Category Archives: Moodle 2

Copying content from Moodle 1.9 to Moodle 2.2

The majority of the staff at Glyndŵr have now logged in to our new Moodle 2.2 site, which will be live for our students from 4th September 2012, and issues of access to courses are being resolved. Our next big task is to help our staff to populate the new site, as we have started off with a fresh Moodle 2 environment, rather than upgrading. The main reason for this was because we are taking the move to Moodle 2 as an opportunity to reorganise our Virtual Learning Environment. This post outlines how we are copying across content and some of the issues we have come across.

Course backups and restores for support sites

We have begun to help staff to copy across their content from the current Moodle site  to the new one and for the student support and staff support sites we can back up a Moodle 1.9 course and then restore it in Moodle 2.2. It is then a case of advising the relevant staff members that from now on they need to start updating information on the new site and be prepared for the go-live date for students in September.

There are, however, a few things that a Moodle administrator needs to bear in mind when doing a course backup in 1.9 before restoring in 2.2:

  • There are a number of non-core Moodle modules that won’t copy across, for example the Journal, or for us, Turnitin assignments (we are moving from a basic integration to a native integration). You need to remove these elements from the list of what’s included in the backup file; otherwise when you come to restore you will simply get an error message.
  • For Glossaries and Databases, the core settings and a link will appear, but you will find that the entries don’t copy across. For both modules your best bet is to then go back to the original activity in 1.9 and export the entries. You can then import entries into the glossary or database in your 2.2 course.
  • Your topic headings from Moodle 1.9 will appear as labels in 2.2, so you will need to copy them into the appropriate places using the ‘Edit summary’ icons.
  • Staff should be encouraged to check any files and links – we have found that sometimes what displayed as a file in 1.9 will appear as a URL in 2.2, or vice versa. In particular, you need to check any links to files located elsewhere on the course, to other topic areas or to other courses on your Moodle site – some will invariably be broken.
  • Given that there is no longer a files area, and we are not using the My Private Files function at Glyndŵr, you may need to re-upload pictures (they may be fine in labels or pages, but not display correctly in, for example, quiz questions). Again, encourage staff to check.

Options for copying content across for academic sites

In spite of the issues outlined above, if you are doing a simple backup and restore to a new version of the same course, it is relatively straightforward. However, copying content across for the academic sites is not so simple, as we are changing how we organise our VLE. In our current Moodle site, different departments have organised their courses in a variety of ways, but from September we are moving to a system whereby every module delivered has a space on Moodle (one space per module code, per campus, per academic year) and there are also programme spaces for each programme delivered. Courses will be created automatically, based on the data held by Student Data Services in SITS, and students will be enrolled automatically.

There are very few courses, therefore, where we can do a straight backup and restore. One way we’ve been getting around this is to restore 1.9 content into a 2.2 programme site, and then use the Import function to copy content relating to specific modules into the relevant module spaces. (You can see a video tutorial of how to copy content from one course to another here).

Some staff, of course, are going to use the move to Moodle 2 and the reorganisation of the VLE as an opportunity to review and rethink how they present  their content and deliver their learning online, and we would encourage them to do so. However, for those staff members who want help moving their content across, we are therefore giving them two options:

  1. We can do a backup of the Moodle 1.9 course and restore this into a Moodle 2.2 space (as discussed above). This is the more appropriate option if they have resources other than files (such as links to websites, labels etc.) or activities (such as forums, assignments etc.) on the site.
  2. Download the files they have uploaded to Moodle 1.9 and then upload these to their new Moodle spaces. This is the more appropriate option if they only have files and folders on their current Moodle space, and/or if they want the opportunity to rethink how they organise their Moodle space.

The video below outlines these options to our members of staff:


Access to Courses in Moodle 2

We are now encouraging staff at Glyndŵr to log in to our new Moodle 2 site, if you haven’t already done so. From September 4th the link ‘Log in to Moodle’ on the university home page will point to the new Moodle site, but until then staff need to use the URL: There will be a link on the front page of Moodle 2 pointing back to the old Moodle site, which will be available until at least December 2012.

