Faculty - Getting Started with Moodle

Faculty Quick Start Guide to Moodle

This faculty Quick Start Guide for getting started with Moodle includes information about course settings, adding resources, setting up and conducting activities, and user profiles. Check out Moodle FAQ's here.

Getting Started

  • To access Moodle: open a browser window and go to the Gateway
    We recommend using the Mozilla Firefox browser when working with Moodle.
  • To log in to Moodle look for the icon on the top upper right side called Moodle.
  • After Turning Editing On look below for these commonly used icons and what function they provide. Click here for Moodle Docs details.

    Edit icon to edit whatever it is next to
    Arrows used to move blocks or topics
    Open eye icon means item is available to students

    Closed eye means item is hidden to students
    Help icons to view a details in a help window
    Highlight topic
    Show items
  • The navigation bar at the top of each page will help you stay oriented as you explore different parts of Moodle. Click here for Moodle Docs details.

    Course Settings

    To adjust your course settings, find the Administration block on your course homepage and click Settings. Click here for Moodle Docs details.

    Note that this link, and in fact the whole Administration section of your course, is only available to you as the students do not see the Administration block. If you want to see what it looks like for a student click on the Switch roles to and choose Student View.
    On the Settings page, you can change a number of settings about your course, from its name to what day it starts. For details about a setting, click the Help icon next to it.

    IMPORTANT: please do NOT change the Short name or the Course ID number of your course.


    The most important setting is the Format. The course format you choose will determine the basic layout of your course. Details below.

    WEEKLY format: organizes the content blocks in seven day increments from the start date to the finish date of the course. Activities and Resources can be arranged according to the week.

    TOPICS format: is not automatically labeled, and is not restricted to any time limit. Topics can be used to organize material more thematically. This the default setting for all courses.

    SOCIAL format: oriented around a single forum, this format displays discussion topics as the central content of the course.

    Note: The Weekly and Topics formats are very similar in structure. The main difference is that each box in the Weekly format covers exactly one week, whereas each box in the Topic format can cover whatever you like. The Social format doesn't use much content at all and is based around one forum that will be displayed on the main page.

    Number of Weeks/Topics

    This setting is used by the Weekly and Topics course formats, and determines the number of boxes down the middle of the course page.
    In the Topics format it specifies the number of topics in the course. In the Weekly format it specifies the number of weeks that the course will run, starting from the course starting date and displaying one block for every seven days.


    To make this course available to students choose: This course is available to students from the drop down box in the Availability block of the Settings page. The default for courses will be unavailable so the faculty will need to change this setting when they are ready to use their course/s.

    Follow the 3 step process below:

    1. In the Adminstration block click on Settings.
    2. Scroll down till you see Availability section, select This course is available to students.
    3. Scroll down and click on Save change.

    Uploading Files

    Existing content can be added to your course by uploading files to the server. Web pages, audio files, video files, PDF files, Word documents, and Flash animations are examples of files that can be uploaded into your course and stored on the server. While your files are on the server, you can move, rename, replace, or delete them.

    All of these actions can be performed using the Files link in your Administration block. This interface is only available to instructors - it is not accessible by students. The files that you upload are made available to students later on as a Resource. See the Adding Resources section below for more information.

    Folders are listed along with individual files. You can create any number of folders to organize your files, and move your files among them.

    The file space is divided into four functional areas:

    1. List of files and folders. Click a filename or folder to open the file or folder.
    2. Checkboxes, to the left of the filenames. Click a checkbox (or boxes) then choose an action from the With chosen files drop down menu.
    3. Action list, to the right of the filenames. You can rename, unzip, or choose a file to link to a resource by clicking the appropriate action next to a filename.
    4. Drop down menu and buttons along the bottom of the list:
      • With chosen files: after selecting files (marking the checkboxes) you can move them into a folder, delete them, or zip them into a single file for easier download or transfer.
      • Make a folder: creates a new folder at your current level in your file space. You can nest folders as many levels deep as you like.
      • Select all / Deselect all: checks or uncheck's all of the checkboxes in the current folder. Note that the top level is simply the parent folder to any folders within it. As you open folders, you can move back up a level by clicking Parent folder.
      • Upload a file: opens the standard file dialog box and allows you to search for the file you want to upload to your course.

