Smith College Admission Academics Student Life About Smith news Offices
  Home > Offices > Information Technology Services > TARA > Moodle > Instructor's Guide  
   Reset Password     Smith Directory    Smith Portal   Server Status  Smith Software

Getting Started
25Live Scheduling
Account Forms
Active Directory
Admin Systems*
File Transfer
Google Apps
   Smith Mail
Internet Browsers
   Backup & Restore
   Related Apps
   Other Info
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Windows
Mobile Devices
Smith Network
Smith Portal
Standard Software
Terminal Emulators
Viruses & Spyware
Web Development
Wireless Access

*Smith login required




Why might I use Moodle?

Logging in to Moodle

Accessing your Moodle course pages

Adding and removing users

Emailing students and instructors in your course

Editing your Moodle user profile

Editing a course page

Getting help within Moodle

Adding resources to your Moodle page

Adding activities to your Moodle page

Course Settings

Blocks: changing which items appear on the sides of your page

Why might I use Moodle?

You might find Moodle useful to:

  • Organize and deliver digital content to students in your course (e.g., web links, resources, syllabi, short readings, simulations).

  • Capitalize on learning opportunities outside of class time. For example:
    • Encourage student review of class materials/content covered in class (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, short quizzes)
    • Student preparation for the next class session

  • Encourage peer interaction and discussion.
    • Threaded discussion using Forums
    • Group collaboration using Wiki assignments
    • Development of a class glossary

  • Manage class logistics.
    • Use the News forum to make important class announcements.
    • Use the calendar to note events, due dates, etc.
    • Use Quickmail to email individuals or the entire class.
    • Use the grading features to accept assignments and/or to post grades privately.
    • Use Choice assignments to allow students to pick research topics.

Back to top>

Logging in to Moodle

  1. In a web browser (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer), go to:

  2. Enter your Smith username and password in the login box on the left side of the page. This is the same username and password you use for your Smith email account.

If you get a login error, try logging in again to be sure you didn't make a typo. If you still can't connect:

  • Smith students: Log in to your Smith email to make sure your username and password are working.

  • 5-college students and others: Be sure to include your institution prefix (-a, -h, -m, -o, or -u) at the beginning of your username.

If you still can’t get into Moodle, please contact the User Support Center (x4487) for help.

Back to top>

Accessing Your Moodle Course Pages

Once you are logged in, if you are enrolled in any Moodle courses, you will see a block on the left side of the page called My Courses.

The box will not show up if you are not enrolled in any Moodle courses.

If you should be enrolled in a Moodle course but do not see the My Courses box, contact the User Support Center (x4487).

Back to top>

Adding Users To Your Moodle Course Page

  1. Go to the Moodle page for your course.

  2. In the Administration block on the left, click the Enrollments link.

  3. Click the role you'd like to give the user in your Moodle page:

    • The Student role will give the user the ability to view the resources and participate in the activities on your Moodle page.

    • The Editing Teacher role will give the user full editing rights to your Moodle page. The user will be able to add, delete, and change any item on the page and add and remove users from the page.

    • If you need to give a user a different set of privileges on your Moodle page, please contact the Moodle administrator for help at

  4. Search for the student's name (first then last; partial names are also fine) using the search box on the right.

  5. When the user's name appears in the right-hand box, select it, then click the Add button (left-pointing arrow) between the two boxes.

Once a user's name appears in the box on the left, she has access to your Moodle page.

Removing Users From Your Moodle Course Page

  1. Go to the Moodle page for your course.

  2. In the Administration block on the left, click the Enrollments link.

  3. Click the role of the user you'd like to remove.

  4. Click on the user's name in the box on the left.

  5. Click the Remove button (right-pointing arrow) between the two boxes. (This button is truncated to "Re" in some themes.)

Once a user's name disappears from the box on the left, she no longer has access to your Moodle page.

Back to top>

Emailing Students and Instructors in a Course

  1. From the course Moodle page, click on the Compose link in the Quickmail block. This is normally found in the upper left corner of each course page.

  2. Use the checkboxes to select recipients. You can also use the “Select All” link.

  3. Compose your message and click the Send Email button.

Back to top>

Your Profile

Your profile is your identity on Moodle. The first and last name and picture listed in your profile will identify you throughout Moodle. Other Moodle users in your courses can view your profile.

To edit your profile

To view your profile, click on your name next to the “Logout” link at the top of the screen, or anywhere else that your name appears as a link. Then, click the “Edit profile” tab.

There are several settings that are accessible from your profile that will help make your use of Moodle more productive.

  • Forum auto-subscribe: If you select yes for this it will mean that when you post a message to a forum, you will be subscribed to that forum and receive email copies of all messages for that forum.

  • Forum tracking: This is a useful option to enable. If enabled it will highlight unread forum messages so you can easily see what is new.

  • Picture of: You can change your user icon with the “New Picture” field by browsing for a small picture.

Back to top>

Editing A Course Page

To start creating or editing your course, click on the [Turn editing on] button in the top right. When editing is turned on, you will see the following icons in a row beside each item:

(Note that you may see different icons depending on your course’s Moodle theme.)


Lets you edit the item.


Pops up a relevant help window.


Indicates that an item is currently visible to students. Click to hide the item from students.


Indicates that an item is currently hidden from students. Click to make it visible to students.



Lets you indent course items. (Use the corresponding left-arrow icon for outdenting.)


Click and drag this icon to move items around on your page.


Move item


Move to here

An alternate way of moving items on your page. This will appear if your web browser does not support drag & drop moving.

