Editing Capabilities

Those with the role of Instructor, Manager, and/or Administrator have the ability to modify Moodle courses.

NOTE: Before making any major changes to a course you should archive it and download a copy to your computer to be restored in case of catastrophe.

NOTE: If you don’t turn editing on there will be no Edit menus for you to interact with and drag and drop features will not work.

Enable Editing (Turn Editing On)

If you have one of these roles and have entered a Moodle course you will need to turn editing on to make any changes to the course.

Enter the course in question.

Find the Actions menu (gear icon).

Click the Turn editing on link.

Once editing has been turned on you will see additional menus to the right of present Blocks, Sections and Activities and Resources.

Course Content

The main and central part of the page is where the main content of your course will be. This content includes:

Each Week/Topic/Section of your course; you can edit the Section summary of this or change the Section name from its Gear menu if you aren’t fond of the default value that is the week’s date range.

Each Section contains resources and activities, the main content of your course and should contain all the necessities students need to do the assigned work in Moodle.

Add New Activities and Resources

There are a few ways to add new content to the main part of your course. This may be handy for creating new assignments (file turn-ins), documents like your Syllabus and/or Course Calendar, etc.

Editing Activities and Resources

The Edit Menu

Every Activity and Resource will have an Edit Menu with fairly similar contents, here are some common tasks:

  • To change the behavior or content of an existing Item click the Edit Settings link (most often used item on this list)
  • Duplicating Existing Activities or Resources (Ideal for templates or reproducing settings you like and want to offer consistently)
  • To keep an activity but hide it from students you can toggle the Hide/Show link from the Edit menu
  • To add indentation click the Move right link and to remove indentation click the Move left link
  • To permanently remove an Activity or Resource click the Delete link.
    NOTE: If this is done in error check out the Recycle bin link in the Actions menu (gear icon in the top-right of the page)

Moving Things Around

If you want to move an Activity or Resource to change the order or move an item to a different section even you can:

  • Click and hold the Move icon and drag the item to the desired location and let go.
  • Click the Move icon and select the new location from the pop-up list.

Quickly Rename

To quickly rename an item you can click the pencil icon at the end of the item’s name.

  • A text box will appear, modify the text as desired and hit Enter/Return on your keyboard to save changes.
  • Clicking outside of the text box will close it and not save any changes.

Sections (Content Containers)

Sections in Moodle are the containers for each week/module/topic offered in a course and can be displayed with all content on one page or with each section having it’s own page (less scrolling).

Each section has a summary you can edit, change the behavior of or move large selections of content around at once (when you move a section all of it’s activities and resources are moved with it).

In a new course the default section names are the week’s date range as determined by the Course start date in Course Settings:

Edit Section Settings

At the top of each section you can create a special label that is the beginning of that section called a Section summary. This is optional but can be helpful for an overview of the module’s contents or reminders about due-dates and policies.

The Edit menu for sections/topics/weeks may have the following options:

  • Edit Topic – If you want to make changes to the Section summary, change the Section Title or limit who has access to a section (advanced)
  • Highlight (Topics only) – You can set a section as highlighted, Topics have the option to be Highlighted but do not have to be. Weekly courses will automatically highlight the current week as determined by the start date of the course.
  • Hide topic – This can hide a topic from students while still allowing you to make changes to it and see it.
  • Delete Topic – Use with caution! This will delete this section and all activities and resources within it!

Add/Remove Number of Course Sections

At the very bottom of your course there should be some very small + and buttons for quickly adding or removing a single section/week/topic at a time.

NOTE: If you have a section that calls itself Orphaned (students won’t see these) then adding a section or two should make that section behave normally (and thus allow students to see the section and it’s contents. This is caused by restoring content from a course with content in more sections than your current course is setup to have.)

You can also quickly change the Number of sections your course has in Course Settings.

Quick Rename

To quickly rename a section of your course you can click the pencil icon at the end of the section’s name.

  • A text box will appear, modify the text as desired and hit Enter/Return on your keyboard to save changes.
  • Clicking outside of the text box will close it and not save any changes.

Move Section and Contents

If you want to move a Section (and every one of its activities and resources) to change the order of the topics or resources offered in your course you can:

  • Click and hold the Move icon and drag the section to the desired location and let go.
  • Click the Move icon and select the new location from the pop-up list.

Advanced (Activity and Resource) options

Toggle Group Mode

Only available for Activities.

Honestly this is most often clicked by accident and can result in students not having access to an activity or resource. If this occurs, click the Toggle Group icon again until you get a single person’s silhouette (No groups) for normal function/access.

Groups are an advanced feature in Moodle but if you want to come back to them later we do have an article on their use!

Completion Tracking/Check boxes

Not enabled by default.

These checkboxes can involve a lengthy setup but can allow students to track their progress via activity completion either by having them manually click a box when done or having it check itself off after parameters are met.

Learn more from our Completion Tracking article


Blocks are mostly supplemental and specialized information found on the right side of pages in Moodle (or below the content on a smaller screen like a mobile device) and are a good place to put helpful resources but not vital-to-the-course information or tasks.

Blocks can be:

Different blocks can have very different functions, here are some common uses:

  • If you want a text or custom block you can edit the content of you might want to add an HTML block
  • If you want to track course completion on a course level you might add the Course Completion Status block
  • to make it it easier for participants to jump from one section to another and save on scrolling you might add a Course contents block.

Add a New Block

Enter the course in question

Use the Actions menu (gear icon in the top-right corner of the page) to Turn editing on.

Expand the Nav drawer (by clicking on the three horizontal lines icon in the top left of your page) and scroll to the VERY BOTTOM of that drawer.

Click the Add a block item at the very bottom of the listing.

Select the desired block.

Editing a Block

If you want to change the behavior or content of a block click the Gear and arrow icon to access block’s Edit menu.

From this menu your most common actions are to:

  • Click the Delete [block name] block link to permanently remove a block
  • Click the Configure [block name] block link to change the content or settings of a given block)
  • Click the Hide [block name] block to make the block small for you and not at all visible to students.