Moodle Quick Tour for Instructors

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Moodle is the Learning Management System (LMS) used by Occidental College. Moodle is a convenient way for you to contact, deliver content to and assess your students.  This Quick Start guide will familiarize you with the basics for setting up your course.  For a more comprehensive list of tutorials, go to the Moodle Tutorials section. If you would like assistance with your Moodle courses, you may submit a support ticket by contacting the or contact Darren Hall at

What’s New in Moodle 2.6
Finding a course
Editing a course
Viewing in different roles
Publishing a course
Making course announcements

Finding a course

Navigation Block

The Navigation block, located on the right side of the home page in Moodle, is the easiest way to navigate to your courses.

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  • The Home page is where you land when you first log in to Moodle. This page contains general site-wide announcements and useful links for instructors and students.
  • Selecting My home will take you to a Course Overview page that shows your courses and any issues that need attention.
  • Selecting the My courses arrow expands a list of your courses organized by semester and department.
  • When you are in a course, the Navigation block moves to the top left corner of the page and includes a menu option for information specific to that course.

Navigation Bar

Across the top of the top of the course page, you will find the navigation bar. The clickable links in the navigation bar are hierarchically arranged and indicate the context path for your page.

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Editing a course

When you first view your new courses, you will want to begin populating the site with your course material. First, you will need to turn editing on for the course. The Turn editing on button is located on the top right side of the page, just above the search forum block.

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After turning editing on, you will see a number of different icons appear throughout the page.

Within each section, you can edit the name of the section and add text or images by clicking on the gear icon:

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Drag and Drop

The easiest way to upload files by using the Drag and Drop feature of Moodle. You can drag and drop a file into a topic section by lining up your browser window behind an desktop browser window. Click on the file icon (but do not release) and drag it into the Moodle page section where you want it to appear. Release the icon and the file should automatically upload. Drag and drop also works for images or plain text, but it does not work easily for folders. You can organize the files, images or text within a section or course page by dragging and dropping the item.

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By clicking on the +Add activity or resource link, you will be able to add variety of activity and resource types to your page.


Activities are interactive features that allow students to participate and interact with the instructor and other students. Due dates can be set for most activities.

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The most commonly used types of activities are:

  • Assignment– Students submit one or more files (a word document, pdf, image file, audio file), which the instructor can access and grade electronically. Instructors can provide feedback directly or by uploading a file, such as a word document with comments. Assignment grades can be linked directly to the Moodle gradebook.
  • Forum– Forums are discussion boards where students respond to a particular topic and to each other.
  • Quiz– Quizzes can include a wide range of question types, from multiple choice to free response. Quizzes can be set to be automatically graded and have the grades linked directly to the Moodle gradebook.
  • Other types of activities: Glossary, Journal, Questionnaire, Workshop.


Resources are items that an instructor can add to the page for students to access, such as a document, audio, images, text or a link.

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The most commonly used types of resources are:

  • File– Instructors can add almost any file type (Word document, Powerpoint, PDF, audio, video, image) to the Moodle page. Files will be displayed on the page as a link with the icon that represents that file type.
  • Label– Labels are used to insert text, images, audio or video files into the page. Multi-media files that are added as a link will be embedded rather than displayed as a link.
  • Page– Content pages can contain text as well as embedded images, audio and video. Pages are best used when you want to display large amounts of text or multiple multi-media files.
  • URL- Links can be displayed within a section. They can be set to open in the same or a different tab.
  • Other types of resources: Lightbox Gallery.

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Viewing in different roles

Course instructors are assigned the role of Professor for their courses.  Students in the class have the role of Student.  As you create your course, you may want to review the student view of the course to ensure things appear as you expect. To switch roles:

1. In the Administration block, click on the down arrow next to the phrase Switch role to… This will reveal other roles you can view. Typically, you would only be interested in selecting Student.

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2. In the right-hand corner of the top navigation bar, you will notice an indication that you are in Student role.

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3. To return to your normal role, go to the Administration block and select Return to my normal role.

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Publishing a course

At the beginning of the semester, Moodle site shells are created for all classes and students enrolled in the class will appear on the roster of Users for the corresponding Moodle course.  Students, however, cannot see the Moodle site until an instructor makes it visible to them.  This gives you ample opportunity to design your Moodle site and publish it only when you are ready.  To publish your course (i.e. make it visible to the students in the course):

1.  In the Administration block on the course home page, click on Edit settings

2. On the Edit course settings page, find the Visible field and select Show from the drop down menu.

3. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page.

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Making course announcements

Moodle’s News Forum feature is a convenient way for you to communicate to students with timely information.  Use it, for example, to make announcements about changes to the schedule, reminders about upcoming assignments or any other information you want to communicate to the entire class.  By posting it to the news forum in Moodle, you’ll have more time in class for teaching.

The News Forum is available by default in every Moodle course.  You will find a link to it posted at the top of your course page:

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The News Forum also displays as a Block in the right column labeled Latest News:

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To add an announcement to the News Forum:

1. Click on Add a new topic in the Latest News block.

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2. Enter the subject and content of your message in the corresponding fields. This is a “rich text editor”, meaning that you can change the text in the body of your message much like you can in a word processor.  You can also add links and embed images, audio or video.

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3. When you are ready to post your message, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Post to forum.  All students in your class are subscribed to the forum, so they will receive an email whenever you post a new item to the forum:

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