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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 perform from within their new course. This page provides instructions and a few important reminders.

Note: Import function works only within one Moodle site.

  • You can use the Import tool to copy a course that is already on Moodle in the Cloud.
  • You cannot perform Import from the legacy version of Moodle (moodle.umass.edu) to a current Moodle course in the Cloud (umass.moonami.com). See below for details.

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 course on Moodle in the cloud: The other instructor must first complete the form to give you access. For details, see Allow Another Instructor to Copy Your Moodle Course.  
  • To copy content from another instructor’s course in the legacy version of Moodle: The instructor of the course in the legacy Moodle will need to Backup a Moodle Course by creating and downloading a Moodle Backup file (.mbz) and send the created backup file to the course copier. Then the copier can Restore Moodle (.mbz) Backup Files into their new course on Moodle in the Cloud.
  • To restore a course from legacy Moodle, from another institution's Moodle server, or a Moodle Backup file: The import function only works for courses that are already on UMass Moodle in the Cloud. To restore a course (e.g., a backup of a course no longer on our Moodle in the cloud, or of a Moodle course from another institution) from a Moodle backup file (.mbz), see Restore a Course in Moodle.

    Note that to restore a course from the UMass legacy Moodle server as an instructor of the course, you can back up the Moodle course by creating and downloading a Moodle Backup file (.mbz). For details, see Backup a Moodle Course and Moodle Backup file.

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. For details, 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.
  • Groups and Groupings.
  • External tool activities (e.g., LTI links to OWL, MgGraw Hill, Echo360, UMass Libraries Course Materials, etc.).

Import an Entire Course

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

  1. Once you have been notified that your course for the new semester is ready, log into Moodle. If the Navigation tray is not open, toggle (hamburger menu Hamburger menu, top left) and under My Courses, 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 your course in the Navigation tray:
    • Go to your Dashboard button (speedometer icon in the Navigation tray) and set the Filter menu to All (except removed from view). This will give you access to your In Progress, Future and Past courses (e.g., select Future to find courses with an upcoming start date).
  2. Select Course Management (gears icon gears icon at top), the Course Management panel will open.
  3. On the Course Management panel, under Course Settings, select Import. 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. On the Find a course to import data from page, select the radio button for the course to copy, then click Continue. The Import Settings page will open.
  5. On the Import Settings page, check the types of content to include (activities and resources, blocks, filters, calendar events, and/or question bank, groups and groupings, custom fields, and/or content bank content); all the options except for groups and groupings will be selected by default.
  6. Select Jump to final step. The Perform Import page will open showing the progress of the import.
  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 will appear.
  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.
    Update due dates for activities such as Assignments and Quizzes. For information on how to change multiple due dates at once, see Edit Dates for Multiple Activities & Resources in Moodle.
  • 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.
  • Reset Guest access.
    If you plan to provide Guest Access to the new course, it will need to be enabled in Course Management > User Links > Guest Access. For more, see: Guest Access to Moodle Courses.
  • Recreate External tool links. 
    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 new course.