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Moodle Fall 2014 Improvements

During Summer 2014, new improvements and features were added to Moodle. For more information or assistance on using these new features, contact the Faculty Technology Center at (818) 677-3443, visit us in OV 34 (garden-level of the Oviatt Library), or email Our offices and support representatives are available Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; excluding campus holidays.

Settings block renamed to Administration

To avoid confusion between Edit settings and the Settings block, the Settings block has been renamed to Administration. There is no functionality change as the Administration block has the same options as before.

Administration block

Assignment - PDF annotations

When a student submits a PDF as an assignment, the teacher may annotate the submission directly in the browser. Some of the annotation features are highlighting text, free-form drawing, adding select stamps and adding text boxes. After a teacher annotates a submission, students may download a PDF that includes their submission and any annotations left by the teacher.

Sample of a .pdf assignment

Note: This is only for Moodle assignments; Turnitin assignments are a different activity module and have different capabilities.

Forum enhancements

The Forum module gained many new features that students and teachers benefit from, such as:

Sort posts

Users can sort posts by last post, post creation date, first or last name of poster and the number of replies to the post.

Forum Sort

Accessible view

A more accessible layout can be selected for those users using screen readers or other assistive technologies.

Forum Display Types

Anonymous posting

Teachers may designate a forum as anonymous by checking Enable anonymous posting in the forum settings. When enabled, all posts have an author of "Anonymous User" instead of the specific user's name. Teachers will have the ability to mark their own posts as not anonymous in case transparency is desired.

Forum Anonymous Posting Setting

Started by, Anonymous User is highlighted

Export posts to CSV file

Teachers can export all the posts in a forum to a CSV file that they can open in Excel or another spreadsheet program. 

Export Forum

Flag or mark posts as Substantive

Teachers can Flag posts as a visual reminder to come back to the post at a later time. This is similar to the student's ability to flag questions in a quiz. In addition, teachers can mark posts as Substantive. By marking a post as Substantive, it is a visual indicator to the teacher that the student post met all parts of the forum prompt. Students can see how many of their posts have been marked as Substantive in the Administration block.

Private replies

When replying to student posts, teachers may mark their reply as a Private reply. The reply would only be viewable by the student who the teacher is replying to; it would be invisible to all other students.

Private Reply Setting

View posters

Teachers can view a chart which displays the number of posts, replies and substantive posts a student has made in the forum.

Forum Posters Grid

**Note**: If a teacher imports past forums into another course, the forums will continue to be the older version of the Forum module. Only forums created new from scratch will have the new features.

Activity & Resource editing icons cleaned up

For teachers with many activities and resources on their course homepage, the page may look cluttered with a set of editing icons next to each resource/activity when editing is turned on. Now only the Edit title icon appears next to the resource/activity name, while the others are in a menu to the right. 

Resource Edit Menu example

Text Editor updated

The new text editor features a sleeker design with new icons. The most frequently used formatting options will appear by default while less commonly used options will be hidden. Users may expand the toolbar to reveal these additional options if desired. In addition, the new text editor has a better responsive design to fit different screen resolutions.

New text editor

Moving items in Moodle

There are two ways you can reorder and move Resources, Activities, Sections and Blocks within your course.  You can drag and drop, or you can select a location from a list.

Locate the move icon: Moodle move icon

Drag and Drop

Select and hold to drag and drop items in Moodle.

Moodle move drag and drop - screenshot

Select Location

Select the move icon once to open the move to location dialogue box. Select the location from the list.

Moodle move drag and drop - additional screenshot

Quiz - Loss of internet connection notification

For students, taking a quiz and then finding out that the Internet connection was lost half way through along with some of the answers is frustrating to say the least. Now, whenever students lose their Internet connection for more than a couple of minutes, a pop-up message will notify them that they should make a note of their recent answers and re-establish an Internet connection before continuing on with the quiz.

Network connection lost message

Better responsive design for all devices

As more and more users are using tablets and smartphones to access Moodle, the interface needed to adapt to the different sizes of all these devices. The new responsive design should bring a more aesthetically pleasing look to Moodle no matter what device you are on.