  As a  moodle user, you will need a unique class access code in order to log in to your classes on Turnitin for iPad. To generate a unique class access code:

NOTE: Class access codes are one-time use only. If you log out or “Unlink iPad from Turnitin,” you will need to generate a new access code for the class by repeating the steps above.

Can I change the look and feel of my Moodle course?

Yes. Moodle courses, when created, have several blocks by default, as well as a news forum. When you turn the editing on for your course, you will see arrows (deletemove leftmove upmove downmove right) that allow you to move each individual block or delete individual blocks that you feel are unnecessary for your purposes. There are also additional blocks from a drop down menu that may be better suited to your course. (Any deleted blocks can be re-added at anytime from the block drop down menu which never disappears). You may also move the blocks around the page so that you have two columns instead of three. You can choose to present your course in weekly, topic or social format. Finally, you can add images and a variety of other tools to shape your Moodle course the way you want to.

Can I edit things in Moodle easily?

Yes. You can always go back and edit a resource or an activity that you have created in Moodle by choosing the "update" icon (edit) when editing is turned on. You can also move topics, resources or activities by choosing the cross icon (move) beside the resource or activity and dragging. If you have uploaded a document to the Moodle files section and wish to make a change, you will need to make the change locally and then re-upload the file.

Can I hide sections of a course from students and reveal them one at a time?

Yes. When editing is turned you will see an eye icon (hide) beside each Topic Block in a Moodle course and each individual resource or activity. If you click the eye so that it is closed (show), this entire block will be hidden from students on a course. Clicking the eye again will open it.
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Can I let externals from outside the College look at and participate in my Moodle course?

Yes. Increasingly, lecturers and course teams are interested in inviting guest lecturers and experts to participate in a Moodle course for a given period of time, or to invite colleagues from other institutions to collaborate in a Moodle environment.

NOTE: You need to contact the Learning Technology Unit to discuss this matter further.

Can I move things in Moodle easily?

Yes, resources and activities in courses can be moved about at will. With editing on, look for the double arrow icon (move) to the right of each resource/activity/block. Once you've clicked the double arrow icon your screen will change and you will see several blank boxes. Click on the blank box where you wish to move your resource/activity/block.

Can I put audio files into Moodle?

Yes, you can upload audio files into Moodle like any other file resource up to the maximum file size allowed for your Moodle site. You should ensure that the files have been recorded or re-encoded as MP3 files. Moodle contains a built-in player for MP3 files.
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Can I put my Power Point files into Moodle?

Yes. Note, however, that there are issues with the size of PowerPoint files. They tend to contain additional information that is not required for display only and embedded graphics are often much larger than they need to be.  It is better to save them as pdf.

Can I put plain text or formatted text into my Moodle course without having to use a resource?

No. It is not possible to put text into Moodle without using a resource or activity. You can, however, use labels from the resource dropdown to add text to the front page of your Moodle. Each topic box in a course also has an area for adding header text.

Can I put video into Moodle?

Yes, you can upload video files like any other file resource up to the maximum size allowed by our Moodle site which is 200MB. As video files can be large this probably means that they will need to be small, short and of low resolution. It is advisable to encode video files in Flash Video format or you may wish to consider using some sort of streaming device.  Because of the size it may be better to upload them to a repository such as Youtube. Choose Add a resource and from External URL - Choose a link click on Youtube videos.

Please seek further advice from the Learning Technology Unit (LTU).
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Can I upload multiple files to Moodle at the same time?

Yes. You can upload several files to Moodle at once if you use the zip file option. Zip the files on your PC and upload the zip file to your Moodle course. In your files folder in Moodle, you will see an "unzip" option next to the file.

NOTE: Again the maximum uploading limit of 200MB applies.

Can Moodle handle diagrams, mathematical symbols and foreign character sets?

Yes. Moodle has the ability to display complex mathematical formulae, diagrams etc. using TeX. This uses the Moodle "filter" feature, so the TeX filter must be enabled for you by your Moodle Administrator. The TeX filter generates graphical representations so no additional software or fonts is required on viewing computers. Moodle is fully unicode and can handle a huge range of international characters.

NOTE: Some of your students may have computers that do not support the required fonts.

Can students download and print documents, like for example, Power Points, Word Documents, etc. that I have place in Moodle?

