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Beginning Spring 2021, all courses will be automatically created with improved starter content and default course settings.

Informational content

  • Welcome text to the instructors reminding them that their course is hidden from students and that their gradebook is also hidden by default. Once this information is read, they can delete this Label from their course. (This text is hidden from students.)
  • Welcome text to the students inviting them to view the Moodle Overview for Students video, letting them know how to get help through software coaching and how to reach out to the Help Desk for technical support.
Starter Course Smaller


A few blocks have been added to the starter course. Some of these blocks can be removed by turning editing on and selecting "Delete Resources block" from the drop-down under the gear for that block. Do not remove (or hide) the Panopto block or the course's connection to Panopto will break. Instructors can add additional blocks by turning editing on and selecting "Add a block" in the lower-left corner of the course. The following are the default blocks included in new courses:

Library Resources
Upcoming Events Block

Course settings

Several course settings have been set by default. These can all be changed under the gear, Edit settings.

  • Course visibility is set to "Hide."
  • Course start date is set to January 25, 2021. This date will determine when an unhidden course will display in the "In progress" list on the Moodle Dashboard and when it will appear in the sidebar in Moodle. It will also control the start date for your Moodle sections if you choose the Weekly course format.
  • Course end date is set to May 15th, 2021 - the day after final grades are due. This date will determine when a course will only display in the "Past" list on the Moodle Dashboard and when it will be removed from the sidebar in Moodle.
  • Course format has been set to a new format called "Collapsed Topics." This allows instructors and students to choose whether to open or collapse sections of Moodle so that they can focus on certain sections. Unless browser cookies are deleted, Moodle will remember the user's selections when they revisit Moodle. The Library's Instructional Services team has selected the default way this format will work, but you are welcome to make changes. The course has six sections to start with, but more can be added by instructors by turning editing on and clicking the + found near the bottom-left corner of the main course page. Collapsed Topics also provides colored flags indicating due dates, submission status, and whether there is feedback to view for students. See the image below for an example. Instructors can also switch the Course format to one of the other choices: Weekly, Topics, Grid, etc.
  • Show gradebook to students is set to "No."
  • Show activity reports is set to "Yes" allowing students to review their activity in a course.
  • Enable completion tracking is set to "Yes" allowing students to use checkboxes to track their progress in a course. Optionally, this allows instructors to set requirements on activities or resources in the course so that activities will not be marked as complete until the requirements are met. Instructors can review reports by students on all activities in a Moodle course.
Collapsed Topics Course Format

Gradebook Settings

Grade category aggregation is now defaulted to "Weighted Mean of Grades" to accommodate the majority of gradebook setups. You can change this setting to "Natural" (sum of all values) or "Simple Weighted Mean of Grades" under Grades, Setup, Edit settings for the course folder at the top of the gradebook.

Workshop settings

Grade for submission is now defaulted to 100. This grade item will show in your gradebook and can be used to provide a grade for the submission even if peers are only leaving comments, or you can override the aggregated peer grade with your own.

Grade for assessment is now defaulted to 100. This grade item will show separately in your gradebook and can be used to provide a grade for the students participation in the assessment of others. If the student completes the assessment of others, this grade will default to 100%.

Number of reviews will now default to 3 submissions to be randomly allocated.

Grading strategy will now default to Comments. This means that by default peers will not be providing grades while assessing others, but only comments. You can change this setting.

Forum Settings

Forum ratings have been enabled for students. Ratings use Scales to allow students to rate one another's posts. These can be part of their grade for the Forum.

Program and course-level templates

Some programs will be creating program-level templates that will work on top of this starter course and will become the initial starter course you will start with. Check with your Chair for more information.

Additionally, Chairs and faculty may choose to create course-level templates and make them available to instructors. Instructors would be placed in these templates as an "Export-only Instructor" and then you could Import only the items you wish to use into your starter course. Do not use the backup and restore function.

If you would like to Import content from your previous semester's course, you can Import this content into your starter course. Do not use the backup and restore function or you will remove the starter course content.

The Common Elements Moodle course will remain available to all instructors and will continue to be updated with additional resources you can opt to Import into your course. The Libraries Instructional Services team will be drafting sample assignment language to incorporate best practices for a variety of assignments and activities in Moodle.