This article walks you through the basics of getting started with Moodle. Topics covered include:
- Accessing the ADM Moodle site and logging in
- Creating a course
- Adding basic course information
- Enrolling Users
This is the first in a series of articles that will help you create, manage, and add features to your Moodle courses.
Step One: Accessing the Site & Logging In
You can access our Moodle server at: http://moodle.adm.k12.ia.us
In order to login, click the “Login” button in the top right corner of the screen. On the login screen, enter the same username and password that you use to log in to your district-issued computer.
Step Two: The Main Screen
Once you’ve logged in to the site, you’ll see the site’s main screen. If you are already a teacher or student in a course, you will see a “My Courses” section toward the top of the screen that shows you all of the courses with which you’re connected.
To join or create a new course, scroll down to the course categories section, and click the category most appropriate for your course.
If you’re adding a new course, click the “Add a New Course” button after you’ve opened the appropriate category.
Step Three: Adding Course Information
After you’ve clicked “Create a New Course”, you’ll be taken to the form that you must fill out to add the new course.
One of the nice things about Moodle is that the forms that you fill out to add just about anything – a new course, an assignment, a discussion board, etc. – look pretty similar. You’ll notice the field headings (such as “Course full name”, with a red asterisk if the field is required. At any time you can click the small question mark icon to find out more about that field.
Fill out the “General” field by using the name of your course (with section number if you’ll have a different page for each section), and a short name (which is a one-word name for your course). You can set the start date in the future if you’re creating a course that won’t start until a later date.
Optionally, you can add a course description that would show in Moodle’s course catalog.
Step Four: Course Format
Next, you’ll choose the format for your course. By far the most common selection is “Topics Format”, which organizes your course into a series of topics. An example of a course where topics format might be appropriate would be a U.S. Government course, organized into branches of government, federal, state, electoral systems, etc.
The Single Activity Format is for courses with one section. An example of this would be a course where the Moodle site is only being used to share a syllabus and a course schedule.
The Social Format is designed to emphasize interaction between students, with a focus on discussion boards, chat rooms, and so forth. An example where this would be appropriate would be a Moodle course used primarily for outside-of-class interaction, like exam prep or group homework.
The Weekly Format is similar to the topics format, except that the course is divided into weeks instead of into topics. The current week will automatically be highlighted when a student logs in. An example of this might be a weight training course, where each week might bring new activities, benchmarks, and examples.
As with everything in Moodle, you can experiment with your choice of format, and you can change the format at any time.
Step Five: Other Categories
For appearance, most users will accept the defaults. You can experiment with the different visual themes available on our Moodle server; if unspecified, it will default to the site’s visual theme.
You can specify Files & Uploads rules; I strongly recommend setting the maximum upload size to the Site Upload Limit, which will ensure that users can submit files of almost any size to your page.
You can enable Guest Access, and optionally choose a password that guests must know to access your course. This is how you would allow parents to enter your course; either you can set a password and email the password to parents, or you can leave the password blank and allow anybody to browse your course. Contact Adam Kurth if you’d like to discuss whether to allow public access without a password.
Moodle allows you to establish Groups, which will be covered in-depth in a later article. This feature is useful if you have students working in groups and submitting group work; rather than each student having to submit a copy of the group’s work, the group can submit it as one. Further, you can assign projects to groups, rather than to individual students.
Step Six: Saving Your Course
Anytime you edit your course settings or any other form, you’ll need to click the Save button at the bottom of the form. After you’ve added your course settings, click the “Save and Display” button to save and open your course.
Step Seven: Enrolling Students
After your course has been created and saved, it will open a window that allows you to enroll students in your course. You do not need to enroll students yourself; you can have students log in to Moodle, choose your course, and click the “Enroll” button to enroll themselves.
That said, some teachers prefer to enroll students themselves. In order to do so, click the “Enrol” button (British spelling). You will see a list of users; you can use the search box at the bottom to search for a specific student, and then click the “Enrol” button next to their name to enroll them in the course. Once you’re finished adding users, click “Finish Enrolling Users”. You will be shown a list of enrolled users, at which point you can click “Proceed to course content”.
You’ve now finished creating a course! In order to learn about basic course administration, including adding information, activities, files, and so forth, check out my “Getting Started With Moodle: Basic Course Administration” article.