M01d - Activity

Keywords: interaction, interactivity, collaboration, communication, assess, administer

What is it?

Moodle contains a wide range of activities that can be used to build up any type of course. See M01d1 - Moodle Activity list for information on what activities can be added to a Moodle course.

Why use it?

Activities are used for assessment, communication, collaboration, and administration purposes.

Allowing students to submit their assessments online can facilitate immediate feedback (see quizzes and lessons) and improve feedback turnaround times for assignments, as well as help staff manage the assessment workflow .e.g. by seeing who has submitted and when. It also means assessments won't go missing and are available as an archive in the expired Moodle course as per the Moodle data retention policy.

Interactive activities can help students engage with their learning by facilitating communication and collaboration.

Administrative activities, such as the attendance module, can help staff streamline administrative processes.

Who can use it?

Staff can add, show and hide activities and view student contributions and submissions.

Students can interact with activities and depending on the type of activity see contributions from their peers, where appropriate. E.g. forum discussion posts, but not individual assignments and quiz results.

Before I start...

Investigate what types of activities might meet your needs (See M01d1 - Moodle Activity list). You might like to experiment in a test course, so your students won't see this. If you need a test course for this purpose, please request one from Digital Education.

Meeting the Baseline

The  UCL Connected Learning Baseline suggests the following for Structure :

Provide section overviews  - Provide a description in each section to introduce the topic or set of resources / activities.

1.5Guide students as to which task to complete next. This may include appropriate use of conditional release, so tasks are hidden until prerequisite tasks are completed, or until a certain date.
and for  Orientation :

 Explain participation requirements:

  • Outline how students are expected to use Moodle in an introductory statement .
  • Identify which activities are compulsory and optional.
  • Explicitly signpost all online and offline activities and how they interrelate.
  • Provide an indicator of effort (such as timings or page counts) for all compulsory tasks.
  • Explain how students are expected to use UCL and external digital learning tools. Wholly online courses might provide this information as a screencast video, with a voice over.
  • Link to instructions for any digital learning tools that students are expected to use. Explain what digital devices and software students are expected to provide for themselves.

Outline the Intended Learning Outcomes for every activity and resource in the description and provide a clear overview of what the student is expected to do.

and for  Student Active Participation  (Baseline+):

Students can share learning resources either individually or collaboratively using online tools (such as wikis, glossaries, databases and discussion forums).

9.2Students are required to interact with online activities, such as online self-assessments, contributing to discussions and completing interactive scenarios, in order to maintain student motivation and engage them actively in the learning process.

How do I add and edit an activity?

To add an activity to a Moodle course:

Navigate to your Moodle course and turn Edit mode on by clicking the button at the top of the course page.


Hover your mouse pointer over the area of the course where you would  like to insert the activity and click the + Plus symbol, (OR go to the bottom of the section and click the 'Add an activity or resource link').  Click the required activity name to add it to the course. 

3You will then be taken to the settings page for that activity.  Once you have selected the appropriate settings, click the 'Save and display' button, and you will be taken in to the activity. For some activities you will have further configuration options here.
4Once you have finished reviewing and/or editing the activity you can return to the Moodle course homepage using the breadcrumbs at the top of the page. Just click on the name of the course (usually the module code).

If you would like to move the activity you can drag and drop the activity to the required position on the course page, by clicking and holding the cross hair icon to the left of the activity name. Release the icon when the activity is in the correct location. If you cannot locate the cross hair icon, please make sure the Turn edit mode is set to on.


If you have a number of related activities and/or resources, you might like to add a Text and media area (formerly known as a Label) containing a heading. You should use the large heading in Atto editor, or heading 3 if using TinyMCE to ensure the correct heading structure on the page.


You can access the activity's configuration settings by clicking the Settings menu at the top of the activity.  (Alternatively, from the course main page you can select the ellipsis to the right of the activity and click Edit settings).


Other Edit options include:

  • move right indents the item one place to the right.  Once you move right, you will then see an option to move left, so you can un-indent it.
  • hide / show will enable the activity to either show or hide the activity from students view.
  • duplicate creates a copy which might save you some editing time for similar activities.
  • promote a student to act as a tutor on a particular activity by assigning them to the tutor role with the Assign roles option. This means they would have tutor rights just for that activity and nothing else on the page.
  • delete will ask you if you really want to delete the activity. Click Yes to delete.

You can turn E dit mode off when you have finished editing the course.

Further help

Further guidance on core Moodle Activities is available from Moodle Docs. Note: some activities will not be listed on this page, as they are plugins that have been installed on UCL Moodle. You may search for these separately, and guidance will still likely be available on moodledocs.

If you find any inaccurate or missing information you can even update this yourself (it's a communal wiki).

If you have a specific question about the tool please contact the Digital Education team.


- None at this time.

Examples and case studies

- None at this time.

Questions & Answers

Q. How do I hide an activity until it is ready for students to see?

A. Once you have added an activity you can choose to hide or show it by clicking the eye icon in the edit menu, to the right of the item. When hidden the open eye icon will change to show a closed eye.

Alternatively, when adding the activity, or editing its settings, you can choose to hide it with the Availability option under the 'common module settings'.

Further information

See M01d1 - Moodle Activity list for information on what activities can be added to a Moodle course.