(For more resources on Moodle, see here.)
Kinds of static course material that can be added
Static course material is added from the Add a resource drop-down menu. Using this menu, you can create:
- Web pages
- Links to anything on the Web
- A label that displays any text or image
On your Moodle site, you can show content from anywhere on the Web by using a link. You can also link to files that you’ve uploaded into your course. By default, this content appears in a frame within your course. You can also choose to display it in a new window.
When using content from outside sites, you need to consider the legality and reliability of using the link. Is it legal to display the material on your Moodle site? Will the material still be there when your course is running? In this example, I’ve linked to an online resource from the BBC, which is a fairly reliable source:
Remember that the bottom of the window displays Window Settings, so you can choose to display this resource in its own window. You can also set the size of the window. You may want to make it appear in a smaller window, so that it does not completely obscure the window of your Moodle site. This will make it clearer to the student that he or she has opened a new window.
To add a link to a resource on the Web:
- Log in to your course as a Teacher or Site Administrator.
- In the upper-right corner of the page, if you see a button that reads, Turn editing on, click on this button. If it reads Turn editing off, then you do not need to click on this button. (You will also find this button in the Settings menu on the leftmost side of the page.)
- From the Add a resource… drop-down menu, select URL.
- Moodle displays the Adding a new URL page.
- Enter a Name for the link. This is the name that people will see on the home page of your course.
- Enter a Description for the link. When the student sees the course’s home page, they will see the Name and not the Description. However, whenever this resource is selected from the Navigation bar, the Description will be displayed.
Here is a link as it appears on the home page of a course:
Here is the same link, as it appears when selected from the Navigation bar:
- In the External URL field, enter the Web address for this link.
- From the Display drop-down menu, select the method that you want Moodle to use when displaying the linked page.
- Embed will insert the linked page into a Moodle page. Your students will see the Navigation bar, any blocks that you have added to the course and navigation links across the top of the page, just like when they view any other page in Moodle. The center of the page will be occupied by the linked page.
Open will take the student away from your site, and open the linked page in the window that was occupied by Moodle.
In pop-up will launch a new window, containing the linked page on top of the Moodle page.
Automatic will make Moodle choose the best method for displaying the linked page.
- The checkboxes for Display URL name and Display URL description will affect the display of the page, only if Embed is chosen as the display method. If selected, the Name of the link will be displayed above the embedded page, and the Description will be displayed below the embedded page.
- Under Options, the ShowAdvanced button will display fields that allow you to set the size of the popup window. If you don’t select In pop-up as the display method, these fields have no effect.
- Under Parameters, you can add parameters to the link. In a Web link, a parameter would add information about the course or student to the link. If you have Web programming experience, you might take advantage of this feature. For more about passing parameters in URLs, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Query_string.
- Under Common Module Settings, the Visible setting determines if this resource is visible to students. Teachers and site Administrators can always see the resource. Setting this to Hide will completely hide the resource. Teachers can hide some resources and activities at the beginning of a course, and reveal them as the course progresses.
Show/Hide versus Restrict availability
If you want a resource to be visible, but not available, then use the Restrict Availability settings further down on the page. Those settings enable you to have a resource’s name and its description appear, but still make the resource unavailable. You might want to do this for resources that will be used later in a course, when you don’t want the student to work ahead of the syllabus.
- The ID number field allows you to enter an identifier for this resource, which will appear in the Gradebook. If you export grades from the Gradebook and then import them into an external database, you might want the course ID number here to match the ID number that you use in that database.
- The Restrict Availability settings allow you to set two kinds of conditions that will control whether this resource is available to the student.
- The Accessible from and Accessible until settings enable you to set dates for when this resource will be available.
- The Grade condition setting allows you to specify the grade that a student must achieve in another Activity in this course, before being able to access this Resource.
- The setting for Before activity is available determines if the Resource will be visible while it is unavailable. If it is visible but unavailable, Moodle will display the conditions needed to make it available (achieve a grade, wait for a date, and so on.).
- Click on one of the Save buttons at the bottom of the page to save your work.
Under the Add a resource drop-down menu, select Page to add a Web page to a course. A link to the page that you create will appear on the course’s home page.
Moodle’s HTML editor
When you add a Page to your course, Moodle displays a Web page editor. This editor is based on an open source web page editor called TinyMCE. You can use this editor to compose a web page for your course. This page can contain almost anything that a web page outside of Moodle can contain.
Pasting text into a Moodle page
Many times, we prefer to write text in our favorite word processor instead of writing it in Moodle. Or we may find text that we can legally copy and paste into a Moodle page, somewhere else. Moodle’s text editor does allow you to do this.
To paste text into a page, you can just use the appropriate keyboard shortcut. Try Ctrl + V for Windows PCs and Apple + V for Macintoshes. If you use this method, the format of the text will be preserved.
To paste plain text, without the format of the original text, click on the Paste as Plain Text icon, as shown below:
When you paste text from a Microsoft Word document into a web page, it usually includes a lot of non-standard HTML code. This code doesn’t work well in all browsers, and makes it more difficult to edit the HTML code in your page. Many advanced web page editors, such as AdobeDreamWeaver, have the ability to clean up Word HTML code. Moodle’s web page editor can also clean up Word HTML code.
When pasting text that was copied from Word, use the Paste from Word icon, as shown in the image below. This will strip out most of Word’s non-standard HTML code.