Teaching FAQ

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Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 1.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version is available here: Teaching FAQ.

Below is a list of the most general questions many educators have about Moodle. For questions relating to a specific Moodle tool (eg. Forum, Wiki, Assignment ...) and its use, please refer to the FAQ pages for each.

Contents

Starting with Moodle

What is Moodle?

How do I start using Moodle?

  • You can download your own copy and install it on your server. If you would like to see how Moodle works (with examples) and play with it, you can check the School Demo site.

Where do I get it (from)?

  • You can download Moodle in a variety of packages and install it yourself or have a Moodle Partner do it for you.

Do I have to be really good with technology to use Moodle?

  • To use Moodle, you only need the basic web browsing skills. To install it you need a little more savvy but guidance is provided.

What age of learners and educational settings is Moodle most appropriate for?

  • Moodle can be and is successfully used from early years of primary schools (example from New Zealand) across many places where people learn.

Is Moodle just for online learning?

  • It can be. However, in most cases Moodle is used to support and combine face-to-face interaction with e-learning, m-learning and other forms of learning.

Are there any provisions in Moodle for people with disabilities?

  • Certainly. Moodle supports many assistive technologies such as screen-readers, screen-magnifiers, alternative mouse and key use, disabling of AJAX and Javascript, and more. See and join discussion at Accessibility forum.

Navigation and settings

How do I login to Moodle?

  • Go to the right URL (address) of the Moodle site, login with your username and password, or enter as a Guest (if allowed). Most Moodle sites will have a link to set up a new account or request forgotten details of your existing one.

How do I get around Moodle?

  • Moodle has a navigation bar in the header (and optionally footer) of the page that shows the location of the current page within the site structure. In Moodle 2.0, you can use the Navigation block (which you can 'dock' on the side of the page), from which you can go directly to any part of Moodle you have access to.

How do I edit things?

  • By clicking 'Turn editing on' button or edit icon. In Moodle 2.0, use the Settings block to edit items. Please note that editing things in Moodle depends on your editing capabilities. For example, as a Guest, you can't edit anything (default setting) as Admin you can whatever you like.

Who can create and edit activities and other things in courses?

  • Whoever has the editing capability. Usually, it is the Teacher who creates and edits courses and activities within courses, but this role can be changed, re-named (eg. Facilitator) and given to other people too.

Examples

Are there any good examples of Moodle use I can see?

How do I share ideas and learn from other educators using Moodle?

  • By participanting in many ways, either through events, forums on Moodle.org and networks elsewhere. You may find some useful connections here.

Are there any good sources for shared courses?

  • There certainly are. And with Moodle 2.0 installed, you can publish, search, enrol, and download shared courses via Community Hubs.

Is there any support for K-12 particularly using activities?

Learning with Moodle - pedagogy

What is the best way to use Moodle?

  • There is no one best way to use Moodle. Use of Moodle depends a lot on one's own educational philosophy, the context where Moodle is used and willingness to experiment and create a little (or a lot!). Moodle can be used by a strict controller using trusted material of 30 years or a free-loving e-hippie exploring new ways of teaching and learning alike.

Are there any teaching DO’s and DON’Ts?

Can Moodle be used in different subject (say maths, languages, art, media, science...)?

  • Yes. Moodle is used in a variety of fields. Users in some subject areas may benefit further from standard or compatible third-party modules and plugins (eg. in maths, Tex notation filter (standard) or DragMath equation editor (third-party plugin)).

How can I use Moodle to stimulate students think harder and ask good questions?

  • By asking and encouraging good questions students can wrestle with and explore through and with the help of activities, resources in a course. For example, open a forum discussion with a provocative question, start a wiki where groups collaboratively build a solution ... and more!

How can I communicate with students by using Moodle?

  • Many ways available, depending on the length and purpose. Forums are great for extended conversations over time, Message for private channels, Chat for synchronous conversations, Comments for quick notices and remarks. You can also exchange online feedback with Assignment, comments to Blog posts ... and more!

