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Intro to Online Gavilan

Lesson 3

Moodle Basics


Moodle is an easy-to-use, open source Course Management System for online, face-to-face, or hybrid classes. This tutorial will take you through some of the basic features.

Inside the Classroom
Your classroom will look something like the picture below. There will be certain blocks on the left or right side of the screen, with the center devoted to the actual content of the classroom, layed out in a week-by-week or topic listing.

You could have other boxes, including ones for Recent Activity, a calendar of due dates and events, a QuickMail resource, or a list of everyone in your class (Participants). Each instructor decides which blocks will be useful for their particular class.

1. This area always shows your login information. If you aren't logged in, you can click up here to do so.

2. The messaging system will let you communicate 1-on-1 with teachers and students. Remember to check your messages!

3. You have a "profile". You can customize your account, change email settings, and upload a picture.

4. The (Moodle) courses you are currently enrolled in will appear in this menu.

The Middle :
inside the classroom screenshot

The middle of your classroom screen will be a listing of the course materials, arranged by week or by topic. Each section might have several activities for you: a lecture, a link to a website, an assignment, a discussion, a quiz, a survey or poll or other activity.

Notice the little black square in the upper right corner of each section (circled in red). Some students find it simpler to see only one section at a time. You can hide the other sections by clicking on the box in the section you want to keep.

The single box will turn into two boxes. Click either one of them, and the disappeared sections (or weeks) will reappear.

Your Moodle Profile:
Using profiles allows us to see the people behind the computers. But please think carefully about any personal or identifying information you share. You can edit your profile by clicking on the "Edit Profile" link under the "Administration" block (#3 in the image above).

Include as much or as little information in your profile set-up as you'd like.

1. You can upload a picture to your profile. It will be used in discussion forums, messages, and anywhere else you post in class.

2. To upload a picture, you must have it on your computer, and it must be in either a .jpg or a .gif format. Click this "browse..." button to find and upload it.


The message system allows you to send a message to your instructor, or to any of your classmates. Your message will be sent not only to the classroom message system, but also to the individual's regular email address, so they won't even have to be logged into Moodle, and will still receive your message.

1. The picture and information shows who you are talking to.

Previous messages that have been sent or received between you and the recipient will appear in the middle of the window.

2. Type messages here to send them to another moodle user.

Be sure to investigate the "Settings" tab on your messages window.

You might want to change some options there.

1. At the top of the messaging module, you'll find the Settings tab. Click on it and you'll be given a list of options.

Most important: check to see that you have the right email address here.

There are a variety of important settings here. Please read them and decide on what you want.

2. Put in an email address that you check on a regular basis. This will help you to be more connected to your online classes.

Edit your profile. Make sure your email address is correct, and upload a picture for yourself. You don't have to use your own picture. You can use anything - plants, flowers, dogs or cats, cartoon characters or one of the caricatures below.
Ben Afflick
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Save the image by right clicking on it (ctrl-click on a Mac), and from the drop-down menu, choose "Save image as". Save it to your desktop, so you can find it later when you upload it to the classroom. If you don't like any of these images, you can find more at the Caricature Zone.
Once you've completed your editing, click on Assignment #3 and tell us how easy it was.

Address of this webpage:
Last updated on July 30, 2007
For questions or comments,
please contact Joy Parker at