Once you have logged in for the first time, then you will be assigned the appropriate access. The diagram below explains what you should see under the My Courses area, and also how your access will be assigned:

  • For the programme sites, staff support sites and student support sites, you will be given editing rights manually, by Alicia Owen or Dave Mosford in Web Services; if you cannot access the sites you need to, please contact us.
  • Access to module sites will be dependent on the data held in SITS by Student Data Services. If you are listed as a module leader, you will be given the ‘course leader’ role, which means you will be able to assign teacher access to other users, but you will not see this until 24 hours after logging in for the first time.
  • Students will have access to modules and programmes that they are enrolled on in SITS. If they cannot see your modules (24 hours after logging in for the first time) then they need to contact Student Data Services.

The video below demonstrates what you should expect to see:

Course formats in Moodle 2

The way that we organise content within our VLE at Glyndŵr University is going to change from September 2012. We will be moving to an automated system whereby programme spaces and module spaces are created automatically, using data from Student Records. At the moment, we have some course sites that are very large, and also therefore display a lot of content when the student first logs in, presenting us with the issue of what Mark Drechsler coined the ‘scroll of death‘. Once the integration takes place, we are hoping that this will be less of a problem.

However, for those course sites where there will always be lots of information presented on the front page, with Moodle 2 we will have some new course formats which have been designed to combat this problem:

Single format

With the single format, when the student first enters the course, they will only see one topic, but they can move to other areas of the course by using the dropdown menu that appears next to ‘Jump to…’ underneath the current topic. They can also choose to display all topics again by clicking on the ‘Show all topics’ icon. However, whichever whey choose to display the topics the student won’t see topic ‘0’ at the top of the screen, as they do in other formats. This doesn’t mean you can’t use the News forum with this format, but it does mean you should probably make sure you show the Latest News block on your site to display any news items.

Single format

Collapsed Topics

In the Collapsed Topics format there is a ‘toggle’ for each topic section (apart from topic ‘0’), which makes it easy to hide or display each topic, reducing the amount of content visible on the screen. Moodle remembers the state of the ‘toggle’ the next time you log into that course site with the same account.

Collapsed topics screen print

Collapsed Weeks

The Collapsed Weeks works like the Collapsed Topics, in that there is a ‘toggle’ function again, but of course the sections are divided into weeks rather than topics. The current week is highlighted in yellow, but the student can choose to look at previous or future weeks’ content by clicking on the appropriate ‘toggle’.

Collapsed Weeks screen shot

The video below explains how to change your course settings and course format, as well as explaining the different course formats available to us at Glyndŵr.

Forums in Moodle 2

We’ve been enjoying exploring our new Moodle 2 site, and this week we’ve been looking at forums. Most of you will be relieved to hear that not much has changed in terms of how they work – a forum is still a useful tool for encouraging communication and collaboration between tutor and students, and between students. However, there are a few changes on the Glyndŵr Moodle 2 site that we are pleased to see.

A new forum type

First of all, there is a new forum type available. We still have the forum types Single simple discussion, Each person posts one discussion, Q and A forum, and Standard forum for general use, but we also now have the Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format. This is an open forum, where anyone can start a new discussion or reply to posts at any time, but in which discussion topics are displayed in a blog-like format, with a link to ‘Discuss this topic’ on the main forum page if others want to make comments:

Tutors also now have the option of exporting forum posts, which you may want to do in order to archive evidence of students’ contributions, for example. We can either use the Export whole discussion option, or alternatively, you can export an individual post by clicking on Export to portfolio:

You can choose to export as HTML or as Leap2A, a format which makes it easy to export to Mahara Eportfolio.

The News forum

Another improvement is that the admin settings on the News forum have been changed so that students no longer automatically have the permission to reply to posts there. In general, staff have always found it useful to be able to post an announcement here if they want all students to read it; all students receive email notifications of any new posts because they are all automatically subscribed to the news forum on their course sites. However, in Moodle 1.9 students also had the ability to reply to news forum posts (unless you overrode the permissions on the student role), which would then also generate an email to all course participants. This was not ideal when some people were already complaining of being swamped with emails from Moodle. The change in Moodle 2 mean that this should no longer be an issue, and gets another thumbs up from us.

Hands on and thumbs up!

This week we ran two hands-on training sessions using Moodle 2.2, outlining to staff some of the changes they’ll see in the new site, and letting them try out some of the new features. Overall, staff gave a thumbs up to the new features and tools available.

Everybody seemed impressed with the Navigation block and the way you can now manage your blocks. They also liked how Glyndŵr plan to have links to useful tools and staff and support services across the top of the site:

This means that, as well as being able to move more easily between the courses you have access to (using the Navigation block), it will be possible to access the useful links from wherever you are in our Moodle site.

