The 5 Things Teachers Must Do The First Time They Create A Moodle Course

The 5 Things Teachers Must Do The First Time They Create A Moodle Course
Getting your workflow ready is a matter of continuous practice, but a cheat-sheet can help you get into a groove more quickly. Below are the five things you should do to kickstart a new Moodle Course, according to the official Moodle Documentation, at

#1 Set up the course

We have come a long way since teachers thought up Moodle. Today, Moodle has the tools to create an engaging learning experience, featuring interactivity, storytelling, and personalization for each student. Review the many tools you have at hand and consider implementing them before you lay out the course.
A Moodle admin must create (“add”) a Course first and assign you the “Teacher” role. Usually you will be notified when this happens. Now you can access the Course Settings page to add and tweak things at your leisure.
Think carefully about the course contents, its organization, the activities, and assessments; but above all, pay attention to the Course Format. To a large extent, the fate of a Moodle Course is set before the first student gets to the homepage.

#2 Enroll your students

Moodle offers a variety of methods to enroll students in your course, either manually or automatically. See a list of available options here. The available enrollment options in your Moodle site are determined by the site admins. Also, keep in mind that a user must first have an account on the site before they can enroll, and teachers cannot create new user accounts. Read more on the difference between authentication and enrollment here.

If you want to enable guest access, so users can see content without having to enroll, you can do so on the Enrollments section of the Course administration page.

#3 Set up the Gradebook

The Moodle Gradebook gathers scores from all activities throughout your course. To make it work properly, you must decide on the scoring ranges and the weight of each activity in the final score. Depending on the activity, you may need to do manual grading, but automatic scores are also an option.

You can define the weight of each activity in the final grade, or you can group by sections and define weights for each section and the activities in each section. The Gradebook is a powerful tool that can accommodate almost every scoring technique you can dream of. It is highly recommended you settle on one method before you begin grading your students. (They will also appreciate it.)

#4 Prepare engagement and motivation tools

Even though there are no shortcuts to avoid effort when acquiring new knowledge or skills, you can make Moodle more amenable and help your students persist in the course by taking advantage of certain features. This could be as simple as setting up Activity Completion tick-boxes, which highlight the progress they have made, as well the Activities they should tackle next.

Another popular engagement tool is the Moodle Badges, which you can use to give out awards for any kind of desirable behavior you want out of your students.

#5 Add narrative paths to your course

I’m one for openness and I almost always prefer it when courses let me have access to all the resources at once so I can go at my own pace. But, there are cases when a storyline helps us follow along with a lesson’s content and activities. And, I will admit that charting one’s own path does tend to be lengthier and error-prone.

To add a path on top of your course, Moodle offers to Restrict Access to sections and resources. You can choose the criteria that allow or prevent a student accessing certain information, such as having seen other content first, having accomplished certain outcomes or marks, or simple time-based restrictions. The possibilities are varied and highly flexible.

Do you agree with this guide? Do you follow a different process to launch a Moodle course? Share your insight and wisdom with others in the comments!

moodlerooms-logoThis Moodle Practice related post is made possible by: MoodleRooms the open source learning experience by Blackboard. Rediscover Moodle. Click here to learn more.


  • Stephen Lowe

    I was particularly taken with Step 5 “Add narrative paths”. I like to think of the materials as a landscape or domain and the learner exploring (not aimlessly, but with pre-stated purpose) the objects, activities, and views she discovers there. I was a bit interested to see using ‘Restrict access’ to create these pathways when I had envisaged very open access. However, on reflection, I see it now as a way to prevent the learner being overwhelmed or distracted by her experience. I list myself as a learning designer and, this approach allows me to feel like I am designing the learning.

  • Thank you for the honest feedback!