Help and Support (Staff)

This is one of many help and support pages that are available about the University of Nottingham's Moodle online learning environment. If you have any questions or queries concerning Moodle then contact information is at the bottom of this one-page sheet. Please browse or use the SEARCH box below.

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This refers to Moodle 3.2 from July 2017 onward

Here is a list of questions and answers so far.  Check this list to see if your question is here!


Q. The module code/title is wrong for the module you've set up for me - can it be changed?

A. All SATURN modules are created automatically so take their titles directly from SATURN. Ideally you can get it changed in SATURN, but we may be able to correct an error temporarily while it is being sorted out in SATURN.  For non-SATURN modules you can request the name of your choice when it is set up. Feel free to point out to any mistakes, or changes to non-module course spaces that come up before session starts. Contact with full module title, code (if it exists) and details of at least one editing teacher.

Q. Can I enrol a test student or a fellow academic on my module?

A. Yes   See How to enrol a student (or fellow staff member) manually on your module

If they do not have an account in Moodle already please send us the following details for us to create their account

username, lastname, firstname, staffID (if known), shortname of any course you'd like them to have access to and at what level (e.g., editing teacher, observer, teacher, student)

Q. Can I keep an archive or snapshot of my course - back it up?

Teachers can backup their courses at any stage to keep as an archive.  See  Backup a module (course)

We recommend that if you have a backup you do NOT attempt to restore on your own - please contact for help.

Q. How do I see tracking information for students?

Reports containing tracking information are found In your module under the Administration block.
Under Administration (block) > Reports > click one of the available reports

You have various logs and reports that you can look at, e.g., Activity Report and Participation Report.

See How to see tracking information for students

Basic techniques

Q. How can I paste from Word into Moodle using the new Atto Text Editor (default in Moodle 2.7)

The Atto Editor has a "smart paste" feature which will strip out incompatible formatting codes, so simply copy from your Word or other document and paste into Moodle using the right mouse button menu or CTRL+V. So for example, any headings, underlined text and text written in bold should carry over into the text editor.  

Q. How can I copy something from one course to another?

A. You will need Editing Teacher access to both courses.

In the destination course, with Editing On:

Under Administration

  1. Select Import
  2. Search for or choose the course you wish take the material from and select the relevant radio button
  3. Click Continue
  4. On the Backup settings screen you can deselect anything you don’t want. For example if you’re importing a single Resource, untick blocks, filters and activities.
  5. On the Include screen, select item(s) you want and the Topic it’s in (untick anything you don’t want). Always untick Turnitin Assignments which cannot be copied.
  6. Click Next
  7. Check and click Perform import
  8. Click Continue

The item will appear in your course in the approximate position it was in its original course. If your course has a different number of topics the item may appear in a strange place, but can easily be moved to wherever you want it.

For full details see How to copy or import a resource or activity (or multiple items) from one module to another

Q. I've deleted something, can I retrieve it?

The Recycle bin allows you to restore items in moodle if you have mistakenly deleted something. Items in the Recycle bin are automatically permanently deleted after one day. 

To restore a deleted item, turn editing off, reload the course page or navigate elsewhere in the course then go to the administration block.


Click on the Recycle bin and then click the 'restore' icon next to the item you’d like to restore.

The item you deleted will be restored to it’s original location.

Q. How do I add a link in the text?

Highlight the text you wish to create the link from, then click on the chain icon on the toolbar in the text editor.

When the dialogue box opens then paste the URL in and click Create Link.

Q. Can I delete sections/topics rather than individual files?

Yes, it is possible to delete a section and the contents within it. Press the Turn editing on button on the top-right of the Moodle page.

Scroll down to the section/topic you wish to delete. Press the Edit button on the right. A dropdown menu will appear, press Delete section to delete the section completely. 

Course design and navigation

Q. Can I use the "weekly format" to create a timetable showing students the dates or times of teaching sessions?

Use the Moodle calendar to add class events to your Moodle module. 

OR If you use the University's Syllabus + / IMAT system then you can automatically synchronise Moodle's calendar in your module with the one that IMAT has. See  Calendar - Synchronise your module's calendar with University timetabling

Some staff have put a label at the top of the course giving the teaching sessions eg "Lectures 3 pm Mondays C5, 10 am Thursdays B102" and use the weekly blocks for the content relating to the week in question.

Q. Can I change the number of blocks in my course, I need less than or more than 10?

  • Turn Editing On
  • At the bottom right of the page click v to add a section (one at a time)
  • or ^ to remove one section at a time

Q. Is there a way to do a linear series of web pages?

There is a tool called “Book” which essentially creates an online book with pages and sub-pages.

