Tag Archives: Moodle

Set up a Moodle Gradebook

When teaching online and having students submit online assignments, the simplest way to calculate grades is to use the Gradebook in Moodle. This tech doc explains how to set up your Gradebook in a new Moodle course, including how to create categories and grade items.

Ideally, grade categories are created before adding any graded activities to your Moodle course or to your Moodle Gradebook. As the first step in setting up your gradebook, we recommend creating your grade categories. Once you have all your categories, you can move onto creating grade items.

Creating a Grade Category

  1. Have the categories in your assessment plan at hand. For example, your assessment plan might look like this:

Participation 10%
Peer-review and editing 15%
Homework 25%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 30%

In the following steps, each of your assessment categories will correspond to a grade category and each percentage will correspond to each category’s weight.

  1. On your Moodle course page, click the Turn Editing On button at the top right of the page.
    Turn Editing On
  2. Next, on the left side menu of your course, select Grades.
  3. On the next page, select Grader report > Setup > Gradebook Setup from the tabs displayed.
  4. Once you’re in the Gradebook Setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add Category.
  5. In the Grade Category page, choose a name for your category (e.g.: Midterm Exam, Homework, or Participation).
  6. Under Aggregation, choose how grades in this category will be calculated. We recommend choosing Natural. 
  7. Click Show more… to  see more options, including options to exclude empty grades, include outcomes in aggregation, or drop the lowest score (if there will be several items in this category).
  8. Under Category Total, choose your Grade Type. If you chose natural aggregation in the previous steps, the grade type will be set to Value by default.
  9. Under Category Total > Grade Display Type, choose whether to display the grade as a real value, a letter, percentage, etc. (e.g.: If a student receives an 85 points grade for an exam that is under this category and which is graded 0-100, a Real grade display will show the value 85, while a Percentage display will show the grade as 85%).
  10. Under Category Total, check the Weight Adjusted box to decide the weight this category will have within the total course grade. The weight should correspond to your assessment plan (see Step 1 above).
  11. Under Weight, type in the desired weight for the category. The weight of a category corresponds to its percentage from the total grade. (e.g.: if a category is worth 10% of the final grade, under Weight, you should type 10).
  12. Choose other adjustable settings for category including the number of decimal places you want to show, the minimum and maximum grade for a category, and whether to hide or show the grade category to students.
  13. Click Save Changes.
  14. Repeat this process for each category in your assessment plan. When you’re done, you will have the general structure for your course’s Gradebook and you’ll be ready to move onto creating grade items.

Creating Grade Items

Unlike categories, grade items can be added to the Gradebook in two ways:

(a) By creating graded activities in your Moodle course

By default, any graded activity created on the body of your Moodle course will have a corresponding item in your Gradebook. This includes graded assignments, forums, workshops and quizzes. How these graded items get categorized and calculated depends on the categories you have created for your Gradebook, as well as on the settings you choose when creating the activity.

(b) By creating items directly in the Gradebook

This option is ideal for activities that are not submitted through Moodle, that do not correspond to a graded activity (e.g.: participation, documents shared via other platforms, etc.) or for extra credit items.

To create a graded activity in your Moodle course:

  1. Create the activity on Moodle and, when finished, click Save and Return to Course.
  2. Find the activity in the body of your Moodle course and click Edit Settings under the gear icon. DO NOT click on the title of the activity. Some activities such as quizzes and questionnaires can be edited in two ways–clicking Edit Settings on the gear icon will allow you to edit the activity’s settings including availability, grading, restrictions, etc. while clicking on the title of your activity will allow you to edit the activity’s content (e.g.: edit or add question items).
  3. On the next page, scroll down and click on the arrow next to Grade to display grade options.
  4. Under Grade, choose the maximum points possible for the activity.
  5. Under Grade Category, choose the corresponding category for the activity (e.g.: Homework, Essay, Final Project, etc.). Note: The Grade Category menu will only show categories you have already created in your Gradebook. To create a grade category, see Creating a Grade Category instructions above.
  6. Click Save and Return to Course.
  7. A new item will appear in your Gradebook corresponding to the activity you have just created. To see this item, go to Grades > Grader report > Setup > Gradebook Setup.

To create items directly in your Gradebook:

  1. On your main Moodle course page, Turn Editing On.
  2. Next, on the left side menu of your course, select Grades.
  3. On the next page, select Grader report > Setup > Gradebook Setup from the tabs displayed.
  4. On the Gradebook Setup page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Add Grade Item.
  5. On the Grade Item page, choose a name for your grade item (e.g.: Homework Week 1, Exam 2, etc.) and a maximum and minimum grade.
  6. Click Show more… to see more grade item settings.
  7. Under Grade display type, choose whether to display the grade as a real value, a letter, percentage, etc. (e.g.: If a student receives an 85 points grade for an exam graded 0-100, a Real grade display will show the value 85, while a Percentage display will show the grade as 85%).
  8. Under Parent Category, you can adjust the grade for this item by checking the Weight Adjusted box and manually entering a weight in the box below.
  9. Click Show more…
  10. Under the option Parent Category, choose the category to which this grade item belongs.
  11. Click Save changes.

