Course settings

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Template:Help files Template:Course admin

You are asked to complete the settings page when creating a new course. The choices you make can be edited at a later date by choosing the settings option from the Administration block menu.


Your Moodle administrator may have set up several course categories.

For example, "Science", "Humanities", "Public Health" etc

Choose the one most applicable for your course. This choice will affect where your course is displayed on the course listing and may make it easier for students to find your course.

Full name

The full name of the course is displayed at the top of the screen and in the course listings.

Short name

Many institutions have a shorthand way of referring to a course, such as BP102 or COMMS. Even you don't already have such a name for your course, make one up here. It will be used in several places where the long name isn't appropriate. The most common use is in the navigation bar that is at the top of most pages.

The underlined part is the course Short name.

The the above example has underlined the short course name, "Using Moodle". The short name also appears in the subject line of email messages that are part of the course.

ID number

The ID number of a course is only used when matching this course against external systems - it is never displayed within Moodle. If you have an official code name for this course then use it here ... otherwise you can leave it blank.


The summary of the course is displayed in the course listings.


A Moodle course may use one of the following three formats:

Weekly format

The course is organised week by week, with a clear start date and a finish date. Each week consists of activities. Some of them, like journals, may have "open windows" of, say, two weeks after which they become unavailable.

Topics format

Very similar to the weekly format, except that each "week" is called a topic. A "topic" is not restricted to any time limit. You don't need to specify any dates.

Social format

This format is oriented around one main forum, the Social forum, which appears listed on the main page. It is useful for situations that are more freeform. They may not even be courses. For example, it could be used as a departmental notice board.

In Moodle 1.6 this is increased by:

LAMS course format LAMS


Weekly format, CSS/no tables Just an educated guess: This version of the weekly format uses the more modern web layout system CSS (cascading style sheets) to place things on the web page in a more flexible way than the old method with tables.

Course start date

This is where you specify the starting time of the course (in your own timezone).

If you are using a 'weekly' course format, this will affect the display of the weeks. The first week will start on the date you set here.

This setting will not affect courses using the 'social' or 'topics' formats.

However, one place this setting will be affect is the display of logs, which use this date as the earliest possible date you can display.

In general, if your course does have a real starting date then it makes sense to set this date to that, no matter what course formats you are using.

Enrolment duration

This setting specifies the number of days a student can be enrolled in this course (starting from the moment they enroll).

If this is set, then students are automatically unenrolled after the specified time has elapsed. This is most useful for rolling courses without a specific start or end time.

If you don't set this then the student will remain in this course until they are manually unenrolled or the clean-up function to remove defunct students takes effect.

If you have selected to manage this course as a meta course, your enrolment period will not be used.

Number of weeks/topics

This setting is only used by the 'weekly' and 'topics' course formats.

In the 'weekly' format, it specifies the number of weeks that the course will run for, starting from the course starting date.

In the 'topics' format, it specifies the number of topics in the course.

Both of these translate to the number of "boxes" down the middle of the course page.

Group mode

Here you can define the group mode at the course level. This will be the default group mode for all activities defined within that course. Learn more about Groups


If the group mode is "forced" at a course-level, then this particular group mode will be applied to every activity in that course. Individual group settings in each activity are then ignored.

This is useful when, for example, one wants to set up a course for a number of completely separate cohorts.


This option allows you to "hide" your course completely. It will not appear on any course listings, except to teachers of the course and administrators. Even if students try to access the course URL directly, they will not be allowed to enter.

Enrolment key

A course enrolment key enables access to courses to be restricted to those who know the key.

If left blank, then anyone who has created a Moodle username on the site will be able to enrol in the course.

If a key is specified, then students who are trying to enter will be asked to supply the key. Once enrolled, Students are not required to enter an enrollment key to gain access.

The idea is that Teachers supply the key to authorised people using another means like private email, snail mail, on the phone or even verbally in a face to face class.

If this password "gets out" and you have unwanted people enrolling, you can unenrol them (see their user profile page) and change this key. Any legitimate students who have already enrolled will not be affected, but the unwanted people won't be able to get back in.

Guest access

You have the choice of allowing "guests" into your course.

People can log in as guests using the "Login as a guest" button on the login screen.

Guests ALWAYS have "read-only" access - meaning they can't leave any posts or otherwise mess up the course for real students.

This can be handy when you want to let a colleague in to look around at your work, or to let students see a course before they have decided to enrol.

Note that you have a choice between two types of guest access: with the enrolment key or without. If you choose to allow guests who have the key, then the guest will need to provide the current enrolment key EVERY TIME they log in (unlike students who only need to do it once). This lets you restrict your guests. If you choose to allow guests without a key, then anyone can get straight into your course.


Course cost. This will be shown if you have selected another enrolment method except internal.

Hidden sections

This option allows you to decide how the hidden sections in your course are displayed to students.

By default, a small area is shown (in collapsed form, usually gray) to indicate where the hidden section is, though they still can not actually see the hidden activities and texts. This is particularly useful in the Weekly format, so that non-class weeks are clear.

If you choose, these can be completely hidden, so that students don't even know sections of the course are hidden.

News items to show

A special forum called "News" appears in the "weekly" and "topics" course formats. It's a good place to post notices for all students to see. (By default, all students are subscribed to this forum, and will receive your notices by email.)

This setting determines how many recent items appear on your course home page, in a news box down the right-hand side.

If you set it to "0 news items" then the news box won't even appear.

Show grades

Many of the activities allow grades to be set.

By default, the results of all grades within the course can be seen in the Grades page, available from the main course page.

If a teacher is not interested in using grades in a course, or just wants to hide grades from students, then they can disable the display of grades in the Course Settings. This does not prevent individual activities from using or setting grades, it just disables the results being displayed to students.

Show activity reports

Activity reports are available for each participant that show their activity in the current course. As well as listings of their contributions, these reports include detailed access logs.

Teachers always have access to these reports, using the button visible on each persons's profile page.

Student access to their own reports is controlled by the teacher via a course setting. For some courses these reports can be a useful tool for a student to reflect on their involvement and appearance within the online environment, but for some courses this may not be necessary.

Another reason for turning it off is that the report can place a bit of load on the server while being generated. For large or long classes it may be more efficient to keep it off.

Maximum upload size

This setting defines the largest size of file that can be uploaded by students in this course, limited by the site wide setting created by the administrator.

It is possible to further restrict this size through settings within each activity module.

Your word for Teacher/Teachers/Student/Students

You can change the words for teacher and student for a particular course.

Force language

If you force a language in a course, the interface of Moodle in this course will be in this particular language, even if a student has selected a different preferred language in his/her personal profile.

Is this a meta course?

Metacourses are courses which take their enrolments from courses i.e. for every course 'enrolled' on the metacourse, all students in the course are enrolled in the metacourse.