A Student’s Guide to Moodle

This guide is for the students of the University of Helsinki who use the Moodle learning platform in their studies. The guide is updated by Educational Technology Services.

Moodle also has a training course for students where you can freely test out the Moodle functions and activities (e.g. assignment submissions, quizzes). You can join the training course in: Moodle harjoituskurssi / Moodle training course, 2021 (category: training courses). Add yourself to the course (enrolment key is not needed) and try out Moodle as a student! You can for example try submitting an assignment or taking an exam.


Click on the figures to enlarge them.


Contents of the Student’s Guide to Moodle

1. General information about Moodle

Moodle is a virtual learning environment used in the University of Helsinki. It supports learning and collaborative studying for students on different University courses.

Moodle  provides various opportunities to communicate between students and teacher. You can, for example, take part in online discussions, answer online quizzes or opinion polls, submit course work and files electronically as well as take online exams.

Due to differences in browsers, Moodle may work differently on different browsers. See the recommended browsers (MoodleDocs).

Front page of the University of Helsinki Moodle (before login).

Example of the Dashboard view (after login).

Example of a Moodle course (after login).


Moodle supports communication and interaction between the students and the teacher. Moodle can be used for example as the course notice board, or for online discussions, taking exams, submitting assignments/files to the teacher, and sharing course material. Moodle also has a wide selection of different tools and functions the teacher can use organize group projects for students.

2. How to log in to Moodle

  1. Go to http://moodle.helsinki.fi.
  2. In the top right corner, choose Log in
  3. To log in with a University of Helsinki user account (also with a limited user account), click:

    If you are logging in to the Moodle of the University of Helsinki with a user account of some other Finnish institute of higher education, choose the HAKA login. With foreign university accounts, you can log in by choosing “eduGAIN account”.

    When you log in to Moodle as a student of the University, you must always give your University of Helsinki account and password.


  • If you frequently visit the same Moodle courses, you can star them on the Dashboard: You can then search for starred courses:

If you have problems with the login, the issue may be one of the following:

  • If you receive an error message "Käyttäjäntunnistus ei onnistunut, Authentication did not succeed" (https://idp.it.helsinki.fi/idp/Authn/HyLogin will be in the browser address bar), the password, the user account, or both are incorrect. Is your user account still valid? Did you insert your account in its correct, short form? Have you forgotten your password? If the problem persists, please contact Helpdesk. Read more about access rights.
  • If you receive an error message "ERROR, An error occurred while processing your request. Please contact your helpdesk or user ID office for assistance. Error Message: Invalid IdP URL (HTTP 404)", (https://idp.it.helsinki.fi/idp/Authn/HyLogin will be in the browser address bar), you may have started the login incorrectly. Have you added the Moodle login page (https://idp.it.helsinki.fi/idp/Authn/HyLogin) to your bookmarks/favourites? You must always begin the login on the Moodle front page, http://moodle.helsinki.fi, and there click the Log in link at the top of the page. Then choose to log in with a University of Helsinki user account.
  • If you have started the login on the front page, inserted the correct user account and password, and you still cannot log in to Moodle, there is probably a maintenance window or a larger update in progress. You can see the interruptions in use here. If the problems with login continue, please contact Helpdesk.

3. Enrolling on a course

You can enrol on a Moodle course yourself by using self enrolment, if the course teacher/person responsible has enabled it. You can enrol yourself on courses via the Moodle front page: http://moodle.helsinki.fi.

If you have not already logged in, Moodle will next ask you to log in. Please see more information about how to log in to Moodle.

Lastly, insert the enrolment key if Moodle asks for one. The enrolment key is a password you may need to enrol on the course area. You only need to insert the enrolment key once; after enrolling on the course, Moodle will no longer request it. If you do not know the enrolment key and one is required, please contact your teacher or the person responsible for the course.

