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 for each module

Screenshot of a module from the Quick Start Course Shell that shows the best practices listed below.
An example of a clear module structure, from the Quick Start Course Shell
  • Name modules / topics / course sections with concise, descriptive names and include dates in the names, for example, “Module 1: Topic, Dates”
  • Use text and media areas to separate and preface / describe groups of items, and make sure these 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. For example, “SUBMIT your essay”
  • If it makes sense, consider indenting items to nest them under others. One level of indenting is available on the main course page.

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.

See how the courses MB 351 (pictured below) 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

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 (see screenshot at right)
  • Add the Student Services block to provide easy access to help for students.

4. Make Your Content More Accessible

  • Use our Digital Accessibility Guide to learn about common accessible practices like
    • Providing alt-text or descriptions for all images.
    • Using properly nested heading styles in document and text editors.
    • Using descriptive link names instead of the full URL.
    • Providing captions and/or transcripts for audio and video content.
  • Run the Brickfield Accessibility+ Toolkit to find and fix common accessibility errors.
Screenshot of example "Meet Your Instructor" Block with photo and contact information.

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.


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.


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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