Search Google Appliance

Information Technology

Important Settings for your Moodle Course

Edit Course Settings

The overall settings for your course are found on the Edit course settings page. Some settings are populated automatically with information from SPIRE when the course is created. There are settings that cannot be changed, and others are up to the instructor.

To edit the course settings:

  1. On your course page, select the Course Management button (black gear icon Course Management button (black background, white gear icon), top right), under Course Settings, click Edit course settings. The Edit course settings page will open.
  2. On the Edit course settings page, you will see a list of options for your course. Click the headings to view those settings, or Expand all (top right) to view all settings. Frequently used settings include:
    • Edit the Course full name that shows at the top of your course page (General heading).
    • Change Course visibility to Hide or show the course to students (General heading).
    • Set course Sections to be collapsible or to always stay open (Course format heading).
    • Make grades visible to students (General heading).
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page to save your settings.
    • To save and return to your course page, click Save and display.

Course Settings Options

Click a page heading to view the settings under that heading, or click Expand all (top right) to view all settings.


Screenshot of the General heading in course settings. (click to expand)

  • Course full name
    The Course full name appears at the very top of your Moodle course page, on participant's Dashboards, and in the My courses block on the site home page. You may want to edit the automatically generated course name for readability.
  • Course short name
    The Course short name (dept-number-section-semester) cannot be changed. It appears as a link in the Navigation tray, under My courses.
  • Visibility to students
    Moodle courses are hidden from students when requested and automatically released to students three days prior to the beginning of the semester. If requested after the release date, instructors must release the course to students themselves. Instructors can use this setting to hide or show a course outside of the institutional schedule. For more, see Make Your Moodle Course Available to Students.
  • Show gradebook to students
    By default, when an activity has been graded, each student can see their own grade on the Grades page. If you do not want to use grades in a course, or wish to hide the Gradebook from students, set this option to No. The instructor will still be able to use the gradebook.
    Note: Even if the Gradebook is not available to students, depending on the activity settings, students may still be able to view grades from within an activity itself. For more, see An Overview of the Moodle Gradebook.
  • Course start date
    This setting affects how Sections are named when the Weekly course format is used. For example, if you choose January 20th as your start date, the first Section will be named January 20 - January 26.


  • Course summary
    The summary is imported from SPIRE. You may edit it, but we suggest you keep it short. Note that students are unlikely to see this summary as it appears only on the course listings page for the entire Moodle site. 
  • Upload course image
    You may upload a header image to be included with your course summary. The course image displays on the Dashboard and at the top of the Course page, and the best dimensions are 1200 x 800 pixels. The image will center in the available area, and the accepted formats include GIF, JPEG, and PNG.  

Course Format

Screenshot of course format settings    (click to expand)

  • Format
    Choose a format to determine how Sections will behave on your course page:
    • Single Activity format
      Only a single activity or resource (such as a Quiz or SCORM package) is shown on the course page (with no option to add additional activities or resources).
    • Social format
      The entire course consists of one discussion forum, with no option to add additional activities or resources.
    • Collapsed Topics (Default)
      Allows individual users to expand and collapse the course Sections. This format avoids the need to scroll down a very long page to access the bottom sections of a course. If a course is set to use Collapsed Topics, additional options appear under the Format heading. For example, you can set the course structure to Weeks (as with the Weekly format, but still have collapsible Sections).
      By default, sections are named Topic 1, Topic 2, Topic 3, etc. We recommend giving the sections more informative names. (To name sections, on your course page, turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right) and click Edit at the top of each section).
    • Topics format
      Course Sections do not collapse and are always open.
      By default, sections are named Topic 1, Topic 2, Topic 3, etc. We recommend giving the sections more informative names (to name sections, on your course page, turn editing on (green pencil icon Turn editing on (green pencil icon), top right) and click Edit at the top of each section). 
    • Weekly format
      Organizes course Sections by week, with a clear start and finish date. Moodle creates and names a section for each week of your course (see Number of sections below, to control the number of weeks). The sections do not collapse and are always open.
      If using the Weekly format, make sure your course start date is correct or Sections will be named with the wrong dates. This is especially important if you are reusing a course from a previous semester (See Course start date, below).
  • Number of sections
    Determines the number of Sections your course will have. You can increase or decrease this number at any time.
    Note: Content contained in a hidden section will not be deleted and can be recovered by increasing the number of course Sections.
  • Hidden sections
    Controls how hidden Topic or Weekly Sections in your course display to students. The default, Hidden sections are shown in collapsed form, displays the names for hidden Sections (grayed-out), but hides any activities and resources within the section. You also have the option to make a hidden section completely invisible to students.
  • Show the section summary when collapsed
    This setting determines whether the section summary will always be shown regardless of whether the section is collapsed or expanded. 


Screenshot of apperance course settings. (click to expand) 

  • Force language
    Presently, there is only one Language Pack (US English) available in Moodle.
  • Number of announcements
    This setting controls how many News forum posts show on the Latest news block. If set to 0, the Latest news block will not appear.
    Note: This setting becomes available if you select the Collapsed topics, Topics format, or Weekly format in Course format.
  • Show activity reports
    Activity reports list students' activity and contributions to the current course, including their detailed access log. Instructors always have access to these reports. Setting this option to Yes will allow students to view their own reports.

Files and uploads

  • Legacy course files
    Allows instructors to import a Moodle course built in an older version of Moodle.
  • Maximum upload size
    Determines the largest size of a single file that can be uploaded in the course. Teachers can further limit the file size for uploads within each activity. If your students will be submitting large files (e.g., videos, Powerpoints or large PDFs), be sure to set the maximum both here and in the Assignment settings.

Completion Tracking

  • Enable completion tracking
    If set to Yes, your students can track progress using check boxes next to required activities (configured in the activity settings). You can let students check the boxes themselves, or have the boxes checked automatically when an activity is submitted or graded.


  • Group mode
    Sets the default behavior for group activities in the course. The options are No groups, Separate groups (students only see and contribute to their own group's activities), or Visible groups (students can contribute to their own group's activities, and they can view all groups' contributions). Individual activities can be set to different Group modes than the course overall.
  • Force group mode
    This setting will apply the Group mode set above to all activities, and cause settings made at the activity level to be ignored. For more on using groups, see An Overview of Managing Groups in Moodle.