How can we share resources with Moodle?

  • Moodle offers a number of ways to share content: making files and folders available to course participants, collecting resources of any kind with a Database, attaching files to Forum posts, importing and linking resources to and from external repositories/portfolios (Moodle 2.0) ... and more!

How can Moodle help people collaborate?

  • Use Wikis to create content together, Forums and Comments to exchange ideas, Database to collectively gather resources, Glossary to create shared understanding of concepts ... and more!

How do I grade in Moodle?

  • Grades can be created in each activity in a course which are then added to the Gradebook. For example, grades in Assignment (all types), Quiz and Workshop activities are automatically added to Gradebook. In some activities you will have to turn grading on, such as ratings 'on' in Forum, Glossary and Database to send them to the Gradebook. You can also use the gradebook to adjust, assign or automatically scale an activity grade in your course. There are many opportunities to exchange feedback on many activities, not just grades.

Can students do self and peer assessment type tasks with Moodle?

  • Yes. Probably the best activity to do that is Workshop module (redesigned in Moodle 2.0). Informally, students can evaluate (and even rate) each other's Forum posts, Glossary entries, and Database entries.

Is 'social constructionist' approach necessary when using Moodle?

  • Moodle has continuously been built with a particular, social constructionist philosophy in mind. This of course does not prevent people from using Moodle in line with their own preferred view of learning and the purpose they use it for.

Students

How long does it take students to learn to use Moodle?

  • It really does not take a great deal of skill or computer knowledge to use Moodle. With basic web browsing and editing skills, students (and teachers) can use Moodle - instantly!

What do my students need to know before using Moodle?

  • They need to know how login into the site and course, and have some basic web browsing and computer skills. For example, they need to how a mouse and keyboard works, what a link is, maybe how to attached, upload or download a file. It good idea to tell students about the roles (and with their editing privileges and responsibilities) in Moodle.

Do students have to be online all the time to use Moodle?

  • Moodle is an online learning management system and at some point you and your students will have to spend some time in front of a computer. How much time depends on what you use Moodle for. Most Moodle sites are used to mix offline and online learning activities.

Getting help

Is there an official support desk for Moodle?

  • Yes and no. Moodle.org forums can serve as a support desk. Moodle Partners may charge for support desk as part of their service. Often, like the higher priced LMSs, a school or consortium will maintain a help desk.

What do I do if I am stuck?

  • Get some help at Moodle.org in a forum, ideas from Moodle documentation and other places - consider this collection.

Are there any good tutorials around?

How do I get better at using Moodle?

  • Use it, find other Moodlers, Moodle Moots, try something new.

What if I have a specific question about a tool, where can I find out more?

  • Research it in Moodle documentation, go to a forum dedicated to that tool.

How can I suggest improvements and put forward what I would like to see in Moodle?

  • Moodle Tracker is by far THE best place to suggest improvement. File an issue or suggest improvement there, and let people know in a forum about your ideas, maybe they will vote for it (which tends to get people's attention).

Where can I get training on the best use of Moodle in my teaching & learning so I am not dependent on my ICT team at school?

Basic Moodle jargon

What is a Course?

  • Course is a basic unit of Moodle. It is an online space for community of people with different roles to create and combine learning activities and resources to suit their purpose.

What is a Category?

  • Category is a grouping of courses by a certain criteria (eg. Science; Junior School; External Studies; Staff Area ...).

What is an Activity?

  • In activities, the course participants get to 'do' something (post or reply in a Forum, vote in Choice, answer in Quiz, add to Database ...). More, third-party activity modules can be added to the standard activities in Moodle.

What is a Resource?

  • Resource is a part of a course. Resources are usually added by teachers or other members with greater capabilities to edit course. Resources are mostly documents, media, webpages, links, labels and IMS packages.

What is a Block?

  • Blocks are 'widgets' that can be put on pages in Moodle. They help users get to useful and commonly used items and information quickly.

What is a Plugin?