Yes. However, lab set-ups and individual PC settings can create minor difficulties with this. If your students are experiencing problems then ask them to get in contact with the IT Support Desk.
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Can Students upload documents in Moodle?

Yes. Students can upload documents in the assignment, database and the forum activity areas, as long as you (as module/unit leader) have adjusted the "course" settings to allow for this.

Can you have separate groups of students in a Moodle course?

Yes. A feature called "groups" within a "course's" settings allows you put students into different groups which can either be "visible" or "separate".

Visible: Course members can read but not interact or respond to the contributions of other groups.

Separate: Groups are effectively invisible to non-members.

Does Moodle have a questionnaire function for online feedback?

Yes. Moodle has an optional activity module called Feedback which can be used to create online questionnaires or feedback surveys for your courses.
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Who has the ability to alter the content in my Moodle course?

Anyone who is enrolled as Module Leader or editing teacher  can alter the content. Moodle Administrators  typically set up courses and add staff as requested.  Module leaders can also add teachers.

I have updated a file in Moodle but when I view it I see an earlier version.

All browsers will normally store (cache) local copies of downloaded files.  This local copy is normally loaded subsequently to speed access and prevent multiple downloads of the same file.  Using the refresh or reload button will normally cause a fresh download although some browsers (especially Chrome) are reluctant to download files that are already cached.  Moodle also caches files to speed delivery and these files may not be refreshed for several days after the source file has been updated.  One way to overcome this problem is to give files a new name (perhaps by adding a version number) and re-linking them in Moodle.
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Questions about Moodle "Activities"

How can I add an activity to my Moodle course?

   1. Go into your Moodle course.
   2. Click on Turn editing on in the top right corner.
   3. Click on the Add an activity menu in whichever topic area you wish to add the activity.
   4. Select the activity you wish to add.
   5. Fill in the required fields e.g. activity name and description, and edit settings as appropriate. Use the help icons embedded in the page to find out more about individual options.
   6. You can go back and edit activity settings later at any time if necessary.
   7. At the bottom of the page click on Save and display to view the activity.
   8. When viewing the activity, if you wish to edit any settings, click on Update in the top right corner.

Can I mark assignments online?

Yes. There are a variety of ways in which assignments can be marked online in Moodle.

For example, if you create an Assignment activity in your Moodle course, students can submit files e.g. Word documents. These can then be downloaded by the lecturer, marked and feedback provided to the students in Moodle. To add an assignment to your course simply turn editing on and then choose an assignment type from the drop down Add an activity menu.

The advanced uploading of files option is useful if you wish students to be able to upload more than one file. This also allows lecturers to upload a response file, for example an annotated version of the student's work, following use of the 'Track Changes' functionality in Microsoft Word (or similar).

If the assignment type Online Text is selected, assignments can be marked within Moodle without having to download any files to your computer.
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Can students submit multiple files for an assignment?

Yes, it is possible to do this.

Create a new assignment activity: Advanced uploading of files. The settings for this activity include an option titled Maximum number of uploaded files. It is possible here to specify the maximum number of file you would like a student to upload.
How can a student check if the assignment has uploaded correctly?

There are two options for students to see their uploaded assignments.

   1. Return to the assignment activity submission point where the uploaded file will be viewable.
   2. If the Activities block is available for the unit, they can click on the Assignments link. All assignment activities, including those that are "already open" and "closed", will be viewable here.

NOTE: If the assignment activity has been "hidden" by the module leader post-submission deadline, the student will no longer be able to view the uploaded assignment file at the submission point or via the Activities block.
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How can I find assignments which still need to be marked/graded?

   1. Go to the Assignment submissions page
   2. Sort the assignments by "Last modified (Teacher)" by clicking on the column title
   3. Assignments which have been graded have Update in the status column, whereas those that have not been graded have Grade in the status column

How do I export the grades and feedback I have provided for a module?

