Return to Moodle Assists Tutorials for Moodle 2.0


Dr. Richard L. Bowman
Harrisonburg, VA, USA  22802

I. Introduction

Moodle is an open-source full-featured course management system (CMS), sometimes called a learning management system (LMS). Moodle version 1.0 was released in August 2002. Since then it has come through various stable versions, the latest is version 2.0 upon which this tutorial is based.

A partial list of Moodle's capabilities includes:

Frontdoor of Ed Tech by Bowman Moodle

Above is a screenshot of my personal Moodle which I use for testing purposes. Each educational institution may rename (and configure) Moodle as it wishes. Most often the school's name is simply the name of the Moodle site, e.g., Rosedale Bible College in Ohio (USA). But sometimes a little bit more creativity is used, e.g., BCMoodle is the course management system for Bridgewater College in Virginia (USA) and JPoodle is used by John Paul II Collegiate in Saskatchewan (Canada).

Since Moodle is a very flexible CMS, the install of it at your institution will look different than this photo, but the functionality will be very similar. So continue following this tutorial as your learn to use Moodle.

II. Accessing Moodle

Find out from your IT Center or educational technology specialist how to get to your institution's Moodle site. (Sometimes asking a student may be the simplest way to get the info!) After getting to the Moodle login page, log in using your username and password. After a successful login, the first page viewed in version 2.0 will usually be entitled, "(short name of your Moodle): My home." (Below is an screenshot from my Moodle.)

Ed Tech by Bowman Moodle: My home

This page has been updated in Moodle 2.0, so let's look around. The look of this page may have been customized by the administrators of your school's Moodle, but this is the default placement of items with one significant change (keep reading for details). Notice at the top, just under the title for the page, is a "bread-crumb trail" showing where the user is in Moodle and thus the trail to go back to any previous layer in the site regardless of how deep the user has gone.

The left pane consists of a number of blocks associated with a particular user (giving useful links for navigating your site and settings you may adjust, such as your profile.  The center pane in the above screenshot has a photo at the top (of my wife and me on our 40th wedding anniversary trip!) That is a modification I made as the user. In version 2.0 of Moodle, the user has the option of customizing the "My home" page. Below this block is the default listing of "courses" that I am a member of. This could be courses I teach or sites for committees I serve on or such like. Shortly you may take a look at one of your courses, but first let's make some adjustments to your profile.

III. Tailoring Your Profile

Begin the process of getting set-up in Moodle by customizing your profile. Your name at the upper-right-hand side of the MyMoodle page is a direct link to your profile, so click on it and then on the "Edit profile" tab in order to be able to make the following changes.

  1. Look at the General heading and make sure your name and email address are correct. If not, contact your IT specialist to have them changed.
  2. You may also set the value of the line "Email display" to "Allow everyone to see my email address" (or whatever value you prefer). If set to this value, this means that anyone who has permission to log into your school's Moodle and who can view the basic information about you will see your email address. (Usually this is not a security risk since your email address may be available through other means anyway.)
  3. I would suggest adding your town and country names, if they are not already set.
  4. Definitely add a short (or longer) description of yourself. Keep in mind that this will be only viewed by those who have access to your school's Moodle, so tailor it accordingly. In my case, I might write: "A professor of physics since 1986 and an overseer in the Mennonite Church on marginal time."
  5. Upload a photo of yourself to replace the rather uncreative generic shadow image that shows by default when you post a note to a forum or when students view your basic profile. (Before uploading the image, resize it to 100 X 100 pixels in a graphics program such as IrfanView.) If you need more clarity on what to do, click on the question mark inside a colored circle (help graphic). If you hover the mouse pointer over this graphic wherever it occurs, a short message of what help topic is available will be displayed. In this case, the message is "Help with New picture."
  6. I also suggest you add some interests you have, such as research areas or hobbies or both.
  7. Finally examine and update the list of contacts that you want students and other users of your school's Moodle to know. Don't list any that you do not wnat students to use to contact you or to find out more about you.

IV. Tailoring the Layout of "My home" Page and All Subsequent Pages

One change in Moodle 2 compared to Moodle 1.9 is the addition of a dock on many pages and the ability to move blocks to or from the dock. Note that any changes made on your "My home" page will effect similar items on other pages, such as the main pages for your courses.

By default the dock is located on the left-side of the page. To move a block there, simply click on the small button on the upper right of a particular block to be moved. An enlarged photo of this button is shown below.

Dock button.

The -/+ icon  will do the usual "hide" or "show" of the menu item. The next thin rectangle followed by a wider rectangle is the button to send the item to the dock.

Below is how the upper-left-hand portion of the course main page shows up when the Navigation block has been moved to the dock. Hovering over the Navigation link will cause the Navigation menu to be displayed as in the right-hand screenshot below. When the menu is showing, clicking the "Undock this item" button will return the block to its original location on the page.

The dock.   The dock expanded.

Use the dock to simplify the layout of your course page, if you think that is useful.

V. Setting up Courses in Moodle

Several weeks prior to the beginning of a new term, the technology people at your school will probably take the initiative in populating each faculty member's "My home" page with the courses appropriate for the upcoming term. Then at the beginning of the new term, they will also place the registered students into each Moodle course. During the first couple weeks of the term, the student lists will be updated regularly, probably daily; while after any drop-add period, these updates may be done less frequently.

Before leaving this tutorial, go back to your "My home" page and click on one of your courses to see what an "empty" course looks like. It will be something like the screenshot below after you have clicked on the button to "Turn editing on."

Editing a course page.

For specific guidance in setting up a course in version 2 of Moodle, see the tutorial, "Creating a Course in Moodle."

VI. Getting Help with Using Moodle

In addition to a large number of help files that can be accessed through the help question mark graphics liberally scattered throughout Moodle, there are also Moodle docs for nearly every page that one can view in Moodle. Links to these docs are usually placed at the bottom of each page with which they are associated.

The main page of Moodle Assists (at Edt Tech by Bowman) gives numerous resources for learning to use Moodle. Some of these are from while others are tutorials from other sources. A few books are also referenced there.

If you have any questions or need additional assistance, contact your local help center or email Richard Bowman @ .

©2009-11; Dr. Richard L. Bowman

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Created and maintained by: Richard L. Bowman ( ); last updated: 5-Sep-11.