Create and Manage a Course

This article focuses on the basic processes of course creation and configuration, enrolling users, and the tracking of learner activity completions.

TOPICS


HOW DO I CREATE A COURSE?

A course in Lambda Learn (Moodle) is an area where a teacher will add learning resources and activities for their learners to complete. It might be a simple page with downloadable documents or it might be a complex set of tasks where learning progresses through interaction.

Courses may be created by adminscourse creators or managers. Teachers can then add the content and reorganize them according to their own needs. 

The course page is made up of central sections which contain the tasks and (if desired) blocks to the side. The course teacher has control over the layout of the course homepage and can change it at any time.  Progress can be tracked in a number of ways.

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 12.46.32 PM

 

There are several ways you as admin can create a course. The two most common are:

add course  Manually Add a New Course

One of the more straightforward ways of creating a course is manually creating and configuring it. This can be done in the Manage courses and categories area. Choose the category the course will belong to, then click "Create new course" to begin configuring the course settings.

By default a regular teacher can't add a new course.  To add a new course to your LMS, you need to have either AdministratorCourse Creator or Manager rights.

  • To add a course, go to  Site administration>Courses>Manage courses and categories. Then, click 'New course' in the category page on the right.
  • Click on the category where you want your course to be. 
  • Click the "New course" link
Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 1.36.02 PM
  • Enter the course settings, and then choose either to "Save and return" to go back to your course, or "Save and display" to go to the next screen.
  • On the next screen, if you have chosen "Save and display", choose your students/teachers to enroll into the course.
 
Back to TOPICS

custom  Configure Your Course: Setting Options

When you first open your new course, it will have the default number of Sections down the center of the course page. Your first task is to customize the Course settings to your likes and needs.

Before you start creating your course and configuring the settings, look at the default settings in Site Administration > Courses > Course default settings.  Make changes to things like the course format, the number of sections, and the course layout. Once you've done that, determine the Completion tracking settings. 

completion tracking

 

Completion tracking should be enabled by default so that you can effectively track your activities and courses. In the case where you don't care about completion tracking, you can simply select "Do not track activity completion" within the course activity settings.  For more information on course completion see Manage Course Progress, Completion & Grades.

Also think about if you need to choose any grouping, language, or tagging settings for the majority of your courses. 

The following are some of the key Lambda Learn  course setting options for you to configure:

General Settings

Course full name This is the name of the course. It is displayed as a link on course lists on the Front page and on the Dashboard and in reports. It is also used in the browser title bar when the course is viewed.
Short name

Many organizations have a shorthand way of referring to a course, such as BP102 or COMMS. Even if you do not already have such a name for your course, make one up here. It will be used in several places where the long name is not appropriate, such as the Navigation block.

By default, only course full names are displayed in the list of courses. However an administrator can enable short names to be displayed too if required by ticking the checkbox in Administration > Site administration > Appearance > Courses.

Course category

Courses can be organized into into a hierarchy suitable for your organization such as by department, faculty, or topic. This hierarchical structure is referred to as course categories. 

Make sure you plan the organizational scheme well before entering a large number of courses, to save time in moving them later.

To find out how you to organize your courses see How To Create a Course Category.

Start date

This setting affects the display of logs and the weekly format topic dates.

If you use the "Weekly" course format, the start date will appear in the first section of the course. For example selecting 27 July, will display "27 July - 2 August" in the first section (when default display is selected for that section).

This setting will have an effect on the display of logs. This will be the earliest possible date the log activity will display.

This setting will not affect courses using the 'social' or 'topics' formats.

End date

The course end date is used for determining whether a course should be included in a user's list of courses. When the end date is past, the course is no longer listed in the navigation block / drawer and is listed as past in the Course overview on students' dashboards.

The course end date is also used for calculating the retention period before data is deleted. It may also be used by a custom report e.g. reporting activity for the duration of a course.

Users can still enter the course after the end date; in other words the date does not restrict access.

