Best Practices for Designing Your Moodle Course


How can you use Moodle to best organize and present your course content? How can Moodle help you achieve your instructional goals? In this workshop we explore some best practices for designing your course in Moodle. Join us as we review example courses and discuss tips and strategies for structuring and delivering content in Moodle.

How to Get Started

1. Plan Your Moodle Course

A course map is a document that can be very helpful in planning the structure of your course before you start to organize it in Moodle. A course map helps you ensure alignment among critical components of your course.

A course map helps you align the major components of your course: course learning objectives, module learning objectives, instructional materials and learning activities, and assessments.
  • Course learning objectives: What will students be able to do by the end of the course?
  • Module learning objectives: What will students be able to do by the end of this module, unit or lesson?
  • Instructional Materials and Learning Activities: How will students get the information and build the knowledge they need to achieve the learning objectives?
  • Assessments: How will you measure students’ ability to demonstrate the learning objectives?

Course mapping resources

2. Start with the Moodle Quick Start Course Shell

The Moodle Quick Start Course Shell provides a framework for organizing your content in Moodle.

3. Review the basics of editing in Moodle

Register for Getting Started with Moodle or Getting Started with Moodle [Self-Paced] to brush up on your Moodle editing skills.

Best Practices

1. Use a consistent structure in each module

Make it easy for students to scan the main course page and find information quickly.

  • Use the “Show one section per page” setting to prevent excess scrolling
  • Use short descriptive names and include dates in module titles.
  • Use labels as section headings to separate groups of items, and make sure labels are consistent in each module.
  • Start each resource or activity name with an action verb that lets students know how they are expected to interact with it.

2. Organize content into manageable pieces

Avoid walls of text and clutter on the homepage by organizing information into subpages.

  • Reduce clutter and scrolling on the main course page by putting information in a Moodle Page.
  • Organize multiple pages of content using the NC State Book resource.

3. Make important information easy to find

Add blocks to the right side of your course to highlight important information and links.

  • Use the Activities block to provide easy access to assignments and other course activities
  • Create an custom text block for your instructor information
  • Add the Student Services block to provide easy access to help for students.

4. Make Your Content More Accessible

  • Provide alt-text or descriptions for all images.
  • Use properly nested heading styles in document and text editors.
  • Use descriptive link names instead of the full URL.
  • Provide captions and/or transcripts for audio and video content.

NC State has a wealth of accessibility resources to help you make your course content more accessible for all learners.

5. Improve Student Engagement

Increase engagement in your Moodle course by creating quality interactions between students and the course interface, the instructor, other students and the course content.

  • Be “present” in the Moodle using Announcement and Help forums.
  • Solicit and give timely feedback.
  • Provide opportunities for students to learn from and with each other.
  • Use groups to make discussions more engaging.
  • Incorporate active learning and interactive content.


Provide consistent structure throughout modules

In the examples below, Moodle Labels are used as headings to group similar types of content together. The naming style, structure and order of components is similar in each module

Side-by-side comparison of two course units
Consistent structuring of contents in Unit 1 (left) and Unit 2 (right) in Moodle 4.0.

What does a well-organized Moodle course look like?

Take a look at these examples of real NC State courses to see how they effectively organize content and make it easy for students to find information.

See how the courses MB 351 and ELP 344 use the NC State Book resource to break up and organize content with an easy to navigate Table of Contents.

A page in an NC State Book resource contains text, images and an information box. The table of contents is shown to the right of the page.
Example of an NC State Book page and table of contents


Related Workshop Content

Tips for Organizing Your Moodle Course: Strategies for organizing Moodle course


Strategies for improving interactions and increasing student engagement in your online course:

Examples, Templates and Guides


Related Workshops

Register to attend upcoming sessions:

Ready to do more with online course design?

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