Getting Started With Moodle: Basic Course Administration

This article will focus on basic course administration functions, including:

  • Turning Editing On & Off
  • Changing topic names
  • Adding information to topics
  • Adding Activities & Resources
  • Adding a File
  • Linking to Google Drive
  • Embedding Videos

If you need information about how to create a Moodle course, check out my Creating a Moodle Course article.

Step One: Accessing Your Course

Log into your account at and click the course you want to edit.  This will take you to your course; if you haven’t begun to add content yet, you’ll have a blank course that looks similar to the one below.

19 - Blank Course

Step Two: Turning Editing On

This is a simple step, but also tremendously important.  When you first log into your class, you won’t have any buttons or options to edit or add to your course.  In order to do any editing, you must click the “Turn Editing On” button in the top right.

20 - Turn Editing On Button

Step Three: Editing Your Course

After you turn editing on, you’ll see buttons like those in the screenshot below.  The gear buttons edit settings for topics & activities, while the lightbulb icon can be used to highlight a particular topic.  The eye icon toggles between an item being shown or hidden, and the X button deletes a topic or activity.

21 - Editable Course


NOTE: From this point on, these instructions will reflect management of a “Topics” format course, which is by far our most common format.  I will post articles later that specify management options for other course formats, although most of what is covered here will be relevant to other formats as well.

Step Four: Editing a Topic

In order to change a topic name or add content to a topic, click the gear icon in the bottom left corner of the topic you want to edit.

This will open a topic editing form.  In order to change the name, make sure that the “Use default section name” box is not checked and then enter your topic name in the “Section name” box.  Anything that you enter in the “Summary” section will appear immediately below the section name on your course page.  Note that you can use the controls above the text window to change font styles, add bulleted lists, add links (to websites or files), embed pictures and video, and attach files.

After you’ve finished editing your topic, click “Save changes”.

Step Five: Adding an Activity or Resources

Activities are resources are the backbone of Moodle.  Activities are items that involve some sort of interaction, such as assignments, quizzes, discussion boards, wikis, databases, chat rooms, and so on.  Resources are static, and include things like files, folders, and web pages.

In order to add an activity or resource, click the “Add an activity or resource” button in the bottom right corner of a topic, and then at the window that opens, select the activity or resource that you want to add.  As you can see in the “Add a file” section below, when you select an activity or resource, it will give you a detailed description of what that item is.

Step Six: Adding a File

Once you’re in the “Add an Activity or Resource” window (see above), you can add any type of activity or resource.  In this example, I’ll walk through adding a file.

Scroll down in the “Activities & Resources” window and choose “File”, then click “Add”.  In the form that appears, you’ll enter a name for your file (usually a descriptive name like “Syllabus” or “Reading for September 7th”); this does not need to match the actual file name.

You can upload the file in a number of ways.  First, you can simply drag your file(s) from your computer into the “Select Files” window, and Moodle will handle the upload process for you.  Alternatively, you can click the file with a plus button in the top left corner of that section to choose a file from your computer, or to select a file from Google Drive, Dropbox, or your previous Moodle file uploads.

Once you’ve added your file(s), click the “Save and Return to Course” button.

Step Six A: Inserting a File from Google Drive

When following the instructions above, you may have noticed that after you clicked inside the file selection window, or clicked the add file button, one of the options is to choose a Google Drive document.  In order to do so, select “Google Drive” in the file picker window, and then click “Login to your Google account”.

If your web browser is already logged in to your ADM Google account, it will automatically log you in.  If not, or if you’re logged in to multiple Google accounts, you’ll have to enter your username and password, or choose which account to use (see below).

After you’ve logged in, you can browse your Google Drive and choose the file(s) to insert into your Moodle page.  Note that you can use the buttons in the top right of the file browsing window (see below) to adjust whether the files/folders show up as icons or as a list.

Step Seven: Embedding a YouTube Video

The ability to share media – videos of lessons, examples for students, informational resources – is one of the great advantages of e-learning platforms like Moodle when compared with traditional textbooks and handouts.  Embedding a video in Moodle is very simple.

First, find the video you want in YouTube, and copy the URL from your web browser’s address bar.  Alternatively, you can upload your own video to YouTube.

Next, click the “edit” gear button for the topic to which you want to add the video (see step 4 above).  Note that you can use the same instructions below to embed videos in an assignment, a webpage, or any other activity or resource that has a summary.

All you have to do to embed a video is to copy the URL of the video into the text editor window, as I’ve done in my “Video Resources” topic example below.  Once you save and return to the course, your video will be embedded.

Step Eight: Turning Editing Off

While you must have editing turned on in order to add information and activities to your course, all of the buttons and gears make it pretty unattractive.  To make sure that things are laid out the way you want, click the “Turn Editing Off” button at any time to see a nice, clean version of your course page.

37 - Clean Course (editing off)

You’ve now covered the basics of course administration in Moodle.  Check back for more articles relating to assignments, quizzes/tests, and other specific Moodle course administration topics.


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1 Response to Getting Started With Moodle: Basic Course Administration

  1. Pingback: Getting Started With Moodle: Creating a Course | ADM Technology Blog

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