  • Plugin is an optional extra component which can add functionality to your Moodle. Some standard Moodle plugins need to be turned on by Moodle Administrator, many more can be downloaded from the Modules and Plugins database.

What is a Filter?

  • Filter processes text displayed in Moodle and does something to it. For example, Multimedia filter automatically turns a YouTube link to a video that plays directly in Moodle.

What is a Section?

  • Section is an area within a course that hold activities and resources. This is a generic term that covers weeks and topics.

What is a Role?

  • Role in Moodle refers to capability of users to edit courses. Roles can be defined, renamed and changed at different levels, from the entire site to single activity.

Security

How secure is Moodle?

  • Moodle is designed to be very secure. However, a lot depends upon the webserver, the way Moodle is setup and regular updates of the package by the Moodle Administrator.

Can Moodle get hacked into and student data stolen?

  • Highly unlikely if your Moodle site has up-to-date security and the site administrator has not given away the keys. Anything is possible on any website, but Moodle makes it difficult for nasty people to cause havoc.

What if I did something wrong and accidentally broke it - could it be easily fixed?

  • Moodle can be backed-up at any point. If a backup was made 5 minutes before you broke it, chances are it can be fixed easily.

Is my student data safe on a cheap or free webhost?

  • While you do have some control of the security of a Moodle site on a free or cheap web host, the question is: How much do you trust your web host?

Can I track and search what people do and post in Moodle?

  • Assuming you are a teacher and it is your course, yes. Moodle Admin can do that for the entire site.

Can I backup Moodle so I don't lose things?

  • Yes, your can backup a Moodle site or as a teacher you can back up your course and download it (if your role permits it). With appropriate permissions, you can restore your course and/or import parts of courses elsewhere on your site or beyond. This can be particularly useful with Community Hubs (Moodle 2.0 feature).

Technical

Do I need my own server to run Moodle?

Do I have to install Moodle myself?

  • You can, guidance provided. Most organisations will have a policy on this and/or someone to perform the installation.

Can I customise a theme and make it about our school?

  • Yes, see Themes. You can customise themes down to a single course, there are many ways to make Moodle looks great too.

Does it matter what computer type or browser I use for Moodle?

  • Moodle 1.9 works best in Firefox, Chrome and later versions of Internet Explorer, some minor issues with Safari and Opera. Moodle 2.0 works well in all standard, modern browsers.

Can you use Moodle from anywhere?

  • Yes, if it is on a web server attached to the internet.

Can access to Moodle be restricted to just our school?

  • Yes, several ways to do this. For example, it can be installed on your schools internal network, or limit the IPs to those assigned by your school, or only manually enroll your students are just a few ways.

Can I access Moodle from a mobile device?

  • Yes. Moodle 2.0 is and will be particularly effective for use on mobile devices.

I've come from a school that used a different VLE/LMS. Can I move my stuff over to Moodle?

  • Sure. Some VLE/LMS-specific activities may (not) be compatible, but you can zip your content files and unzip them in Moodle.

I spotted a bug in the system. What do I do?

  • Go to Tracker, search if the bug has already been reported and create a new issue if not.

I have an idea for a feature and/or improvement in Moodle. What do I do?

  • Go to Tracker, search if something like your idea has already been noted and worked on and suggest it if not.

Cost

How much does it cost to download and use Moodle?

  • By way of its very GPL licence, Moodle is and will remain free to download and use in any way you like. Consider it free like a 'free puppy' that needs care and attention to grow, not free like a 'free beer'.

How much does it cost to run Moodle?

  • Nothing to install, use and change. Of course, there are some associated costs if you have your Moodle hosted with someone, and costs associated with maintenance and training in an organisation (like any other software...). But no royalties, fees or user charges.

How much does it cost to have Moodle hosted?

  • There are many options for hosting. Cost is usually related to services provided and capacity (eg. a university site with 10 000 users will naturally cost more to host and maintain than a small community school). Ask your local Moodle Partner and keep Moodle going that way too!