Back Up a Moodle Site

Under the terms of our Moodle Policies, LITS will guarantee that course content remains available to Teachers for at least two years. If you need to move course materials from an old Moodle site (such as moodlearchive.brynmawr.edu) to a new Moodle site, or you want archival copies of your courses for long-term storage, you can create a course back-up file which you can download and store outside of Moodle.

By default, this Moodle Backup will contain all course activities, formatting, and resources (i.e., readings, files, links, etc.). It is saved in an .mbz file format that can only be opening by restoring it into another Moodle course.

Back up a Course on moodlearchive.brynmawr.edu (Fall 2017-Summer 2020 courses):

  1. Log into the course.
  2. Click on the gear icon (Actions menu) and select Backup

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Jump to Final Step.

  1. On the Confirmation and Review page, you can rename the file to something more meaningful (optional). Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Perform Backup.
  2. When the backup is finished, you will see Backup completed successfully. Click Continue.
  3. Find the file you just created, and click Download.

Enroll/Unenroll Participants in Moodle

If you have a Teacher role in a Moodle course, you can enroll other participants in it to give them access. The role you give them determines what they can do in the course. See Which Role Should I Use? below for a list of roles and what they are permitted to do.

Prefer video? See the Enrolling Learners video tutorial for Moodle 3.8

Table of Contents:

Enrolling Participants

  1. Open your course, and select Participants in the left sidebar menu. (Don’t see the sidebar? Click the (Site navigation bars) in the top menu to display it.)

Moodle sidebar with Participants selected

  1. Click the ENROLL USERS button.
  2. Start typing the name, email address or ID number of a person you want to add in the search box beneath Select users. When the right person appears in the drop-down menu below the search box, click on that person to select them.
  3. Repeat step 3 until you have selected all of the people you want to enroll and added them to the Select users area of the dialog window. (Click the x next to a name to remove it from this section.)

  1. Under Assign role, choose the role you want to give the selected users.
  2. Click Enroll Selected Users and Cohorts.

Pro tip: Many community members have similar names or go by different forms of their names. Search for email addresses or ID numbers (which are unique) to be sure you have the right person. 

Removing Participants

  1. Repeat step 1 above to display the Participants list for your course.
  2. Find the user you wish to remove, go to the Status column, and click the trashcan (Delete) icon.
  3. Click Unenroll on the confirmation page to approve the change.

Note: You won’t be able to manually remove participants with the role of Registered Student, since these users were added through Bionic. They will be marked as suspended when they are dropped from the official Bionic course roster. To hide students who have dropped, use the Filter option above the participants list to show only Active users

Which Role Should I Use?

  • Use Auditor to give a participant permission to view course resources, participate in course activities, and receive grades.
  • Use Non-editing Teacher to give a participant permission to view and grade student coursework, and view students’ grades.
  • Only give a Teacher role to participants who need to do everything non-editing teachers can do AND upload, copy, edit and delete course materials and activities (Quizzes, etc.). Anyone with a Teacher role could accidentally delete or reconfigure parts of your course!

Auditors vs. Registered Students

These two roles have exactly the same capabilities: Auditors can do and see everything that Registered Students can do and see. The only difference between the roles is that Registered Students were enrolled by Bionic and Auditors were enrolled by a human.

Bionic feeds enrollment data to Moodle, but Moodle does not feed anything back to Bionic. This means that a participant’s role in a Moodle course has absolutely no effect on their registration status in Bionic. In other words:

  • Teachers can enroll a student in a Moodle course as an Auditor to give the student access while registration is being finalized.
  • That student must also officially register for the course in Bionic to receive academic credit for it.

Self-Enrollment and Bulk Enrollment Options

The enrollment methods above work best when you are only enrolling a few people at a time. If you need to enroll many participants in a non-academic course, Moodle admin can help.

  • We can bulk enroll many participants at once if you can provide us with an Excel or CSV file containing first name, last name, and college email address. Email this file to help@brynmawr.edu with the name of the course you want them to be enrolled in and the role they should be assigned.
  • We can also enable Self-enrollment for any non-academic course to enable Moodle users to enroll and unenroll themselves in it. Once this is turned on you can configure different options, such enrollment duration limit or a welcome email. Email help@brynmawr.edu for more information.

