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Now that UCL's Moodle is being upgraded, it might be a good idea to take this opportunity to revise and make your sites Baseline-Compliant. Rather than simply migrating the sites over onto the new system, you may consider using an empty template and adding your content to it, while keeping the Baseline in mind. 

This page contains a set of steps - a linear process, a recipe -  that you could use for creating your new Moodle site.


  1. Look through the provided basic Moodle Module template.
  2. Decide on the structure of your site (i.e. tabs, collapsable topics, etc.)
  3. Have the necessary number of Tabs and Topics ready.
  4. Have all the resources you want to add to Moodle at hand.


  1. Structure

1.1 Present activities and resources in a meaningful, clearly structured and sequenced way

Step 1:

  • Label all the tabs and topics you are going to use, including weekly topics.
  • Add quick summary as a description of the topics as labels.
  • Create headings for separating lecture and seminar material.
  • Create groups and groupings where needed.

1.2 Minimise cognitive load

Step 2:

1.3  Include navigation aids

Step 3:

1.4 Use a Faculty or Departmental template

Step 4:

  • If you are creating a new Moodle course from scratch, using a template means it will be easier to meet the Baseline (and Baseline+) criteria.

1.5 Guide students as to which task to complete next

Step 5:

2. Orientation

 2.1 Include the Module Syllabus and Intended Learning Outcomes 

Step 1:

  • Include these directly in Moodle, or via a link to the module handbook or departmental website.
    Module Information tab or a page could be a good way of addressing this.

2.2 Explain participation requirements

Step 2:

Add a section called 'Module Information' to the Module Information tab or page, as given in the examples.
Tip: Avoid adding this through a forum post as these posts will need to be re-created from one year to the next. However, repeating this information in a forum post (using copy and paste) is a good idea.

  • Add a sub-heading in the Module Information tab to highlight which activities are compulsory and optional.
  • Add a sub-heading in the Module Information tab to explicitly signpost all online and offline activities and how they interrelate.
  • Add a sub-heading in the Module Information tab to include an indicator of effort (such as timings or page counts) for all compulsory tasks. Tip: You can do this by adding information on Moodle Log reports.
  • Add a sub-heading in the Module Information tab highlighting how students are expected to use UCL and external e-learning tools. Tip: provide a link to PowerPoint Induction template and another link to Additional Resources tab/page for the use of Lynda, or other relevant external (and open) courses.
  • If you are using additional eLearning tools beyond Moodle, add a subheading in the Module Information tab, with descriptions on how students are supposed to use these.
  • Add a sub-heading in the Module Information tab explaining what software and/or devices are the students required to use as part of the course.

2.3 Display staff contact details

Step 3:

2.4 Moodle roles reflect the functions of staff

Step 4:

2.5 Ensure students are aware of all services and support available from the department and UCL.

Step 5:

  • Include a link to the "Learning with Technology" Moodle course to the Module Information Tab.
  • Include a link to the departmental administration course on Moodle to the Information Tab Module Information Tab. (for example DIS Student Handbook).

 What this could look like...

2.6 Provide an overview of the course  within the 'Course Summary' in the Moodle course settings. 

  Step 6:

2.7 Students are sent a welcome message before the start of the module. 

  Step 7:

3. Communication

3.1 Provide a communication statement

Step 1:

3.2 Use the News forum

  • Check it's not hidden and you have explained that students can't post or reply (only staff).

3.3 Make the purpose of every discussion forum clear

3.4 Advise staff and students to upload profile pictures  to help personalise the online environment and allow online discussions between collaborators to be more easily followed.

Step 2:

  • Under the 'Communication' sub-heading (Module Information Tab) remind students to update their Moodle Profile pictures.
  • Repeat this information in a post sent via the News Forum (e.g. combine with 2.2).

3.5 Include a Q&A forum for tutors and or students to pose questions and receive answers, which students can choose to unsubscribe from (if automatic subscription is selected).

Step 3:

3.6 Use learning forum(s)  for moderated discussions related to specific course activities. 

Step 4:

  • Create additional Discussion Boards clearly marked for specific discussions.

3.7 Track student participation and send reminders to those who have yet to contribute to activities or submit assessments.

4. Assessment

4.1 Provide an assessment outline with a clear description of the module assessment, including schedule, criteria and submission details.

Step 1:

  • Create a new Assessment tab to add information about upcoming assessment.

