Moodle News February 2016

This month’s announcements…

  • Removal of Old Moodle Courses
  • Moodle Course Request for Fall 2016 opens Monday, April 4
  • New Form for Allowing Another Instructor to Copy your Moodle Course
  • VoiceThread Collaboration Tool Pilot
  • Pilot New Features in Moodle
  • February Moodle Update
    • Honors student enrollment update
    • Single-section course groups
    • Box online storage integration

Removal of Old Moodle Courses

On March 3, 2016, instructor access ended to Moodle courses taught up to and including Spring 2014. Please contact the Instructional Media Lab  ( | 413-545-2823) with questions.

Moodle Course Request for Summer & Fall 2016

Moodle course request for Summer and Fall 2016 classes opens in SPIRE on Monday, April 4th.

New Form to Allow Another Instructor to Copy your Moodle Course

UMass Amherst considers the course content you have created to be your intellectual property. If you wish to to authorize UMass Amherst IT to grant another instructor access to your Moodle course content, please use the Give Permission for Other Instructors to Copy Your Moodle Course form.

The new form provides guidance for you to clearly communicate with your colleague about the specific rights you are granting them for your original materials (time limits, permission to transfer course content to another institution, citation for your original materials, etc.), what content in the course is not yours, and whether you have received permission to use it, or if you are relying on fair use.

VoiceThread Collaboration Tool Pilot

UMass Amherst is conducting a pilot of VoiceThread, a Web-based collaboration space where users can share and discuss videos, documents, images, and presentations asynchronously. Users can comment via microphone, webcam, text, phone, or audio file. VoiceThread is integrated with Moodle.

screenshot of a VoiceThread screenWatch a short intro to VoiceThread

If you are an instructor interested in using VoiceThread in a current or future course, please complete the UMass Amherst VoiceThread Pilot Request Form.

For questions about the pilot or completing the form, please contact the Instructional Media Lab ( | 413-545-2823).

There’s still time to pilot other new features in Moodle!

It’s not too late to join a pilot of one of these new features in Moodle. Interested? Please contact the Instructional Media Lab ( | 413-545-2823). We’ll help you to set up the new feature in your course.

“Upload Groups” Block

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.

“Yellowdig” Social Media Platform

Imagine a social media experience integrated into Moodle. UMass is piloting Yellowdig a new space for sharing and commenting on resources.. 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 that are open to the public. Yellowdig also provides a robust set of options to encourage and assess student participation.

Watch a short intro to Yellowdig

“Media Collection” Activity

Another tool 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.

Example of a student gallery in a Media Collection

February Moodle Update

Changes in Moodle made in February 2016 include:

Honors Student Enrolment in Moodle

Changes to Honors enrollments in the fall required honors students to be manually added to Moodle courses. Moodle now behaves as it did in previous semesters: When students register for honors sections of classes in SPIRE, they will be automatically enrolled in regular class sections in Moodle.

Class Section Groups for Multiple-Section Moodle Courses Only

A “class section” Moodle group will no longer will be automatically created for single-section Moodle courses. For multiple-section courses, we will continue to provide a group for each class section (these are the groups in your course that begin with a tilde, e.g.”~Lec 01 CRYPTO101 12345″) .

UMass Box Secure Online Storage Integration

The Moodle File picker now lets users add files directly from Box, the new secure online storage service provided by UMass Amherst IT. This feature is comparable to the Apps at UMass Google Drive option. Look for the UMass Box link in the File picker.

The first time you connect to UMass Box from Moodle, you’ll need to log in and grant access to your Box account using the single-sign-on option and your as the email address. For details see Upload Files from Your UMass Box Account to Moodle.


Minor bug fixes, routine Moodle security updates, and infrastructure security updates.