   1. Go to your module in Moodle
   2. Click on Grades in the Administration block
   3. In the Choose an action drop-down list (top left) select Export > Excel Spreadsheet
   4. Use the Visible Groups dropdown list to limit to specific groups if required
   5. In Options, you are able to include feedback comments in the export
   6. Use the Grade items to be included lists if you need to specify particular activities to be included in the report
   7. Click on Submit
   8. Click on Download to export to Excel
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How do I grade and give feedback to assignments submitted on Moodle

   1. Go to the relevant assignment activity via the appropriate link, or via the list of assignments in the Activities block.  This block is located on the left hand side of your Moodle course, but may have been moved.
   2. Click on View Submitted Assignments
   3. In the Status column, click on Grade (in orange)
   4. Add a Grade and feedback comment
   5. Decide if you want the students to receive email notification that their work has been graded and tick the checkbox accordingly.
   6. Browse for and Upload any feedback response file - e.g. annotated marked copy of the assignment, feedback pro-forma
   7. Click on Save (to finish) or Save and Show Next (to view next assignment to grade)
For a quicker alternative:

   1. Once you have chosen View Submitted Assignments
   2. Chose the Allow Quick Grading option (tick the checkbox on the bottom right of the page)
   3. Click on Save preferences
You can now quickly and easily add both grades and feedback directly onto the page.  You cannot upload response files using this grading method.
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I need to download a student's assignment but the student has been unenrolled from the Moodle course. Can I still access the assignment?

Yes. When students are unenrolled from courses assignments they have submitted are not deleted, they just do not appear. If you re-enrol the students then the assignments will become visible again.
I've uploaded a response file, but my students cannot see it. Why?

Before students can see response files, you need to add a grade and leave a short comment as feedback in the Comment box, e.g. "Feedback file now available".
Who can see the assignment feedback I have given to a student?

When you enter grades and feedback for a submitted assignment, only yourself, other teachers assigned to that module on Moodle and the individual student will be able to see them.
Why have my students not received an email informing them that their assignment has been marked?

By default, Moodle will send an email notification to students to inform them when they have received feedback and grades for a marked assignment.

However, if the assignment activity has been "hidden" from the students, a notification email will not be sent when the activity is made visible to students once again.
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Why is a student unable to find the button to upload their assignment or send it for marking?

This is probably because:

    * The assignment has now closed
    * The assignment is not yet open
    * The student has already uploaded something and the settings prevent resubmissions

Why is a student unable to upload an additional file to an assignment activity?

Where the assignment activity has been set up for Advanced uploading of files students are able to continue uploading files up to a limit set by the unit tutor. This is set as 3 as a default, but can be changed on the Assignment settings page.

It may be that the student is unable to upload the file because the deadline for the assignment has passed and the activity has been set to prevent late submissions.

Within the advanced uploading of files activity type, students have the option to submit a final assignment for marking.  Once this is done, no further changes can be made regardless of how many uploads of files have been allowed.

Where assignments need more than one file to be uploaded, it might be advisable to include a note in the assignment activity introduction to make students aware that work must not be submitted for marking until all files are uploaded.

The module leader has access to reset this for individual students:

   1. Find the assignment activity in the unit on Moodle
   2. Find the submission that needs to be amended and select Grade (or Update if already graded)
   3. Click on Revert to Draft
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What are Blocks?

When you access a course for the first time there will be at least 8 blocks visible. 5 down the left hand side of the page (People, Activities, Search Forums, Administration and Course Categories) and 3 down the right (Latest News, Upcoming Events and Recent Activity). Blocks can be deleted, moved, hidden or added.
How can I customise the blocks which appear in a Moodle course?

To customise blocks, click the Turn editing on link either in the Administration block or at the top-right corner of the page. This should toggle on the editing icons, which allow you to move, delete or hide blocks.

In the bottom right of the course page you will see the Blocks block. To add a new block, click the arrow for the drop-down menu and select one from the list.

What is a blog?

A blog is maintained by an individual and is a collection of thoughts, reflections, information etc usually ordered chronologically. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. You can access your personal blog space in Moodle via the blog tab in your profile. Posts can be private or public to all Moodle users at the university.
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Can I add a discussion forum to my course?

Yes. All you need to do is from the Add an Activity drop down list select Forum. This will take you to the Adding a new forum page. Work through the options and complete any fields. Use the yellow buttons with question marks to access help if you do not understand any of the options.

Click on Save changes at the bottom of the page when you have completed all of the options. You can then add a first discussion.

It is a good idea to embed the discussion in other work and provide a clear, well written prompt to get students contributing.
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How can I post a discussion topic on a forum?