    Uploading files is currently restricted to one file at a time with a maximum file size of 100MB. If you want to upload multiple files at once, it is often easier to use a zip program to compress them into a single file, upload the zip file, and then unzip them on the server (you will see an unzip link next to zip files). See links below for Step-by-Step Videos & tutorials.

    To preview any file you have uploaded, just click its name. Your web browser will take care of either displaying it or downloading it to your computer. To change the contents of a file, edit it on your local computer then upload it again.

    Important: If you upload a file that has the same name as a file that already exists on your site, your new file will not be displayed automatically. You must refresh your browser to see the new version. If the file displays in a frame, you may have to refresh that frame specifically. If you upload a file with the same name as an existing file, there is no prompt notifying you of a filename conflict before the new file replaces the one with the same filename that is already in the Files area.

    Note: If your content resides on the Web, you don't need to upload files at all - you can link directly to your pages from inside the course. See the Adding Activities and Adding Resources sections below for more information.

    Naming Files: File and Folder names Moodle will insert an underscore ( _ ) for any blank spaces in a file or folder name. Meta characters such as / \ * ? : ; . , < > are not permitted in file or folder names and will be automatically replaced by an underscore (_) by Moodle. We recommend to have no space in the files and folder names and no special characters. Try to keep the name below 30 characters in length.

    Adding Resources

    Resources are the content of your course. The most common way it is used is creating a link to file/s or folder/s. This can be done as a link to one file or a link to a folder of file. First add all of your folders & files into the Files area of the Administration Block. You can also create simple text-based resources by typing directly into a form. A resource can also be any file you have uploaded or any web site using the URL address.

    To link to a single file:

    (Use the steps below if the files are already uploaded into the Files area)
    To add a link to a file that is already uploaded in the Files area:

    1. On the Add a Resource drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
    2. Type in a Name that will become the link.
    3. Click on the Choose or upload a file button.
    4. In the Files window that appears click on the Choose button to select a file from your existing files list. You will have to make the window larger to find the Choose button on the right side.
    5. Click on Save and return to course button.

    (Use the steps below if the files are NOT uploaded into the Files area)
    To add a new file while creating a link:

    1. On the Add a Resource drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
    2. Type in a Name that will become the link.
    3. Click on the Choose or upload a file button.
    4. In the next window, scroll down and click on Upload a file button, then another window appears, click the Browse button, navigate to the file, select it.
    5. When the correct filename is displayed in the window, click the Upload this file button.
    6. In the File uploaded sucessfully window, select the newly-added file from your files list by clicking on the Choose button. You will have to make the window larger to find the Choose button on the right side.
    7. Click on Save and return to course button.

    To link to a entire folder of files:

    1. On the Add a Resource drop-down menu, choose Display a Directory
    2. In the next window, type in a Name, then in the Display a Directory drop down list & select your folder.
    3. Click on Save and return to course button.

    To link to online articles:

    Full-text articles in library subscription databases can be linked to from your Moodle course site.

    You can create links to an articles simply by using the URL you get when you retrieve the article. In other resources, including Academic OneFile, JSTOR, and FirstSearch, the databases provide methods for generating stable URL's (a.k.a. persistent URL's) that can then be used for creating article-level links.

    Once you have the URL, follow the instructions below for creating links to web sites.

    To link to a web site:

    1. On the drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
    2. In the next window, if you know the URL of the web page, enter it in the Location field.
    3. If you don't know the URL, click the Search for web page button to open a browser window.
    4. When you locate the page, copy its URL, close the browser window, and paste the URL into the Location field.

    Setting Up Activities

    Building a course involves adding course activity modules to the main page in a logical order. You can change the order any time you like.