  • For some courses, it is enough to register in Sisu and you can access directly the Moodle area. Please note, however, that it may take up to two hours after registration to enter the Moodle area.
  • If you cannot find the Moodle course, the enrolment may not yet be open. The course teacher or other person responsible can tell you when the self enrolment opens.
  • If Moodle requires an enrolment key, enrolling without the key is not possible. Contact the teacher or the person responsible to receive the enrolment key.
  • If your account has expired or you have forgotten your password, you cannot enrol on Moodle courses. See Changing the password online or visit ID Point if so required.
  • You can also remove yourself from a Moodle course area. Do not click the “Unenrol me from course” link before you have received the course credits to Sisu! Unenrolling yourself from the course will hide all your submitted works and their grades from the teacher. If you accidentally remove yourself from the course, please contact the person responsible for the course and ask them to add you back to the course area and to restore the works you had already submitted.

4. Language settings

The Moodle front page will be in the default language of your browser. You can change the language in the drop-down menu at the top of the page. The languages available are Finnish, Swedish, and English. The language you choose remains throughout the session. 

You can change the Moodle default language in your own profile settings. Then Moodle will always be in the language you chose whenever you log in to Moodle. See more information about changing profile settings.

Sometimes (usually on language courses) the teacher has “forced” one language as the language of the course. Then the language of the course will always be the one the teacher chose, i.e. you cannot change it.

5. Dashboard

After login, you will see your personal Dashboard. The page shows the courses you have enrolled on.

The Recently accessed courses block lists the courses you have recently visited.

In the Course overview, you can search for courses, and

 





If your teacher has enabled the automatic tracking of progress, it is shown as a line segment on the Dashboard beside the course title. The segment shows the percentage of the tasks added to the progress tracking you have completed in Moodle. Please note, that even if the segment says you have completed 100% of the tasks required, it does not necessarily mean you have completed the course: the teacher may not have added all compulsory assignments and exams to the progress tracking. For further information, please see student progress and completion tracking.

By default, everyone will see the Timeline, Upcoming events and Calendar blocks to the right. The timeline shows your upcoming activities. You can organise the courses by dates or by courses and their titles.

If you wish, you can add other blocks, for example Starred courses (ie courses you have starred) and Recently accessed items (activities and resources). You can customise your dashboard by clicking the "Customise this page" button at the top right of the page. Then you add blocks using the "Add a block" button at the end of the left column.

If some courses are missing from your Dashboard, you have not yet enrolled on them.

Click Course categories in the title bar to browse all course categories in Moodle and to enrol on new courses.


You can also search courses with the search bar on:

Moodle front page:


Dashboard:

For further information, please see: Enrolling on a course.

If you want to remove an old course of yours from the Dashboard, you can unenrol from the course. After you have unenrolled from a course, you can no longer return to the course and all the works you have submitted on the course area are hidden from the teacher. So never unenrol from a course if the grades have not yet been registered to Sisu! You can unenrol yourself from a course by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of the page. In the opening menu, choose "Unenrol me from course". This removes the course from your Dashboard. The teacher can also move old courses to the “Past” tab or close the course from students, so that the works submitted by the students are preserved, but the course is no longer visible for students on Dashboard. You can mention these options to your teacher if the course has ended but you do not want to remove your enrolment altogether. When the teacher closes the course, it is closed from all students.

6. Navigating Moodle

You can navigate Moodle with the Navigation menu on the left side of the page. You can show and hide the Navigation menu by clicking  the drawer icon.

On Dashboard, the menu is quite brief:


In the Navigation menu,

When you are on a course page, the Navigation menu contains also links to different sections of the course as well as to course participants and grades. For example:


The navigation path helps you to navigate Moodle. The path is at the top of the course and shows where you are on the course area. For example clicking the link (as seen below) with the course abbreviation, you can go back to the course front page.


On an activity or resource page, you can move between the assignments/resources by clicking the arrows to the next or the previous content, or use the drop-down menu "Jump to..." to move to any course content:

7. Profile settings (user menu)


You can check your user profile after you have logged in to Moodle by clicking your name on the top right hand corner (as an example You are logged in as Mary Moodler).

You can change your user settings under user menu e.g.

