August 2017 Moodle News

Moodle Courses Open Friday, Sept. 1, 2017

Fall 2017 Moodle courses will be made available to students on Friday, Sept. 1 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 Sept. 1, 2017 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 2017

Moodle was upgraded to version 3.1 on July 13, 2017. 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 useful new features including, “sticky” posts and permalinks for Forum activities, the ability to download all the files in a Folder resource at once as a .zip file,  and more.

Note: Users of Respondus quizzing software, PDF annotation, and the Participants page should note that those features have been replaced.  

For details see: Moodle 3.1 Highlights


August 2017 Moodle Updates

Modifications added since the 3.1 upgrade include:

  • In the Database activity, students can now see all grades and rated entries at once under a new Tab called “View my entries.”
  • Security updates and minor fixes.


Request Your Fall 2017 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 2017

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 re-building your course. See The Mass Actions Block in Moodle.

Note:  Wiki (legacy) and TurnItIn (legacy) activities will not be imported to the new course and will have to be recreated. (Wiki and TurnItIn activities created after May 2015 will be imported as usual).

If the course you are importing from contains External tool activities (including OWL) or the UMass Libraries Course Materials block, those items cannot be imported and will need to be recreated in the new course.

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 and other instructional technologies on campus, you can:

  • Attend one of our workshops. For more information and to register, visit Instructional Innovation Events page;
  • 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.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact the Instructional Media Lab with any questions about instructional technologies on campus: 413-545-2823, or