August 2016 Moodle News

Turnitin Downtime – Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016

On Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 from from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Turnitin is scheduled for system maintenance. Turnitin may be temporarily unavailable during this time.

Moodle Downtime – Monday, Aug. 22, 2016

On Monday, Aug. 22 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Moodle will be unavailable while UMass Amherst IT moves the system to new infrastructure. Please plan accordingly.

If you have concerns about this maintenance or if you are having trouble accessing Moodle after the upgrade, contact IT User Services at 413-545-9400.

For updates during the maintenance period, check the UMass Amherst IT social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. For updates after August 22, 2016, check the UMass IT website.

Moodle Courses Open Friday, Sept. 2, 2016

Fall 2016 Moodle courses will be made available to students on Friday, Sept. 2 starting at approximately 12 p.m. If you are not ready for students to use your course, you can hide individual elements of the course, or you can wait until after the automatic release, then hide the entire course.

Note: If you request a course on September 2 or later, it will not be automatically released to students and it will remain hidden until you set the course to be visible to students. For more on hiding or releasing courses, see: Important Settings for your Moodle Course.

Moodle Upgraded in July 2016

Moodle was upgraded on July 2 to version 3.0. The interface hasn’t changed much at all, so if you used Moodle before, you should have no trouble finding your way around. This upgrade brings some new features including, a new User Menu, new Editor features, easy media embedding from more sources, new quiz question types, and more. For upgrade details see: Moodle 3.0 Highlights.

Request Your Fall 2016 Moodle Courses in SPIRE

To request Moodle for your on-campus courses (you must be listed as the primary instructor), log in to SPIRE with your NetID and password. In the Main Menu, go to Faculty Home > Moodle Course Request. You will go through a series of pages that will gather information about your course. For more, see Request a Moodle Course through SPIRE.

Copy a Previous Moodle Course to Fall 2016

Each semester you teach a class, request a new Moodle course (see above). Once the new, empty Moodle course has been created, use the Moodle “Import” tool to copy content from a course you taught in a previous semester, or a course belonging to another instructor if you have their permission. For step-by-step instructions, see Reuse a Moodle Course Using Import.

You can also copy selected items from a course you previously taught, rather than having to import the entire course.  See Copy Moodle Activity or Resource from One Course to Another.

After you copy a previous semester’s course, be sure to update due dates, check for hidden activities, update your syllabus, etc.  Use the “Edit dates” tool to change due dates, access dates, cut-off dates, etc. for multiple activities at once. For more on the “Edit dates” tool, see Edit Dates for Multiple Activities & Resources in Moodle.

You may also find the “Mass Actions” block useful when building your course. “Mass Actions” now lets you duplicate selected items into a selected Section on your course page. See The Mass Actions Block in Moodle.

Note: Turnitin (legacy) has been discontinued, and Turnitin (legacy) assignments will not be copied into new courses. You need to replace them with new Turnitin assignments. OWL users need to re-set links to OWL to your OWL course for the new semester.

TA Access to Moodle

Your TA must be listed in SPIRE as a “Teaching Assistant” in order to have access to your Moodle course. TAs are enrolled in your course by your Department Scheduling Representative.

By default, TAs automatically receive access to Moodle in the role of “Non-Editing Teacher,” which allows them to access course resources and activities, and read and grade student submissions. For more details on this process, including how to give a TA permission to add content to your course, see Access to Moodle for Teaching Assistants.

Support & Training for Instructors

To learn more about Moodle, you can:

  • Attend one of our workshops. For more information and to register, visit Instructional Technology Workshops
  • Make an appointment for a one-on-one consultation with staff in our Instructional Media Lab ( | 413-545-2823).
  • Review our Moodle help articles in the IT Support Center.

If you have any questions about using Moodle for Fall 2015, please contact the Instructional Media Lab ( | 413-545-2823).