Creating Courses with Moodle: 4. Adding Course Content

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Once you have designed your course, you are ready to add your syllabus, readings, and other exercises. You will also need to customize your course shell with your course name, your name, and the names of your course units. This is a long unit explaining the basics of loading a syllabus, readings, and similar resource information for your students. There are a number of steps to adding this type of course content, and some of the information may not be applicable to your needs. However, the first few sections will be applicable to anyone building a course site.

NOTE: Once your course is ready, you need to make your course visible for students to view it!

Get Started — Turn editing on

To edit your course, start by clicking on the Turn editing on link at the top left corner of your course.white space
Moodle course admin--turn editing on

This option gives you access to the tools for editing your course.


Item Editing Tools

When you turn editing on you’ll see editing tools.

Illustration of options for each resource or activity

The arrows (illustration of Moodle up/down arrow) let you move items up up and down.

This pencil icon (illustration of Moodle quick edit pencil icon) lets you quickly edit item name. For example, change “Announcements” to “Course announcements”.

Click on the Edit drop down menu, to see additional options: Edit SettingsMove rightMove left (when applicable), Show/HideDuplicateAssign roles, and Delete.

Section Editing Tools

The previous lesson,  Course Design and Settings, explained how your course is segmented into different sections, either by weeks or topics. You can customize and move sections around by using the editing options available. Section editing options are shown below for the weekly format (left) and the topics format (right).
white space

The gear icon lets you enter information about the unit, such as the name of the unit and information or due dates related to the topic or week.

Use the arrows to drag sections up or down. This can be tricky; line up the arrows in the section you are moving so that they appear on top of the arrows of the section you that you want just below the moved section.

In the default weekly view, Moodle will automatically highlight the current week. However, if you use a topics view, you will see an option to highlight a given topic by clicking on the light bulb. Only one unit can be highlighted at a time.

The eye lets you show or hide the section.

Drag and Drop Files From Your Desktop

You can drop files directly into your Moodle contact area. Find your syllabus on your desktop and drag it to the location where you want it in your course. By default, Moodle will display the name of the file. However, we can easily rename this with the new pencil “edit title” tool.


TIP FOR SMALL COURSE SITES: If your course just has a syllabus, and maybe a few readings, drag the readings beneath the syllabus and you’re almost done!  Remove unneeded sections by clicking the minus sign at the bottom of your screen and continue to the unit Creating Courses with Moodle: 5. Make your Course Visible to Students, to learn how students get access to your course site.

Add an Activity or a Resource

If you want to enhance your site with sound, videos, explanatory text, web links, etc., you can do so from the Add an activity or resource menu. Moodle calls anything that students participate in–discussion forums, quizzes, assignments–activities. Most often, faculty want to add resources–the Moodle term for anything that students just read or look at. The section above shows how to drag a file resource from your desktop. This section shows how to add that resource via the add a resource or activity menu.

To add an activity or resource, turn editing on and look for the “+ Add an activity or resource” link or a separate drop-down menu for “Add a resource” and “Add an activity” at the bottom of each course section. depending upon whether your activity chooser is turned on or off.

moodle activity chooser

You can select either the the chooser, which gives all options on an additional menu, or the separate resource and activities drop-downs. In your profile menu, select preference –> Course preferences and either check or uncheck the activity chooser.

Labels–Including Images, Sound, Video

The label is a very simple, useful resource, that lets you put descriptive text, images, even sound or video directly on your main course page.

  1. Select the label option from your resources menu, and click add.
  2. Notice the  circle with a question mark at the top of the label window alerting you to help for this item. (Mouse over long enough for the audience to read “Help with label”) It is often helpful to click on these links for some tips and instructions.
  3. Enter your label text, images, sounds, video, etc. in to the editor.
  4. When you finish typing your label, be sure to save and return to course.

Labels are best for short content. We’ll see later how to add web pages for longer content.

Link to External Web Pages

Many faculty want to add web links to their Moodle page. To do this:

  1. Select URL from your resources list.
  2. If you want students to easily see a description, enter the description text and check the “option to display option on page.”
  3. Enter your URL–copy and paste works great. Consider setting the URL to display in a “new window” instead of using the default “automatic setting” so students keep their place on your course page.
  4. Scroll down, “Save and return to course.

Back on your main page, you’ll see your new link. You can move this around or indent it, if it is going under a label heading.

Make Your Own Web Pages

You can make your own web pages in Moodle. These are useful if you have a lot of information that might go into a Moodle label, but you want to keep your overall Moodle page from getting too long.

To create a web page,

  1. Select the Page option from the resources list. You see a familiar screen.
  2. Enter the page name and description–checking the “Display description” option if desired.
  3. Follow the editor instructions to put your content into the Page Content section. Note that you can expand the editor area by dragging the bottom right corner–or toggle into full screen mode with the little window icon on the top row. If you do use the full screen mode, you’ll need to click this icon again when you are ready to return to the previous screen.
  4. Scroll down, “Save and return to course.

Even if you typed a very long page, you just see a short name and maybe description on your main page.


Most of the time, it is easiest to add files by dragging and dropping them from your hard drive. However, if you want a description for your file, or to want to restrict access to certain dates, you’ll need to add the file from the Resourcesmenu, or edit settings to a file that you already dragged to your page.


Folders lets you group lots of files together, another way to keep your main page from getting too long. If you add folders, you get the familiar resource menu. Drag your articles to the content area–you can also select them via the file picker. Save and open the new folder at your course site. You see your description and files. You can edit/add to/delete from this folder at anytime.


Along with the options above, you can use Moodle to collect assignments, hold discussion forums, give quizzes, and more. In addition to these standard Moodle activities, Haverford’s Moodle implementation includes options for lecture captureblogs, and wikis.

Switch User Role

Switch user role … to quickly verify what students see. Notice students do not see the dear professor letter or the getting started instructions. Switch back to your normal role and start editing the course–you can switch roles again at any time.

Illustration of "Switch Role To ..." option


Reuse Materials–Copy Labels, Files, Quizzes, etc. Into Multiple Courses

You can copy material between course sites using the backup, restore and import functions.


Get Help

Once you add materials, you may want to experiment with different looks and Moodle tools. Feel free to contact IITS with any questions you have. Your librarian is also happy to help you. See Getting Help with Moodle for contact information.

Once you have your content, you are ready to make your course visible for students to view it!