September 2018 Moodle News

The Moodle cow with trees changing color to yellow and red

Welcome Back Instructors!

The Fall 2018 semester has officially started and is in full swing! This Moodle News includes information about Instructional Innovation workshops, Requesting a Moodle Course, 3 Things You Should Know for New Users, Moodle Tip of the Month, What’s New in Moodle, Turnitin Planned Downtime, and Moodle Help for Instructors.

Instructional Innovation Fall Workshops Announced

We have a wide variety of workshops being offered over the course of the semester to help introduce new teaching technologies and reinvigorate old ones. Check out the Instructional Innovation’s Event Page for more information and to register.

Engage your students in learning!

• JMP in the Classroom: Designing Lessons and Explorations with Data
• Game-Based Learning Community of Practice: Make a Game for your Class
• Getting Started with Lecture Capture in Echo360
• Getting Started on Your Spring Moodle Course
• Moodle Gradebook Clinic

Make your courses and content accessible!

• Creating Accessible Documents (Word, PDF, PowerPoint)
• Vetting before Getting: How to Test Products and Services for Accessibility
• Intro to DIY Closed Captions
• Social Media Accessibility

Can’t decide? Have Questions?

Contact the Instructional Media Lab for help in deciding which workshops are right for you.
Call us at 413-545-2823 or email

Request Moodle Courses for Fall in SPIRE

If you haven’t requested your Moodle course, you can still make those requests in SPIRE for Fall 2018. Instructors must request a Moodle course each term they wish to use Moodle for a course. Once your new, empty course is created, you’ll have the option to import previously used content.

For details see:

New to Moodle? Here are 3 things you should know

Instructors can make a Moodle course request for an eligible course taught at UMass Amherst. But once you have a course, what do you do?

1. Contact your students

Instructors can use the Quickmail block to reach all, some, or even just one student. Quickmail allows you set drafts, specific signatures, and even view of a history of all the messages you’ve sent to students in one convenient place. You can also use the Announcements forum, a special forum built for your course which creates a post in your course, and also sends an email notification to students. You can use these to communicate to your students about special events on campus, speakers they might be interested in, changes to the course, and more.

2. Keep track of attendance

In addition to quizzes and assignments, Moodle can also help you take and keep track of attendance. In the Attendance activity, you can create a session for each of your class meeting times. Once you take attendance for students, it will automatically aggregate their grade into the gradebook. You can make it available to students so they can see how many classes they’ve missed, or just use it for yourself as a reference.

3. Use the Moodle gradebook

The Moodle gradebook can be overwhelming with options and choices, but once it’s set up you and your students can keep track of progress throughout the semester. Students can see how they are doing in the course up to the moment. You can also use the gradebook to calculate grades and import them into SPIRE with a push of a button. Make your December easier by setting up your gradebook now.

Need help on any of these? Want to learn more? Contact the Instructional Media Lab and set up an appointment with our knowledgeable and patient consultants at 413-545-2823 or emails us at

Moodle Tip of the Month: Use Edit Dates to change due dates all at once

Did you know you can use the Edit dates page to review and change the access dates, due dates, and cut-off dates of multiple activities and resources all at once? This can be very useful for anyone importing content from a previous semester!

What’s new in Moodle?

UMass Amherst IT is planning to keep Moodle at UMass Amherst and Open UMass on Moodle version 3.1 for the 2018-19 academic year.

We may periodically add features and will perform security updates during our regularly scheduled update window (Thursday mornings), but no major upgrade is planned at this time.

Turnitin Planned Downtime

Turnitin services will undergo scheduled maintenance on Saturday, September 22nd, from 11:00am until 5:30pm EST. Turnitin services will be unavailable during this period. Please check your due dates and time to make sure they fall outside of these times. You can stay up to date by following @TurnitnStatus on Twitter.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

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