December 2018 Moodle News

moodle cow in a field in front of snowcapped mountains

Hello Moodle Instructors!

This Moodle News includes information about Winter Session Workshops, Fall 2018 Grades Due, Requesting Moodle Courses, Requesting Echo360 Courses, Moodle Tip of the Month, What’s new in Moodle, and Moodle Help and Resources.

Winter Session Faculty Support Workshops Announced

Winter break always seems short, but Instructional Innovation will be offering 15 workshops to help support faculty get comfortable teaching technology, learn new ways to use technology to engage students, and make course content accessible to all students. Join us to learn about what’s new, and how to reinvigorate familiar technology in your teaching.

Can’t decide which workshops to take? 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

Fall 2018 Grades Due January 2, 2019

Fall 2018 semester grades are due in SPIRE by 12pm, noon, on January 2, 2019. You can import your grades from Moodle directly into SPIRE with the click of a button. Don’t forget to approve the grades you import!

Request Your Moodle Course in SPIRE

Moodle course requests are open for Spring 2019. Don’t forget that each semester you will need to request Moodle for the courses you are teaching. Once your new Moodle course is ready, you can start adding content or import content from previous courses you’ve taught. Spring Moodle courses will open automatically for students on Monday, January 21, 2019.

For details, see:

Request Your Echo360 Courses in SPIRE

You can request your Echo360 courses in SPIRE for Spring 2019. Just like Moodle, each semester you will need to request Echo360 for the courses you want to use it in. While making your request you can specify that you’d like to:

  • Automatically record in-person class meetings in Classrooms Equipped with Lecture Capture.
  • Re-use recordings from a previous semester.
  • Create screencasts and record custom lessons for students to watch outside of class with Echo360 Personal Capture.

For step by step instructions, see Request Lecture Capture. Once your Echo360 courses are ready, it’s easy to give students access to Echo360 recordings through Moodle.

Moodle Tip of the Month: Exclude Grades for Students

Do you have an assignment or activity which you want to collect student submissions and provide feedback, but don’t want scores to impact a students course grade? Maybe one student has been excused from an assignment? The Exclude grades option in the Moodle gradebook will help. The students will still be able to see scores and feedback, but they will not impact a student’s overall course grade. In addition to excluding individual grade items, the Moodle gradebook also allows for overriding grades that have already been assigned, locking grades, and more.

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.

Moodle Help and Resources for Instructors

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