How Can I Copy Content from One Course to Another?

The following was borrowed, with minor changes, from Smith College.  The instructions should work at Amherst College.

Valid for Moodle 2.8.  Updated on 1/22/2016.Did you know that you can copy your own course data from one semester's Moodle course to another? (As always, if you do not feel comfortable doing this on your own, please ask contact the Helpdesk at X2526 or through to arrange for your data to be moved for you).

There are two basic approaches. The first uses the import function while the second creates a backup file of the first course and imports that file into the new course. Importing is usually the best choice. Please note that the import function will move all resources and activities (files, forums, etc) but will NOT move any student data, such as forum posts or submitted assignments. Backup and Restore can do this.

Importing course data from one course page to another
Backing up all or part of a Moodle course page
Restoring backed-up data to a new course

Importing course data from one course page to another

  1. Go to the Moodle page for your old course and determine the number of topics/weekly sections it has.
  2. Go to the Moodle page for the new course.
  3. Make sure the new course has the same number of visible topic/week sections as the old course. If it doesn't, go to the  Administration block and open the Course administration. Then click on Edit Settings. Change the Number of sections  in the Course format section to match the old course, then click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.
    Please do not skip this step or your materials will not copy correctly!
  4. In the Administration block, under Course administration, click on Import.
  5. Working in the center section, search for source course. The search functions is a bit touchy so you may need to try a couple of variations of your course name/ID. For example Fren 101 doesn't work but French 101 and Elementary French does. Click the button in front of the course and then click on Continue.
  6. On the next screen, click on the Next button.
  7. You can now uncheck any content that you don't want to import. If you uncheck the box at the top of a section, the entire section will be unselected. Once you've selected what you want to import, click on Next at the bottom. Most of the time you'll want to uncheck the reserves and the news forum since these will be recreated for every class.
  8. The next page allows you to review your decisions. If happy, just scroll down and click on Perform import.

If you have any problems or questions, use the Moodle help form or call the IT helpline at X2526 or use the AskIT help system at

Backing up all or part of your Moodle course page

Moodle also has a method for making a backup of an entire Moodle course page, or parts of a Moodle course page. This is useful for saving a backup copy of all of your materials or for moving only certain parts of your Moodle course page into a new course. (For example, this is how you would move a single quiz into another Moodle course). It can also be used to move a course to another college's Moodle site.

  1. Go into the course that currently has the data in it. In the Administration block (usually located on the lower left side of the course page), click on Course Administration → Backp.
  2. The next several pages allow you to select what parts of the site you want to back up. One inportant option on the first page allows you to anonymize user information.  This keeps information about students, but removes their names.  For instance, forum entries would be kept but no identification information would be kept with the posts.
  3. On the last page, the backup is actually created. This may take a minute. When the page is done loading, click Continue at the bottom.
  4. Your course data backup has now been created. Moodle will now show you the backup files that it has.  If you want you can click on download to make a copy on your computer.  A copy will remain on the Moodle server.

Restoring backed-up data to a new course

  1. In Moodle, go to the course page for your new course, where you'd like to copy the data.
  2. In the Administration block, click on Course Administration → Restore.
  3. If the backup file is in one of the displayed course backup areas, click on the restore button.  If it isn't there, you can click on Choose File and upload a saved backup file from your computer.
  4. The next few pages will allow you to select which parts of the backup copy you want to restore. One important option here is whether you wan to replace current course contents or add the restored material to the course. Make sure you get this correct or you could lose material you've already added to the course, or end up with a lot of redundance.

If you have any problems or questions, use the Moodle help form or call the Moodle helpline at X5050  use the AskIT help system at