What's New in Moodle for Summer 2023
On Tuesday, June 6th, 2023, Moodle will receive an upgrade from version 3.11 to version 4.1.
Moodle 4 has been redesigned with a goal of improved usability, navigation, and accessibility. The new look may take a little getting used to, but we do think it is ultimately a more intuitive interface for both faculty and students.
ATS is planning an assortment of options to help get faculty oriented to Moodle 4 ahead of the Fall semester, but feel free to contact askIT@amherst.edu if you'd like a personal tour now, or have any questions!
The following video provides a good preview of what editing a course will look like in Moodle 4. Also, please see below for improvements we think will be most useful for Amherst faculty & ADCs.
New Features & Improvements in Moodle 4
Search for Courses in the Dashboard
You can now search within your courses in the “Course overview” block in the Dashboard. For faculty teaching iterations of the same course, include the term code in your search and leave out any dashes (for example “ENGL 115 2223S”).
More Intuitive “Edit mode” Toggle
The previously green “Turn editing on” button is now an “Edit mode” toggle at top right.
“Course Index” Sidebar
Within a course, the left sidebar now lets you jump to sections or specific activities. As you scroll down the main course area, it will highlight your current section. In courses using the Tiles format, this sidebar will only appear to instructors with editing mode turned on, otherwise it's hidden.
Move Items with Ease
Moving items across multiple sections in Moodle has always been really difficult. No more! Check out this video segment about moving items in Moodle 4 or see below.
With editing turned on, instructors can use the new course index sidebar to move items around within the course. You can still move them in the main course sections too, but this feels a little easier.
The game changer: for moving items a long way (for example, from the bottom of the course to the top) you can drag them between the sidebar and the main course area. Have one area scrolled to the top, other other to the bottom, and just drag across (either way).
All sections within a Moodle site are now collapsible. We think this will make our Moodle sites much more navigable for students and faculty alike, especially in courses with lots of content. Faculty are still welcome to use one of our custom course formats, but we think this default format will work well for the majority of courses.
Course Management Menu
Course settings, participants, grades, and other management options for courses are now in a readily available menu at the top of your course page. If you are viewing an activity or resource, this is where you will see options specific to that activity or resource (which previously were very hidden in a sub-menu).
Content Change Notifications
This is a feature faculty have been asking about for years. Now when you add or make changes to a resource or activity in Moodle, you can send an email notification to students that the item has been added or changed.
You can now set a time limit for a Moodle assignment as well as open/close dates (previously, timed assessments were only possible with the Quiz activity). This is useful for scenarios where you want to run a timed assessment but have the students turn in a file. If you provide students a file to work on, you can choose to make it available only after the student begins their time window.
Gradebook and Quizzes
Faculty using Moodle gradebook and quizzes may want to check out the changes and improvements made to those areas.
With the update to Moodle 4, we are using a more accessible theme called "Boost" which unfortunately does not support course banner images (these were only used in 30% of courses anyway). Faculty can still add a course image to display in the Dashboard and on their Moodle site- here's now!
Other than these changes, the core concepts and features of Moodle are the same and the process for building your course will be the same (just, we hope, a little easier!)
Thanks and as always please contact askIT@amherst.edu for assistance.