Moodle-iconFirst, the big picture idea: Instead of a new Moodle instance for each semester, we are going to try a single instance with multiple semesters in different categories along with tools to organize what semester is active at any time. Depending on how well this new approach performs, we will try to keep four academic years online at once in the same Moodle instance. Many warnings will be given before anything is ever removed. There will always be easy ways of archiving old course sites offline. Moving to a single instance model will make moving course material from old sites to new ones easier (this is a drawn out, multiple step process in the older version of Moodle) and will allow us to take advantage of the new “private files” repository where users may upload files that are associated with them (not with course sites) and may be linked to or copied into multiple course sites. Finally, a single instance allows more natural flow from one semester to the other rather than a drop-dead date approach we previously employed to move an old semester’s instance off to an archive area before replacing with a new one. The existing Moodle archives (going back to 2008) will remain online for the foreseeable future.

Faculty members who would like a past course site copied to a new semester, please fill out the request form for each course site to be copied. Academic ITS will copy the site for you and let you know when it is completed. You may copy course site content that is already in the updated version of Moodle by following these instructions.

Video tutorials and links to written documentation are available for this updated version of Moodle.

Here are some new features and notable changes in the updated version of Moodle:


Browser compatibility

The recommended browser for editing course sites in the updated version of Moodle is the current version of Firefox on Macintosh and Windows. Other browsers may work, though. Please read about browser security and the importance of keeping browsers up-to-date.



Display one section of the course site at a time

There is a new display option to show only one section of the course site at a time. By breaking the sections up into multiple pages, large course sites can stop the “eternal scroll” effect where students and instructors have to scroll further and further down the home page of a course site to see current information as the semester progresses.



Administration > Edit settings > Course format > Course layout > “Show one section per page”



Dynamic width theme for greater flexibility

The new site theme has a dynamic width rather than a fixed width center column. In the previous version, the course site page display would look odd if an image too wide for the fixed center column was inserted.




New location for role switching link

The location of the option to change your role in a course site has changed. It was previously in the top right. It is now in the administration block.





New location edit settings/content link

The location of the link to edit the settings and content of most activities (forums, assignments, etc.) and resources (pages, etc.) is now appears in the administration block when viewing those items.





Drag and drop files into course site sections

When editing a course site, you can drag and drop files right into sections.


Drag and drop zip archives of many files into course site sections

When editing a course site, you can drag and drop a .zip archive onto a section and you will be asked to unzip the files into a folder resource or create a link to the .zip archive itself.




Drag and drop course site sections and blocks

Moving course site sections and blocks is accomplished by dragging and dropping them. Please watch this brief (30 second) video for a demonstration.


Edit resource and activity titles right on main course site page

When editing a course site, you can now edit a resource or activity title right on the main page without opening up the settings page for that item.


Course site file repository goes away in favor of files associated with resources

In previous versions of Moodle, files were associated with courses and you could view all the files by clicking on the file repository link in the administration block. In the updated version of Moodle there will be a “legacy course file” link for course sites  that were imported from older versions of Moodle that contain the files from the old course site but all resources and activities now have files associated directly with them rather than linked to in a course-wide file repository. This is more secure and modular but may take some getting used to.

Download all assignment submissions & upload all feedback files at once

There is finally an easy way to download all assignment submissions. When you go to “view/grade all submissions” in an assignment, there is an option on the drop-menu at the top of the page to “download all submissions.” The files will be downloaded in a single zip archive with the name of the file identifying the student who submitted it. You can also edit/markup those files, save them, zip them up again and choose “upload multiple feedback files in a zip” and the files will be available to the student with the feedback enclosed.



Here are step-by-step instructions on downloading submissions and uploading feedback files:

1. Choose “Download all submissions” from the drop down menu above the grading table
2. Extract all the files from the zip into a folder
3. Edit the documents (add comments, etc) and save them (IMPORTANT: Do not change the file names)
4. Select the updated files in the folder and create a new zip file from them (IMPORTANT: Do not just zip the folder)
5. Choose “Upload multiple files in a zip” from the drop down menu above the grading table and upload the zip file
6. Click “Import feedback file(s)”
7. You should see a summary of feedback file activity





Information about the new file picker & new file repositories

(coming soon…)



The new navigation block

A new navigation block makes moving around and between course sites easier. Please watch the brief (1 minute) video below for an overview.



New mobile device interface

When accessing the updated version of Moodle from a device like a smartphone, the site should display with a theme that is easier to navigate on a small screen.