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An exciting

approach to
redesigning the
instructional
environment

MOODLE 2.5
ESSENTIALS FOR
EDUCATORS
This manual includes everything necessary for local
administration of Moodle sites and the development of
individual teacher sites.

Romeo O. Marquis, Executive Director


2014. All rights reserved.
No reproduction without permission.

Why this manual?


This manual has been written specifically for teachers and administrators whose
school districts belong to The Learning Curve. It is meant to provide support and
understanding as we continue to move our member districts from the older Moodle
1.9 to the newer Moodle 2.5. The main purpose of this manual is to help make that
transition as smooth as possible.
Moodle is only a tool. The movement to online teaching and learning in K-12
schools continues to grow rapidly. While Moodle is now the most popular
Learning Management System (LMS) in higher education, we must keep in mind
that the real issue lies in the answer to the essential question, What can we
achieve online that we cannot achieve as well or as fully in a more traditional
classroom? To address the many answers to that question we must redesign the
instructional environment.
Redesigning the instructional environment, therefore, must remain foremost in our
minds even as this how to manual is put to use. The best redesigning takes place
not in how many of Moodles tools we put into use but why and how we use those
tools. You know from your interaction with our team that pedagogy always comes
first. This manual will hopefully help you continue along that path.
Finally, this manual includes the essentials associated with using Moodle those
tools emphasized in our gateway course, Integrating Moodle into Your
Teaching. Additional features are addressed in the advanced courses in our
Graduate Professional Development Certificate in K-12 Online Teaching.

Many thanks to Ann Morgan for upgrading this


manual from Moodle Version 2.2.3 to 2.5.
See you online!

Contents
Part I: Administering your local Moodle site
1. First Things First: The Moodle Front Page
General information plus a guide for local Moodle administrators

A. Before Login
B. After Login
C. Guidelines for Local Administration of Front Page Essentials
2. Creating Categories and Course Sites

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Guidelines for local Moodle administrators

3. Administration Panel Walk-through

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A brief tour of the Moodle System Administration Panel

Part II: Developing and managing course sites (teachers)


4. Configuring Individual Course Sites

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For teachers: Preparing your virtual classroom

5. Adding Content to Moodle Course Sites


For teachers: Digital content in a digital age

A. Adding Files from Your Computer


B. Adding Content from the Web
C. Adding Labels to Your Site

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6. Getting Your Students to Engage Content in New Ways


For teachers: Content engagement is the difference

A. Adding Online Forums for Collaboration


B. Using the Assignment Feature for One-to-one with Students
7. Adding Students to Your Course Site

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For teachers: Enrolling students

For questions and for help: Rmarquis48@gmail.com

978-606-7023 (voice or text)

As you use this manual, please feel free to suggest any potential improvements.

1. First Things First: The Moodle


Front Page
General information plus a guide for local Moodle
administrators

A.

Before Login

Enter the URL of your local Moodle site to get to


the front page. You can follow along in your own
site as you work your way through the information
in this manual.
Even before Login, visitors to your site can see
informational items that local Moodle
administrators want them to see. These links will
change from time to time depending on your local Moodle administrators
priorities.

B. After Login
Upon Login to your districts site you will be able to gain access to your own
essential information. For the time being we will focus on My home in the
Navigation area. Later you can experiment with the others. The My home link
takes you to your own private place in Moodle. Here you will see links to any
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courses in which you are enrolled or that you are teaching. Within My home you
will also have access to My private files.

My private files is a backpack of sorts. Within that


area, using the Manage my private files button you can
add individual files or folders for your own stuff. For
example, suppose you are at school working on a
PowerPoint presentation for your students but have to
head for home. You can upload your partially complete
PPT into your Private Files area and then finish the job later at home.
Note: All authenticated users including students have access to a My private
files area. Students can therefore carry partially completed assignments
back and forth as needed.
In the Administration area you will find a link to My profile settings. There you
can edit your individual profile.
Note the tiny box in the right-hand corner of the block
titles. You can click on it to collapse or expand the
block. The minus sign then becomes a plus sign (+).
Also note the tiny empty box next to the minus sign.
Click on it to dock the block. Now your blocks appear as
tabs in the left-hand margin of the page. You can do a
mouse roll-over each tab to restore the blocks to their original positions.
Note: Docking is available only in certain Moodle themes. Depending on the theme
selected by your district, you may or may not have the docking feature on your site.
Your local Moodle administrator may decide to make additional features available
on your Moodles front page.