Course visibility

Here you can "hide" your course completely. It will not appear in the list of courses, except for managers, course creators, teachers and any other users with the "view hidden courses" capability. Even if students try to access the course URL directly, they will not be allowed to enter.

The hide/show courses capability controls whether a user can hide a course.

Course id The ID number is an alphanumeric field. It has several potential uses. Generally, it is not displayed to students. However, it can be used to match this course against an external system's ID, as your course catalogue ID or can be used in the certificate module as a printed field.

 

Course Description

Course summary The summary appears on the course listings page. This field is searched when searching for a course and also appears in the Course/Site description block.
Course image

An image may be attached to the course summary. They will be accessible by anyone from outside of the course just like the course name and/or summary.

NOTE that if this is not allowed by the administrator, then no box will appear to upload course summary files.

By default, only jpg, gif and png file types are allowed as course summary files.

An administrator can change the allowed file types in Administration > Site administration > Appearance > Courses.

 

Course images allow you to set a default image for all the courses in your catalog or specific images for your courses.

Screen Shot 2020-07-22 at 12.31.16 PM

 

Course Format

Format 




A course format refers to the layout of a course. There are 4 standard course formats available in Lambda Learn (Moodle):

1. Weekly format

The course is organized week by week, with a clear start date and a finish date. Lambda Learn (Moodle) will create a section for each week of your course. You can add content, forums, quizzes, and so on in the section for each week.

TIP: If you want all your students to work on the same materials at the same time, this would be a good format to choose.

NOTE: Make sure your course start date is correct. If it is not your weeks will have the wrong date on it. This is especially important if you are restoring a course to use with a new section of students.

2. Topics format

The course is organized into topic sections that a teacher can give titles to. Each topic section consists of activities, resources and labels. 

TIP: This is great to use if your course is objective based and each objective may take different amounts of time to complete. An example of this would be scaffolding where the students are building upon the knowledge from earlier topics.

3. Social format

This format is oriented around one main forum, the social forum, which appears listed on the main page. It is useful for situations that are more free form. They may not even be courses.

4. Single activity format

The single activity format only has 1 section, and allows the teacher to add one activity only to the course. When the single activity format is selected, a drop down menu appears for the teacher to choose the activity they wish to use. 

Contributed course formats

The Moodle community has developed a number of course formats.  The two of the most popular are:

Collapsed Topics

An interchangeable topic or week  based format that solves the issue of the 'Scroll of Death' when a course has many topics / weeks. All sections except zero have a toggle that displays that section. One or more sections can be displayed at any given time. 

Onetopic or Tabbed
This course format allows displaying each topic in a tab, keeping the current tab between calls to resources, so that when you return from a module such as the forum or the glossary, you return to the tab from which you started. 
Hidden sections

This option allows you to decide how the hidden sections in your course are displayed to students. By default, a small area is shown (in collapsed form, usually grey) to indicate where the hidden section is, though they still cannot actually see the hidden activities and texts. This is particularly useful in the Weekly format, so that non-class weeks are clear, or if you have quizzes you don't want your students to see.

TIP: If you choose, these non-available items can be completely hidden, so that students do not even know that sections or an activity in the course are hidden.

Course layout

The Course layout setting determines whether the whole course is displayed on one page or split over several pages. The setting currently applies to the topics and weekly core course formats and contributed collapsed topics course format only.

Teachers choose from the dropdown whether they wish to "show all sections on one page" in the familiar scrolling format, or "show one section per page".

If one section per page is selected, the course page is abbreviated to a list of links to individual sections. If an individual section is shown, next and previous sections may be accessed via links above and below the section.

 

TIP   TIP

The maximum number of weeks/topics may be set for all courses on the site. The default value is 52.

An administrator can set course default settings in Administration > Site administration > Courses > Course default settings.

 

Appearance

Force theme

If the site administrator has allowed the teacher to set a course theme, this pull down menu will appear with a list of themes on the site. Teachers can use this to choose a different look for the course from the rest of the LMS.

