VATL courses

Moodle Exploratorium


BadgeWelcome to the Exploratorium!

View the "Comments or Questions" forum or "Let me in!" assignment link below or try the quiz to earn a Moodle Explorer badge! (And there's another badge available, but you'll have to go find it!)

This course was created by Hart Wilson, Southern Oregon University Center for Instructional Support, Ashland, Oregon and updated in conjunction with Learn Moodle 3.7 Basics.

If you find this course helpful, please add a note here in the Share Your Practice Course forum. Thanks!

 Site Table of Contents

Quick links to course elements for your convenience

 Find a Broken Link?

Click on the name of a section below to display the contents.

I've changed the settings in this course to show one section per page in an effort to make it easier to navigate. Read about how to set up one section per page in your own course. Tell me how you like it here in the Comments or Questions? forum.

 Comments or Questions?

HmmmWhat are you curious about as you explore this course? Is there anything you'd like to know more about? Let me know!

[I always subscribe to this kind of forum so that I'll be sure to know when someone has asked a question. I recommend subscribing to Q&A forums to all of the instructors I work with. The only tricky thing is remembering to reply in the forum, rather than replying to the email notice I receive.]


 Meet the CIS Team!

My colleague created this presentation in Powtoon, then saved it to Youtube. Enjoy!

 Sample Syllabus & Calendar

Course InfoI've embedded a Google calendar for my Project Management course in a page (see Oct.-Dec. dates for events). I had to make the calendar public in order for students to view it without having to be logged into their Google accounts. I also added an infographic providing a visual representation of my syllabus.

 Bonus: Moodle vs. Blackboard

Shifting from Blackboard to Moodle can be confusing—course layouts are very different.

Explorations: Welcome to Moodle!

My Top Ten

 Top 10 Hints

VuUlcan mind meldHere are 10 of my favorite tips for fostering student engagement in Moodle. How many examples can you find in this site?


 Visit Us!

Come check out our Moodle training site for faculty (Mastering Moodle) and our orientation site for students (Test Drive)! Make a note of these details:

  • Mastering Moodle logoUse the Non-SOU Account Login link.
  • ID: learn.guest
  • PW: Moodle77


 Moodle How To's (Faculty)

Articles for faculty at Southern Oregon University (Moodle 2.5-3.5)

 Moodle How To's (Students)

Articles for students at Southern Oregon University (Moodle 2.5-3.5)

 Getting Started With Moodle

eThink RocketNew!We created this page to help faculty new to Moodle find their way.

 Leadership Communication Development Plan

 Image Showcase

The Lightbox Gallery plug-in is not activated in this installation, but it's very useful for sharing images files — photos of rocks or plants, cartoons, group projects, etc. Open this page to see what a gallery looks like.

 Images of SOU

DancingThis is an example of a glossary. Instead of defining terms, each entry is a link to a photo.

The "Random glossary entry" block on the right is reaching into the glossary and selecting an image to display randomly each time you open the course page.

Glossaries are designed to be an interactive activity (like the Our Team glossary below), so when you import a copy of your course into a new course shell, any glossaries that you have created will appear without any entries. To restore the entries created in a prior offering of the course, you can export the entries from the prior course and then import them into your new course.

 Working with Images


Color & Images in Moodle
Adding color and images to sections and web pages in a Moodle course is an easy way to enhance the visual appeal of your course and highlight course concepts.
 Resizing Images

NewIn Learn Moodle Basics 3.7, Michael Milette pointed out that many of the practice courses he reviewed contained large photos that were slow to load. See his tips and download SOU's guide to resizing images.


All of these activities are standard in Moodle.

NOTE: Numbering each of the items below makes it easier for course participants to track where they are and where they are going. It also makes it easier to identify an item they need to know more about—which makes it easier for you to answer their questions!

1.0 Forums

 1.1 Project Management at the Movies!

Woody & Buzz"Project Management at the Movies" is one of my favorite discussion forums—my students get really creative with their responses!

 1.2 Forum Ideas

This is an example of linking a dynamic Google doc to a web site to engage course participants. When I am using a shared doc synchronously in a training session, I add a table with rows like this to make it easier for people to know where to write. Otherwise, it's really chaotic!

 1.3 More on Forums

Ideas for different kinds of forums to engage your students and how to balance involvement in forums.

 1.4 About Forum "Locking"

This thread is closedMany instructors would like to set open and close dates for discussions, but there isn't a good way to do that yet (as far as I know!). We had hopes for discussion "locking," but it doesn't work the way we thought it would. See this page if you'd like to learn more.

2.0 Assignments

 About Assignments
 Enable Students to Share Their Work

NewWe often get requests from instructors for help with enabling their students to share work with their classmates. Depending on your needs, creating a forum or adjusting the permissions for a folder might do the trick.

 2.1 Let Me In!

Doorway"Let Me In!" is a file upload assignment that I've used for students in my Business Communication and Business Writing courses. It's a great way to assess where my students' strengths and weaknesses lie. I've created a "grading guide" in Moodle that allows me to assess student submissions and provide feedback to students directly online. As a bonus, a grading guide lets you save frequent comments so you can quickly paste them into feedback textboxes.

Note: Opening this link counts as completion for this item—you don't have to draft a memo!

 Grant an Extension

NewSometimes, a learner needs a little extra time to complete an assignment. See these instructions for granting an extension to a due date. (Opens in new window.)

 2.2 Check-In #1
 2.3 Check-In #10

I love Moodle's online text assignment feature. It lets me hear directly from students—unlike a discussion forum which is a public conversation, online text can only be seen by the student and the instructor. I created a series of 10 check-in's for one of our Communication instructors. I'm still laughing about the image I found for the final week's submission!

 Grading Text Submissions

Check out what it looks like when you go to grade submissions!