4.2 Provide tools and information for avoiding plagiarism

Step 2:

  • Include a subsection on Plagiarism on the Assessment tab and add a link to the Plagiarism and Academic Writing course, where students can check their work for plagiarism independent of assessment submission points.

4.3 Provide online assignment submission points

Step 3:

5. Resources

5.1 Use descriptive titles for all items and consider displaying the item's description on the course homepage, as this helps students understand the purpose of the activity or resource.

Step 1:

  • Create Learning Resources tab.

5.2 Provide learning resources - Provide presentation slides, notes or handouts. See which file format to use when. UCL policy is to provide lecture materials 48 hours in advance

Step 2:

  • Add the resources and activities with meaningful meanings (i.e. NOT just Week 1, etc.).

5.3 Provide reading list(s)

Step 3:

5.4 Check resources - Regularly fix or remove broken hyperlinks (URLs) and check that all resources are up-to-date before releasing these to students.

  • You can install a broken link checker plugin in your browser that will alert you to broken links on the page.

5.5 Link to external online resources 

Step 4:

  • Create Additional Resources tab and add external resources that are useful (e.g. case studies, image libraries, multimedia, articles, Lynda courses, MOOCs). 

5.6 Embed videos and other media 

Step 5:

  • Refer to the guidance on how to embed resources.

5.7 Include dynamic content from the wider web

Step 6:

6. Cross-platform compatibility

6.1 Consider file formats

Step 1:

  • Check if you are using formats students can access on mobile devices (e.g. recommended option for read-only documents is PDF).

6.2 Compress files to minimise the file size and aid those students viewing them on mobile devices.

Step 2:

7. Accessibility

7.1 Provide accessible learning resources by ensuring:

Step 1:

7.2 Links open in the same window 

Step 2:

7.3 Adhere to the UK Equality Act 

Step 3:

7.4 Provide video transcripts or notes

Step 4:

7.5 Check online learning tools for usability and accessibility

Step 5:

8. Legal

8.1 Observe intellectual property and copyright legislation by utilising the ReadingLists@UCL service for all reading;

Step 1:

  • Check if you are using ReadingLists@UCL service for all the reading resources and request a review by your subject librarian.

8.2 Avoid guest access (without a password) unless you are sure your material is copyright-cleared for open access

Step 2:

  • Check if you have guest access to the module and remove it unless you want the content to be accessed by anyone in the world / with the password (if a password is set).

8.3 Communicate potential data protection issues when students are asked to use non-UCL systems

Step 3:

  • Include a statement about potential Data Protection issues for non-UCL systems.
  • Contact the UCL Data Protection Officer for advice if not sure.

8.5 Students learn about copyright and can differentiate between what they are allowed to submit for their own private studies; what they can publish publicly in portfolios; and what can be used for personal or business use.

Step 4:

9. Student Active Participation-

9.1 Students can share learning resources either individually or collaboratively using online tools (such as wikis, glossaries, databases and discussion forums).

Possible steps may include:

Step 1:

  • Include a link to the guidance on the use of wikis, glossaries, databases and discussion forums.
  • Provide activities for active participation using the tools above.

9.2 Students are required to interact with online activities, such as online self-assessments, contributing to discussions and completing interactive scenarios, in order to maintain student motivation and engage them actively in the learning process.

Step 2:

  • Provide a statement in the Module Information tab (with 'Online Interaction' subheading) if requiring students to engage with activities.
10. Quality Assurance

10.1 Students can evaluate the module anonymously

Step 1:

  • Check if the SEQ is conducted anonymously (N/A if run centrally by the department).
  • Add a Office365 Form for anonymous feedback (avoid Google forms, as this will not meet GDPR requirements).

10.2 All stakeholders, including tutors, administrators and support staff, can contribute to the module/programme evaluation

Step 2:

10.3 Students can submit their module evaluations online

For fully-online teaching the evaluations will need to be run using an electronic service (such as Moodle Questionnaire, Moodle Feedback or Opinio).

10.4 The module evaluation covers all aspects relevant to the use of technology for teaching and learning

Step 3:

  • Request that an 'Evaluation of the Technology' section is added to the common module evaluation forms.

Annual Maintenance: Once the Baseline-Compliant modules are in place, you may want to review these on annually. The link below gives a quick checklist on what to check before the start of the term.

Moodle start of term checklist for staff

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