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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.

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. For details, see 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 (e.g., a back up of a course no longer on our Moodle server, or of a Moodle course from another institution) from a Moodle backup file (.mbz format), 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. 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 in to Moodle and select the Nagivation tray toggle (hamburger menu Hamburger menu, top left), 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 you can access it by:
    • Using the My courses block (on the Home page, in the right column). Select Show Hidden Courses. You will now have access to your hidden courses.
    • Using the Dashboard button (speedometer icon) on the Home page. The Course Overview page will open. On the Course Overview page, select the Courses tab. This will give you access to your In progess, Future or Past courses. Select the Future link to view your upcoming courses.
  2. Select Course Management (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 frompage 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 copy (activities and resources, blocks, filters, calendar events, and/or question bank); all the options 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 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.
    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.