“The Book module makes it easy to create multi-page resources with a book-like format. This module can be used to build complete book-like websites inside of your Moodle course. Previously created websites can be imported directly into the Book module. Books can be printed entirely or by chapter. The Book module allows you to have main chapters and sub chapters, but it goes no deeper. In other words, sub chapters cannot have their own sub chapters. The book module is not interactive. You can, however, link to choices, forums etc., from within a book.“

Xerte Online Toolkits of course can produce some lovely pieces of elearning and is easily embedded in Moodle.

Or you can display a website created, e.g., in Dreamweaver (see next Question).

See How to create a Book

Q. Can I display a whole website in Moodle?

You can create a website in any handy HTML editor (eg Dreamweaver) and upload it: Moodle will then present the website as designed… This collection of web pages appear WITHIN Moodle as a series of linked pages, not as a link to an outside website (you can display them embedded in the Moodle page or as a pop out in their own window).

To upload a website:

  1. Create a zip file of all the site
  2. Use Add an Activity or Resource and choose File (not folder)
  3. Upload the zip file (one file, which should not be too big, contact if you have problems with size)
  4. Once uploaded click on the icon for the zip file. Select Unzip
  5. When unzipped, click on the icon for the index/home page and select “Set main file”
  6. Under Appearance, change "Display" setting as appropriate (e.g., to Open or In Pop Up)
  7. Click “Save and Display” to test

Q. In a “Topic” is it possible to create hierarchical folders?


You can have up to 52 blocks so quite a lot of content can be included.

The Module Contents block in each module provides a quick link to each of the sections (it is important to name the Sections correctly so that the names appear in this list). 

Collapsed topics format shows only the title of each section until it is expanded - another neat way to display module content.  See Module formats explained  and How to set your module to show Collapsed Topics

It is possible to create folders in Moodle but their contents are simply files as they are on a computer hard-drive. See How to add a folder (and add files to a folder)  for a full discussion of advantages and disadvantages.

Of course, like most systems, having everything on one page like this has benefits and drawbacks.  It means that it is very clear where everything is and students do not have to hunt through various folders to find content. And while it can result in a lengthy page (long scroll), there are ways to mitigate that effect (such as the Module Contents block or Collapsed Topics format mentioned above).  Because of this difference in layout you may prefer to take the time to investigate the alternative layout methods of Moodle.

Q. Can I use the same Moodle space for two modules which have essentially the same content?

A: Yes, it's possible to have two or more modules with different cohorts feeding into a "parent" module or overarching space such as a Programme space with content for both modules or extra content for those students.  Please let us know if you would like to implement something like this in Moodle.  

See How to understand metamodules (parent modules) - if you teach modules with the same content

Q. How can I make resources available to one set of students and not another?

You need to create groups and then groupings and then you can make activities or resources available to a particular grouping. See How to effectively use Groups and Groupings

Q. How can I create groups and/or groupings?

Enable Groups in your course:

In Settings > Course Administration > Edit Settings there is a Groups section

Choose from Visible Groups (can see one another's material but not take part) or Separate Groups (cannot see what the others are doing)

In Settings > Course Administration > Users > Groups

  • Create your Groups, e.g., V1000 and V20000 – use e.g., Create group [Moodle:there are several ways to create groups but this is simplest]
  • Create your Groupings, e.g., First Year and Second Year – click the Groupings Tab and Create grouping, then add the relevant group(s) via the Groups button

See How To create groups and groupings

Q. How do I allow my students to see what group they are in?

  • Turn editing on
  • Bottom right click Add Block
  • Select the People Block
  • They can then click on Participants and see just their group (if Separate groups is set) or can choose which group to see members of (if Visible groups)

Q. Can I create a series of topics each with a teacher and a group of students (e.g., for tutorial groups) but where the teacher can only see their own group resources and students?

  • Enrol all participants as students.
  • Set up groups and a grouping for each Tutor Group (see above). (Each grouping may have only one group in it in this instance.)
  • Set up a topic section for each grouping (e.g. Tutor Group 1 etc.)
  • Give the Tutor the role of Observer in the whole module but Editing Teacher for each activity or resource that you set up in their topic section, then they can edit anything in their space.
  • Make each item available only to the relevant grouping

Q. Is there any information I can give my students about how to use Moodle? 

There is a special section on Student Moodle Help. It is in Workspace (like this staff Help website) but it is not necessary to log in to see it.