Click the Click move icon to choose which item to move.

Click the Move to here icon in the position where you want the moved object to appear.


Deletes a link from the course, but not the file itself.

Back to top>

Moodle Help

If you encounter an option or term in Moodle that is unfamiliar, you can find out more about it by using Moodle’s in-line help files. A question mark in a circle (Help) indicates that there is a help file available on that topic. Click the question mark to access more information.

Back to top>

Adding Resources to Your Moodle Page

In all resources and activities, the Name field at the top is what will appear on your Moodle course page to refer to that file/activity.

The Summary field can generally be ignored unless it is required (denoted with an asterisk).

At the bottom of every resource/activity page, you must click either Save and Return to Course or Save and Display to save your new activity.

To put a file onto your Moodle page:

  1. From your course page, turn editing on and go to the Topic or Week in which you want to add a resource.

  2. Click on the Add a resource drop-down box and select Upload a file.

  3. Type in a name for your file; this name will be displayed on your course’s Moodle page.

  4. In the “Upload a file” section of the page, click the Browse button and locate the file on your computer. Click Open.

  5. Click the Save and return to course button at the bottom of the page.

Link to Website

  1. Use Add a resource > Link to a file or web site.

  2. Copy the address of the web page from your browser and paste it into the Location box, or simply type in the web address.

  3. Choose to have the file or webpage open in the Same Window or a New Window.

  4. Click one of the two Save buttons.

Insert a Label

A Label allows you to have text and images that appear directly on your Moodle course page. To insert a Label, choose it from the Add a Resource drop-down and type the text you want to appear on your course page into the text box. Use the buttons above the text box to format the text.

You can add images and links to your Labels by using the image button (a picture of a mountain) and the link button (a chain).

Back to top>

Adding Activities to Your Moodle Page

In all resources and activities, the Name field at the top is what will appear on your Moodle course page to refer to that file/activity.

The Summary field can generally be ignored unless it is required (denoted with an asterisk).

At the bottom of every resource/activity page, you must click either Save and Return to Course or Save and Display to save your new activity.


This online message board allows instructors and students to post messages and respond to other people’s messages.

Subscription: This option controls whether people get email copies of every forum post. No matter what this option is set to, everyone can still read the posts on your Moodle page; this only controls whether they also get email copies. By default, forums do not send people email, so you can almost always leave this setting as-is.

Assignment: Advanced Uploading of Files

Moodle Assignments are tools for allowing students to submit written work through the course’s Moodle page.

“Advanced Uploading of Files” is the most flexible type of assignment. Depending on the settings chosen by the Instructor, it can allow students to upload multiple files, delete and re-upload files, and add online comments as well as submitting files. Advanced Uploading also allows Instructors to submit corrected drafts and comments through Moodle. We recommend always using the Advanced Uploading of Files Assignment type in case you end up needing one of these features.


Moodle has a built-in quiz engine. There are many question types, including essay, multiple choice, matching, and several mathematical/scientific question formats. Moodle has a built-in LaTEX filter for including formulas in questions and answers.


A tool for entering a set of terms and definitions, or questions and answers, or other information. The Glossary is a very flexible tool. The Instructor may choose to allow Students to make Glossary entries, and may approve all Student entries before they appear in the glossary.


Wikis are collaboratively-built webpages. They are very useful for group projects and for allowing all members of the class to see each other’s work.

Back to top>

Customizing Your Course Page

Course Settings

Use the Settings link in the Administration block to access your Moodle page’s settings. From here, you can control:

  • Full Name: The name of your course as it appears in Moodle.

  • Format: Choose how you want to use the “sections” of your course page. Common formats are Topics and Weeks.

  • Number of weeks/topics: How many numbered sections show up on your course page.

  • Show Grades: Controls whether students can see their own grades in the Moodle gradebook.

  • Theme: The color scheme, logos, and icons used on your course page.

  • Force Language: Our Moodle server supports all of the languages taught at Smith. If you wish, you may choose to switch your course page’s language.

Back to top>


Blocks are the smaller boxes that appear on the sides of your Moodle course page. These can be customized to show the information you want your students to see.

To move blocks around the page, use the up, down, left, and right arrows in the block’s header. (These only appear when editing is turned on.

To remove a block from your page, click the X icon.

To add blocks to your page, use the Blocks block which appears only when editing is turned on. It always appears on the right side of your page below all of the other blocks. The Add drop-down menu lists all of the available blocks. Some useful blocks are:

  • Quickmail: Allows instructors and students to send emails to members of their class from within Moodle.

  • People: Links to a roster of who is in your class. From here you can view the students' profiles.

  • Recent Activity: Shows changes to the course, including creation of new resources and activities, forum postings, and assignment submissions.

  • Upcoming Events: Shows events you have added to your course’s calendar. If you have scheduled Moodle quizzes and assignments on your course page, these will automatically show up on your course calendar.

  • Calendar: Another way of viewing upcoming events you have added to your course calendar.

  • Random Glossary Entry: If you’ve set up a course Glossary, this will display a random entry each time a user visits the course.

  • Latest News: Shows the most recent posts in the News Forum.

  • HTML Block: Shows text (or images, or links) entered by the Instructor. Similar to a label, but appears in a block.

Back to top>



Copyright © 2015 Smith College Information Technology Services  |  Stoddard Hall   |  Northampton, MA 01063
413.585.4487  |  Questions or comments?  Send us email
 |  Last updated January 10, 2013

DirectoryCalendarCampus MapVirtual TourContact UsSite A-Z