Moodle Staff FAQs

This FAQ is to support staff with their use of Moodle at UCL. See also: Student FAQs and Moodle Guides . If your question is not answered here please contact the Digital Education Team.

Getting Started

How do I log in?

Use your UCL user ID and password to log into Moodle
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Why can't I log on to UCL's Moodle with my UCL user id and password?

  • Make sure you do not have CAPS lock selected
  • Type in your userID and password manually.  Auto-complete can become out of synch, while Cut & Paste can include an extra blank space, which will invalidate your details.
  • Check if you are able to log into other UCL systems, e.g. Staff WTS or live@ucl email?

Please note: UCL's Computer Security Policy requires that passwords are changed on a regular basis. Notification of the requirement to change your password is sent to your UCL email address before it is automatically reset.  If your password is not changed it is automatically reset. You will need to reset your password via the website: If you have any issues with resetting your password, please contact the ISD Service Desk.

    • If yes, it might be the case that your account has not yet been added to Moodle's database, please contact the ISD Service Desk.

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How do I request a new Moodle course?

Please fill in this form to request a new course, you should receive a response in four working days.
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What software is required to use Moodle?

We recommend that you use one of the following Internet Browsers:

  • Mozilla Firefox 25 or higher (PC and Mac)
  • Internet Explorer 9 or higher (PC) (Note that Microsoft has ended support for IE versions 10 and lower)
  • Google Chrome 30 or higher

Some courses may also require you to use the following players or browser players.



Adobe Acrobat Reader

To view PDF files []

Quicktime Player

To play Quicktime files [ ]

Real Media Player

To play Real audio and video files [ ]

Windows Media Player

To play a variety of media files, including Windows Media. [ ]

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Where can I find out more about Moodle?

Have a look the other pages on this Moodle Resource Centre, or visit the world wide Moodle Community on
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How do I update the name or description of my Moodle course?

  1. Log in to Moodle.
  2. Navigate to your Moodle course.
  3. Click Settings -> Edit course  settings
  4. In the General area, change the text as desired.
    • Full name: appears in the top banner
    • Short name: appears in activites, in the breadcrumb after My Home > 
    • Summary: appears when students search for your course and in the course description block (if added to your course home page)
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save changes.

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How do I add more topic areas (or sections) to my course page?

  1. Log in to Moodle.
  2. Navigate to your Moodle course.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  4. Click the "+Add a topic" link.

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Why can't students access my course?

You need to make your course available. Courses are set to be unavailable to students at the beginning of the semester to provide you with a private space to develop your course.
When you are ready to open your course(s) up to students, you will need to turn on availability through your settings:

  1. Log into Moodle and click on your course.
  2. Click Settings -> Edit course settings.
  3. Change the Course visibility setting to: "Show".
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Save and display.

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How do I add people to my course?

We have four main enrolment options:

Portico enrolments are generally a good way of enrolling students on courses, but early in term 1 student data in Portico module lists may be incomplete and/or inaccurate as students take time to make and modify module selections, and departments deal with large numbers of requests.  Therefore you may want to use a combination of Portico enrolments and the Enrolment key to ensure that all students can access your course. Click here to find out how to set an enrolment key.

To add staff to courses manual enrolment is the easiest option.
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What is 'guest' access?

Many courses are available for 'guest' access - as a guest you can look at the course content but may not take part in any activities.  Students must make sure that they enrol on a course rather than access it as a guest, otherwise they will miss out on discussion forums and will not be able to participate in any assessments or submit assignments.  We recommend Guest access be turned off, once student have selected their Modules.

See Setting up guest access.
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Why can't I find a person that I am trying to enrol on my course?

There are a number of common reasons.

  1. First, make sure the person is not already enrolled.  Enrolled users will not appear in the Search result.
  2. Second, make sure students and Vistitors have signed into Moodle and accepted our T&C's.  If they have not done this, they will not appear in the Search results.

The Search is literal, so be careful to check the spelling of names, such as John vs Jonathan, Andy vs Andrew, Bob vs Robert, etc.  Alternatively, you can search for people using their UCL email address.
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How do I set the course enrolment key (password)?

 See the FAQ: How do I add people to my course?

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How can I help non-UCL students and colleagues access Moodle?

Any intercollegiate students registered on Portico will automatically get UCL userids and so will be able to log into Moodle.

It is possible to provide 'guest access' to a Moodle course - guests don't need UCL accounts in order to access a course. This will give them read-only access to documents, links, videos etc, but they will not be able to participate in activities such as forums, quizzes, assessments, nor view videos in Lecturecast or MediaCentral which need a username.  See guest access, above.

If the user needs to participate in activities such as forums or assessments then ask your Departmental Administrator or Computer Rep  to register them as an official Visitor. This will provide them with a UCL username and password, plus a UCL email address.  Once they been issued a UCL username, they will appear in the list of potential users, and can be manually enroled into any role by a Tutor or Course Administrator.