C. Guidelines for Local Administration of Front Page Essentials


Once you login as the Moodle administrator, you will have access to everything
you need in order to administer your local site. Remember that you are not alone in
this endeavor; I am available to work with you. Email Rmarquis48@gmail.com or
call 978-606-7023 for voice or text.
In this section you will work your way through some of the essential Settings for
your districts front page. You can follow along in your own site.
Turn editing on. Note the tiny icons in the title section of each
block. These enable you to determine the look and feel of your
districts Moodle site.
The tiny gear icon allows you to make adjustments to any
particular block.
With editing turned on, you will have access to Add a block.
You can use this menu to add many features to your front page.
Then, you can rearrange the blocks in whatever manner you like
simply by dragging and dropping them to a new location..
Remember, though its easy to get caught up with all the
toys. Keeping your site relatively
simple as it makes it easier for your users
to stay focused on Moodles primary
purpose instruction.
Go ahead experiment with your own site. Add blocks that you
deem essential. Use the tiny icons to adjust the individual
blocks and relocate the blocks according to your own needs.
When finished, Turn editing off.
Next Adjusting your sites Settings.
Go to Administration >Front Page Settings > Edit settings in
your own Moodle site. Here are some essential settings for you to
consider:

Make sure your sites full


name and short name are
accurate.
Leave the Front Page
description blank.
Scroll down to Include a
topic section and check
the box if it not already
checked.
Scroll down and Save
changes.
We will come back to the Settings later as additional features are needed.
Return to Home. Go to Settings > Turn editing on.
Note the tiny edit summary gear icon. Clicking on it will enable you to create
content in the Topic section. You can use this section to include various
announcements from time to time, or simply to provide a welcome message as
shown here:

When youve finished, Save changes and then Turn editing off. We will return to
this section from time to time for additional features. In the meantime, these are the
essentials for your front page.
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2. Creating Categories and Course Sites


Guidelines for local Moodle administrators

A. Organizing Your Moodle Site by Categories (once logged in as Admin)


Categories enable you to organize your schools Moodle site. For example, you
might want a category for each school in the district. Within each school you might
want a sub-category for grade levels or departments. Here is an example:

Note how each school in the district has its own


category. At Ashland High School each department has
its own sub-category. The numbers in the parentheses
indicate the number of Moodle course sites in each
department.
As additional teachers develop their own course sites,
the numbers will change.

To create categories go to Site Administration > Courses > Add/edit courses.


Click on Add a new category. Then follow the prompts.
Repeat this process until you have created all categories that will show in your
districts Moodle site. You can add/delete categories later if you want to.

B. Creating Course Sites for Teachers


Before creating course sites, you can determine the default course settings what
each new course shell will include. Go to
Site Administration > Courses > Course default settings. Here are some of the
essential default settings:

Course sites can be set to Topics or


Weeks. Most teachers prefer to work
with topics, so you should perhaps
make that the default setting.
The default number of topics is ten, but
teachers can change this to reflect their
own preferences.

You will see additional settings as you scroll down the page. Most of these can be
left as they are. However, make sure that Visible is set to This course is available
to students. This means that the course title will be visible although students will
not be able to enter the course unless they are enrolled. Scroll down to Save
changes.
To create individual course sites, go to Site Admin > Courses > Add/edit
courses.
1. Click on Add a new course.
2. Select the appropriate category from the pull-down menu at the top of the
page.
3. Insert the Course full name. Example: Advanced Plcement Chemistry
4. Insert a Course short name. Example: AP Chem
5. If your school uses a specific course numbering system, you can add that
number in the Course ID number space. Otherwise, you can leave that
space blank.
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6. Leave all other areas unchanged. Scroll down and Save changes. That will
take you to another page so you can add a teacher for that new course.
Follow these steps: In settings go to: Users/enroll Users. Next,
click Enroll Users

Add the teacher to their course as a Teacher

If you dont see the teachers name, you can scroll through the list of names or use
the Search box at the bottom of this list of potential teachers. Once you find the
teachers name, click on the Enroll button. Then scroll down and click on
Finish enrolling users.

