HowToMoodle Blog

5 Moodle Questions You Need Answering Now

HowToMoodle are long term experts in training organisations on how to get the best out of their Moodle site so we’ve heard most of the questions below before and we normally pre-empt them in our training delivery. 

In this blog post, I expand upon the 5-most common questions I get asked when delivering Moodle training and they are the 5 Moodle questions you need answering now to make your life easier. Let's go! 

“Groups or Cohorts? What’s the difference?”

They are both used to define sets of users but the context here is key.

  • Cohorts are defined at a system or category level and their purpose is to enrol users into courses “en masse”.
  • Groups are defined at a course level. Therefore, once the users are enrolled in courses, they can be managed in sets (called Groups) to either segregate them in course activities e.g. forum discussions aimed at a specific group, differentiate course content between groups or maybe just to filter reports on groups.
It is possible to link a cohort and group together though so that, should you want the make-up of a group in a course to reflect the same set of users in a cohort that were enrolled in the course, when adding the Cohort Sync enrolment method to the course you can define the Group to which that set of users can be added.

“Is it possible to have a glossary activity for the site?”

Yes, if you require the glossary to be accessible (including the great auto-linking feature) in all courses in the site, then the best advice is to add a Glossary activity to the Site home page and ‘tick’ the Is this glossary global? activity setting; this setting is only available to Site administrators.

As a Site administrator, it is possible to ‘tick’ the same setting in a course-based glossary activity but be aware that the users will need to be enrolled in the course in which the glossary has been added in order to access the contents of the glossary from outside of the course.

“Scrolling is an issue in large courses – what would you recommend?”

With particularly large courses, for users to access content later in the course, it can require a bit of scrolling which can make content difficult to find. There are number of ways that this can be eased:

Limit content on the course page itself: Ideally rather than having lots of learning materials (text and images) directly on the course page, consider using a variety of Moodle activities so that your learning content is away from the course page and accessed via course page links. The Page and Book resources are well-worth a look.

Split the course content across well-labelled sections: Breaking the learning into small sections presents the learning and assessment in more digestible chunks, making it a little less intimidating for the learner. Giving the sections meaningful section headings makes it easier for learners to find their content when scrolling (and if using the option explained in the next bullet)

Consider using the “One section per page” course setting: By opting for this in the course settings, each section is compressed into a few lines with the section name being prominent followed by a list of the types of activity/resource contained therein; this means less scrolling to find the section of interest. When a learner, then clicks on the section they are presented with the chosen section (expanded) at the top of the page with the easy navigation links to both the next and previous section as well as being able to jump to any section by selecting from a drop-down list.

HowToMoodle have developed a plugin that enables this layout to be displayed as a series of “tiles” with images that makes the course page shorter, logical and visual.

“Learners are getting swamped with email notifications from forums; how can we stop this?”

If forums are being used in your Moodle site, then the fact that your learners are receiving notifications may be down to the configuration of the individual forums. The user who configured the forum may have selected “Forced subscription” meaning that those users who have access to the forum will receive notifications from the forum; in this case, there is no way for your learners to stop notifications from that forum. However, some forums may be configured differently allowing your students to unsubscribe (and therefore stop notifications) if they go to the forum in a course and check the Forum administration settings.

Whilst learners may not always be able to unsubscribe from a forum, they can alter the regularity of the notifications. In a default Moodle setup, a user’s Digest setting in their Preferences is set to No digest meaning that a subscribed user will receive notifications for every post made to the forum. Learners can change their Digest setting so that they will receive only one email a day containing either a list of the topics discussed that day (Daily subject) or a complete digest of all the posts (Daily Complete). To help your learners, you may wish to configure their Digest setting appropriately when creating their user accounts.

“Currently, teachers are seeing all learners in a course. How do I set it so that they only see the learners in their group?”

To associate a teacher to a group in a course, then the teacher needs to be added to the group as well. By default, teachers can see members of all groups but by tweaking the permissions for the teacher role ( you can restrict the view to just those users who are members of the same group as that teacher; simply unset the Access all groups permission.

Need help?

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