Moodle FAQs

What is Moodle?
When and how are courses created in Moodle?
How long will my old courses be left on the system?
How do I backup my old Moodle course?


What is Moodle?

Moodle is a Learning Management System somtimes referred to as an LMS.  It is a web application that allows instructors to post course materials (like documents, discussion boards, assignments, video and audio) online making them convenient and available to their students around the clock.  In addition, instructors can make use of discussion boards, announcements and other social media, expanding the conversion beyond the confines of a traditional classroom.

FYI for geeks:  The acronym "Moodle" stands for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.

How many schools are using Moodle?

Recently there has been a movement in Higher Ed toward the adoption of Open Sources Learning Management Systems.  Moodle and Sakai are among the most popular choices with Moodle having a slightly larger following.  Moodle is under constant development specifically for liberal arts colleges through CLAMP (The Collaborative Liberal Arts Moodle Project)​.  Here are a listing of schools who have adopted Moodle:

Brandeis University

Carleton College
Bard College
Colgate College
College of the Holy Cross
Connecticut College
DePauw University
Dickinson College
Earlham College
Furman University
Hampshire College
Kenyon College
Lafayette College
Lewis & Clark College
Luther College
Macalester College
Millsaps College
Reed College
Smith College
Vassar College
Wesleyan University
Wheaton College
SUNY Purchase
Bucknell University

Why did we switch from Blackboard to Moodle?

With licensing fees in the near $50,000/year range, the switch from Blackboard to Moodle was a large-scale cost-savings for Trinity College ITS.  And, since Moodle is free and open-source, it allows us to adapt the product specifically for our needs.  Our Moodle pilot proved that the product took some getting used to, but that there was little Blackboard could do that Moodle couldn't. There were plenty of cases, regarding features, where Moodle was a better choice over Blackboard.

When and how are courses created in Moodle?

90 days before the start of every semester a process is run, using data from the Registrar's office, that creates the Moodle courses.  Once that has been completed, a similar process is run each night to keep courses and their enrollments up-to-date.  (see graphic below) 

How are students added to my Moodle course?

The process of enrolling students is handled automatically.  Each night a batch process is run from Registrar data and the correct students are placed in their corresponding classes.  During the add/drop period it is important to be patient as this process only runs every 24 hours and it may take some time for the system to catch up with current class enrollemnts .  In the event a student needs to be placed into a class immediately, please contact your Instructional Technologist.  (see graphic below)

Will my Moodle courses go away after the semester?

2 weeks after grades are due your classes will be set to "Not available to students."  This means, course instructors will still be able to view course content, but students will not be able to access the course.

How long will my Moodle courses remain on the system?

Moodle courses will be deleted from the system after 2 years.  We have provided instructions to back up your Moodle courses in this FAQ page.  If you require additional assistance, please contact your Instructional Technologist.

How do I back up my Moodle courses?

1.  Enter the Moodle course you wish to backup
2.  Click "Backup" in the Administration Block
3.  With check marks, select the components of the course you wish to backup then click Continue
4.  A Summary Page of all selected components will be displayed, click Continue
5.  A screen will display showing that the backup completed successfully.  Click Continue.
6.  You will see a file called " in the Moodle File Browser.  To download this backup and place it somewhere locally, simply click the link to the .zip file.  ​​