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How can I gain access to an existing course?

Digi Ed cannot grant access to existing courses.  If you need to be enrolled onto an existing Moodle course as a course administrator or tutor, please contact your departmental colleagues already enrolled on the course.  Their names will be listed beneath the course title when you search for it in Moodle.

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How do I reset my course at the end of the year?

You do not need to reset your course. You should keep the students and content as is, to fit UCL's retention policy.

However, refer to the Course Rollover guidance to made a fresh copy of your course for its next occurrence.


How do I stop receiving so many emails from Moodle?

Change your email settings so that Moodle sends you a daily email digest containing all of the email notifications from that day. To do this:

  1. Log in to Moodle.
  2. Click your profile icon on the top, right-hand corner of the page.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. Select Forum preferences.
  5. Under 'Email digest type' choose 'Complete (daily email with full posts)'.
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Save changes'.

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When I upload a new version of a file it still shows the old version

Moodle caches files for a short time so they don't need to be downloaded every time an individual tries to view the same file. This means that it can take up to 5 minutes for new versions of the file (with the same name) to be updated in Moodle.
If after 5 minutes the file is still not updating it may be getting cached by your web browser. You will need to clear the cache to see the new version. To do this: Internet Explorer 8+:

  • Tools > Delete Browsing History...
  • Select Preserve Favorites website data and Temporary Internet Files only
  • Click Delete

Firefox 3+:

  • History > Clear Recent History...
  • Time Range to Clear : Everything
  • Expand 'details' and Select cache only
  • Click Clear Now

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Some of my students (or I) can't open files in Moodle

Sometimes browsers try to open files in the wrong program or one that is not working correctly and this prevents you from opening the file at all. To get around this you can tell your web browser to always ask you what program to use (in Firefox) or check the default program is correct (if you are using Internet Explorer). To do this follow the instructions for the web browser you are using. If you aren't sure what web browser you are using click Help > About to find out (PC only).
Firefox 3.6+:

  • Options > Options... > Applications
  • In the left column, locate the file type that you are having problems opening (e.g. Microsoft Word Document or PDF File)
  • In the right column choose Always Ask from the drop-down list.
  • This will let you save the file to your computer so you can open it directly from your computer, instead of from Firefox directly.

Internet Explorer:

  • Launch Windows Explorer (e.g. Open a folder on your computer such as My Documents)
  • Tools > Folder Options > File Types
  • In the left column, select DOC in the list (to find it quickly type Doc)
  • Click Change...
  • Ensure the correct program is selected in the list of programs
  • Click OK
  • Click Close

Try to view the file again. If this still doesn't work, try using a different web browser.

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My enrolled students have disappeared!

Sometimes, you may accidentally hide your course enrolments, which can result in students disappearing from your course.  

To fix this, in your Moodle coure, click on Participants. Select Enrolment methods from the "Enrolled Users" drop down menu at the top of the page. Ensure the eye icon is open next to the enrolment method.

If you accidentally lock yourself out of a course, please email Digital Education for further assistance.

Other questions

What is the difference between the Survey and Questionnaire activities in Moodle?

The Questionnaire allows you to construct your own questions for your students to respond to. The Survey activity provides a predefined set of verified questions for you to assess and stimulate learning in your Moodle course. You cannot add your own questions or change existing questions in the Survey. For more on these tools see our mini guides: M22 - Questionnaire and M35 - Survey

If you need to clarify the difference between other Moodle activities switch 'Edit mode', click on the 'Add an activity or resource' link and simply click to select one of the items listed without 'Add'-ing it, just to see a description of the tool to the right of the pop-up menu.
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Can I share a Questionnaire so it can be used on other courses?

Yes, you can share a Questionnaire by changing its 'Questionnaire type' setting from the default value of 'Private' to either 'Template' or 'Public'. (See: Moodle Docs Advanced settings on how to change this setting). The impact of these options are tabulated below:

Questionnaire type →

Is the Questionnaire... ↓

Available for use on other courses?Not really, only if 'imported' or 'backed up' and 'restored' into another course.Yes, when adding a questionnaire to a course you can select one from a list of questionnaire 'Templates'Yes, when adding a questionnaire to a course you can select it from a list of 'Public' questionnaires
Editable locally (i.e. on your course)?YesYes, because when a 'Template' questionnaire is selected a 'Private' copy of it is actually added to your course.No, unless it is on the course where it was created originally
Student responses accessible locally?Yes, student responses are stored locally on your courseYes, student responses are stored locally on your courseNo, student responses are stored on the course where the original questionnaire is located. (See the Q&A below for instructions on how to locate the original questionnaire and all student responses).
Response data can be downloaded locally?Yes, it can be downloaded to a text file from your courseYes, it can be downloaded to a text file from your courseNot locally, but it can be downloaded to a text file from the course where the original questionnaire is located. (See the Q&A below for instructions on how to locate the original questionnaire and all student responses).
Can responses to the same questionnaire across courses be downloaded together?NoNoYes, because all student responses are stored on the same course where the questionnaire originated.
Usable by staff across Moodle who are not enrolled on my course?NoYes, (but not the responses)Yes, (but not the responses)
Who can typically view all responses?Tutors, Course Administrators, Non-editing tutors - i.e. users with 'Tutor' level permissionsTutors, Course Administrators, Non-editing tutors - i.e. users with 'Tutor' level permissionsTutors, Course Administrators, Non-editing tutors - i.e. users with 'Tutor' level permissions
Removable and if deleted what happens?Can be deleted and any responses not backed up or downloaded are lostIf original Template deleted it will no longer appear in the list of Templates but any copies of it made prior to deletion are unaffected. Any local copies of a Template can be deleted and any responses not backed up or downloaded are lost.

Note, that whereas the Quiz tool incorporates a Question bank that serves as a kind of "pick n' mix" repository for questions that can be re-used and added to quizzes in an ad hoc fashion, the Questionnaire tool does not have this facility. Hence, one is obliged to share the whole Questionnaire as it was created.

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There's a Questionnaire on my course, but I can't access my students' responses. Why and how can I?

If someone creates a new Questionnaire from scratch on a course in Moodle, then after at least one student has responded, a user with tutor or course administrator level permissions who clicks on the Questionnaire link, will see a screen with 2 links. The first is 'Answer the questions...' and the second is 'View All Responses'. (Note: These links also appear as options in the 'Settings' block for 'Questionnaire administration'). Clicking on the second will display the all responses to the questionnaire made so far by users enrolled on the course.

However, if the questionnaire on a course was added by selecting a pre-existing questionnaire from a list of 'Public' ones, then instead of adding a questionnaire that is local to this course, a link to a questionnaire that is actually located on another course has been added. In this case, the 'View All Responses' link is not shown as described above, and one needs access to the actual questionnaire on its course in order to see this link and access the responses. To do this:

  1. On the course homepage, in the 'Activities' block click on 'Questionnaires' (Note: If there is no 'Activities' block, 'Turn editing on' and use the 'Add a block' drop down menu to add it).
  2. Under the 'Questionnaire type' column, any 'Public' questionnaire will have a link to the original questionnaire usefully prefaced with the word, 'Original', click on it
  3. Click on the 'View All Responses' tab and/or if you want to download the responses click on the 'Download in text format' tab.

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How do I link to the common timetable?

The easiest way to link to the UCL Common Timetable is to add the Common Timetable block to your course.
By default this block links to the personal timetable (which requires users to log in) and the Module Timetable. By configuring the block you can also link to a second module (useful if you are running a postgraduate and undergraduate offering of the same course), a degree timetable or a department timetable.
While the block will initially read in the course ID (from the course settings) to display the Module Timetable link, you can override this in the configuration options.
If you want to know how to add or configure a block please see our see our 'Organising blocks' mini-guide.
If you want to link to the timetable within text in your Moodle course, insert the following link (we suggest you place this in a prominent position):*XXXXnnnn*
where XXXXnnnn is the module code (e.g. BIOL1001 or ANTHG307 etc.).
If you want to know how to add a link in Moodle please see our 'How to add links and files' mini-guide.  
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How do I bulk download Moodle assignments?

Please see the M42-M09a - Moodle Assignment guide.

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How do I make my Moodle course less cluttered?

Staff should consider placing content into pages and books in order to reduce clutter. This will mean content appears in a sub-page linked to from the Moodle course home page. Any text that only needs to be read once, and then be available for reference in future, can be brought into sub-pages. That will leave only information that needs to be continually referenced on the Moodle course home page. E.g. links to files and further information, headings, short descriptions and labels.

What's the difference between a book and a page? Books are similar to pages, but can contain multiple pages (to help chunk longer, related content). Books have a menu of pages to the side and students can navigate to the next (or previous) page, and download the current page, or all the pages.

The default Topics format is a useful to present the course in an accordion style layout, giving students control over which sections of the course they see, by expanding and minimising each section.

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Use of Moodle is in accordance with the terms and conditions detailed in the Service Level Definition. A copy of this document can be requested by contacting Digital Education.

How can I delete my Moodle course?

As a tutor or course administrator you can't: this is something that can only be done by ISD. 

If you would like a course to be deleted, please go into Edit Settings and make sure the course is hidden. Then send an email to the ISD Service Desk and ask for the course to be deleted.

Be sure to provide all relevant details including the course name and a link to the course in Moodle.