Awarding certificates in Moodle™

Certificates are commonly awarded in courses as a way to show that a student has accomplished a specified level of achievement. In the online world students can receive a certificate virtually just as they might in the face-to-face setting. In Moodle™ this can be accomplished by using the Certificate module to award certificates based on specified criteria. In this post I’ll discuss how to create one as well as options for releasing it to your students.

Configuring the module

The Certificate module is a third-party plugin for Moodle™ and is not enabled on Joule sites by default. In order to use the module the site administrator must request for it to be enabled by opening a support ticket. Once enabled by support you are ready to go!

When enabled teachers can select from a library of items for the design of the certificate all of which are preset with the module. In addition site administrators can also upload custom borders seals signatures and watermarks for teachers to select when creating the certificate. This capability gives you the creativity to develop an exclusive branding for your school or organization and allows you to create it in a program with flexibility such as Photoshop or Illustrator and upload in to Moodle™ as a template for your teachers. You can even set these files as the default so that when the module is added the file is already selected for them.

Configuring the certificate

Once setup you can add a Certificate to a course by selecting the module from the “Activity" drop-down menu. There are multiple administration settings to consider for the certificate upon adding it to the course. First of all you’ll need to enter a name for the certificate and add introductory text. Then you’ll want to configure the additional certificate options:

  • Issue options: In this area you can determine how the certificate is delivered to the student and if the teacher is notified of it being issued. In addition you can require that a minimum number of minutes be spent in the course before the certificate is issued. Later in this post we’ll talk about other ways to restrict it being issued by restricting access.
  • Text options: These settings control the text-based elements that will appear on the certificate. You can choose to leave the first three options empty if you do not wish to modify them from the default language strings (i.e. “CERTIFICATE of ACHIEVEMENT This is to certify that ___ has completed the course ___”). The certificate will insert the student’s name and name of the course (either the short or full name will display based on your preference). Other display options include the date and grade (as well as their formats) outcomes credit hours the teacher’s name a certificate code and custom text. If you choose to display the teacher’s name you do not need to enter it into the “Custom Text” setting as the assigned teacher will display by default. To display a different name choose to not display the teacher name and add the desired name into the Custom Text area.
  • Design options: These settings allow you to create a unique design by selecting from the module’s default library items or by selecting exclusive borders seals signatures and watermarks images uploaded by the site administrator. In addition you can configure the certificate type orientation and border line style.

Configuring its release

You will most likely want to configure when the certificate will release (unless you want it to always be available to students with no restrictions). If you are working in a live course make sure you hide it until you’ve set the restrict access for its release. Here are a few examples of how you could release the certificate:

  • Require select activities in the course be marked as complete before it is available. To do this you’ll need to use completion tracking in the course and configure the “Activity completion condition” settings for the required activities. To learn more about configuring restrict access in Moodle™ 2 enroll in our Moodle™/Joule Course Building for New Users online course.
  • Require students to reach a minimum grade percentage in order to receive the certificate. You can specify different percentages for each activity. To do this configure the “Grade condition” fields.
  • Create a Personalized Learning Designer (PLD) rule in Joule to release it for you. To do this create the PLD rule with the event and conditions you will require. For the action select “Unlock release code” and set a code. Then enter this code into the “Release code” field in the restrict access settings of the Certificate’s settings. You can create numerous release scenarios using this tool. For example you could release it after a certain number of days of enrollment used in conjunction with other completion and/or grading criteria or set it up to award an Attendance Certificate. To learn more about PLD enroll in our Moodle™/Joule Course Building for New Users online course or the Personalized Learning Designer webinar.
  • Alternatively you could use a combination of grade conditions activity completion requirements and a PLD release code.

Certificate is one of many third-party plugins available in Joule. Our Moodle™/Joule Course Building for New Users online course covers the Certificate module as well as other third-party plug-ins such as Quickmail block Attendance block Class List block Drag-and-drop Matching Quiz questions Questionnaire and Lightbox Gallery. To see what other plugins are available on your Joule site review our Plugin Matrix.

Thanks for reading!

~Rebecca DeSantis, Senior Instructional Designer



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