  • Profile for changing general information e.g. contact information and adding your picture and 
  • Preferences to change e.g. language preferences, notifications and calendar preferences.



7.1. Edit Profile

Note that your profile is personal and is shown on all your Moodle courses.

You can edit your profile information with among other thing:

7.2. Edit Forum preferences



7.3. Edit preferred language

The default language in Moodle usually is Finnish, but Swedish and English are possible as well.

7.4. Edit message preferences

It is recommended to enable all notifications e.g. to receive a notification when your teacher has given you feedback in your assignment. You can freely choose whether to receive notifications as a pop-up or as an email sent to your email address.


If you don't actively read your @helsinki.fi-emails, but you want all the important Moodle messages into your email account, you can redirect email messages from you @helsinki.fi-address to another address. More information about redirection.

8. Introduction to Moodle activities

In addition to sharing course material, the most common features of Moodle are:

The teacher chooses the activity best suited for the work in question. For example, students can submit some assignments to a forum so they are visible for all, but learning journals and other personal works can be submitted using the Assignment activity, so that only the teacher can access them.

Moodle supports group work. This requires that the teacher has divided the students into small groups in Moodle. Depending on the settings, you can see the groups in Participants. The options regarding groups are:

Group-specific wikis are a good way to organize group work. The wikis can be visible to either all course participants or only the group members and the teacher. These wikis can be supported by group-specific forums, where group members can discuss and plan their project. Sometimes the Assignment activity is used to collect group submissions. If the activity you are using seems tricky or hard to use, please ask your teacher for further information and instructions.

Next, we will introduce the most common activities and functions:

8.1. Discussion forums


Forums are the most versatile activity in Moodle. Forums are used for announcements, online discussions, and assignment submissions, if the assignments are meant to be visible for all or if peer evaluation is part of it. In group work, forums are used alongside wikis e.g. for discussing matters related to the group project.

The Forum activity has the following advantages:

  • You can receive email notifications of new forum posts by subscribing to a discussion topic. You can use this feature to activate yourself and to remind yourself of new posts and give feedback, for example, if another student has submitted their seminar work to the forum.
  • You can see posts and assignments submitted by other students and you can continue the discussion/work by leaving your own reply.
  • The teacher can make the forum visible only for the members of your small group.
  • The teacher can send you private message.

Teachers can also use the Urkund plagiarism recognition system to check the originality of submitted works.

Please note the Netiquette!


  • Start a new topic by clicking ”Add a new discussion topic”.
  • Add a title into the Subject field and write your message into the Message field. Click “Post to forum” to publish your post.
  • You can reply to a post by clicking ”Reply”. The title of the topic is automatically copied to the new post’s Subject field, so update it to match your reply.
  • You can edit your posts for 30 minutes after publishing it. After that, they can no longer be edited. If there later is a need to edit or delete posts, please contact your teacher.


Forum front page



Writing and posting





Subscribing to a discussion topic



8.2. Submitting assignments

You can submit an assignment either as file(s) and/or as online text written to the Moodle Editor, depending on the settings made by the teacher.

It is likely, that the teacher has set a due date for the assignment. The due date may be absolute, so after it has expired you can no longer submit your work.

After the submission time has expired, the teacher may give feedback and/or a grade. You can see the feedback in on the assignment page.

Your teacher may also be using plagiarism recognition system, in which case you will receive a notification and instructions when submitting your work. The submitted file will be sent from Moodle to Urkund plagiarism check. When the process is ready, the outcome is a report for the teacher (and possibly also for you) in Moodle. You can find further information on the plagiarism recognition system and instructions for academic writing in this website.

With individual assignments, the participants cannot see each other’s submissions.

If the assignment is a group effort, it can be submitted also as a group, if the teacher has defined the settings for this. When group submissions are enabled, discuss with your group members about who is the one to submit the final version to the teacher. The submission and the teacher’s feedback are visible for the members of the group.

You can also add comments and additional information to your submission. In the Comment field, you can tell for example the reason you chose your subject or instructions on which order the files should be read. 


N.B! Remember to add your name and student number/ID number in all works you submit to Moodle. Assignments are submitted directly to the teacher so other students cannot see them (excluding group projects).

Submitting files:

  1. Write your work in a word processor, e.g. Word and convert it to PDF (recommended).
  2. Submit your work by clicking Add submission.
  3. Upload the file: Add -> Browse or by dragging the file with your mouse to the place indicated by the arrow. In “Save as” you can choose a new name for your file if you want. The number of files you can upload depends on the settings the teacher has chosen for the assignment.
  4. Choose license: All rights reserved.
  5. Click Upload this file.
  6. Click Save changes. N.B. if there is also a ”Submit for grading” button, click also that one.

    If you want to delete the file you have uploaded, click the file and in the opening pop-up window choose Delete.


Writing and submitting online text:

  1. Start by clicking Add submission.
  2. You can write and format your answer directly in the Moodle text editor. You can also write the text in a word processor (e.g. Word) and format it in the editor. Copy (ctrl + c) your text to the Online text field.
  3. Save changes. You can later edit your submission by clicking Edit submission. When your assignment is ready, remember to submit it by clicking “Submit for grading”.


Moodle does not give you a confirmation notification, but when the “Submission status” says “Submitted for grading”, your submission has been successful.  

After the submission time has expired, the teacher can give feedback on the work in Moodle. You can read the feedback on the assignment page, but the feedback and the grade may also be in the Navigation Menu > Grades.

Submission status view

 Remember to submit the assignment for grading before the due date!

Answers to assignments, exercises, exams etc. can be run through the Urkund plagiarism recognition process.

7.2.1. Examples of submitting an assignment

In this example assignment, works can be submitted as either online text or maximum three files. Additional information can be given with comments. The teacher has enabled the “Submit for grading” function the students use to confirm their work is ready.

Zoom into pictures (1-5) by clicking them.

  1. Add submission:

2. You can write online text and/or upload files. Save changes!




3. You can edit your submission. You can delete an uploaded file by clicking the file icon and in the pop-up window choosing Delete.

N.B! If you see the “Submit assingment” button, remember to confirm your submission by clicking it. After this, you can no longer edit the submission.

4. The assignment has been submitted to the teacher for grading:


5. The teacher has graded the submission and given feedback:

Save

8.3. Wikis in group work

The Wiki activity is usually used in group projects as a collaborative writing platform, for example to write essays together. In Moodle wiki, students can produce content together (e.g. text, images), but only one student at a time. The idea is that everyone can edit the text written, so a text created by one student can be edited further by others.

Students can use the wiki comment tab to discuss e.g. the schedule of the project, how the tasks are divided, changes to the project etc. Attachments can be uploaded by clicking the link icon in the editor and then choosing the file you want to upload. Attachments are on the Files tab.

8.3.1 Creating subpages

You can add pages and subpages to a wiki to divide the information to multiple pages (website-like structure). In extensive assignments, each subject or theme can have their own page, and they can act as writing platforms for group or pair work.

[[Introduction]]
[[Literature]]
[[Methods]]
[[Results]]
[[Discussion]]
[[References]]

On the History tab of the wiki, the teacher and the students see the edits made to the wiki. They can also compare different versions and see who has written what.

8.4. Quiz

You can always recognize the Quiz activity for its  symbol . The teacher can use quizzes for essay exams, multiple-choice quizzes, and other tests that support the studies and learning. The teacher can add restrictions to the quiz so that it can only be accessed during a certain time. The teacher will also define when the student will see their own points and the correct answers.

N.B. In essay exams, the teacher may also use Assignment activity, the symbol of which is . If the teacher uses the assignment submission in the Quiz activity, see the instructions here. Please note, that quiz answers can be processed through the Urkund plagiarism recognition process.

Before the quiz

Before starting the quiz, please make sure you have a working internet connection and that you are in a quiet space.

Read the teacher’s instructions well before the quiz. If there is a test quiz e.g. available, try it out so the quiz activity and structure will be familiar to you. You can also ask the teacher to create a test quiz for the course. You can also try the Quiz activity on the Moodle training courses.

Starting the quiz

Usually the quizzes have a specific start and end times and the questions are available automatically at a given time.

Start the quiz by clicking Attempt quiz now. If you cannot see the button, reload/refresh your browser e.g. by pressing F5.

Moodle may be congested when the exams is about to begin. In this case, wait a moment, refresh your browser and reopen the exam.

If the quiz has a time limit, Moodle will notify you about it when you click the Attempt quiz now button. Moodle will then ask you to confirm starting the quiz. 

During the quiz

Do NOT close the browser when you are taking the quiz or you will lose the answers you have already given.

If the quiz has more than one page, you can switch pages by clicking Next page / Previous page. These buttons will also save your answers. However, be careful not to click the link that will take you to the next section of the course area!

You can also save your unfinished quiz by clicking Finish attempt. You can still edit your answers by clicking Return to attempt.

You can also use “Quiz navigation” to switch pages in the quiz, if the teacher has allowed this. A quiz with a time limit will have a timer showing the “Time left”. You can also flag a question for yourself.

The questions you have flagged will show in the Quiz navigation in red. In the picture below, question number 2 has been flagged and it has no answer. The questions that already have (saved) answers, 1 and 3, are grey.


If there is interruption in your internet connection

Moodle saves your answers every few minutes. The answers you have written before a possible interruption in the internet connection are saved and you can continue to take the exam when the internet is working again. If you lose internet connection, first wait a moment. If nothing happens, refresh your browser. Navigate back to the exam. Continue the exam by pressing "Continue the last attempt"


Submitting a quiz for grading

By clicking Finish attempt, you get to the Quiz summary page.

N.B!
Submit your final quiz answers by clicking!


After this, Moodle will once more ask you to confirm that you want to submit the quiz for grading:


Do not leave the quiz submission to the last minute, because your clock is not at the exactly same time as the Moodle clock! If the exam has a time limit, the submissions are closed automatically. After this, you can no longer submit your answers.

If you have not submitted your answers for grading, you will see a “Continue the last attempt” button and the summary will have the state “In progress”. The state will be “Finished” when the answers have been submitted for grading to the teacher.


After the quiz

Depending on the settings the teacher has chosen for the quiz, you will see

8.5 Workshop (self-assessment and peer assessment)

The Workshop activity is used in self-assessment and peer assessment.

You can see the phases of the assessment on the assignment page. The current page is highlighted with green and shown with icon.


Submitting works

When the teacher opens the workshop for students, they will see a “Start preparing your submission” button.

Name your submission and then add your work as a PDF file (recommended) or by writing it directly to the Submission content field.


Assessment

In the next phase, you will carry out a peer assessment / self-assessment on submissions as per the teacher’s instructions. In the Assessment phase, you can see how many submissions are waiting for your assessment. Depending on the settings, it is possible to do the assessment anonymously.

You can assess the submission by clicking “Assess”.


In the following example, assessment is carried out by the numeric grading and the aspects given by the teacher. General feedback is marked with an asterisk (*), meaning it is a compulsory field.


Grading evaluation phase

In this phase, you can no longer edit your submissions or peer assessments. The teacher calculates the final grades and can give feedback to both submitted works and peer evaluators.


Closed

When the teacher closes the workshop, the students can see their grades.

The grade for submission is calculated as weighted mean of particular assessment grades given by all reviewers of this submission.

The grade for assessment tries to estimate the quality of assessments that the participant gave to the peers. If your grade differs from that given by the others, you will be given a lower grade.

Click on the name of your work to see the feedback you have received.

9. Student progress and completion tracking

Your teacher may have provided you with an opportunity to track and record your progress on the course area. The teacher is then also able to track the progress of all students on the course. Some of the activities and resources in the tracking may be automatically connected to the progress tracking based on the conditions set by the teacher.

Use the progress tracking, for example,

If you want to know more about the options the teacher has for tracking student progress, please see the Teacher’s Guide.

When your teacher has enabled progress tracking on the course area and in at least one activity on the course, you will see a text My progress in the course title bar. Beside it, there is a question mark icon you can click for further information. The middle column of the course area also has check boxes for the course content, activities and resources. There are four different options for tracking the student progress and completion:


 

You can see your progress also on the Moodle Dashboard in the percentages to display.

The teacher may also have added a bar/timeline to the course to help you track your progress. The settings the teacher has chosen define the tasks shown in the bar and when a task is shown as completed. When a task is completed, it is shown as green in the bar. A red colour indicates that the completion of the task is late.


10. Student portfolio


The teacher defines how long a course area is open in Moodle. You can ask your teacher when the course area will be closed from students. Some teachers use the same course area the next time they teach the course, in which case they will remove the old students from the course area first before the start of the next course. Then again, some teachers let the course area be open for students for a long time after the course has ended. Courses that remain unused for a long time are automatically archived from Moodle. Usually, the student cannot access the courses of the previous year in Moodle, unless it has been agreed with the teacher and the course in question is e.g. a Personal Study Plan (PSP) course.

It is therefore recommended to save your works not only to Moodle, but also to e.g. to your own workstation of the University of Helsinki Windows network (the AD network), to a memory stick, to OneDrive etc. When you want to save a text you have written to Moodle or your forum discussions, you unfortunately have to copy them all one by one. Students usually have the files they have uploaded to Moodle stored better, on their own personal computers e.g.

If you want to create a ”portfolio” of all the works you have produced during your studies, recommended services of the University are for example the wikis or blogs. If you want to use your works after your studies, you should choose a service you have an access to also after the university. In this case, e.g. Google Sites (sites.google.com) or WordPress (wordpress.com) may be suitable for your needs. Google Sites is a wiki in which you can publish pages, either for some user accounts or as completely public, and you can still have some pages as private. The free blog service WordPress corresponds to the University blogs, and moving content from the University blog to your own WordPress blog is easy. There are also many other options depending on your needs, in principle all free blog and wiki services and file hosting services in the internet.

11. Moodle Mobile App

You can use Moodle on the browser of your mobile device, or you can download the Moodle Mobile app. Moodle Mobile can be installed on Android and iOS devices.

Some Moodle features work on Moodle Mobile. If the function is not available on Moodle Mobile, the app will direct you to the browser version.

Please note that some of the content is only visible on the browser version.

Moodle Mobile is in English.

Download Moodle Mobile from Google Play or App Store. Search the app with “Moodle Mobile”. Click Install -> Accept -> Open.


The app will request you to insert the address of the Moodle site. Write moodle.helsinki.fi. Click Connect.

You are directed to the login page. Choose login with a University of Helsinki user account.


Insert your University of Helsinki user account to the ”User account” field and your password to the “Password” field. Click Login.

12. Participating in online lectures and watching recordings

NB. The use of the Adobe Connect service at the university will be discontinued by the end of 2019. The full version of Zoom, a real-time video communication service, became available to university staff and students in early November, replacing Adobe Connect.


Your Moodle course may contain online lectures, usually in the Adobe Connect web conference system. In online lectures, the teacher is speaking for example in their own office. As a student, you can participate in lectures and watch the recordings on your computer and internet browser, e.g. Mozilla Firefox.

Participating on online lectures on mobile

You can also use your mobile device, e.g. your tablet or mobile phone, to watch online lectures. In this case, download the Adobe Connect Mobile App to your device. It is available on Android and Mac iOS (iPhone/iPad) operating systems, but not on Windows devices.

Watching recordings on mobile

When you want to watch recordings on mobile, use the Puffin internet browser. Download the free version to your device and open the link to the recording.


13. Help for problem cases in Moodle

If you have problems with course contents (enrolment key, materials, activities, exams, instructions, course criteria, schedule, etc.), contact your teacher first. Each teacher is responsible for his/her own courses.

With problems concerning the use of Moodle in general, contact Helpdesk at helpdesk@helsinki.fi or tel. 02941 55555. More information: http://www.helsinki.fi/helpdesk/

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