Moodle Learning Management System (LMS)

Wednesday 27th of February 2013 09:26:58 AM

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Let the pedagogy guide the technology, not the other way around


Moodle: Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment: an online learning managment system (LMS)

  • A Moodle instance: the environment and all it contains
  • A Moodle site contains categories (which is a collection of courses)
  • Courses are the main area of activity in Moodle
    • Topics
    • Resources
    • Activities
    • Blocks
  • Front page "course"
  • Contexts are "places" where roles can be assigned
    • System
    • User
    • Category
    • Course
    • Activity module
    • Block

Fundamental concepts

  • Storage
    • Files: store virtually any digital documents, images, audio and video fiels, text files, etcetera.
    • Web pages: "make your own" pages, with WYSIWYG or HTML, embed objects, links, images, etcetera.
    • Folders: build your own folder structure.
    • Databases: build a searchable repository of files, web links, images, geo tags, etcetera.
    • LMS packages: insert Flash-based learning objects, SCORM, etcetera.
    • Labels: keep things clearly organized with labels.
    • Portfolio: create and maintain a portfolio of documents.
  • Communication
    • Chatrooms: instant communication, on-the-spot problem solving.
    • Forums: run clas discussions / debates, peer assess, interviews, FAQs, role playing, S&A sessions, notice boards, etcetera.
    • Messaging: send and receive (private) instant messages (with email notifications).
    • Calendars: scheduling and reminders.
    • RSS (feeds): subscribe to blogs, forums, wikis, external sources and combine it all in a course.
    • Dialogues: have in-depth, private one--to-one conversations (for confidential matters).
  • Collaboration
    • Blogs: have students publish, reflect, clarify, keep notes, group work, run quick response items, use key tags.
    • Wikis: brainstorm, design group-o-pedia, track research, "jigsaw" contribute, build collective arguments, cluster maps, histories of achievements.
    • Glossaries: have students build own entries, cross-references, paraphrase, link, explain, define, refine.
    • Forums: provoke, moderate a debate, guide discussion, view, rate and reflect on peer contribution.
    • Workshops: brainstorm, develop, refine, conclude, peer-assess a topic.
    • Lessons: present information, branch and scaffold tasks to learner's ability.
    • Databases: jointly create, store, and search class collections, revision sheets, photo galleries, lists of useful websites, book reviews.
    • Social networks: find, connect and share with people with similar interests.
  • Evaluation
    • Grade: set your own; either ABCD, 1-5, 0-100, outcomes, standards, competencies.
    • Assignments: write and submit online, offline, offer feedback, grade, resubmit, upload one or more files, portfolio style.
    • Surveys: use pre-set surveys to check on ways of constuctivist learning.
    • Quizzes: check and build understanding with multiple choice, true/false, cloze essay, drag-and-drop, short answer.
    • Ratings: seek opinions, self and peer evaluate, run competitions, rate entries.
    • Choices: quickly and easily gather opinions, permissions, selections, votes.
    • Scales: create own feedback formats, self/peer evaluation made easy.
    • Gradebooks: have all grades in one place, cumulate scores, penalties, notes, customize permissions.

Site management (main area of activity within Moodle)

Functional areas

  • Authentication
  • Managing accounts
  • Enrolments (or enrolement plugins)
    • Manual enrolment
    • Self enrolment
    • Cohort sync (cohorts are site-wide groups)
    • Course meta link (the course meta link plugin makes it possible for one course, called a metacourse, to bring in enrolments from other courses)
    • Guest access
    • Category enrolments
    • External database
    • Flat file
    • IMS Enterprise (IMS Enterprise is an international standard XML file format which may be used to specify enrolments/unenrolments in courses, as well as course information and user information)
    • LDAP enrolment
    • Paypal enrolment
  • Roles: a role refers to what a user is allowed (or not) to do on a Moodle site. Typical roles might include those of a student and teacher. A role is a collection of permissions that can be assigned to specific users in specific contexts. For example, when a user is enrolled in a course as a student.
    • Manager
    • Course creator
    • Teacher
    • Non-editing teacher
    • Student
    • Guest
    • Authenticated user
    • Authenticated user on frontpage
  • Security
  • Performance
  • Backup
  • Site appearance
  • Language
  • Server settings
  • Site-wide reports
  • Admin tools
  • Developer tools
  • Web services
  • Moodle for mobile
  • Community hubs

Course management (main area of activity within Moodle)

With Moodle, the course is a fundamental entity, i.e., a foundation and is where we "put" activities, resources, modules, plugins, blocks, filters, etcetera.

