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

Metamodules (umbrella or parent modules)

Do you teach any modules (courses) where some or all of the content is shared?  Would you like to use the same resources and activities in another module (course)?

If the content is used in more than one module (course) it’s possible to share the content using an umbrella or “metamodule”  in Moodle for the shared content. The separate modules (courses) also exist but may only be used to feed students enrolments from SATURN and are invisible to students who only see the “parent” module (course).

Examples include:

  • Modules (courses) with different credit values but the same content
  • Modules (courses) taught in different semesters but with the same content
  • Modules (courses) taught at Level 3 and level 4 where both sets of students study the same content
  • Modules (courses) with the same module (course) code and content on separate international campuses but taught together

Metamodules can also be set up as umbrella modules (courses) for numbers of students, such as all students in Year 1, all students on a particular MSc programme.  They can be linked to core modules (courses) to feed enrolment.

Enrolment on metamodules / parent modules (courses)

Students are passed through to the metamodule with a student role.

Staff are passed through to the metamodule but lose their roles, i.e. cannot see the module.  This is because the overwhelming majority of users wanted students to be passed through but not staff.

Usually staff do not have the same roles in metamodules as they do in the modules (courses) linked to them, but they are passed through to make it easier for the editing teacher to give them a role if they need one.

How to give staff a role in the metamodule:

  • Go into the Enrolled Users screen for the module (course). Find the Administration block then click on Course administration > Users > Enrolled users.
  • Click the + icon on the same row as their name and choose a role (e.g., Observer or editing teacher).

Status of parent or metamodules - caveats with regard to SATURN

The child modules (courses) are SATURN modules and have all the usual links - to timetabling, module catalogue, Reading Lists, Echo etc.

The parent modules (courses) - although they involve teaching of content listed in SATURN -  are not themselves modules (courses) linked to SATURN (NON SATURN module status), and will not synchronise with other systems in the way that SATURN modules (courses) do.  So to provide a Reading list or Echo link, you will need to add a link manually.

If you would like to use all of these linked systems then you can make the child modules (courses) visible for these purposes, while still keeping most of the content in the parent. In this case - where both are visible - it can be a good idea to make the connections explicit in the content of the module (course) and provide direct links in between.

Advice where not to use metamodules

Cases where you would NOT use metamodules but might duplicate (import)  the content from one module (course) to another might be where, e.g.,

  • You are providing content for a colleague (e.g., on another campus) which they will then edit, but the students are not studying together.
  • You wish to move your content from one year (e.g., 14-15) to another (e.g. 15-16) as a starting point
  • You wish to use the content of one, e.g., undergraduate, module (course) to start you off developing a similar, e.g.,  postgraduate, module (course).
Metamodule Example 1
Metamodule Example 2