Adding/editing a course

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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: Adding/editing a course.

This page describes some of the features and settings in a course, the primary tool of a teacher. It was originally called "Teacher Documentation".

Getting started

First, you will need to be logged into a course as a user with Teacher editing rights to use most of the features below. We have some tips if you are having trouble logging in.

Now on to some details, we will have lots of embedded links in the text. You will find the course homepage is broken down into Course sections. A course is created by adding resources and activities.

New Course Moodle 1.6

The example above shows a new course set up with topic sections, edit is on and there are blocks both sides of the topics. Resources and activities are ready to be added.

Editing a course

Turn edit on Student on buttons.JPG
To add or alter activities or resources a teacher will need to turn editing on and off with a button on the course homepage. The student view button allows the teacher to get a general idea of what students will see. There is also an editing on link in the administration block. These buttons and links toggle between on and off.

Note: writing text in Moodle you have a range of Formatting options including using HTML in Moodle.

When editing is on you will see the following icons:

Edit.gif - the edit icon lets you alter/update whatever resource or activity it is next to by taking you to its setup page.
Help.gif - the help icon will pop-up a relevant help window.
Open.gif - the open-eye icon means an item is visible to students. Clicking it will make the item invisible to participants and change the icon to the closed eye.
Closed.gif - the closed-eye icon means an item is hidden from students. Clicking it will make the item visible to participants and change the icon to the open eye.
Right.gif - the left icon is used to outdent course elements. There is also a right icon for indenting items.
Move.gif - the move icon allows course elements to be moved up or down throughout the course.
Movehere.gif - the move here icon appears when moving a course element. It appears only after you've clicked the move icon, and indicates the destination of the item you're moving.
Delete.gif - the delete icon will permanently delete something from the course after you confirm a warning on a second page.
Marker.gif - the marker icon allows you to make a section current.
One.gif - the one icon hides all other sections of the course, showing only this one.
All.gif - the all icon redisplays all sections in a course.

Activity modules

Add an activity drop-down menu

There are a number of interactive learning activity modules that you may add to your course.

Communication and collaboration may take place using Chats and Forums for conversational activities and Choices to gain group feedback. Adding Wikis to your courses is an excellent way to allow students to work together on a single piece.

Work can be submitted by students and marked by teachers using Assignments or Workshops. Automatic marking can be achieved by using Quizzes. You can even integrate your Hot Potato quizzes by adding a Hotpot activity.

Content may be delivered and supported using Lesson module and SCORM activities. Key words can be added to Glossaries by yourself or, if you allow it, your students.

Surveys and Databases are also very powerful additions to any course.

If all of that isn't enough for you then you can also add contributed modules that are not part of the official Moodle release!


Add a resource drop-down menu

Moodle supports a range of different resource types that allow you to include almost any kind of digital content into your courses. These can be added by using the add a resource dropdown box when editing is turned on.

A Text page is a simple page written using plain text. Text pages aren't pretty, but they're a good place to put some information or instructions. If you are after more options for your new page then you should be thinking about adding a Web page and making use of Moodle's WYSIWYG editor.

Of course the resource may already exist in electronic form so you may want to link to an uploaded file or external website or simply display the complete contents of a directory in your course files and let your users pick the file themselves. If you have an IMS content package then this can be easily added to your course.

Use a label to embed instructions or information in the course section.


Each course homepage generally contains blocks on the left and right with the centre column containing the course content. Blocks may be added, hidden, deleted, and moved up, down and left/right when editing is turned on. Examples of blocks can be see in the Getting Starting image above. "Latest News", "Upcoming Events", and "Recent Activity" are blocks.

A wide range of blocks exist that can provide additional information or functionality to the learner or teacher. There are both standard blocks that come with Moodle and many contributed blocks developed by Moodlers that an administrator can add to a Moodle site.

Administration Block

Administration block 1.6
Settings in the administration block allow teachers to manage student and teacher enrollments and their groups, view the course gradebook, create custom grading scales, upload Files and access the Teacher_forum. Some teachers will find the Reset course, backup, Restore and Import (course data) very handy tools when creating similar courses. Naturally a teacher will want to define their grading scales , look at Grades and create Reports. This block also gives access to a question database, used in quizzes/tests or in Lesson module.

The links in the administration block are only available to teachers of the course. Students will receive their own version of the block which will display a link to their own gradebook and, if enabled, their own course logs. As a teacher, you can change the way students (and other teachers) access and view your course by exploring the Course_settings option in the administration block.

For example the course settings allows the teacher format the course which determines how the center sections appear. The weekly format is suitable for courses that have a clear start date and activities are presented in weekly blocks. A topic formatted course has no dates, so activities and resources can grouped by subject or for an open enrollment class. The social format doesn't use much content at all and is based around just one forum which is displayed on the main course page.

Another useful feature of the administration block is the Files link. From here you can upload (rename, move, delete) any digital content for inclusion in an activity, resource, or for a direct download by the students. You can also create a directory(s) for students and link it as a resource.

General advice

  • Subscribe yourself to all of the forums in your course so that you can keep in touch with your class activity.
  • Encourage all of the students to fill out their user profile (including photos) and read them all - this will help provide some context to their later writings and help you to respond in ways that are tailored to their own needs.
  • Keep notes to yourself in the private "Teacher's Forum". This is especially useful when team teaching.
  • Use the Logs link (under Administration) to get access to complete, raw logs. In there you'll see a link to a popup window that updates every sixty seconds and shows the last hour of activity. This is useful to keep open on your desktop all day so you can feel in touch with what's going on in the course.
  • Use the Activity Reports (next to each name in the list of all people, or from any user profile page). These provide a great way to see what any particular person has been up to in the course.
  • Respond quickly to students. Don't leave it for later - do it right away. Not only is it easy to become overwhelmed with the volume that can be generated, but it's a crucial part of building and maintaining a community feel in your course.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment: feel free to poke around and change things. It's hard to break anything in a Moodle course, and even if you do it's usually easy to fix it.
  • Use the navigation bar at the top of each page - this should help remind you where you are and prevent getting lost

See also