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Schedule meetings & office hours with Moodle Scheduler

Moodle Scheduler allows students to sign up for a time slot right from within Moodle. Features of the Moodle Scheduler plugin include:

  • Notifications to teachers when a student books or cancels an appointment
  • Reminders to students of upcoming appointments
  • Web form for sending invitations or reminders to students who did not yet make an appointment
  • Booking appointments in groups
  • Limits on when a student can modify/cancel their appointment
  • Grading (if appropriate)

Find instructions for setting up Scheduler at:

Or watch this helpful 10 minute video.

Ensure access to PDF documents

Often books or paper documents are photocopied and saved as a PDF in such a way that results in an “image” of the document rather than real text.  Image-based PDFs can also result if a digital document printed to Adobe PDF.

People who have low vision, blindness or those who struggle with reading may use assistive technology which converts text to speech. A document which is an image of text rather than real text is not usable by most types of text-to-speech tools.  Converting a text-based document to an audio file also makes it easy for students to listen to the document when they are traveling, if they have eye fatigue or potentially while working out.  

You can determine whether the document is an image or real text by dragging your cursor over the text. If you can highlight the text, line by line, then it is probably real text.

example of scanned text showing individual words highlighted

If you drag your cursor over the document in Adobe Reader and a box is drawn around the text, or if you are in a browser window and you are not able to search for an obvious word like “the”, then it is likely an image of text.

scanned text with highlight covering a block of text rather than individual lines

Colgate subscribes to SensusAccess, a web-based tool that will convert an image-based PDF to a text-based PDF or several other formats, including audio (MP3), Microsoft Word (DOCX), plain text (TXT), Braille and HTML. SensusAccess can be used by anyone with a colgate.edu email address.

Find more information about SensusAccess on the Colgate.edu website.

SensusAccess is also available in Moodle where Moodle course documents can easily be submitted to SensusAccess for conversion to alternative formats.

screenshot of moodle course home page showing link to sensusaccess

Add an attractive header image to your course

Moodle tends to be bland in appearance.  Follow the steps below to add some color and personality to your Moodle course by incorporating an attractive header to the course home page as in this example. 

  1. Find an image.  Search for images that convey the theme of your course (be aware of copyright).  Alternatively, create your own image using PowerPoint or other graphics tool.  Save the images as a file (jpg, png, etc.).
  2. In your Moodle course, turn editing on.
  3. In the first topic of the course, initially labeled ‘General, select the “Edit” link, then choose “Edit section”.

4. Select the “Custom” checkbox and add a welcoming Section name.

5. In the Summary area, choose the Insert image button on the toolbar.

6. In the pop-up window, choose Browse repositories and upload the image file you saved.

7. Provide a description for the image or, if the image is strictly decorative, check the box. Set the Alignment to “Top”. Once you save these settings and see how the image fills the space on the course page, you can return to modify the Size settings to better fit the page. Generally, 1000 x 300 provides a good fit. Checking the “Auto size” setting will ensure that the image maintains the original height to width ratio as you change the Size settings. Select “Save image.”

8. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Save changes“.

Create an inclusive and welcoming course page

Include Contact Info

Make it easy for students to access important information by including it on the Moodle course home page.  Include, for example, your contact information, office hours, Zoom meeting room links, etc.  See the example below.

screenshot of Moodle course home page with colorful banner and contact info including name, office, phone, email & office location and hours

Link to Colgate Resources

Help students connect with resources on campus by providing links to information on the Colgate webpage. Include, for example:


Calendar / Libraries


Add a Welcome Video

A welcome video can help students feel a sense of belonging by learning a little about who will be teaching them.  Find out how easy it is to record a video using the Panopto recorder. (Access your Panopto account)

Some tips to think about before you start recording:

  • Do a bit of research first to see examples from other instructors.
  • Write a script or create an outline of talking points.  Avoid mentioning dates so the video can be re-used multiple semesters.
  • Think about how you want to portray who you are in the video (warm & friendly, serious & rational, wildly enthusiastic…)
  • Welcome students. Let them know you are looking forward to having them in your class.
  • Be short and engaging; 2 – 3 minutes
  • Be yourself!  Show your personality and speak naturally.
screenshot of an embedded video with professor for Applied Market Research course

Conquer the Moodle scroll of death

When I was learning Moodle, it didn’t take me long to start searching for a way to reduce the length of my course home page.  My research quickly revealed that the long list of Moodle topics and linked activities and resources is aptly referred to as the Moodle scroll of death.

So how can we reduce the cognitive load for students when looking at the Moodle course home page?  There are multiple ways which can be found by searching “Moodle scroll of death”, but I’ll introduce the one I think is the quickest and easiest.

Just the Facts

Display only the topic headings on your Moodle course home page.  One click takes students to the content for that topic. Try it, you can always return to your original format.

If you are using the Topics format – the default for all new courses – follow these steps to avoid the Moodle scroll of death.

  1. Go to the course settings by clicking on the gear icon to the right of the course name
  2. From the menu, select Edit settings
  3. Scroll down to select and expand Course format
  4. Change the Course layout option to Show one section per page
  5. Select Save and display
  6. If you have editing turned on, you won’t notice a change. Turning editing off will show what students will see when they open the course.  They simply click on the topic heading to reveal the activities and resources for the selected topic.


The second option for reducing the scroll of death is to order your content so that the current topic that the students need to focus on is at the top.  You can achieve this by ordering your topics in reverse order, say putting week 15 at the top followed next by week 14, then week 13, etc.  Then you can hide those weeks until you reach that point in the course when students need to see the content.

To hide a topic, with editing turned on, select the Edit link to the right of the topic heading. From the menu, choose Hide topic.  Follow the same steps to Show topic when the time is right.  Alternatively, you can ask Moodle to unhide the topic as of a specified date using the Restrict Access option. Select the Edit topic menu item, scroll down and expand the Restrict access options and Add a restriction based on Date or any of several other options.

This approach may not be appropriate for all courses if you want students to be able to look ahead in the course but it can be an effective way of focusing their attention on the current content.