Moodle Basics – Getting Started

Turn editing on

To make any changes to a Moodle page, the editing features need to be enabled. Select the Turn Editing On button in the top right corner.

The Moodle page now displays new options to add, move, and change content.

Change the look and layout of a course

Changes to the overall look and layout of a Moodle course page are made by going to the Administration toolbar on the left. Select Course Administration > Edit Settings.


  • Course Full Name/Course Short Name/Course Category: Changes cannot be made to these fields. This information is imported directly from the Registrar. 
  • Course Visibility: Switch this setting to Hide to prevent students from seeing a course as you work on it. All hidden courses must be set to Show for students to see it.
    Fall 2020: All course are set to Hide by default. Courses for Modules 1 & 2 will be added. Make sure to Show Module 1 before the semester begins.
  • Course Start Date/Course End Date: By default all courses added by the Registrar in Moodle conform to semester dates. To change the end date, Calculate the end date from the number of sections needs to be unselected. Select new dates from the calendar pulldown menus.


  • Course Summary: Write a brief summary of the class to appear on the main Moodle page where courses are listed. 

Course Format:

  • Format: By default, all courses are set to align weekly with the semester. This can be changed to conform to organization of materials by Topics. Collapsed Topics help condense long Moodle pages by allowing students to open and close Topic views.
    Fall 2020: By default all courses are set to Topics to accommodate Modules 1 & 2.


  • Force Theme: The Macalester “Mac” theme is set by default. Other themes in the pull-down menu are based on the responsive “Boost” theme which makes viewing the course on a tablet or phone easier. See the Boost Themes tutorial to learn more.
  • Force Language: Choose a language for all menus and options within the Moodle course. The language setting does not affect content you have added.