Force language

If you force a language in a course, the interface of Lambda Learn (Moodle) in this course will be in this particular language, even if a student has selected a different preferred language in his/her personal profile.

Admins can remove this capability if they do not wish course teachers/managers to do this.

Number of Announcements

How many recent announcements from the Announcements forum should show in the Latest announcements block.

If an announcements forum is not required in the course, this setting should be set to zero.

Show Gradebook

Here you can decide whether to allow students to see the link to grades in the Administration block. If your course doesn't use graded activities, it makes sense to disable this. If grades are used and this link is disabled, students can still see their grade from the actual activity itself, such as an assignment.

For more information on course completion and grading see: Manage Course Progress, Completion & Grades.

Show Activity Reports

Here you can decide whether to show students their activity reports. Doing so places a load on the server however, which is why the setting is disabled by default.


Files and Uploads

Maximum upload size

Here you can decide the largest size of file that students can upload to a course. The site administrator can determine sizes available for the teacher to select.

Editing teachers or other users may be allowed to upload files larger than the maximum size by giving them the capability



Course Completion Tracking

Completion tracking

Course completion shows if a course has been completed. It can show the progress a student is making towards finishing the course according to specific criteria. The criteria can include meeting an activity's grade level or a manual checking "complete" by either the student and/or teacher. The report can also show if the learner has completed another course(s) that is marked as a "completion dependent" course.

Course completion does not have a "restrict access" function. It is best thought of as a report.

 

important   NOTE

Completion tracking must be enabled to track completion of course activities. 

Course completion criteria may also be based upon Activity completion values found in the activity's settings.

Find out more on completion tracking at Track Learner Progress: Activity & Course Completion

 


Course Groups

Group mode

Here you can define the group mode at the course level by a pull down menu.:

    • "No groups",
    • "Separate groups"
    • "Visible groups" 

The selected setting will be the default group mode for all activities defined within that course.

The group setting can affect what users see in the participants list and who they can interact with in activities.

Force 

If the group mode is "forced" at a course-level, then this particular group mode will be applied to every activity in that course. This will override any activities that may have a special group setting.

Default grouping

If groupings are enabled, a default grouping for course activities and resources may be set.

 

brain   TIP

Why use groups?

  • If you have a course where you have several classes and you want to filter your activities and gradebook so you only see one class at a time.
  • If the course is shared with other facilitators and you want to filter your activities and gradebook so you don’t see the students from your colleagues’ classes.
  • If you want to allocate a particular activity, resource or topic section to just one class or set of users and you don’t want others to see it.

 

Role Renaming

You can rename the roles used in your course. For example, you may wish to rename the Teacher role as "Facilitator", "Tutor" or "Guide". These new role names will appear within the course. For example on the participants and the override permissions pages.

Please note that the site administrator may have changed the names or added new roles. These names will appear and the teacher may rename them.

If you want the word for 'Teacher' to be different in all courses on the site, a site admin can edit the roles of teacher and non-editing teacher in Administration > Site administration > Users > Permissions > Define roles and change the custom full name there.

role renaming

 

brain  TIP
To save your time, especially when your course settings and needs will be consistent, find out more on How to Create a Course Template.

 

Back to TOPICS

upload course  Upload a Course

Lambda Learn (Moodle) supports the process of creating and managing courses using a CSV text file.  In addition to creating new courses, the Upload courses functionality may also be used to update or delete courses, or import content from another course. To upload one or more courses:

  • Go to Administration > Site administration > Courses > Upload courses page.
uploadcourses-1
  • Either drag and drop the CSV file or click the 'Choose a file' button and select the file in the file picker.
  • Select appropriate Import options carefully. To prevent unexpected behaviour, you have to specify what you want the tool to be able to do. Then, click the preview button.
Import Options

Upload mode This allows you to specify if courses can be created and/or updated.
Update Mode If you allow courses to be updated, you also have to tell the tool what to update the courses with.
Allow deletes Whether the delete field is accepted or not.
Allow renames Whether the rename field is accepted or not.
Allow resets Whether the rename field is accepted or not.
  • The Preview option to see if any errors were detected in the previewed rows. If you proceed with the upload and there were something wrong detected with a course, it will be ignored.