These options are not available for academic courses, where registration is controlled by Bionic.

Copy Materials from Old to New Moodle

While you can use Import or the Sharing Cart to copy materials between Moodle courses on the same server, the only way to move materials from the old Moodle site to the new one is to Back Up the course on the old server and Restore to upload it into a course on the new site. Anyone with a Teacher role in both courses can do this themselves. LITS is also happy to copy materials for you, but note that 600+ course shells are created every semester and it may take us a day or two to copy materials during periods of peak demand.

Request that LITS Copy a Course

If you are on campus or logged into the College’s VPN:

  1. Click Moodle Support in the menu bar at the top of any Moodle page.
  2. Choose Copy old course into new.

Screen shot of Moodle Support menu

  1. Click the green Request course copy button.
  2. Fill out the form and click Request to submit.
  3. This form will create a Help Desk ticket and send it to the entire Moodle support team so that the next available staff member can copy the copy for you.

If you are off-campus and can’t connect to the College’s VPN, email the following information to help@brynmawr.edu:

  • If the course has multiple sections and the sections are different, please specify which sections to copy/to from.

Copy a Course Over Yourself

Note: We’ve significantly increased the server upload limit, so fewer people should encounter issues with courses being too large to back up.  

First, create a backup of the old courses:

  1. Log into the old Moodle site.
  2. Navigate to the course you want to back up.
  3. Click on the Actions menu (gear icon) in the top right and choose Backup from the drop-down menu.
  4. If you want to include all of the course content in the backup, scroll to bottom of the page and click Jump to Final Step. If you want to back up only some of the content, click Next to go through the steps and deselect the content you don’t need.
  5. Once the backup successful message appears, click Continue.
  6. Download the backup file to your hard drive.

Next, Restore the backup into the new course on the new Moodle site:

  1. Log in to the new Moodle site.
  2. Navigate to the course where you want to place the backed-up content.
  3. Click on the Actions menu (gear icon) in the top right and choose Restore.
  4. Under Import a backup file, click Choose a file … and browse for your backup file on your computer OR drag-and-drop the backup file into the Upload window.
  5. Click Restore.
  6. On the Confirm page, scroll to the bottom and click Continue.
  7. On the Destination page, scroll down to Restore into this Course and click Continue.
  8. The next couple of pages allow you to select the elements in the backup file you want to restore. Everything is included by default, you can uncheck things you don’t need if you need to, and scroll to the bottom of each page and click Next.
  9. When you get to the Review page, scroll down to the bottom and click Perform restore.
  10. After the upload process is complete, click Continue to return to your main course page.

Calendar in Moodle

Did you know Moodle has a built-in calendar?

Screen shot of Moodle Calendar block

Using the Calendar

  • The Moodle Calendar block is always visible on your Dashboard. It may also be visible in particular courses if a Teacher in the course has added it.
  • Orange highlights indicate dates with course-related events, such as deadlines for Moodle Assignments and Quizzes or Scheduler appointments in courses you are enrolled in.
  • In the Calendar block, hover your mouse cursor over a date to see events on that date.
  • You can also click on the month name to view the calendar full-screen.
  • Click on an event to go straight to the corresponding Assignment, Quiz, etc.
  • Add your own “user” events to the calendar by expanding it to full-screen and clicking the New Event button (Only you will see the “user” events you add.)

Feeding Moodle Calendar Data to another Calendar Program

If you already use a Google, Outlook/Office365 or iCal calendar, you can link your Moodle calendar to it so that it displays Moodle calendar events as well. Changes made to your Moodle calendar after you set up the link will also appear in the calendar program, although it may take up to 24 hours, since calendar systems have different sync schedules.


  • This creates a one-way feed only. Moodle events will show up on your Google/Outlook/etc. calendar, but events from that calendar will not show up in Moodle.
  • There is no way at this time to limit the feed to particular courses; if you want to include course events in the feed, you will see them for all courses you are enrolled in.

Step 1. Get a Calendar URL from Moodle

  1. Expand the Moodle Calendar to full-screen (click on the month name in the Calendar block), and click the Export Calendar

Screen shot of Moodle Export calendar page

  1. Choose your export options; we recommend Events to Export = All Events and Time Period = Recent and next 60 days.
  2. Click the Get calendar URL
  3. Copy the URL generated beneath the button, and use it to add a calendar feed to your preferred calendar program. See below for Office 365 and Google instructions.

Step 2. Add that URL to Your Preferred Calendar Program

Most calendar programs will give you the option to add or subscribe to a calendar using a URL, although exact steps vary. We’ve included examples for Office 365, Outlook 2016 (desktop client), and Google Calendar below. If you use a different program, search its online support pages for details.

