Support for Instructors

Operational flowchart for online teaching and learning at the University of the West:

opreational flow chart

A Quick Tour of Moodle for Instructors

I am having trouble logging into Moodle. What should I do?

  • Anyone with an active Moodle Account should be able to log into Moodle. Make sure you are using the correct username and password.
  • Make sure you don’t have any viruses or malware (a.k.a. spy and/or adware) on your computer. 
  • If you have a firewall enabled (or you are not sure whether you do or not), ask your IT administrator or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) how to set it up so you can access Moodle.

I can log in to Moodle, but why I don't see my course listed under My Courses?

  • You must request a new Moodle course every semester you wish to teach a class using Moodle.
  • At the beginning of the semester before courses are open to students, click Show hidden courses (at bottom of My Courses block) to access unreleased courses.

The Navigation Block and the Navigation Bar

The Navigation Block

The Navigation block is a reliable way to find your way around Moodle.


  • Site Home is the entry page for all of Moodle.
  • Dashboard lists the courses in which you are currently enrolled and links to activities requiring attention such as ungraded assignment submissions. You can customize their Dashboard page by adding blocks such as Calendar or Upcoming Events to show deadlines and events for the classes you are teaching or taking.

The Navigation Bar

  • The Navigation bar (or “breadcrumb links”) begins with a link to the Dashboard of Moodle. Further links to the right show your current location. Click the course name to return to your course page from a sub page.


Moodle is Structured Around "Blocks" and "Sections"

By default, a Moodle course page is divided into three columns. The sides contain blocks and the center contains sections.

course sections


  • The side columns of a Moodle page contain blocks. The Navigation and Administration blocks are required, but other blocks are optional. You can rearrange the blocks and set whether particular blocks show only on the course home page, or on all pages.
  • Most blocks update dynamically with information about the course. For example, blocks such as Calendar and Upcoming Events update when date-based activities are added to the course. In contrast, the HTML block can be added to post static text in a side column. This can be useful for posting contact information and office hours.
  • Which blocks show at any moment depends on where you are in Moodle. For example, the blocks displayed on your course home page are different from those displayed when viewing an assignment or forum. Which blocks are displayed can also depend on your role in the course. For example, teachers may see blocks that students do not.


  • The central column of your course page is divided into Sections where your course content and activities are shown. You can use the sections to organize your course by topic, content type, or chronology. If you choose to order your course chronologically, you can have Moodle automatically provide a section per week.
  • Put links to Resources (files, web links, folders, etc.), and Activities (discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, etc.) inside the sections of your course page. Labels (a type of Resource) can be used to add text and images to sections.
  • To edit Section names, click Turn editing on (at top right), then click on gear icon Edit (at top of section) and select Edit Settings from the dropdown. This will open the Section settings page.

Course Settings

  • The overall settings for your course are found in the Administration block on your course page. Under the gear iconEdit icon, click Edit settings to make changes. The Edit course settings page will open.

edit settings

  • Some settings are populated automatically with information from SPIRE when the course is created. Other settings are up to the instructor.
  • The Edit course settings page is where you choose to format course sections by Topic or Week, determine how many sections appear in the center column, choose a theme (visual style), and determine whether the course is visible to students.

Note: The Administration block is context-dependent. The available options will change depending on what page you are on.

"Turn Editing On" to Add Content to Your Course Page

Turn Editing On

  • Click Turn editing on at the top-right of your course page.

turn editing on

  • Small icons will appear next to any editable elements already on the page (see image below). Click the Edit link after the section title. A drop-down menu will appear with several actions, including Edit settings, Move, Duplicate, and Hide.


Add Resources and Activities to Sections

add an activity button

  • To add content to your course, with editing turned on, at the bottom right of the Section to which you wish to add content, click + Add an Activity or Resource.
  • Resources include static content such as files, labels, and URLs. A quick way to add files to a course is to drag them from your a computer onto the specific section of your course page in the browser.
  • Activities, such as forums, quizzes, assignments, and wikis, enable your students to interact with each other and submit work to instructors. 

