Search Google Appliance

Information Technology

Moodle in the Cloud (3.9) Highlights

This spring, Moodle moved to a new, more durable home. One of UMass Amherst’s primary learning management platforms, Moodle, was upgraded to version 3.9 and hosted in the cloud, making it more scalable, agile, and providing several new features and improvements.  

Students and instructors can access the new Moodle at

This is a preliminary list of highlights. As new features are enabled this summer, you will find them summarized on this page. 

Easily Find & Contact Course Participants 

Moodle 3.9 makes available a new searchable and sortable list of course participants and their email addresses. Students and instructors can contact each other, coordinate group work and other assignments right in Moodle, while remaining compliant with current student privacy regulations and FERPA. In the Navigation Tray, click Participants to see the students and other individuals associated with a course.

Optimized Forums 

Forums come with new enhancements that both students and instructors will appreciate. Users of the “Enhanced forum (beta)” activity may be already familiar with some of these features:  

  • Full grading interface for forums
  • Private replies to students
  • Locking discussions
  • Forum summary reports
  • Inline posts and replies

Activity Chooser: New, More Customizable Format 

When you Add an activity or resource, instructors will see a gridded/icon format.

  • You can star, or “favorite,” activities to add them to a separate tab.  
  • New tabs include "starred" activities, activities, and resources, making it easier for content creators to more efficiently find the tools they prefer.

    The Add an activity or resource page

Improved Grading 

Instructors will notice that grading has improved in Moodle 3.9: 

  • For quizzes, the grading, statistics, and general quiz management are easier to navigate.   
  • A new grade item duplication feature reduces the setup time for the Moodle gradebook.  
  • Instructors now have the option to make assignment graders anonymous, facilitating peer feedback and evaluation.  

Back-end Changes Ensure Better Integration & More Reliability 

  • Support for LTI 1.3. The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) enables connections between a variety of external learning tools, content and activities available online, and Moodle. 
  • Moving Moodle to the cloud means that the infrastructure for Moodle will no longer be on campus for courses starting in summer 2021. Cloud-based services are available on-demand online from a cloud computing provider's servers as opposed to on-premise IT infrastructure. Hosted in the cloud, Moodle becomes more scalable, resilient, and agile. The platform can accommodate more students, courses, and web traffic, with fewer technical hiccups and service interruptions.