These are the only steps you should take to create course sites for teachers.
Teachers can then adjust their own course site to suit their own preferences. Each
teacher will have their own Course Administration block.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this process. I
can be reached at Rmarquis48@gmail.com or at 978-606-7023 (voice or
text). Regardless of my location, I will respond as quickly as I can.
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3. Administration Panel Walk-through


A brief tour of the Moodle System Administration Panel

A. Who Are the System Administrators?


When we (The Learning Curve) host a Moodle site for you, the technical heavy
lifting is done by our technical partner, Harris Schools. Your site is on its own
server in the cloud. The system administration functions described in this manual
pertain mostly to organizational and instructional functions that you will manage.
My role is to work closely with you to help organize and manage your Moodle site
from an instructional perspective. Following are some guidelines for this process.
You can login to follow along on your own site as you work your way through this
section. I will use our professional development site as a model.
The Main Menu allows you to create
links to resources that you want your
viewers to see. Go to Front page
settings > Turn editing on. The
small icons enable you to manage
your resources. The pull-down
menus enable you to add items of
your choosing.

Weve already covered essential Front Page settings in Section 1


and Category/Course Management in Section 2. Click on the Site
administration link in your own Moodle site to walk through the site
administration essentials described below. Unless otherwise
described, I strongly suggest that you leave all other settings as they
are. The items described below are the essentials that you will need.
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Users > Accounts > Browse list of users: Enables you to see a list of all users in
your Moodle site. You can sort the list by clicking on the column headings. You
can also edit individual user information using the small icons in the right-hand
column.
Users > Accounts > Add a new user: Enables you to create individual accounts.
Include required information (red labels).
Upon assigning a password, you can use the Force password change if you
want to. When the new user first logs in, he or she will be required to select
a new password.
Set Forum auto-subscribe to No.
Set Forum tracking to Yes.
Set AJAX and Javascript to Yes.
Scroll down to Update profile.
Users > Accounts > Upload users: Enables you to create new accounts in groups.
Create a CSV file (Excel > CSV) with these exact headings:
username password firstname lastname
email
Choose a file . . . follow the prompts.
Users > Permissions > Assign system roles: Enables you to allow permissions for
users selected by you. Ignore the Manager role but you might want to have
someone assist with creating course sites for teachers. If so, click on Course
creator.
Then search in the right-hand space for the persons you want.
Click on their name(s).
Click on the Add button.
Courses: Adding categories and courses was covered in Section 2 of this manual.
Reports > Logs: Enables you to check the activity in your Moodle site. Use the
pull-down menus at the top of the page to decide the kinds of logs you want to see.

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4. Configuring Individual Course Sites


For teachers: Preparing your virtual classroom

A. Your Course Settings (once logged in)


Once your local Moodle Administrator has created a
course site for you, you can then configure your site.
This is like preparing your classroom before your
students show up.
Once you enter your site, click on Edit settings. That
will open a new page including several items that
determine how your course is to be organized.
You can set these items according to your own preferences.
Lets look at the essential settings for now. We can return to the others later. Note:
You may have to click Expand all in the upper right corner.

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Once youve completed the above, scroll down to

Remember the items in this section are the essentials. Feel free to
explore the other items in the Course Settings. However, its best to
leave them as they are for the time being. If you have any questions and
you are in the Moodle course, please use the Help Desk Forum. If youre
not in the Moodle course you can email me at Rmarquis48@gmail.com.
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5.

Adding Content to Your Course


For teachers: Digital content in a digital age

A. Adding files (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, audio, video, etc.) for files that
you are uploading directly from your own computer and not from the Web.
Enter your course site and Turn editing on. In the HTML editor box, you will see
something like this:

In this box you can add text, images, as well as other multimedia formats.

