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Reuse a Moodle Course Using Import

Every semester you teach a course in Moodle, even for classes you've taught before, your newly created Moodle course will initially be empty. Use the Import function to quickly copy content from a previous Moodle course and reuse the content for the current term.

Reusing a Moodle course is a process instructors instructors perform from within their new course. This page provides instructions and a few important reminders.

Before You Begin

  • Request Your Moodle course. Before you can import content, you must first request a new Moodle course for the current academic term. For details, see Request Your Moodle Course - Overview.
  • To copy content from another instructor's Moodle course: The other instructor must first complete the form to give you access: Allow Another Instructor to Copy Your Moodle Course.  
  • To restore a course from another institution's Moodle server or a Back Up file: The import function only works for courses that are on the UMass Moodle server. To restore a course from a Moodle backup file (.mbz format) (e.g., a back up of a course no longer on our Moodle server, or of a Moodle course from another institution), contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or instruct@umass.edu.

What Gets Copied in the Import Process

By default, the Import function copies everything in a Moodle course with a few exceptions (see below). When you import into your new course, most content, activities, and settings will be imported with the same layout and organization as the previous Moodle course.

You also have the option to import only specific resources and activities from another course: see Copy Moodle Activities or Resources from One Course to Another.

Items Not Copied During the Import Process

If the course you are importing from contains the following item types, they will not be imported and will need to be recreated in the new course:

  • Student enrollment from the previous course, or any contributions to Activities made by members of the previous course (including students, TAs, and instructors). This means that any assignment submissions, forum posts, database and glossary contributions, and wiki content will not be included in the import. For assistance exporting such content to reuse, please contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or instruct@umass.edu.
  • External tool activities (e.g., LTI links to OWL , MgGraw Hill, Echo360, UMass Libraries Course Materials, etc.).
  • The UMass Libraries Course Materials block: This block must be replaced with an External tool. See Give Students Access to UMass Libraries Course Materials through Moodle.
  • Wiki (legacy) and TurnItIn (legacy) activities. Note: Wiki and TurnItIn activities created after May 2015 will be imported as usual.

Import an Entire Course

Because the import process is "additive," if you are importing an entire course it is best to import into a new, empty course. Follow the steps below to copy all Resources and Activities, and duplicate the organization and most of the settings into the new course.

  1. Once you have been notified that your course for the new semester is ready, log in to Moodle and, in the My Courses block, click the name of the new course to open it. The new course will open with the default settings, blocks, number of sections, etc.
    • Note: If you do not see the name of your course in the My Courses block, click Show hidden courses to access courses that are not available to students.
  2. In the Administration block, click Import. The Find a course to import data from page will open.
  3. The Find a course page will list up to 10 courses available for you to copy. If you do not see the course you wish to copy on the list, in the Search field (at bottom) enter the exact course name (department and number) and click Search.
  4. Under Select a Course, select the radio button for the course to copy, then click Continue. The Initial Settings page will open.
  5. On the Initial Settings page, under Backup settings, check the types of content to copy (activities and resources, blocks, filters, calendar events, and/or question bank); all will be selected by default.
  6. Click Jump to final step. The Import progress page will open.
  7. Depending on the size and number of items to copy, this may take a few moments. You should see a progress bar as the import process proceeds. Once the import process is complete, a confirmation message appears.
  8. Click Continue. You will be returned to the new course.

Clean Up Imported Content and Recreate Certain Item Types

After completing the Import process, be sure to attend to these important tasks as needed to finish preparing your course for the new term:

  • Update text in Labels, Section names, etc..
    For example, look for any references to dates and the term taught.
  • Update your syllabus or other resources.
  • Edit due dates for activities.
    To update due dates for activities such as Assignments and Quizzes see  Edit Dates for Multiple Activities & Resources in Moodle for information on how to change many due dates at once.
  • Set Up Groups.
    Groups are not copied into a new course. If you will use Groups in this course, in the Course Settings, select the default Group mode (separate or visible), and under Administration > Users > Groups, recreate group membership. We advise you to wait until after the end of add-drop for this step.
  • Reset Guest access.
    If you wish to have Guest Access to the new course, it will need to be enabled in Users > Enrollment methods. For more, see: Guest Access to Moodle Courses.
  • Recreate External tool links, and/or the UMass Libraries Course Materials block. 
    • External Tool links (e.g., OWL, Echo 360, Mcgraw Hill, etc.), are not included in the import. You must recreate and configure them in the course you are copying to.
    • The UMass Libraries Course Materials block has been replaced with an External tool: see Give Students Access to Library Course Materials through Moodle
    • Wiki (legacy) and TurnItIn (legacy) activities will not be imported and must be recreated. Wiki and Turnitin Assignment activities created after May 2015 are imported and do not need to be recreated.