Attendees also liked the new editing options:

  • The Move icon (now more like a cross than a arrow) means you can drag and drop your activities and resources (and your topic areas) around the site.
  • The Duplicate icon (x2) means you can easily copy activities. This will be useful, for example, for those tutors using groups in their courses, who want to set the same assignments but with different deadlines. (You can see Mary Cooch explaining how to use this option by watching this video Using Moodle: Quickly Copy Activities)
  • The Assign roles icon (a face and mask) allows you to assign student or tutor roles for individual resources and activities, so you could, for example, allow students to moderate forum discussions. (This icon also appears now for blocks).

One of the new features that everybody particularly liked is the fact that now, for most resources and activities, you can ask Moodle to display the description on the course page. Previously you would have to click into the resource or activity to see this description, and if you wanted something to appear on the course page you would have to use  a label. Now, when editing your resource/activity, you can tick the box:

And you will see the description you have typed in, just below the link on the course page:

This improvement was developed in conjunction with the Open University, and you can watch their developer Sam Marshall giving a demonstration of how this might work in practice: Display descriptions demo from Sam Marshall, Open University

The sessions were meant as an introduction to our new Moodle site, and in the time available we only had the opportunity to try out some of the basics, such as navigating around the site and uploading files. There were some new features that we only really had chance to flag up, without being able to explain in detail. This included the Book module (for displaying multiple pages with a table of contents) and the Workshop activity (for integrating self and peer assessment), and attendees expressed an interest in learning more about how to use these tools.  They were also  very enthusiastic about activity completioncourse completion, restricting access and conditional activities, which will allow for easier tracking and planning of student progress. We’ll therefore be running training sessions on all these new features and blogging about them here in the near future.

Quiz, Question bank and Quiz Reports in Moodle 2.2

Some of the activity modules that you might already be familiar with using in Moodle 1.9 have been much improved for Moodle 2. We are getting excited about some of the changes to the Quiz module, the related Question bankand the Quiz reports available.

Quiz: student view

Quiz navigation

From the students’ point of view, navigation around a quiz is a lot more user friendly. They now see a Quiz navigation area on the left-hand side of the screen, which allows them to move between the questions more easily. flagged question

They also have the opportunity to flag any question that they are not sure about. This flag remains on the question until they remove it, and they would see it when they finish the quiz and before submitting, giving them a chance to go back and review their answer. The tutor would also see the questions that the student has flagged, and would thereby be made aware of any problems the student has faced.

Quiz: teacher view

From the teachers’ point of view, there are also a few improvements, in particular when setting up the quiz (under ‘Edit Settings’).

Display description

After giving the quiz a Name and an Introduction (where you can explain what you would like the student to do) you can select Display description on course page. This would display the information you have provided in the Introduction field (under ‘Edit Settings’) on the course page, just below the link to the quiz (so you wouldn’t need to use an label to give instructions).Quiz with description below

Still under ‘Edit Settings’ the option for shuffling questions has now become Question order and been moved to a section called Layout. You can also decide where to include the page breaks (Every  x questions) under New page. Layout settings quiz

You can still make changes to the page breaks later when editing the quiz questions by clicking on the Order and paging tab.

You also have the option, under the Display section in  ‘Edit Settings’, to Show the user’s picture while the quiz is open. This would be useful for exam situations where the invigilator needs to ensure that the person taking the quiz is indeed the enrolled student::Display picture for quiz

Another nice feature of the quiz in Moodle 2.2 is the possibility of setting different start and finish dates and times, and number of attempts, for different groups. To do this, click on Group overrides under Quiz administration. On the next screen click on the Add group override button and this will take you to the Edit override screen where you can adjust the settings for particular groups that you have previously set up:

You can also change settings for individual students, by going to User overrides under Quiz administration, for example if you want to allow a student to re-take a quiz but you had originally set the number of Attempts allowed to just 1.

Question bank Settings

Question bank:

You can see from the screenshot on the right that you can access the Question bank either from under the Quiz administration, or from under the Course administration Settings.The question bank in Moodle 2.2 is more flexible, as you can share questions within a course with your Lesson activities. To do this, you need to Export your questions in a Gift or XML format, and then Import questions when you create your lesson activity.

