Common Moodle Problems: A Faculty Checklist

Often when a faculty member is having a problem with a Moodle course, the issue is for one of the following reasons.

Problem #1: The CRN was entered incorrectly.

The CRN (Course Record Number) is the unique ID assigned to your course, and it is this number that loads the students automatically into your course (the process happens once each night, late at night). It is a five digit number Fall, Winter, and Spring terms, and a four digit number in the summer. This number must be entered in the Course ID box on the settings page, preceded by the academic year -- not the actual year, but the academic year. For example, if you are teaching a Spring term course in 2013, you would continue to put 2012 in front of the CRN. We roll over to a new academic year in the summer. So in June 2013, you would enter 2013 in front of the CRN. Here's how to do it:

1. When looking at your course homepage, click Edit settings on the left.

2. In the fourth box down, the Course ID number box, enter the academic year, then the CRN, no spaces (i.e. 201212345).

3. Click Save changes at the bottom.

Problem #2: The CRN was entered correctly, but the students still haven't loaded.

Have you waited long enough? Students are loaded into courses starting about a week before the term begins. The process continues throughout the term, occurring once each night, very late. If a student adds your course late, the system should eventually add him or her to your course.

Problem #3: The students have loaded into the course, but they tell you they don't see it in their lists.

To see if the students have truly loaded into the course, click on Users on the left, then Enrolled Users. These are all the people in your course.

If students are in the course but tell you they don't see it, it's likely that your course is hidden. Does it appear grayed out in your course list? That's a key sign that the course is visible only to the instructor. To fix this, here's how:

1. Click on Edit settings on the left.

2. Find the Availability menu toward the middle of the page.

3. Make sure the menu is set to "This course is available to students."

4. Save changes at the bottom.

Incidentally, this is a nice feature that allows you to determine exactly when you want students to have access to your course. If you'd rather they not get into your Moodle course before your first class day, you can hide it until then.

Problem #4: You only see one topic area rather than all of them.

No worries: You've simply clicked the little white box (or boxes, if you're only seeing one topic) to the right of the topic area. Moodle allows any user to isolate individual topics. This wouldn't affect everybody, only you. Click it again and you'll see all of your topic areas.

Problem #5: Occasionally, when you use the Assignment tool, a student will tell you they uploaded the assignment when no file shows on your end.

This is almost always an error on the student's part. When an assigment is actually loaded, the file name will appear on the assignment description page. This is their proof that the file is there. What you need to tell your students is that if there is no file listed, they must try again. If the deadline has lapsed, it's up to you as the instructor whether and how you want to make an exception.