The Activities Blockactivities block

  • The Activities block is added to new courses by default (under Quick Settings block), and helps students view all course activities of a particular type (for instance all Assignments or Quizzes) at once on a summary page.
  • The first time you create a new type of activity in a course, a link to the summary page showing all instances of that kind of activity will automatically be added to the Activities block.

You Can Use Different "Roles" to View Your Course

Within Moodle, each user has a default Role:

  • Teacher (default role for instructors)
    Teachers can add resources and activities, change course settings, and grade student activity.
  • Non-editing teacher (default role for TAs)
    Non-editing teachers can view content and grade student submissions. 
  • Student (default role for students)
    Students can view Resources, participate in Activities, and appear in the Gradebook.
  • switch roleGuest 
    Guests have access to the course page and can view materials but cannot participate in activities or view student-submitted content. Guest access is turned off by default but can be enabled by an instructor.

Depending on your role in Moodle, you may be able to switch to other roles. For instance, if you are a Teacher, you can switch to a Student role to see how the course looks to a student, or switch to a Non-editing Teacherto view the course as a teaching assistant. 

Note: Instructors are enrolled in courses as Teachers and as Students. This allows instructors to submit QuizzesAssignments, or other graded activities, then work with their own grades in the Moodle Gradebook to confirm grade calculations are correct.

How do I reuse a Moodle Course?

  • In Moodle, you do not reset a course to reuse it; you must request a new Moodle course each semester you teach a course, then you can import course content from a previous semester into the new course. 

How do students get enrolled in my course on Moodle?

  • Once a Moodle course has been requested and created, students who are enrolled in the class in Uwest, are automatically or manually added to the Moodle roster. Moodle rosters are updated each hour with enrollment data from Uwest. 

When does student access to a Moodle course begin and end?

  • Moodle courses are automatically made available to students one business day before the start of the term, and student access is removed two weeks after grades for the term are released. However, instructors can hide courses that are not ready for use, or open courses prior to the beginning of the semester.
  • Note: Moodle courses requested after the release date at the beginning of the semester are not automatically released and must be made available to students by the instructor.

Why is a student who enrolled unable to access my Moodle course?

There are a few possible situations that could be causing a student who enrolled but unable to access a Moodle course. Some troubleshooting to consider:

  • Make sure the student is logging in to Moodle.
  • The student must have an active Moodle Account. 

I have a student who is working on an Incomplete. How can the student get access to my Moodle course?

  • To allow a student to access a Moodle course from a previous semester that is currently unavailable to students, do not reopen the course for all students. Rather, you can give a particular student who had been enrolled in the course a special role, Student - with Incomplete. 

I am co-instructing a course, or have a Course Designer in my course. What happens if we both edit something in Moodle at the same time?

  • Moodle does not warn users who are both editing the same item—rather, the last person to Save will overwrite the other person's work. We recommend coordinating with your co-instructor or designer to avoid editing items simultaneously. Either plan which activities and resources "belong" to each of you, or e-mail each other when editing.

Why do I (or my students) get an error message when attempting to upload a large file?

  • Each Moodle course has a course-level upload-limit that the instructor can control in the Course settings. The default Maximum upload size is 50 MB but you can increase it if needed.  
  • In addition, some activities such as Assignments, have an upload-limit determined in the activity Settings. For example, the default Assignment maximum size of 1 MB is generally adequate for text-based documents, but if students are submitting video or audio files you may need to increase the file size allowed. If your students are experiencing errors when trying to upload files, check to make sure the upload limit is adequate for the type of assignment.
    Note: The upload limit for an activity cannot be set higher than the limit for the course, so you may need to change the course settings first.

When I (or my students) try to open files I posted on Moodle, nothing appears to happen. How can I fix this?

The results of clicking on a link to a File in a Moodle will depend on the options you chose when you added the file, the configuration of the browser you are using, and the file type.

  • When an instructor adds a File resource to a Moodle course, there are several options for how the file will Display. We have made Forced download the default action for links to files because it behaves the most consistently between browsers. (The file will download to the location on your computer where the browser is configured to save downloaded files).
  • Check your browser preferences/options to see where files are saved.
  • If your browser is set to prevent files from downloading automatically unless you approve, you may need to confirm the download in a notification bar or pop-up. Where this notification appears will vary from browser to browser. Check the bottom or top of the page, as notifications may appear there.

