Moodle News January 2016

Reminder: Removal of Old Moodle Courses

On February 15, 2016, access to Moodle courses taught up to and including Spring 2014 will be removed from Moodle at UMass Amherst.

Please backup any course content you do not wish to lose, including course materials, grades and student submissions. For help, see Backup Your Moodle Course.

To make backing up course materials easier, we have provided a tool to quickly download all files posted by a Teacher or Course Designer in your course. This includes files such as PDFs and videos that you uploaded as Resources or added to Quizzes or Activity descriptions. (Student submissions can be downloaded from within each activity). For details, see Download All Instructor Files from a Moodle Course.

New in Moodle for Spring 2016:

  • Gradebook Course Total Shows Five Decimal Places: Showing a full 5 decimal places in the Course Total column resolves a problem where rounding affected the grade viewed by students.
    Previously, under certain conditions where grades were very close to the break-point of a Letter grade scheme, it was possible for a student to see a lower or higher grade in Moodle than would be pulled into SPIRE. Because SPIRE computes letter grades based on the full (5-decimal place) value in Moodle, displaying the full value in the Course Total column will avoid any discrepancy in the letter grade a student sees in Moodle and SPIRE.
    We recommend you do not change this new default setting.
  • Adding Images to a Quiz: The default setting has been changed to allow students to submit an image in a Quiz essay question.
  • “Public” Questionnaires no longer available: You can still reuse questionnaires as templates, or share templates with other instructors, but due to misuse and confusion for users, “public” questionnaires (where responses always were sent to the originating course) have been disabled. If you have a “Public Questionnaire” in a course you are reusing or plan to reuse in the future, please contact us for assistance re-creating your Questionnaire.
  • Fixes: Group enrollment changes update consistently for users accessing the course from different computers; update to 2.8.9 (security and minor bug fixes).

Help us to Pilot New Features!

If you are willing to try out these new features in some low-stakes activities in a Moodle course this semester, please contact the Instructional Media Lab ( |413-545-2823).  We’ll help you to get set up in your course.

  • New “Upload Groups” Block in Pilot
    We are piloting a new block that will let you import groups from a CSV file. This should be especially helpful for those instructors who use a tools such as iPeer, or even just a spreadsheet, to assign students to groups.
  • Pilot the “Yellowdig” Social Media Platform
    Imagine a social network for your class. UMass is piloting Yellowdig a new space for sharing and commenting on resources which integrates with Moodle. Yellowdig allows course members to share and discuss web sites, articles, images, and videos that relate to their course content and can be used as an alternative to traditional discussion boards or social media services not restricted to the university. Yellowdig also provides a robust set of options to encourage and assess student participation.
  • Media Collection Plugin Pilot
    Another tool in pilot for sharing and discussing media in your course is the Media Collection activity. This Moodle activity lets you or your students post and comment on images, video, or audio in a “gallery” setting.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

To learn more about Moodle or to get help, you can:

  •  Contact the Instructional Media Lab ( |413-545-2823) with a question, or to set up a time for a one-on-one consultation.