The Add a new discussion topic page simply requires you to name the discussion, add your discussion content and then add any attachments you would like to accompany it.

The most important option on this page is Subscription as this is the place where you can choose whether or not to receive email copies of replies to this posting. We would urge you consider this choice very carefully, especially if you have large numbers of students.
How can I delete old forum posts?

You can delete individual posts by clicking on the post and then clicking on Delete.

To delete multiple posts you can use the Reset function. Note - this will delete all posts from all fora on the course.

   1. Click on Reset in the Administration menu on the left.
   2. In the Forum section select Delete all posts.
   3. Then click on Reset course at the bottom.

If you just want to delete posts from one forum then it is probably quickest just to delete the forum and then re-create it.
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How can I restrict students from posting to a forum?

1.     Within the forum in question, click on the Update this forum link in the top right hand corner.

2.     Click on the Override permissions tab, and then select Student

3.     In the Override permissions table, edit the permissions as appropriate e.g. prevent "Start new discussions", prevent "Reply to posts" etc.

How can I send a message to all the students on my course?

To send a message to all students in a Moodle course use a forum. The News forum is provided in all Moodle courses by default, and could be used for this. Make sure that in the forum settings, the option "Force everyone to be subscribed?" is set at "Yes, Forever". This means that students will receive an e-mail copy of any posts in the forum.
When will students receive an e-mail containing a message I have posted in a forum?

Once a Moodle forum post has been written, users have up to 30 minutes to edit their post, before it comes locked. If the "send immediately" option is ticked, this 30 minute period is disabled and the post becomes locked immediately.

Email notifications from any forum posts (regardless of Moodle course) are sent to users hourly via an automated task on the Moodle server. This runs at 17 minutes past the hour. So, if the post was written at 9.10am and the "send immediately" option was ticked, the message would be sent to users at 9.17am. However, if it was written at 9.20am, it would be sent at 10.17am.
Users can opt to receive emails in two ways: as messages are posted to Moodle (within the hour) or a digest of messages every 24 hours.  These options can be set through their Moodle profile. As such, the message posted at 9.17am in the example above, might not be sent to the student until 5pm that same day.
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What is a journal?

A journal can be thought of as a private diary that only a particular student and staff on the course can view. Often, the student may refine a journal entry over time. This may then be graded by a Teacher.

Unlike a blog, the contents are private.
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Can I share my Quizzes with other courses?

Yes. Quizzes in Moodle are made from banks of questions that you create. You can then sort them into categories which can be 'published'. By default all questions that you create will go into the "Default" category, but you can (and probably should) create new categories to organise your questions. A question bank can be shared with other courses - this must be done by your Moodle administrator.


What is a wiki?

A wiki is a website that allows visitors themselves to easily add, remove, and otherwise edit and change available content, typically without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring.
What types of wikis can I create?

The Type option in the wiki settings will determine which participants on the course may view or edit the wiki.

    * Teacher: All course participants will see the same version of the wiki. Only a teacher can edit the wiki. All students may view the contents.
    *  Groups: All course participants will see the same version of the wiki. Both teachers and students can view and edit the wiki.
    * Student: Each student will have an individual version of the wiki. The wiki can only be viewed and edited by a teacher and single student.
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RSS Feeds

What is an RSS feed?

RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication". It is a quick and easy means of pulling in external content to your website such as up-to-date news articles and blog entries.
This has several benefits:

    * When students log into your moodle course they will always see new information and articles
    * It enables you to keep abreast of developments in areas that you find of interest

How can I add an RSS feed to my Moodle course?

To enable RSS feeds to your moodle course follow the following steps:

1.     Within your Moodle course click on the Turn editing on link in the Administration block.

2.     Locate the Blocks block drop down (usually on the right hand side), and select Add Remote RSS feeds

You will now have a new block entitled Remote News Feeds.

3.     Click on Click here to configure this block to display RSS feeds

4.     Click on the Manage all my feeds tab. This will allow you to see the list of existing news feeds available.

You can add a new RSS feed by copying the feed link into the box at the bottom of the page, and giving the feed a title.

5.     Finally, click on the Add button.

New feeds that you add will appear in the Configure this block page.

You can make them appear in your RSS block by ticking the check box next to them and then clicking on the Save Changes button.

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