    To turn editing on: click the Turn on editing link under Administration, or the button at the top right of the page. This toggle-switch shows or hides the extra controls that allow you to manipulate your main course page.

    To add a new activity: go to the topic section or week where you want to add the activity and select the type of activity from the drop down menu.

    After adding your activities, you can move them up and down in your course layout by clicking the little arrow icons next to each one.

    You can delete an activity using the X icon, or edit it using the edit icon.


    An assignment is where you set a task with a due date and a maximum grade. Depending on the type of assignment, students will be able to upload one file to satisfy the requirements. The date a student uploads a file is recorded. Afterwards, you will have a single page on which you can view each file (and how late or early it was), and then record a grade and a comment. Half an hour after you grade a student's assignment, Moodle will automatically email that student a notification.

    There are four assignment types in Moodle:

    Advanced uploading of files: If you would like be able to comment on a student's file and upload the version of the file with your comments, choose Advanced uploading of files under Assignment type. This will still allow the student to upload a file, which you can then open and grade, but from the grade screen you will be able to upload the commented version. Students will see both their original and your commented version of their file.

    Online text: This assignment type asks users to enter text using the normal Moodle editing tools. These assignments are graded online with the ability to add inline comments or changes.

    Upload a single file: Similar to the advanced uploading of files, this assignment type is more limited, allowing for students to upload one file. This assignment type also lacks the ability to upload files back to the student.

    Offline activity: Assignments don't necessarily have to consist of file uploads. You can create offline assignments to remind students of real-world assignments they need to complete. Currently, these offline assignments are used to record grades for activities that don't have an online component.


    This is the module where discussion takes place. When you add a new forum, you must choose one of four different types: a simple single-topic discussion, a free-for-all general forum, a one-discussion-thread-per-user forum, or a question-and-answer forum.

    Under Force everyone to be subscribed, you can make the forum act like a list server, in that posting a message to the forum automatically sends an email to everyone who is subscribed.

    Forums may also be used as graded assignments.


    This module allows you to design and present quizzes consisting of multiple choice, true-false, and short answer questions. Your questions are kept in a categorized database, and can be re-used within courses and between courses. Quizzes can allow multiple attempts. Each attempt is automatically marked, and the teacher can choose whether to give feedback or to show correct answers. This module includes grading facilities.


    The survey module provides a number of predefined survey instruments that can be useful for evaluating and understanding your class. They can be given to students early in the course as a diagnostic tool and at the end of the course as an evaluation tool. This does NOT allow you to create your own anonymous surveys; to construct custom surveys, use the Feedback activity.

    Adding Students or Teachers

    1. In the Administration block, click Assign Roles.
    2. Select the role you wish to assign (Faculty, Non-Grading Faculty or Student).
    3. On the Assign Role page, enter all or part of the name of the person you wish to add in the Search field.
    4. When the search is complete, select the correct name from the box on the right of the page, then click the left-pointing arrow to add that name to the list on the left.
      Note: to unassign someone from a role, select their name on the left and click the right-pointing arrow.

    Messages or Emails

    Messages is the term used in Moodle. There are four main ways to get in touch with an individual in Moodle:

    • Go into Quickmail block and click on Compose, select the user(s) and type in your subject & message in the boxes provided. Click on Send Message. You have options for Select all/Deselect all and adding an attachment. This block also keeps a History of emails sent so you can resend the message if you want. Click here for more details.
    • If your course has the Online Users block set and the person you want to contact is currently online their name will have a small envelope icon next to it. Clicking on the icon will allow you to send them a message.
    • If you want to make a more public announcement to all students in your course, you can create a discussion forum (from the Add an activity drop down, choose Forum). Just click in the forum, click Add new topic. Enter your topic and save changes. You will be able to edit the announcement for 30 minutes, after which it will be sent to all the students in your class.

    Additional Tutorials & Helpful Links

    Using Moodle as a Student tutorials :

    As a Moodle Instructor - Step-by-Step Videos

    Make a New Folder, Add a New File & Move it
    Link to a Single File or Entire Folder (file already loaded in the course)