File:uploadcoursesresults.png

 

Create a Course Using a CSV Text File

Similar to creating users with a CSV upload, you can do the same with courses. Here, you can fill out the course settings - like name, category, format, language, etc. This is a great way to create multiple course shells all at once or to even manage/delete a whole course.

For detailed instructions see the article  "Create and Manage Course(s) Using a CSV Text File" on how to upload a course using a CSV text file. Sample uploadcourse.csv.

 

Example of an upload course CSV

uploadusercsv

 

What the CSV would look like in a spreadsheet
uploadcourses

 

important   NOTE
  • shortname, fullname, and category are required.
  • The category field takes the id of the category, with the default category "Miscellaneous"  having id 1.
  • Categories must already exist. If you put a category id that does not exist, you will receive a "Could not resolve category by ID" error during upload preview, and courses in that category will not be created.

 

Back to TOPICS


GETTING LEARNERS INTO THE COURSE: ENROLMENT

Enrolment, or 'enrollment', is the process of marking users as participants in the course, in other words assigning them a role such as student or teacher.

For more information on which enrolment method is right for your site, see Enrolment Methods.

Lambda Learn provides a number of ways of managing course enrolment, called enrolment plugins. The following list are the commonly used enrolment methods:

Enrolment Method

Moodle logo Totara icon

Manual enrolment

Individual users are manually enrolled by a Site Administrator, Editing Trainer or another role with appropriate permissions.

orange check mark green check mark

Self enrolment

Self enrolment is the method whereby users can choose to enrol themselves into a course, either immediately by clicking "Enrol me in this course".

orange check mark green check mark

Flat file enrolment

The flat file enrolment plugin allows bulk user management (enrol or un-enrol) of existing users in existing course via a CSV file.

The file should include actionroleuser ID number, and course ID numberstart time and end time are optional fields.

For detailed steps on creating a CSV text file check out: Create and Enrol Users with a CSV File.

orange check mark green check mark

Category enrolment

Users are enrolled in all courses within a category.

For site wide user groups (audience), it is recommended to use audience sync to enrol users in courses in a category rather than category enrolments.

orange check mark green check mark

Cohort Sync

Cohort sync is for automatically enrolling members of a cohort in a course. If a user is added or removed from the cohort, they are automatically enrolled or unenrolled respectively. In other words, cohort sync synchronises cohort membership with course enrolment.

orange check mark

PayPal enrolment

The PayPal enrolment allows users to pay for courses and then be automatically enrolled.

orange check mark green check mark

Audience Sync

Users who are members of an audience will be enrolled, and when they are not members they will be unenrolled.

green check mark

Program enrolment

User has been enrolled by enrolling in a program or certification course are enrolled on when program or certification rules allow.

green check mark

Seminar direct enrolment

Allows users not enrolled in a course to sign up to a seminar event and enrols them in the course.

green check mark

Learning Plan enrolment

Learners are enrolled in courses in their approved learning plan.

green check mark

Lambda Store enrolment

The Lambda Store enrolment allows users to pay for courses and then be automatically enrolled.

orange check mark green check mark
 
Back to TOPICS

enrolment methods  Setting the Enrollment Method(s)

    • Click on Administration > Site administration > Plugins > Enrolments > Manage enrol plugins.
    • Click on the enable checkboxes opposite your chosen enrolment plugin(s). If you wish, you may choose more than one enrolment method. For example if you have some courses which students must pay for and some free courses, you can use PayPal and self enrolment.
    • Click the "Save changes" button.
    • Click the settings link opposite the enrolment plugin(s) you have chosen.
    • Configure the required settings and click the "Save changes" button.
    • Repeat until you have edited all the plugins you have enabled.

Manageenrolplugins.png

The order in which enrolment plugins are applied can be set. This may be important for some plugins. It also affects the order of enrolment options on the course enrol page.

