Moodle Basics

When you log on to Moodle, you will be at your My Home page. Here you will see a list of the courses you are enrolled in, as well as upcoming events, online users, and a calendar that keeps track of all course events (like when assignments or quizzes are due).

If you do not see any courses in the My courses block, you may need to be enrolled in the Moodle site for your course, or your instructor may be using Blackboard instead.

The first thing you should do is update your Moodle Profile and change some important settings.

Every Moodle user has a public profile that is visible to anyone enrolled in Moodle at Potsdam.

Changing these settings will prevent forum posts from crowding your inbox, but highlight new/unread posts when you visit the page.

Whenever you post to an individual forum, you can choose whether or not you want email copies by changing the Subscription setting.

Next click on Messaging under My profile settings. Messages sent from Moodle will go to your email inbox. You will see that everything should be checked except for When I'm logged in under Personal messages between users. Check this box to make sure that you will receive messages in your email inbox if you happen to be working on Moodle when it is sent.

About course navigation and blocks

In a given course site, the instructor can have the material arranged in a weekly or topic format. The weekly format has dates attached, where the topic format does not. You can also tell which format your instructor uses at the top of the course page.

The Moodle interface has some exciting features that allow you to customize how you interact with Moodle on your home page and in individual course sites.

This is made possible by the existence of blocks. A block is a feature, kind of like a widget, that displays information, links, and other things on your Moodle site's page(s).

When you rollover a docked block with your mouse, it will pop out. Click on the blue and gray part of the icon again to undock the block.

Most of these functions are self-explanatory, but let's look at how to move blocks

When you click on the move icon for a block, you will notice that dotted-lined blocks appear in various places. Simply click on the dotted block where you want it to move it to, the page will refresh, and the block will appear in its new location.

NOTE: You can only customize your MY HOME page. You can minimize and dock blocks within course sites, but you have no control over where the blocks appear.

Which blocks appear on a course site is also up to the instructor, but let's look at some common blocks you may encounter

The Section links block makes getting to the material for a specific week or topic easy.

Whether your instructor uses the weekly or topic format, a Jump to current link will appear at the bottom. This allows you to access the material you should be working on quickly.

The Calendar block is very handy because it highlights important dates for you. You will notice how it shows when assignments open AND close, to help you keep track of availability and deadlines.

If you want to print the calendar or view an entire month for a course at a glance, click on the name of the month at the top.
The Upcoming events block is tied to the Calendar, and will display a list of upcoming events and assignments.

The People block makes it easy for you to search for the instructor or other students in the course and send them a message.

When you click on the Participants link, you will be taken to a page that lists all participants in the course.

Notice that you can search by course and by role using the drop-down menus at the top. You can also use the hyperlinked alphabet to search by first or last name.

To view a user's profile, click on their name or picture. To send a message, check the Select box on the left for that user and scroll down to the bottom on the page. Then choose, Send a message from the with selected users drop-down menu.

Warning! If the person you are sending a message to checks their mail in BearMail, they will receive a blank message. This is because BearMail cannot read the HTML code that Moodle sends the message in. However, there is an untitled attachment that, when opened, will allow them to view the message.

If the person checks their email in Apple Mail, Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, or some other third-party email software, they should always be able to view the message.

Posting to Forums

Some instructors use forums in their Moodle courses for discussion or peer-review, and others use them as a place to ask questions. To enter a forum, click on the link to it within a week or topic.

The two faces icon tells you this is a forum.

Once you are in the forum, you can reply to existing posts or add a new discussion topic.

Click the Add a new discussion topic button to start your own thread.

Or, click on the name of the discussion thread at the left to view the post and/or reply to it.

You can also control how the discussion is displayed by playing with the settings in the drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Viewing Grades and Comments

To view your grade and comments for an assignment, start by clicking on in the Settings block.

Once you are there, you will see the grade you received next to the name of the assignment.

Click on the name of the assignment to view the summary of your previous attempt(s).

If the feedback was not present in your normal grades view for the assignment, click Review to see your attempt and the comments from your instructor.

Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 10:32 AM