Student Moodle Help

Q. How do I add an email link to a Moodle page?



Q. How do I upload my first file?

A. How to add a file

Q. How do I get a powerpoint slideshow to open and run automatically as a slide show?


  1. Save your Powerpoint as Powerpoint Slideshow (pps or ppsx)
  2. Click Add resource > File
  3. Upload your pps or ppsx file
  4. While in the Add file page, Under Options, for Display choose Open or In Popup.

Q. How do I get audio files to work inside Moodle? How do I allow students to download audio files?

A. MediaSpace is the service used to stream audio (and video) files. Add a Media Resource. See How to add video and audio in Moodle

Q. I’ve added a Forum to my module, for the students to ask questions and discuss things. Can I set up an email notification to tell me when comments are added?

Forums can be set up in three ways:  

1. Force everyone to be subscribed (anyone subscribed receives emails) e.g., for the News Forum which is the equivalent of Announcements (Force subscription)

2. Allow people to choose whether they subscribe with the default set to receiving emails (so they have to turn them off) (Auto subscription)

3. Allow people to choose whether they subscribe with the default set to NOT receive emails. This one may be a good idea especially where students may be added to the course before you want them to start receiving emails. And it means you can choose to receive the emails and the students won't get them unless you tell them (or they choose) to turn them on. This is the default.  (Optional subscription)

(4. There's also a no-subscription allowed setting)  

To change this setting for everyone:

  • go into the forum,
  • then go to the Administration block > Edit settings
  • Change subscription mode if required.
  • See How to add a forum

Q. Can I change whether I get emails from a forum?

To change whether you receive posts by email or not:

  • go to Edit Settings
  • see "Unsubscribe from this forum"  or "Subscribe to this forum". 
  • Check your email is correct in your profile!  

As a teacher you can also see who is and who isn't subscribed to a forum.

See How to change whether I get emails from a forum

Q. Can I create a glossary outside Moodle and import it to save time?

Yes, this is possible. It is a bit complicated as it has to be an XML file. However, there is a tool available to convert an .xls file into xml for import…MoodleGlossary.xls

Create your glossary in excel using this file: MoodleGlossary.xls. The minimum required is concept and definition: the macro tells you what to do. Note: there seems to be a bug which ignores the last entry, so put a fake entry on the last line.

  1. Make sure macros are enabled
  2. Run the macro, which produces an xml file, which you save.

To import glossary entries via an XML file:

  1. Create a glossary: Click Save and display   OR Edit a glossary
  2. Within the glossary, in Administration on the left hand side, follow the "Import entries" link.
  3. Browse for the XML file on your computer.
  4. Select the destination for the new entries, either the current glossary or a new one.
  5. If you want to import category information, click the checkbox.
  6. Click the "Save changes" button. You'll then see a report of the entries and categories added to the glossary. If you enabled duplicate entries when you created the glossary, the import process will add all of the new definitions. Otherwise, it will not allow you to import any duplicate entries.

Note that Glossaries are Activities not Resources: i.e. it is intended that students are able to add their own definitions to the glossary, not just that the glossary is a static teacher-created resource.

Q. How can I give audio feedback privately to students?

You can do this with the Moodle Assignment tool. Students do not have to submit anything to receive feedback or files back.

  1. Add an Activity
  2. Select Assignment
  3. Create the assignment as usual (note, select Feedback files if you wish to provide files as feedback). Leave Grade as No grade.
    [Note: If you are giving feedback without a physical assignment being submitted, then make that clear in the instructions – "You don’t have to submit anything but look here for feedback"]
  4. View the assignment as a teacher and click on View submitted assignments               
    OR   Click Grades under Settings, and select the heading corresponding to the assignment
  5. All students are listed whether or not they’ve submitted anything
  6. Click Grade for the student of choice
  7. Type comments in feedback box (can be just a sentence) and add any files as attachments, e.g., mp3
  8. Save changes

Note: Turnitin also enables you to record your feedback

Enhancements, Improvements and Plugins

Q. I've used Moodle before (or have found information on the Web) and I know Moodle X.X has an activity called [Moodle:insert name of your desired plugin here].  Is this available on Moodle our version of Moodle?

A. These are examples of Moodle "plugins". At the moment we have quite a basic Moodle and will be gradually adding plugins. We are happy to hear from you about what plugins are likely to be useful to you.  There are a couple of issues: not all plugins that work with previous versions of Moodle have yet been brought up to date to work with Moodle 2. Also, while lots of plugins look useful, adding too many may affect Moodle’s performance. So we have a procedure to evaluate and test all plugins and balance the pros & cons before making them available in our live Moodle system. Suggest a plugin by email to

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