The Result:

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Now lets add resources (content). Click on Add an activity or resource. You
will then see a list of items that you can add. Ill refer to this as the activity
chooser.

The important items at this point are Resources: file, folder, Book, label and
URL.

Lets begin by adding a folder with several items in it.

Lets use the top section of my introductory Moodle course as an example:

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Note that I have a folder titled Resources for this introductory section. In the
folder I have five items that I uploaded from my computer.

Lets see how I did that: First select the activity chooser by
clicking on the +

Then . . . Select Folder from the list.


Notice that a description of the resource is given
as well as how it is commonly used.

Name the folder (this is what students will see) and give a description. Since I
wanted to have a folder within this folder I clicked Create Folder. Otherwise, I
could have just clicked Add to show my single files.

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Lets do one file to get you started. Click on Add.

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My Syllabus is now in the folder:

Once youve finished adding files, scroll down to the bottom of the page to Save
and return to course. This is exactly how I prepared the resources (content)
folders in my introductory Moodle course. This process enables you to include lots
of content in folders so your students wont have to scroll and scroll and scroll
through your course to find individual files. We dont want your course to
resemble a looonnng roll of paper towels.

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B. Adding content from the Web (Web sites, YouTube, etc.) for content that
you will link to rather than files that are on your computer.

Select URL from the activity chooser. Name the URL link (its best to keep
the name simple) Add a description and copy/paste the URL.

Once the process has been completed . . . You can add other Web resources in
this same manner Web sites, videos, etc.

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C. Adding labels to your site for special announcements and clarifications. It


is used to create space and help organize content and make your Moodle more
user friendly.

Select Label from the Activity Chooser. Add the text and save.

You may need to move your label to its correct location. Simple drag and drop
it to its new location using the move icon.

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6.

Getting Your Students to Engage Content


For teachers: Content engagement is the difference

A. Adding online forums for critical thinking and collaboration


In the Activity chooser, select Forum. Add a title, description and the type of
forum you wish. Click on the ? icon to learn about each type.

In your course the forum will look like this.

Once you open the forum you will see a Forum Administration panel like this
one. You can experiment with these features to set various functions to your
forum.

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B. Using the Assignment feature for one-to-one with your students


Use the Activity chooser and select Assignment.

Configure the assignment to meet your objectives. You can experiment with
the various settings for your Assignment. Then scroll down to Save and return
to course.

The Assignment feature will automatically set up a dropbox for you. Once
students begin to upload their assignments, the dropbox will develop. Students
will be able to view and re-submit if you have created permissions. You can
grade assignments and make them viewable in the Moodle Gradebook.

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7.

Adding Students to Your Course Site


For teachers: Enrolling Students

A. Students need accounts before you can enroll them


Student accounts are created by the local Moodle Administrator.
Once student accounts have been created, you can enroll/un-enroll your
students.
B. Enrolling your students
In your Course administration panel
go to Users > Enrolled users.

Your local Moodle administrator has already enrolled you as the teacher.
However, you should enroll yourself as a student as well by clicking on the +
sign. Click Enroll users to add your students.

This box includes a list of all users in your local Moodle site.
Option 1: You can click Enroll to add your students to your
course. Scroll down to work your way through the list.
Option 2: Sometimes there are too many users in the site for the
box to show any names. In that case you can use the Search
function to find your students. When you have finished enrolling
your students, click Finish enrolling users.

It is recommended that you add the role of Student for yourself. In that way
you can participate fully as your students would. This is especially helpful when
you set up your Moodle Gradebook. You can have as many roles as you wish.
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If you have any questions and you are in the Moodle course, please
use the Help Desk Forum. If youre not in the Moodle course you can
email me at Rmarquis48@gmail.com. If you have suggestions for
improving this manual, please let me know.
I can be reached at Rmarquis48@gmail.com or at 978-606-7023 (voice or text).

Moodle 2.5 Essentials for Educators Manual updated by:


Ann Morgan (MCCC) 2014
MorganMoodler@gmail.com

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