For Office 365 and Outlook 2016 (and later):

For best results, add the calendar URL in Office 365 using the steps below, even if the Outlook desktop client is your primary mail program. Calendars added to the web version will show up in the desktop version.

  1. Click on the “waffle” icon (nine squares) in upper left and choose the Calendar
  2. Click Add Calendar and choose From internet.

Screen shot Add calendar from Internet menu option

  1. Paste the URL you copied from Moodle where indicated, give the calendar a name, and click Save.

See Microsoft’s Working with Multiple Calendars for more information.

For Google Calendar:

  1. Click the Other calendars drop-down menu, and choose Add by URL.

Screen shot Add Calendar in Google

  1. Paste the URL you copied from Moodle into the pop-up dialog window.
  2. Click Add Calendar.

See Google Calendar documentation for more information.

Getting Started in Moodle (for Students)

Are you new to Bryn Mawr and just learning how to use Moodle, or a returning student who would like a refresher on how to make the most of Moodle for engaging with your courses? We’ve aggregated some posts on key tasks in Moodle that we hope will help as you begin the new academic year.

For more Moodle topics, check out our complete list of Tech Docs. Need more help with Moodle? Email us at help@brynmawr.edu.

Getting Started in Moodle (for Faculty)

Are you a new faculty member, or do you need a refresher on how to set up your Moodle course? We’ve aggregated some posts on key tasks in Moodle that we hope will help as you prepare your courses for this academic year.

For more Moodle topics, check out our complete list of Tech Docs. Need more help with Moodle? Email us at help@brynmawr.edu.

Hide/Show Entire Moodle Course

By default, all participants (e.g., Teachers, Non-editing teachers, Registered students and Auditors) can see and enter a course as soon as they are enrolled in it.

To hide an entire course from Registered students and Auditors:

  1. Click on the gear icon (Actions menu) in the top right corner of the course site.
  2. Choose Edit Settings.
  3. Under General, click on the Course Visibility drop-down menu and choose Hide.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save and Display.

To unhide the course, follow the steps above, but set Course Visibility back to Show.

If you hide an academic course, be sure to unhide it again when students need to access it. Moodle does not do this automatically!)

If you just need to hide parts of a course see Hide/Show Sections and Items in Moodle Courses.

Hide/Show Sections and Items in Moodle Courses

Moodle lets Teachers hide sections, activities, and resources, so that they are invisible to students, but still visible to any one with a Teacher or Non-editing Teacher role. If a course is guest-accessible, hidden items will be also be hidden from guests.

Manually Hiding/Showing Course Elements

To hide sections, activities or resources on a course page from all students until you manually choose to unhide them:

  1. Turn editing on in your course (use the button located at the top right of your course’s main page).
  2. Click the Edit link next to a visible item, and choose Hide to hide it.
    • Moodle places a “hidden from students” message beneath hidden items to remind teachers that they are invisible to students, as show below.

    • The message is not visible to students; click on your user name at the top of the screen, choose Switch role to … and choose Auditor to view the page as a student.
  1. When you are ready to unhide the item, turn editing on, click the Edit link next to that item and choose Show.

Setting Course Elements to Auto-Hide/Unhide at a Specified Time

You can use the Restrict Access settings to hide sections, activities, or resources invisible for a limited period of time and automatically unhide them outside of that period. For example, you might wish to hide later sections of a course until the dates when they become relevant or hide a study guide until the weeks before an exam.

To do this:

  1. Turn editing on if it isn’t already. (Click the gear icon (Actions menu) and choosing Turn editing on.)
  2. Click the Edit link next to a visible item, and choose Edit Settings (if the item is an Activity or Resource) or Edit Section/Topic/Week (if the item is a section within a course).
  3. Scroll down and click Restrict Access to expand it.
  4. Click Add Restriction

  1. Click Date.
  2. Use the drop-down menus to configure the date restriction parameters:
    1. Leave the first phrase to state “Student must match the following”
    2. The eye icon determines whether you are creating a parameter for when the item will be visible (eye open) or hidden (eye with line through it).
    3. The from/until menu determines whether the date that follows is the date on which that visibility setting starts (from) or ends (until).
    4. So in example, if you wanted a course item to be visible starting at midnight on November 5, 2020, you set the visibility to “show” (eye open) “from” 5 November 2020 00:00 as depicted below.

  1. Click Add Restriction if you need to set additional parameters; in the example above, to re-hide the item on a certain date, you would add a restriction with parameters set to “show” “until” that date.
  2. Don’t forget to click Save at the bottom of the page to finalize your settings.

When you use Restrict Access to hide elements from students, Teachers will see a Restricted message beneath that item with a summary of the restriction parameters. Students and guests do not see this message.