Where is the File Manager in Moodle? Is there a way to download all the files I've posted to a course at once?

  • There are multiple ways for an instructor to add files to a course. When you add a file, it is stored in the Moodle System files, and when you delete a file from the page, it is deleted from Moodle.
  • To download all files added to a Moodle course by an Instructor or Course Designer, use the Download instructor files tool.
    Note: We recommend as a best practice keeping copies of the files you post to Moodle or collect from student submissions, well-organized on your own computer.

Tracking Progress

There are several ways to track student progress in Moodle. Here we outline what is available to teachers in a course.


  • Every course has its own Grader report which is accessible from Course administration > Grades. Some activities such as Assignment activity and Quiz activity send grades back to this gradebook. It is also possible for teachers to enter grades directly into the gradebook.


  • Competencies describe the level of understanding or proficiency of a learner in certain subject-related skills. Competency-based education (CBE), also known as Competency-based learning or Skills-based learning, refers to systems of assessment and grading where students demonstrate these competencies.

Activity completion

  • If Activity completion is enabled by the administrator and in the course settings, teachers can indicate for each course item how they wish it to be registered as complete. A tick/checkmark will then appear against the activity. Students may either mark it complete manually or the item will automatically be registered as complete once a student has met the specified criteria. These may be viewing a resource, submitting an assignment, posting in a forum or other conditions. The teacher can see an overview of who has completed what in the activity completion report in Course administration > Reports > Activity completion.

activity completion student view

Student view

teacher view

Teacher view

Course completion

  • As an extension of activity completion, enabling Course completion allows for a course to be officially marked as finished, either manually or automatically according to specified criteria. If the Course completion status block is added, students can see their progress during the course. Teachers can view the overall progress of students towards course completion from Course administration > Reports > Course completion.

course completion student view

Student view

teacher view course completion

Teacher view

Course reports

  • A number of Course reports are available to the teacher in their course to help them track the progress of their students. In addition to the activity and course completion reports mentioned above (which are only available if these settings are enabled), there are also activity reports, participation reports, and general course logs.

Other ways to track progress


  • Badges can be awarded either manually or using activity completion settings in a course and are a popular way to motivate students. Students may be awarded badges at different stages of the course for different levels of progress.

Contributed plugins

  • Completion Progress block - an additional plugin

A Few More Things to Consider ...

  • Hide/Show items from students. 
    To hide a section, block, activity or resource from your students, click Turn editing on and click the Edit link or icon (gear icon) for the item you wish to hide, then select Hide. To make the item visible again, select Show.

  • URLs can link directly into your course site.
    If you want to bookmark your course, or put a link to it in an email or on a Web page, share the address (URL) in your browser's address bar to link directly to your Moodle course. Users will be directed to a login page.

  • Files uploaded to your course pages are deleted from Moodle if deleted from the page.
    When you upload a file to a course page, it goes into the System Files for your course. Moodle does not provide a tool for managing those files. If you delete the link to a file from your course home page, it deletes the file from Moodle. Be sure you have a backup on your own computer or stored online.

  • The Gradebook in Moodle has many built-in functions.
    The Moodle Gradebook is a powerful tool that provides instructors with the ability to do complex calculations and organize student grades in a variety of ways. You can mark tasks as extra credit, drop the lowest score(s) from a category, ignore blank grades in a category if the work is optional, and sum up the total score in a given category (e.g. all quizzes) and make it a percentage of a final grade. 

  • Use Announcements to notify students.
    Only the instructor can post to Announcements (previously called News Forum) for a course. When they do, an email copy of that post is automatically sent to everyone enrolled in the course. 

  • Moodle sends email notifications for some activities.
    You can have Moodle send email notices to you or your students when posts are made to a Forum. We recommend setting forums for an optional subscription. Individuals can control some aspects of subscription from forums in their Profile settings.

  • When students submit an Assignment, they are automatically sent a submission confirmation email. Instructors can opt to receive notification when students submit, but the setting is disabled by default.

play computer

Get More Help

Please contact the Support Center:
Phone: 1-909-5398260
Full Support Hours: available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.