If you have admin access, you can share questions across different sites, but even without admin access you can do this by using the Export and Import functions, saving the export files on to your machine, and then importing them into the relevant activity on another course site.

To add questions to your quiz, you can either go to Edit quiz or to Questions under the Question bank under Quiz administration. 

Question typesClick on the Create a new question button and you will see the Choose a question type to add box. Click into the radio button next to each type to see a short description of the  question type.

At Glyndŵr we have most of the same options in Moodle 2.2 as we had in 1.9 (although the Drag-and-Drop Matching is no longer available).  There are, however, two new variations on the Calculated question type: Calculated multichoice and Calculated simple.

Initially I was quite excited to see the option to add tags when you create a question in Moodle 2, as I was hoping that this would make it easier to search for your questions. However, I was disappointed because, as far as I can tell, this feature is still currently at the development stage. So, at the moment, all that adding tags will do is create a pretty word cloud if you add a Tags block to your course – clicking on the tags in the tags block only gives you the option of seeing recent blog entries, users or courses who mention the tags, not items in the question bank.

Quiz Reports:

There have been changes to the reports that are available for each quiz in Moodle 2.2, which allow you to see details of each response given by all students.

ResultsTo access the results, you can go to the Navigation block, drill down to the relevant course, and then to the quiz in question, and then click on Results. You can then click on the ‘arrow head’ icon next to Results to choose whether you want to see Grades, Responses, Statistics or Manual grading.

Attempts - quizAlternatively, click into the quiz from the front page of the course, and then click on the link ‘Attempts: x‘ (where x is the number of attempts made).

The Grades report shows all the students’ attempts, with grades for each question and the overall grade:Grades report quiz

At the bottom of the page a graph shows the distribution of scores. You can select individual attempts by clicking in the check box on the left of the table, or Select all/Deselect all attempts by using the options underneath the table, and then Regrade or Delete selected attempts.

The Responses report shows the answers given by each student for each question,  highlighting whether they are correct or not, but it does not show the students’ score. Again, you can control what you see on the report by setting preferences at the top of the page, you can delete attempts, and you can download the information in a variety of formats.

The new Statistics report provides for statistical analysis of the quiz such as average grades and distribution of scores, but it is also possible to drill down into individual questions for detailed analysis. You can download the Quiz information report and the Quiz structure analysis table in various formats.

Manually gradeFinally, the Manual grading report makes it easy to grade questions that need manually grading such as Essay questions. You can  click on the link Also show questions that have been graded automatically to edit all grades.

Overall, some nice new features in the Quiz module, and I’m looking forward to starting to use it and to helping our staff to best make use of it.

HTML/ Text editor in Moodle 2

You see the text editor (also known as the ‘HTML editor’ or sometimes the ‘TinyMCE’) whenever you enter content into Moodle, for example, when you edit section headings, use a label to give an activity or resource a description, write quiz questions and answers, or edit the content of blocks. The text editor has many icons to assist you when entering content into Moodle, and many of the icons and functions available will be familiar to you if you use MS Word.

In Moodle 2 you will notice that some of the icons that were available in Moodle 1.9 have now disappeared (such as Find and Replace or Create Anchor). However, the new HTML editor is really  an improvement as you can now resize the editor and it’s very easy to embed images and other media. It’s also much easier to clean up text copied from elsewhere (something which could cause problems in Moodle 1.9 as copied text would at times import unnecessary HTML along with the copied text).

Resizing the text editor

To resize the text editor, click on and drag the bottom right-hand corner of the editor box.

You can also see the text editor as a full screen by clicking on the Toggle Full screen mode button.

Buttons on the text editor

The table below explains what icons and options available on the three rows of the text editor:

There are some great video tutorials produced by HRDNZ Moodle Partner as part of their  MoodleBites series on YouTube, which explain how the icons and options on the different rows of the editor work:

HRDNZ Moodle Partner Moodle Bites Moodle 2.0 HTML Editor – Row 1

HRDNZ Moodle Partner Moodle Bites Moodle 2.0 HTML Editor – Row 2

HRDNZ Moodle Partner Moodle Bites Moodle 2.0 HTML Editor – Row 3

Using the spellchecker

Finally, to use the spellchecker, click the Toggle spellchecker button. Any words spelled incorrectly will be underlined in red. Click on the underlined word to see a list of suggestions. You can choose one of these suggestions, or to choose to ignore them.