Saturday, August 6, 2011

Reuse course materials in Moodle

How can I save myself some time at the start of the year?  I can reuse materials used in previous courses.  It’s easy, but there are a few wrinkles.

First, to copy:

  • Start in the course you want things to end up in (the Import TO course).
  • In the Administration block, click on Import.  You’ll be asked to identify the course you want to import things FROM.  You are offered several ways to find it, including searching on the course title. Find it and select the course you want to use.
  • Then you’ll be asked what you want to import – labels, activities, links, quizzes.  You can take everything, or de-select everything and just click on what you want.  The default is to take everything.  
  • If you use labels a lot, be sure to include these, says the voice of experience – you can always delete the ones you decide you don’t want.
  • Keep on clicking “continue.”  The actual import can take awhile, depending on how much material you are importing.  Eventually, you’ll be told you’re now ready to go to your course (the Import TO course).  You can then see what's been imported.

Second, the wrinkles:
  • You won’t get student data, but you’ll get the raw course materials.
  • The materials will be placed in the TO course relative to where they were in the FROM course (the course you are importing from).  So if a quiz was in topic 3 in the FROM course, that’s where it’ll end up in the TO course.  (Then you can move it using the Up/Down arrows when you have Edit turned On.)
  • Images don’t copy, but they are still stored in the Moodle when you’re ready to insert an image. (You’ll just have to remember the name the image was stored under.) If you've embedded the picture (a Wylio image, for example), then it will copy. 
  • The blocks don’t copy.  So you’ll have to redo anything you have in those handy side blocks.
  • If an activity has a link to a resource that's in the FROM course, it will still link to the resource in the FROM course, not even if you copied that resource into the TO course. You don't want students getting frustrated because when they click on a link they can't get to it because it's in another course.  You'll have to set up any such links again. 

It’s not perfect, but imagine creating all that via copy and paste between the two courses (which I did once before I found out about this feature).

Here’s a great video by Erica Vail  that shows how to copy materials from course to course  Thanks to Moodle News for sharing Ms. Vail’s great resource:


  1. Wouldn't it be easier to clone the course and keep the data and users out? I ask cause we do it both ways here. I suspect there is a reason to do it each way, but have not found anything that works better or worse by doing it either way.

  2. I like that idea, too, but this is where I just want some things from one course to use in another. I think when you want mostly the same stuff, cloning is easier. When you just want a few things, importing is the way to go.