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Copy Moodle Activities or Resources from One Course to Another

This article describes how to copy particular items, such as Assignments, Quizzes, or PDF files, from one course into another course using the Moodle Import tool. To import an entire course, see Reuse a Moodle Course Using Import.

When copying individual items between Moodle courses, please note:

  • Copied items will include settings such as due dates and grade settings, but will not include student submissions to activities, such as Forum posts or Glossary contributions.
  • Copied items will need to be checked for Group settings and Restrict Access settings.
  • To copy content from a course you did not teach, you will need the instructor of that course to submit this form: Allow Another Instructor to Copy Your Moodle Course.
  • External tool activities, such as Echo360UMass Libraries Course Materials, and OWL cannot be copied and must be added and set up in the course where they will be used.

If you need additional help with this topic or have questions, contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or instruct@umass.edu.

Prepare Items to Copy

Before you start importing content, we recommend doing a little preparation in the course you are copying from. Note: This step is especially important if the target course already contains any content.

The Import tool requires you to import each Section containing an item you want to copy, and will merge those Sections into the Sections already in your target course. Before you select the items to copy, we recommend you duplicate the items and move them into an unused Section at the bottom of the course you are copying from. Importing only the Section containing duplicated items will make it easy to find the copied content and will prevent any unwanted content such as Section summaries from being added to the course you are copying to.

  1. Open the course you will copy item(s) from
    Note: Courses are deleted from Moodle 18 months after the end of the semester taught. (For details, see Moodle F.A.Q. for Instructors.)
  2. Select Turn Editing On (green pencil icon, top right).
  3. At the bottom of the course page, click the Increase the number of sections button () to create a new Section. You will use this section to hold duplicates of the items you wish to copy.
    Note: You are going to copy this section and its contents into your target course. Moodle will copy it into the Section of the corresponding location in the new course (i.e. If it is the fifteenth section in the course, it will be added as the fifteenth section in the target course). If the target course has more Sections than the course you are copying from, especially if the target course already contains content, add additional Sections to the course you are copying from.
  4. For each item you wish to copy, click Edit, then select Duplicate. Duplicate resources or activities appear immediately below the original.
  5. There are two approaches you can take to moving duplicated items into the new section you created in Step Two:
    • Drag the duplicate items into the new section,
      -or-
    • Use the Mass Actions block to select and duplicate items directly into the new empty Section. See The Mass Actions Block in Moodle.
  6. If the course you are copying from is in use, to avoid confusion for your students, you should hide the Section you created for the duplicate items. (See Control Access to Resources and Activities in Moodle.)

Import Items into the Target Course

In the Moodle course you will copy into, to import the item(s):

  1. Open the course you wish to import item(s) into.
  2. Select the Course Management button (black gear icon Course management button (black background, white gear icon), top right), the Course Management panel will open.
  3. On the Course Management panel, under Course Settings, select Import course or activities, the Find a course to import data from page will open. The Find a course to import data from 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 the bottom of the page), enter the exact course name (department and number) and click Search.
  4. Under Select a Course, select the radio button for the course you will copy from and click Continue. The Initial Settings page will open.
  5. On the Initial Settings page, under Import settings, select the check box for the types of content to copy (activities and resources, blocks, filters, calendar events, and/or question bank); all will be selected by default, then click NextThe Schema settings page opens showing the sections on the course page you are copying and the activities and resources they contain.
  6. On the Schema settings page you will select the item(s) to copy. By default, all sections and the items in them are selected. Click None (at top) to deselect all Sections as well as the activities and resources they contain.
  7. Scroll down to locate the Section you created for the items you will copy into your course and select the checkbox for the Section and the checkbox(es) for the item(s) to copy.
    Note: You will not be able to select an item unless the Section it is in has been selected.
  8. Click Next. The Confirmation and Review page will open. Review the items. Items that will be copied have a green check mark. Items that will not be copied have a red X.
    • To make changes, click Previous (at bottom) to return to the previous setup page.
    • Once selections are correct, click Perform import (at lower right). A "Complete" message will appear at the top of the page.
  9. Moodle will copy the contents you selected into your course. 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.
  10. Click Continue. You will be returned to your course page with the Section containing the copied item(s) added.
    Note: If you followed the instructions above to set up a new section in the originating course, but do not have as many sections in your new course, you may see a message indicating there is "orphaned" content. Click  (at bottom) to create enough new sections for the copied content to appear.
  11. Once the copied items are visible you can drag them into the Section where they will be used in the new course.

Clean Up Imported Content

Be sure to attend to these important tasks, as needed:

  • 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.
    Note: The Edit Dates page does not work for Turnitin assignments.
  • Set Up Groups
    Groups, Groupings, and group settings are not copied into a new course. If you plan to use Groups in the course, see Create & Modify Groups in Moodle.