 2.4 Offline Activity

Vacuuming & dustingI also love Moodle's offline activity assignment capacity. It took me a long time to get my head around the idea of creating a link for a non-digital assignment, but then I figured out how incredibly helpful it could be and I've never looked back! Open this link to read more.......

 Tip: Due Date Verification

Here's an easy way to make sure that due dates are correct for all your assignments (and other activities).

3.0 Groups

 3.1 Group Sign-Up

"Choices" are great for facilitating group sign-ups—no more passing around a sheet of paper and having students write their names down for the project they want to work on!

GroupYou can limit a group to a particular number and group size can vary. Once a group fills, it still appears in the list, but can no longer be selected. As of Moodle 2.8, students may choose more than one option if you wish to give them that opportunity. With version 3.2, instructors can now assign a choice to a student.

 3.2 Group Choice Plug-in

Tired of circulating group sign-up sheets — how would you like to have Moodle enroll students in a group based on their choosing the topic? With the "Group Choice" plug-in, you can!

 How to Create Groups (and More!)

4.0 Other Activities

 4.1 Our Team: It's all about YOU!

TeamworkGlossaries can be used for anything: bibliographies, web site library, favorite quotes, word of the day, key concepts.... your imagination is the only limit!

Add an entry to our team glossary to introduce yourself—and add another badge to your collection!

 4.2 Sample Lesson: Monitoring and Control

Lessons are definitely advanced activities! A lesson is similar to a book with information provided in pages, but you can add quiz questions between pages to allow learners to check their understanding. If you really want to get fancy, you can create a lesson that has "branches"—the next page that is displayed depends on the response made by the learner.

Two things to know about navigating this lesson: 1) You can avoid the quiz questions by using the page titles in the table of contents on the right to move through the pages, and 2) If you do take the quiz and enter an incorrect answer, be aware that the questions will be displayed in a different order the next time they appear.

We haven't created any documentation for the Lesson activity, but it looks like what's available at moodle.org is pretty good!

 Backup Lesson File

If you'd like, you can download and save this file, then use the "Restore" option in your course to install this lesson in your own course. That will allow you to see how it was made.

 Sample Quiz
 Quiz Creation Guides

Step-by-step instructions for creating quizzes

 Extend Quiz Availability for Certain Learners

NewSome learners may need extra time to complete a timed quiz or may need to take a quiz later than the closing date. Setting up an override just takes a moment. (Opens in a new window.)

 Recommendations for Quizzes
 Course Evaluation


The Questionnaire plug-in allows you to survey your learners inside Moodle.

Course Management Ideas
 Labels as Signposts

Labels are great for organizing materials in your course!

 Completion Tracking

CheckCompletion tracking not only helps students keep track of what they've done and what they need to do, it also helps you track what they are doing.

 One Section Per Page Format

Knight slaying a dragonNo one wants to create the dread Moodle Death Scroll! Here's a simple and elegant solution to try.

Also, check out the description of Collapsed Topics in the More Plugins! book below.

 Stealth Activities

One of the new features as of Moodle 3.3, here's an explanation of how you might take advantage of an activity that is hidden, but available.

This explanation starts with a fix for how to undo this setting if you got there by mistake.....

 Plug-Ins You Might Love

PluginStandard Moodle is great, Moodle with these plug-ins is even better!

 Checklist Plugin
 More Plugins!

 My Favorite Blocks

 Course Banner

Including a course banner at the top of your main course page adds interest and helps participants know what course they're in. Open this page for another way to help course participants keep track of where they are and learn how to add an image to your course name in the dashboard.

 Is Your Banner Image Too Wide?

NewSometimes, the image you insert for your course banner is wider than the viewing space, resulting in the insertion of a horizontal scroll bar. Find out here how you can avoid that (and take advantage of this technique in other text fields, as well!).

This explanation arose in Learn Moodle 3.7 (this one's for you, Twahir!).

 Add a Banner for the Dashboard

Customize the image shown in the "card" view of courses listed in the dashboard

 View Activity Logs

Sometimes it's useful to see how your learners are interacting with course materials. Activity logs can reveal all!

 Using the Gradebook

Cartoon image: Grade all the things!Moodle's gradebook is a bit daunting at first, but once you "get" it, it's really useful both as a course management tool and as a means of communication with students.


Team badgeWondering how to create a badge? Here's a quick description for you, based on what I've learned along the way. One of the big things I just learned was to check the settings of the items you're going to use as the basis for awarding a badge — be sure that you'll be rewarding the behavior that you want to reward!

 Record a Comment

Add a personal touch to your course with the record feature in the Atto editor.

 Tips for Your Learn Moodle Practice Course

Practice course infographic thumbnailRecommendations for managing your practice course including instructions for customizing your course welcome message and changing role names.

 Copy (Import) a Prior Course

NewOne of the most convenient aspects of Moodle is being able to copy an entire course or parts of a course from a prior edition into a new course shell.

New to the Exploratorium!
 Orientation to Online Learning
 Practice Discussion: Introduction
 Practice Assignment
 Check Your Understanding
 How did I do that?

This is easy to do!Builder

Here's how this looks in edit mode:

Screenshot of available not shown in edit view

 Read about copying a course for a new set of learners

Posted in the Course Management area

Course Design
 Integrated Course Design

Integrated Course Design Banner

We've been doing a lot of work in redesigning courses with our faculty. I hope you find this interesting.

Course Backup
 Recycle Your Practice Course!

If you are considering participating in a future edition of Learn Moodle, you may want to start your practice course where you're leaving off in the current edition. See how easy it is here.

 Teaching and Learning with Infographics

This course is a workshop created for our faculty, elaborated from a similar course I took a few years ago. Some links may be broken, but what is here might be of interest to you.

Virtual Academy of Teaching and Learning


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