Functional areas

  • Course categories: course categories organize courses for all Moodle site participants. The default course category on a new Moodle site is "Miscellaneous" (although this can be renamed). A course creator, administrator or manager can put all courses in the Miscellaneous category. However, teachers and students will find it easier to find their classes if they are organized in descriptive categories.
  • Courses: courses are the spaces on Moodle where teachers add learning materials for their students. Courses are created by admins, course creators or managers. Teachers can then add the content and re-organise them according to their own needs.
  • Activities: an activity is a general name for a group of features in a Moodle course. Usually an activity is something that a student will do that interacts with other students and or the teacher.
    • Assignments: enable teachers to grade and give comments on uploaded files and assignments created on and off line
    • Chat: allows participants to have a real-time synchronous discussion
    • Choice: a teacher asks a question and specifies a choice of multiple responses
    • Database: enables participants to create, maintain and search a bank of record entries
    • External tool: allows participants to interact with LTI compliant learning resources and activities on other web sites
    • Feedback: for creating and conducting surveys to collect feedback
    • Forum: allows participants to have asynchronous discussions
    • Glossary: enables participants to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary
    • Lesson: for delivering content in flexible ways
    • Quiz: allows the teacher to design and set quiz tests, which may be automatically marked and feedback and/or to correct answers shown
    • SCORM: enables SCORM packages to be included as course content
    • Survey: for gathering data from students to help teachers learn about their class and reflect on their own teaching
    • Wiki: a collection of web pages that anyone can add to or edit
    • Workshop: enables peer assessment
  • Resources: a resource is an item that a teacher can use to support learning, such as a file or link.
    • Book: multi-page resources with a book-like format. Teachers can export their Books as IMS CP (admin must allow teacher role to export IMS)
    • File: a picture, a pdf document, a spreadsheet, a sound file, a video file
    • Folder: for helping organize files and one folder may contain other folders
    • IMS content package: add static material from other sources in the standard IMS content package format
    • Label: can be a few displayed words or an image used to separate resources and activities in a topic section, or can be a lengthy description or instructions
    • Page: the student sees a single, scrollable screen that a teacher creates with the robust HTML editor
    • URL: you can send the student to any place they can reach on their web browser, for example Wikipedia
  • Blocks: blocks are (visual) items which may be added to the left or right or centre column of any page in Moodle.
    • Activities
    • Admin bookmarks
    • Blog menu
    • Main menu
    • Blog tags
    • Calendar
    • Comments
    • Course completion status
    • Course overview
    • Course / site summary
    • Courses
    • Flickr
    • HTML
    • Latest news
    • Logged in user
    • Messages
    • My private files
    • Navigation
    • Online users
    • People
    • Quiz results
    • Random glossary entry
    • Recent activity
    • Recent blog entries
    • Remote RSS feeds
    • Search forums
    • Section links
    • Settings
    • Social activities
    • Tags
    • Upcoming events
    • Youtube
  • Questions: questions can be created in Moodle for use in quizzes and for import into lessons.
  • Course enrolment: course enrolment is the process where authenticated site users can join a course.


Moodle themes

It is possible to extensively customize the look-and-feel of Moodle.


A role is a collection of permissions defined for the whole system that you can assign to specific users in specific contexts. The combination of roles and context define a specific user's ability to do something on any page. The most common examples are the roles of student and teacher in the context of a course.

Roles and permissions

  • Managing roles
  • Assign roles
  • Roles settings
  • Using roles
  • Standard roles
  • Creating custom roles
  • Permissions
  • Override permissions