Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.9. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle may be available here: Project Course Format.

Project Course Format

From MoodleDocs
  • Project Course Format 1.9 release 2 - 2008.07.03
  • Project Course Format 1.9 release 3 - 2008.12.31
  • Project Course Format 1.9 release 4 - 2009.02.19
  • Project Course Format 1.9 release 5 - 2009.11.30 (new: section delete feature added)
  • Project Course Format 2.0 release 1 - in process, anticipated June 2011


This is an optional course format for handling projects and other learning units with a variety of activities. A course format changes the layout and operations of the main center column of a Moodle course. Inside a course, you can select the format of a course by clicking on Admin >> Course Settings. Typically, Topics format or Weekly format is used. This format is like Topics format, except that each section of a course can be "packaged" separately. It has a separate directory and it can be backed up separately with all resources and activities together. The import function allows a teacher to share and move the section (project) anywhere on the site. Fast resource creation and bulk media file upload are also possible. This format is ideal for creating an in-house repository of learning packages and promoting teacher-to-teacher sharing of materials. Note: for simply adding the "Quick Resource Creator" function, check the Modules and Plugins Database of (Thanks to Mike Wilson).


  • section directory
  • section backup
  • section import across site with auto-regeneration of media file links
  • section delete
  • quick resource creator
  • bulk file uploader


This course format has been used since April 2008 in a full 1.9 production environment. Moving sections of courses has been increasingly more reliable, especially with quizzes which have a complicated set of categories and permissions. Since 2009, we have added the Sharing Cart:, which is a separate block for moving individual course items. We believe both the Project Course Format and Sharing Cart supports all standard modules plus some third party modules (Feedback, Project, Splitscreen). Let us know which modules work or do not work in your environment.

Download & Installation

To install: admin status needed, and use standard procedure for installing 3rd party plugins as follows.

  1. Download from CVS:
  2. Unzip this package
  3. Place the "project" folder into the course/format/ folder of your Moodle 1.9 program files
  4. Login as Admin and run "Notifications"
  5. Go into a course where you have teacher or admin status. Click on "Course settings".
  6. Change the course format to "project".
  7. Turn "editing on" and you will see new icons appear.


Changes contributed by Tomonori Maruyama 2009.11.30

  • section delete function added

Changes contributed by Akio Ohnishi and Tomonori Maruyama 2009.02.19

  1. new icons for resource upload and file upload

Changes contributed by Akio Ohnishi 2008.07.02

  • AJAX fixed when enabled on the site.

Changes contributed by Matt Gibson 2008.07.03

  1. Upload links are now labelled 'Upload file(s) and display them here' and 'Upload file(s) without displaying them yet' - still not ideal, but just a personal preference.
  2. All links/icons have tooltips to elaborate on the imperfect titles
  3. The divs containing those links will no longer overlap each other on smaller screens, whilst using long titles
  4. Help files for backup/restore and directory name were the wrong way around
  5. The directory naming help button was missing

Changes contributed by Matt Gibson 2008.07.08

  1. Bug in quotation marks inside format.php file (inconsistant " and ' marks)

Bugs & Known Issues

Please report bugs to Don Hinkelman (hinkel at Known issues include:

  1. Importing a project for a second time in the same location may overwrite the old project without warning--previous user data will be lost. We recommend backing up the section first and renaming the section folder.
  2. Converting from a topic-format course to a project format course will create new section directories and copy all associated media to those folders. Links in the activities/resources will be regenerated to those new media files and should not require manual correction of links. However, if you experience problems, please report to us. Before doing a Topic-to-Project format conversation, double check to make sure you have a course backup in case you do not like the results of the conversion.
  3. After you import a new section into your course, you may be prompted to change the name of the directory. It is best to have a unique directory name for each section (across a course), however, this is not always enforced strictly.
  4. When moving a resource or activity within a course, from one project to another (using the up/down arrow icon, or the AJAX icon), the associated media files or resource file does not move into the new section directory
  5. This approach to backup/import may duplicate media files many times within a site. This is not a problem for a site with its own server and sufficient hard disk capacity. However, for limited capacity sites (such as on a shared hosting server), this course format could cause you to reach your limit sooner than expected. Use carefully.
  6. Fatal Errors: These may occur do to problems outside of the Project Course Format. Here is some advice on what to do: Sharing Cart/Project Format Errors


Design team: Don Hinkelman and Andy Johnson (hinkel at Programming: Akio Ohnishi and Tomonori Maruyama, Version2 Web Development Funding: Sapporo Gakuin University, Japan

Help Files

1. English Help file "format/project/resourceupload.html": Quick Resource Upload This is a quick way to upload a resource file into a section of a course. It will automatically name the resource with the same name as the original file. It can also be used to bulk upload an unlimited number of resources. This can save numerous steps and encourage teachers to take the time to publish their documents, handouts, and lesson files. However, be careful when selecting what to upload, because bulk upload is so easy, but there is no bulk delete or undo function. Each new resource must be deleted one-by-one. Any resource created by this method can be edited in the normal way.

2. English Help file "format/project/cousefileupload.html" Quick Course File Upload This is a quick way to upload a batch of media files (audio, video, image, etc.) for any activity in your section/project. For example, if you want to create a quiz with many images and sound files, use this to locate, select, and upload those files. Click on the link, "Quick Course File Upload", and then select the files anywhere on your hard disk. Click "Select" and these files will be instantly uploaded into the Course Files area of your course administration. When you do a backup or import into another course, these files will be included. After moving, a new path to these files will be built in each activity that has links to these files.

3. English Help file "format/project/sectionbackuprestore.html" Section Backup and Import The first icon in this pair of icons (on the left) is for section backup. It will backup all the activities, resources and associated course files into one package. It does not backup any user data or user files. This is useful if you want to send or exchange a zip file to another site or another teacher on a different site. The second icon (on the right) is more important. It is an import icon. First, you have to know the location of a good section/project you want to import into your course. After you have got the location in another course, you normally will go to an empty section in your destination course and click on this. When you click on this, you will have to select the original course, and then you will select one of the sections of that course.

4. Help file "format/project/directoryname.html" Section Directory Name In the Project Course Format, each section has its own folder. The folder is kept in Admin >> FIles of each course (not the Site Files). This folder holds the media files and resources that belong to the section (project/topic/theme). Initially, each section folder is named "section01"," section02"," section03" and so on. However, for moving and importing across the site, it is important that each folder have a unique name. You will be prompted to make a unique name.