Recently in WOU Online / Moodle Category

The Moodle Level I course for instructors using Moodle at Western Oregon University is now an open course, meaning anyone with network access at WOU can enter it without needing a password. Rather than updating the written instructions here, I'll simply direct you to that course here.

However, I have also updated the brief video tutorial, and since some faculty members have said it's difficult to watch the video within Moodle while also using Moodle, I've placed it here as well:

Direct Link to Video

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.

One of the most frequent questions I get is how to turn off (or on) the notification emails Moodle sends whenever someone messages you in Moodle, or posts in a forum you're in. It's a useful a tool, and can help keep you informed what's going on in your online courses, but those emails can easily get overwhelming.

Fortunately, you can customize how you receive those notifications -- or even if you receive them at all. Here's how.

1. After you've logged in, click on My profile settings on the left.


2. Click on Messaging.


Now, by checking or unchecking the boxes on this page, you can customize what kinds of emails you'd like to receive. If you don't want to receive any emails from Moodle, simply check the box at the bottom that reads "Temporarily disable notifications."


3. Click Update and you're done.

Moodle Upgrade

To all faculty and staff using Moodle (

Exciting changes afoot! We're upgrading to Moodle 2.2.3 as of September 1, 2012. This is WOU's official online learning management system, where you can share resources, engage in online discussions, and offer online quizzes in a password-protected environment. Not only will you have access to many new features (conditional release of activities, an improved text editor), but we've also customized the look and feel of it to better match the WOU brand.

Although the current version of Moodle will be used through summer term, the new version of Moodle is available now for development of Fall term classes and beyond at

We would have preferred to transfer all courses to the new Moodle en masse, but technical issues made this problematic. Plus this gives us an opportunity to weed out hundreds of courses (and gigabytes of data) that are no longer active. Fortunately, transferring courses seems relatively painless. If you're familiar with how the backup/restore process works in Moodle, you are welcome to do it yourself, but I am also happy to assist. Simply drop me an email with your list of courses and I'll add them to my list. If you want to do it yourself, first login at, then drop me an email. I'll bump up your access so you can do it yourself, as well as point you to a brief video tutorial on how to do it.


1. Do I have to copy all of my courses over now?

No. The old Moodle will remain as an archive indefinitely. The Web address will change to down the road, but we'll let you know at the appropriate time. For now, just focus on your Fall 2012 courses. Again, I'm happy to do this if you let me know which courses need to be copied.

2. Will there be training available?

Yes. There will be a number of workshops offered over the summer and into early fall, as well as updated online resources. Stay tuned for more on that front.

3. I'm getting a weird security warning when I login. Should I be concerned?

It is safe to click past this. This is temporary until September.

4. Can I start using new Moodle for summer term?

No students will be loaded on the new site until September 2012. This is to keep things as clear for our students as possible.

5. The address won't stay, will it?

No. Eventually "" will point to the new Moodle site, and the portal will also link directly to it.

6. I haven't used Moodle before. Is it too late?

It's never too late. This term alone, we had 419 course shells created and populated with students, but there's always room for more. Whether you simply want to put your PowerPoints online or you want to have a fully robust online course, I'm happy to help. Drop me an email to get started.

We're upgrading to Moodle 2.0 (well, technically Moodle 2.2.3) as of September 2012. Because transferring courses to the new Moodle proved technically problematic, you will need to transfer your course manually if you wish to make use of it Fall 2012 and beyond. Fortunately, using the backup/restore process, this is relatively painless. Here's how you do it.

Note: The address of the old Moodle site is now

(Direct link to full size video)

Moodle: How to Delete A Course

Due to unforeseen changes in the recent upgrade of Moodle, there's now a new way to delete courses you're no longer using:

1. Login to the course you want to delete.

2. Click on "Settings" in your Administration area.

3. Change the course category (found at the top of the page) to "X - Delete Courses." It's at the bottom of the list.

4. Click "Save changes" at the bottom of the page.

Once a week or so, I'll clear out the courses in this category. If you'd like to remove the course immediately from your list, do one of the following *after* moving the course to the "X-Delete Courses" category:

1. Click "Unenroll me from _____" in your Administration area.

2. If that's not available, click on "Assign Roles" in your Administration area. Click on "Teacher." Click on your name in the left column. Click the remove button.

Any questions, let me know. Spring students should begin loading into courses toward the middle of next week. Remember to include "2010" in front of your CRN for this term. Starting summer term, put "2011" in front of the CRN.

Hi all,

This has come up a number of times recently, so I thought I'd give you some tips on how you can see what students are doing in your course. This is especially useful when a student claims they weren't able to login or had other technical issues.

1. Click on your Participants link (usually in the upper left). Here you'll see a complete list of students, as well as the last time the student logged into your course.

2. Click on a student's name.

3. If you have instructor access to the course -- students will not be able to see this -- you will have an "Activity Reports" tab at the top. Select this.

4. As a default, usually the "Outline report" is displayed, which shows you the number of times they clicked on various items in their course, as well as the last time they looked at each particular item.

5. If you click on "Complete report," you will see every item, whether they've looked at it or not.

6. Perhaps the most useful, though, is the "All logs" link, which gives you a list of everything your student has done in the course, including the time it was done.

As a side note, you will most likely find that there is a distinct correlation between the amount of time a student spends in a course and their grade. Imagine that. :)

Any questions, let me know.