For more information on which enrolment method is right for your site, see Enrolment Methods.

 
Back to TOPICS

MANUAL ENROLMENT  Manual Enrollment

The manual enrolment plugin may be enabled or disabled site-wide in 'Manage enrol plugins' in the Site administration.

Site-wide settings, including default settings for manual enrolment in new courses, may be set in 'Manual enrolments' in the Site administration.

Editing the Manual Enrolment Settings

Managers (and any other users with the capability) can edit the manual enrolment method in the course and set the default enrolment period and default role from Administration > Course administration > Users > Enrolment methods.

manual enrolments settings

 

It is possible also for students and/or teachers to be notified when enrolments expire by selecting either "Enroller only" or "Enroller and enrolled user" from the dropdown "Notify before enrolment expires" and a time in "Notification threshold". 

Back to TOPICS

Manually Enrolling Users in a Course

    • In the course you want to enrol users, click on the 'Participants' button on the 'Navigation block'  to open the Participants page.
    • Click the 'Enrol users' button.
participants page
    • On the Enrolment options page you will have the option to:
      • 'Select user(s)' you wish to enrol into the course.
      • Or, 'Select cohort(s)' to enrol.
      • Assign course role(s): ManagerTeacherNon-editing teacher, or Student.
      • Set a 'Starting from' date.
      • Set an 'Enrolment duration': 1 to unlimited number of days.
      • Enable and set an 'Enrolment end' date.
Enrolment options page

 

Back to TOPICS

unenrol  Unnrolling Users

Unenrollment is the process of removing users from a course. It is controlled by one or more of the following:

  • The enrolment duration, which suspends students after the specified time has elapsed. Some plugins include the option to unenroll users after enrolment expiration.
  • For Self enrolment, the 'Unenroll inactive after' setting in Course administration > Users > Enrolment methods > Self enrolment can be set to specify a time after which a student is automatically unenrolled from a course if they haven't accessed it in that time
  • An enrolment plugin may decide that the enrolment has expired, for example, if a user for a course is not present in an LDAP database, or if a Flat file is processed by Cron.
  • In addition, a user with the appropriate permission can unenroll themselves from a course.

The capability to "un-enrol" users in a course is allowed for the default roles of Manager and Teacher. However, this functionality must first be enabled by a site administrator in Settings > Course administration > Users > Enrolled users. When enabled, it adds a trash can icon next to each participant on the Participants page of a course. 

 
Back to TOPICS

Unenrollment & Grade History

When a user is unenrolled, their grade history is not deleted.

If a user is unenrolled accidentally, their grades can be restored by going to Administration > Course administration > Users > Enrolled users, clicking 'Enrol users' and making sure that the 'Recover user's old grades if possible' checkbox is ticked in the enrolment options before re-enrolling the user.

Users enrolled with methods other than manual (such as self enrolment) will have their grades restored depending on the value of "recovergradesdefault" in Administration > Site administration > Grades > General settings. Further, once the user re-enrolls in the course, their grade in every graded activity may need to be restored manually, for example, by using the "regrade selected attempts" option in a Quiz.

 
Back to TOPICS

Suspend or Unenroll?

There is a fundamental and functional difference between suspending a user and unenrolling a user. Depending on the needs of your organization knowing the difference will help you establish the right policy and protocol that suits your needs. 

    • Suspended users are no longer able to access any of their courses on the LMS but their data is preserved, so it is possible for them to return to their course at a later time. This might be useful for example, for keeping safe the work of students who have left the establishment but whose data might be needed for inspection in future years. Suspended users currently still appear in the gradebook but a teacher can select in their Grader report preferences to show only active users or all users (including suspended users). 
    • Unenrollment is typically more final than suspension. Unenrolled users do not retain any data and will not appear in the gradebook.

Back to TOPICS


 

More Resources LOOKING FOR MORE?

Our eLearning industry experts have put together other resources to offer you more advice, best-practices, and how-to guides: