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What is Moodle?


Moodle explained with Lego blocks


How to get started


Setup your Moodle course: homepage, students


Handle communication: messages and forum


Handle content: Moodle editor, resources and activities


Collect information: choices, feedback


Evaluate: assignments, quiz, question bank









What is Moodle?


Moodle is a Learning Management System (LMS) that supports the entire process of learning/teaching, from the creation of courses to the delivery of educational content. Designed to create opportunities for rich interaction between teacher and learners, it is an Open Source platform widely used for distance, blended (flipped classroom) and in presence learning. It was built with educational approaches of social constructionist pedagogy but supports other learning approaches as well. With Moodle you can add resources, create activities, use its internal messaging system, monitor and evaluate your students progress throughout your courses.



Moodle explained with Lego blocks


Moodle is a modular platform that allows it to expand its capabilities through plugins and configurations. This architecture can be explained through the analogy with Lego blocks. Each block adds a feature or configuration option that can be used by teachers and learners.


Moodle explained with Lego blocks (Slides)



How to get started?


Moodle can be installed and run on personal computers, network servers, or hosted as a cloud service. You can also use Moodle on your mobile devices, smartphones and tablets, thanks to the official Moodle App (available for Android and IOS).

Typically, as a teacher you will use your institutional Moodle installation with a course already configured for you. If this is the case, feel free to jump to the section: “Setup your Moodle course” to get started with a new Course.



What are the different ways of installing and using Moodle?



Follow this link in order to access a demo version of Moodle.

You will be asked to select between two types of Moodle sites. They differ visually because of the theme customization options applied to them and the content they start with:



Image 1: Sandbox choice of the demonstration site



Pay attention to the timer situated at the bottom right corner of each site, after it gets to zero all your progress will be lost and Moodle will return to its initial state. Every hour the site resets. Other people may be using the demo site at the same time so you may find your content suddenly deleted or modified.



Image 2: Sandbox reset timer


The next step to access the sandbox is authentication. There are some predefined demo accounts with associated roles that you can use during the login phase. Your experience will vary according to the role you choose. The login credentials are listed on the respective login pages:


“Mount Orange School” Demo:


Moodle sandbox Demo:


Once logged in you will be able to make experiments, make use of this tutorial and explore Moodle



Moodle Dashboard


By default after a successful login both teachers and students are redirected to their own Dashboard page. Here you can find all your courses, as exemplified below. This page is highly customizable but the core elements are the courses.


Select a course from your list to continue exploring the next Moodle topics.



Image 3: Example of Dashboard (classic)




Image 4: Example of Dashboard (customized)



The dashboard can be also accessed by clicking on your user menu, visible on the top right side of your screen, and selecting the “Dashboard” option from the dropdown menu.



Image 5: Dashboard access from user profile dropdown menu



Setup your Moodle course: homepage, students



What is a Moodle course?


A Moodle course is a place where all the learning materials and activities are stored. The course content can be accessed by the course participants.


Learn more about Moodle courses by watching the following video:


What is a course in Moodle?



Create a new Moodle course


Typically as a teacher you should already have your course created for you by your institution.


However, if you need to create a new course you will need to have administrator privileges. As an administrator you will need to access your Site administration panel, as shown in the image below. You can also access the “Add a new course” option by typing the following URL: www.yourmoodlesiteaddresshere/courses/index.php



Image 6: Add a new course option



To create a new Moodle Course follow this guide:


Create A Course Admin Basics.



Student enrollment


Once inside your Moodle course you can proceed with adding students. You could decide to enable self enrollment, so students can sign up to courses by themselves, or you could add them manually. See the course enrollment documentation for more details about the enrollment process.



Moodle course homepage


Once inside a Moodle course you will be presented with the following User Interface:



Image 7: Moodle course homepage



You can also inspect some examples from the official Moodle documentation about the course Homepage.



How to edit course sections?


If you want to add or edit your course content you have to enter the edit mode. As a teacher you can click on the “Turn editing on” button to be able to modify your courses.



Image 8: Turn editing on button


Once you enter the edit mode you will be able to:



Inside a course section you can add resources and activities.



What are blocks?


Blocks are elements that provide some sort of information or access to Moodle functionalities. They can be positioned within any Moodle page and are a useful tool to personalize and configure your own course.


What are blocks?


Some examples of block elements are the following:



Image 9: Block examples


To add a block you have to enter the edit mode. Then at the bottom of the navigation drawer an option called “add block” will appear.



Handle communication: messages and forum


Moodle allows exchanging messages between course participants, students and teachers. We can send private messages to single users, create group chats and communicate through forums.



Instant messaging


Instant messaging allows you to send and receive private messages. This type of communication is asynchronous, users will have to reload the page to see the last updates, that is the incoming messages.



Sending and receiving messages


We can send instant messages by clicking on the “cloud icon” next to the user name on the online users block (if present):



Image 10: Online users block


Alternatively, if a user is offline, you can go to his/hers user profile (for example from the course participants section). Then click on the “Message” option. This will open the communication window.



Image 11: User profile message option


A notification (a number on a red field) can appear on the top right side of the messages icon, it means that we have some incoming messages that were not read/opened yet.



Image 12: Message notification


To view a message you need to click on it, this will open a new conversation window. Here you can see all the messages you have exchanged and a space to reply back to the conversation, as shown in the image below:



Image 13: Communication window






Chat allows users to exchange real-time (live) messages with other online users. The communication is synchronous. It has to be enabled by the teacher, you can enter the chat by clicking on the “chat icon” as shown in the screenshot below:



Image 14: Chat activity example


Then enter the chat to join a real time text discussion:



Image 15: Enter the chat


At this point you can start messaging as you would do with any text-based chat tool (Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Telegram and others).

You can read more about messaging capabilities in the official messaging documentation.





Forums or discussion forums are generally used to communicate with a group of people, in this case with the course participants or with a subgroup of students working on a common task. They can be used as aggregators of ideas, opinions and spaces to enable further discussions about the course materials and updates.


There is one special type of forum called “Announcements” which gets created by default when you create a new course. It is not exactly a forum since it is a unidirectional communication tool used to publish course announcements (all the course participants are automatically subscribed to it but cannot reply to the announcements posts).



Image 16: Course announcements


The standard forum is bidirectional, here course participants can discuss and add new topics. Teachers could also use this activity to evaluate the students participation and grade their posts.


For more insights and configuration options, watch the following video on the forum activity:





Handle content: Moodle editor, resources and activities



Moodle editor


Text content creation is done by the Moodle text editor called “Atto”. This WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor allows users to write and format text based content. It also allows you to insert multimedia files (images, videos, etc.) without the necessity of writing HTML (behind the scenes, your content is being automatically translated to HTML).

This editor will appear anywhere the operation of text insertion/modification is allowed. For example, you can use it for describing Moodle resources and activities, inside quizzes and blocks.

By default, the text editor appears in its shorter format but you can expand it by clicking on the leftmost icon (number 1 on the image below):



Image 17: Moodle text editor, collapsed view. Source:
, Licensed by


Text formatting buttons:

  1. Expand, show/hide a second row of buttons with additional functionalities, see the next image (Moodle text editor, expanded version)
  2. Style, let you select paragraph styles with various heading levels
  3. Bold text style
  4. Italic text style


Text alignments buttons:

  1. Bulleted list
  2. Numbered list
  3. Add link, inserts or modifies a hyperlink on the selected text/object
  4. Unlink, removes existing hyperlinks from the selected text/object


Advanced functionalities buttons:

  1. Add images
  2. Add emoticons (if enabled)
  3. Add media, insert or edit an audio/video file
  4. Record audio, live audio recording through your microphone (required)
  5. Record video, live video recording through your webcam (required)
  6. Manage embedded files
  7. H5P, allows to add H5P interactive content 
  8. (Learn more abou H5P)


Below you can find the expanded version of Moodle text editor:



Image 18: Moodle text editor, expanded view. Source:
, Licensed by


Text formatting buttons:

  1. Underline
  2. Strikethrough
  3. Subscript
  4. Superscript


Text alignments buttons:

  1. Align left/centre/right
  2. Decrease/increase indent


Advanced functionalities buttons:

  1. Equation editor, insert or edit equations
  2. Special characters, choose between a set of special characters
  3. Table, insert/modify tables
  4. Clear formatting, clears all the HTML code that might be associated within the selected text/object
  5. Undo/redo, the last performed actions
  6. Accessibility checker, verifies the accessibility of text with alerts when some accessibility issues occur
  7. Screen Reader helper, helps text comprehension by highlighting styles, links and images
  8. HTML/code view, shows the produced HTML (final output)


Moodle editor automatically saves your progress (periodically) so if you forgot to save your recent edits you may still find your content saved in the editor.


Moodle also includes a more advanced text editor called TinyMCE, where you can write directly in HTML. You can read more about it in the documentation: TinyMCE editor.





Moodle resources are items that teachers use in order to support their educational goals. These items are static (meaning that they do not allow learners to interact with each other or the Moodle platform, see activities for interactive content) and can range from simple pdf files, links to entire books.


Types of resources in Moodle (according to the official documentation):



These are standard resources included within most basic Moodle installations. There are also thousands of free plugins available at https://moodle.org/plugins, which system administrators can install to extend Moodle functionalities.





Activities are tools/spaces where learners can interact with other learners or teachers.


There are different types of activities in the standard Moodle that can be found when the edit mode is turned on and the link 'Add an activity or resource' is clicked:



These are standard activities included within most basic Moodle installations. There are thousands of free plugins available at https://moodle.org/plugins, which system administrators can install to extend Moodle functionalities.



How to add resources and activities?


All types of Moodle resources and activities can be added by entering the edit mode on your course. Then you will be able to click on the 'Add an activity or resource' link as explained below.


As a teacher enable the course editing option from your course homepage:



Image 19: Enter edit mode



Scroll down to the section where you want to add new activity or resource and click on the “Add an activity or resource” link:



Image 20: Add an activity or resource


A new window will open letting you select the activity or resource to be added:



Image 21: Add an activity




Image 22: Add a resource



Choose and click over the activity or resource you want to add. Next, you will be asked to provide some configuration options for the specific content type you selected.


Each item has some specific options that you can select by following the on-screen instructions. Generally when you click over an activity or resource you will see the following page (it may vary slightly depending on the item you selected, this is an example of adding a File resource):



Image 23: Example of adding new resource (File)



Usually only a few options are required to proceed with the addition of new content. In this case we are required to add a name of our file resource and of course the file itself! Once you have configured all the desired options you can proceed by clicking the “Save and display” button to view the content directly in your course.



Collect information: choices, feedback



What is a Choice activity?


This is an activity which allows you to ask a question which can be answered by the course participants. It is useful to make quick pools/surveys. Each choice activity consists of one question and a series of choices displayed as radio buttons.


This activity is particularly useful for:


To add a choice, add an activity by selecting the Choice icon from the activity chooser.

Give it a name and a description and set other options depending on your use case.


Overview of the choice activity:





Below you can find a choice example where students are asked to be a part of one of the project groups (they can select only one option):



Image 24: example of choice activity



How to ask for feedback?


Feedback is a versatile activity often used to collect course and teacher evaluations. For example, you could collect student opinions to improve your teaching. After each lesson you could ask your students for feedback so you could adapt your strategy according to their responses.

Inside feedback, you can insert multiple choice questions, yes/no questions, open text questions and response-specific questions. The latter are dependent on previous responses, so they appear only if a specific option is selected during the feedback activity.


To add feedback, add an activity by selecting the Feedback icon from the activity chooser.

Give it a name and a description and set other options depending on your use case.

Some of the more advanced settings allow you to:



Here you can learn more about the feedback activity including some of the most common settings:


Feedback: Listen to your learners



Evaluate: assignments, quiz, question bank





Assignments allow students to submit work to their teacher for grading. As a teacher you will use the Moodle text editor to create assignments, for this reason they may also include multimedia content. For example you could insert a video as a task and ask your students to write their opinions and test their comprehension through a series of questions.


Assignments may be given to everyone in your course, to a group or even to a single student.

Always remember to ask specifically what students are expected to submit, that is the format and the files you expect them to upload. You could also decide that your students should fill the assignment using the Moodle editor directly or that they should upload a specific file type.


To add an assignment, add an activity by selecting the Assignment icon from the activity chooser.

Give it a name and a description and set other options depending on your use case. You can see some common configuration option for assignments in the following video:





How to grade assignments


Once created and published students can submit assignments and you will be able to view and grade them.

There are three main ways of grading assignments


  1. You can assign grades directly from the submission page where you can also inspect all the submissions made by the course participants:



    Image 25 Submission page overview


    Click on the “Grade” button to view each single submission that has been made:



    Image 26: Teacher submission view. Source:
    , Licensed by


    • A space that shows the work that has been submitted (1), it can be annotated directly in Moodle
    • File containing the submission (2), can be downloaded
    • Grade input (3), here you can assign a grade to the assignment
    • Individual feedback space (4), students will receive comments or observations that you write here
    • Save and show next button (5), saves your work and shows the next submission
    • You can also move back and forth between submissions with arrows (6)


    Once the assignments are being graded, Moodle saves the results in the course gradebook.


  3. Grader report or gradebook, all the grades of each student in a course can be found in the course gradebook. It can be accessed from the Grade link in the navigation drawer.


    You can learn more about the Grader report in the following video:


  5. Single view allows a course teacher to view either all the grades of one single student or a single grade item for all students. This view can be accessed by going to the Course homepage > Grades > Single view:


    Image 27: Grades single view




How to add a Quiz?


Quiz is a powerful activity with many configurable options. You can add multiple types of questions with embedded multimedia (images, links, videos etc.).


To add a quiz, add an activity by selecting the Quiz icon from the activity chooser.

Give it a name and a description and set other options depending on your use case.


Before you can proceed you have to select one of the following question types:



Image 28: Quiz question types


Once you select a question type, it is time to create the questions. The process of creation varies depending on your previous choice. When you create a new question it automatically gets saved in the Question bank so it can be reused in the future.


The Question bank is a place where all questions are stored. As a teacher you can create a database of questions, categorize them, view/edit and export them to create new quizzes.


This process and an overview about quizzes is better explained in the following video: