About Moodle FAQ
Below is a list of general questions many educators ask about Moodle. There are also Frequently Asked Question pages for many specific Moodle tools.
Starting with Moodle
What is Moodle?
- Moodle is a learning management system (LMS, also called VLE), explained here. In many ways, Moodle is like Lego, as this Slideshare presentation shows.
Where is the funny name from?
- The word Moodle is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment, which is mostly useful to programmers and education theorists. It's also a verb (in the bigger English dictionaries) that describes the process of lazily meandering through something, doing things as it occurs to you to do them, an enjoyable tinkering that often leads to insight and creativity. A sort of cross between "muse" and "doodle". As such it applies both to the way Moodle was originally developed, and to the way a student or teacher might approach studying or teaching an online course in an ongoing, iterative way. Anyone who uses Moodle is a Moodler.
How do I start using Moodle?
- Please note first that Moodle.org is not the place for setting up your courses, but for finding out information and asking questions.
- If you just want to try it out for yourself to practise, you can use one of the accounts on the Moodle Demonstration Site. To see a site with example content, visit the School Demonstration site.
- Another way to try Moode out is to download your own copy and install it "locally", ie, on your own computer.
- If you want to use Moodle in a real situation with students, you need either to download and install an instance of Moodle to a server online (which you are free to do if you have the technical knowledge) or engage a hosting company such as a Moodle partner to do this for you, allowing you then to create courses.
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. Some webhosts offer Moodle as part of their hosting packages, although these vary in reliability. Other webhosts offer Moodle for free but this usually comes with conditions attached; for instance, your site might have adverts on it.
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 knowledge, 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 through to the Secondary sector (examples) and universities worldwide. Moodle can be adapted to suit learners of all ages in any learning environment, including commercial training.
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.
Where can I get some tutorials or presentations about Moodle?
- You can see a series of videos introducing you to basic Moodle features on the Moodle HQ Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/moodlehq
- As well as the comprehensive free documentation here and the published Moodle books, you can search through a list of other manuals and resources, a selection of video tutorials and general presentations.
Are there any provisions in Moodle for people with disabilities?
Are there any comparisons of Moodle with other Learning Management Systems?
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?
- Use the Navigation block on the side of your page. From there you can go directly to any part of Moodle you have access to.
How do I edit things?
- You can only edit things you have permission to edit. A regular user such as a student can only edit their My home page and possibly their profile page. A user with editing rights such as a teacher can use the 'Turn editing on' button or the link in the Administration block to edit items. A guest can't edit anything and an Admin you can edit 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.
Are there any good examples of Moodle use I can see?
- Try the Mount Orange School demo, a working demonstration site full of examples for you to see and play with
- By participating in many ways, either through events, forums on Moodle.org and networks elsewhere.
- You can find and share courses and activities on our Moodle Community hub. You can download courses to use in your own site and publish course content to share with others.
- Within your own Moodle site, you can share courses with colleagues by using the Course import or Restore features
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.
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:
- In maths, Tex notation filter (standard) or DragMath equation editor (third-party plugin)), and more than 10 third party question types.
- For language teachers, the contributed Hotpot and Poodll plugins are very popular.
- For chemistry there are may plugins for displaying molecular structures and making questions about them.
- For music there are question type plugins for key signature, music theory, music interval and musical scale.
- For computer programming there in an interactive assignement package and several question types.
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 are available. Some examples include: Forums are great for extended conversations over time, Messages for private channels, Chat for synchronous conversations, and Comments for quick notices and remarks. You can also exchange online feedback with Assignment, comments to Blog posts ... and more!
- 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 ... and more!
How can Moodle help people collaborate?
- Use different activities like 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! You can group students in any of these activities to promote collaboration.
How do I grade in Moodle?
- Grades can be created for 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. For some activities which don't automatically link to the gradebook, such as Chat or Feedback, you have to create a new grade item manually. There are many ways you can give feedback to students on their progress in activities without giving them a grade. In Assignments for example, you can give written feedback.
Can students do self and peer assessment type tasks with Moodle?
- Yes. Probably the best activity to do that is Workshop module. Informally, students can evaluate (and even rate) each others' Forum posts, Glossary entries, and Database entries.
- 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.
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 attach, upload or download a file.
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.
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? Are there any good tutorials around?
- Get some help at Moodle.org in a forum or search the Moodle documentation There are also many books and manuals available for purchase.
What if I have a specific question about a tool, where can I find out more?
- Research it in Moodle documentation by using the search box on the left of every page in Moodle Docs. Click on a help icon on your Moodle site. Go to a forum dedicated to that tool. Research it by using the Search moodle.org box at the top of this page.
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 how to use Moodle?
- A number of places offer training in how best to use Moodle. However, Moodle Partners know Moodle best and can provide official training. You can also think of doing the Moodle Course Creator Certificate to improve your skills.
Basic Moodle jargon
Moodle uses jargon words that you may be familiar with from other, non-Moodle contexts. Within Moodle, These words have specific (and potentially different) meanings, explained below.
What is a Course?
- A course is the basic learning area on Moodle where a teacher displays materials for their students. See Courses
What is a Category?
- A category is a group of things and has several meanings in Moodle. It can be a grouping of courses by a certain criteria (Such as: Science; Junior School; Staff Area). It can be a group of questions, or a group of entries in a glossary.
What is an Activity?
- Usually an activity is something that a student will do that interacts with other students and or the teacher. Moodle has over a dozen activity types of tools for a teacher to use in a course.
What is a Resource?
- Resources are items that a teacher can use to support learning, such as a file or a link. A standard Moodle comes with 6 resource types that can be added to a course.
What is a Block?
- Typically,blocks are items which may be added to the left or right in a course's home page. There are dozens of different blocks that can be added to a course, or pages within a course.
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?
- Filters can be used to add links, insert multimedia players, convert Mathematical expressions or emoticons into displayed images.
What is a Section?
- A section is an area within a course's homepage that hold activities and resources. Standard course section formats are topics, weeks, social and SCORM.
What is a Role?
- A role in Moodle refers to what a user is allowed (or not) to do on a Moodle site. Typical roles might include those of a student and teacher. A role is a collection of permissions that can be assigned to specific users in specific contexts. For example, when a user is enrolled in a course as a student.
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, you 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).
Do I need my own server to run Moodle?
- Moodle needs a web server. There are lots of options. See Moodle Partners, Complete install packages for Windows or Complete Install packages for Mac and Installation FAQ.
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 works well in all standard, modern browsers and different operating systems. As with any web based application, you should be aware of your audience, their typical bandwidth and web browsers.
Can you use Moodle from anywhere?
- Yes, if it is on a web server attached to the internet and you have a computer, mobile device or tablet. Or if it is on a web server attached to the same intranet (internal network) as a computers or tablets which need to work it. And you can even put Moodle on a USB drive.
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. In Moodle 2.1 you use the Mobile app for iPhone. You can set one theme as the default but also set another theme for a mobile device and a different one for a tablet.
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.
How much does it cost to download and use Moodle?
- By way of its GNU General Public License, 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!
Are there any sites that offer Moodle hosting for free?
See Free Moodle. Remember that free hosting is not always reliable and you are advised to keep offline backups of any courses you make.