Creating Courses with Moodle: 2. What’s in a Course Shell

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Each academic course will automatically get a course shell; if there are multiple sections of a course, that course will get an addition shell for the combined sections. Each of those course shells have a number of components to help you and your students communicate with each other and take advantage of library resources.

NOTE: You can use Moodle for your committee or organization–just request a shell for your group.

Illustration of Moodle course shell

1. Main content area

The large block in the center of your page (item #1 in the illustration above) houses your course content. This is where you will put readings, assignments, quizzes, etc.

This content area is broken up into sections. The top section (highlighted yellow) is for general information about your course. It has some several subsections, including:

  • Header section — You can also add your name, office hours, etc.
  • Getting Started Instructions for setting up your Moodle site (a)–Each course includes quick instruction explaining how to set up your course. These instructions are not visible to students.
  • (PLEASE READ) – Dear Professor — This is a letter from the Committee on Plagiarism Education, suggesting ways that you can convey you own message regarding academic integrity in general and/or in your course. This letter is not visible to students.
  • Announcements (b) — Each course has a special forum to post course announcements such as due dates, room changes, distinguished visitors, or other timely, important information. Items posted to the Announcement forumare emailed to students and archived in the latest news block on the left (item #E).
  • A Note from Your Professor on Academic Integrity at Haverford: (c) — This is a note to students from the Committee on Plagiarism Education. The Dear Professor letter explains how you can customize this to meet your needs.
  • Topic/Week sections (d, highlighted lime green) — Use the topic/week sections to organize course content. The illustration above shows the default, weekly layout, with each section highlighted green. You can easily change to a topic layout and add or remove topics/weeks as needed. Learn more about this in the Course Design and Settings part of this tutorial.

2. Course Administration Menu (Gear icon, indicating settings menu)

The upper right corner of your course has a small gear icon (Gear icon, indicating settings menu), visible to you, but not your students. This is marked by the number 1 and  highlighted with a yellow color, in the illustration above.

When you click on the gear icon (Gear icon, indicating settings menu), you will see a menu for all your course administration functions: Course settings, turn editing on, filters, gradebook setup, backup, restore, etc.

3. Navigation Drawer Toggle Button

Illustration of navigation drawer icon on top left of screen

In the upper left side of your screen, you see an button with three short horizontal lines. This button opens and closes your navigation drawer, also called the navigation menu. It is numbered 3 on the illustration above, and highlighted yellow. The navigation drawer is open/visible in the illustration, and highlighted in the same yellow. This button is available throughout Moodle.

The navigation menu is context sensitive; the options you see within the menus may change depending upon what you are doing at any time. In your course shell, the navigation menu gives you a quick way to navigate to your different course week or topic sections. It also let you see your course roster or participant list (A, highlighted dark orange) and your gradebook (B, highlighted taup).

Course Blocks

There are a number of course blocks to the right of your main content area.

  • Accessibility (C, highlighted yellow) — The accessibility block allows you and your students to adjust text size and color as desired. Changes made using this block do not effect your students’ view of the course.
  • Quickmail (D, highlighted lavender) — The Quickmail block lets you easily email your students.
  • News (E, highlighted spring green) — In the News block, you will see announcements that place in the News forum. As mentioned above, these announcements are also emailed to your students.
  • Library Resources and Citation Resources (F, highlighted blue) — The library included discipline specific reference and citation information.
  • Instructional Technology Support (G, highlighted orange)
  • Calendar (Not illustrated above) –The calendar will automatically highlight due dates of any Moodle activity. You can also add your own items to this calendar.
  • Recent Activity (Not illustrated above) — See what has changed since your last course access.
  • People (Not illustrated above) — The People block gives you a photo roster of your class. It is the same as the , but same as participant list (A) in the navigation menu.
  • Add a block (H, highlighted peach, available when the navigation drawer is open) — You can add additional blocks to your course site, using the Add a block option under the navigation menu.

 Make your own modifications

All Haverford Moodle pages start with this layout, but you can customize or change this layout to meet your own course needs. Move onto to the next section–Course Design And Settings–for suggestions on how to structure your site effectively–before Adding Course Content.

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