Best practices: The top 10 administrative settings for saving instructors time

As someone who has been fortunate enough to serve many Moodle™ roles (student course facilitator course builder and site administrator) I’ve been asked many times… what can I do as an administrator to help my instructors get up and running quicker? It’s a great question one that I’ve pondered often. In today’s blog post I recommend configuring 10 settings so that you can save your teachers valuable time and peace of mind in the long run.

Advanced features

  • Settings > Site Administration > Advanced Features

Moodle™ and Joule provide instructors and students with a plethora of optional but enhanced features. Most of these features including completion tracking outcomes conditional access RSS feeds and messaging are found in the Advanced features area. Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each of these advanced features before enabling as some have implications you may not be aware of.

Course default settings

  • Settings > Site Administration > Courses > Course default settings

Teachers need to configure every course that they teach. Moodle™ makes this easy for administrators to set the default settings at the site level for all new courses. Poll your teachers so that you better understand how they configure their course settings including items such as the course format and student progress settings. Aggregate the poll results and set the defaults based on your findings.

Backup settings

  • Settings > Site Administration > Courses > Backups > General backup defaults
  • Settings > Site Administration > Courses > Backups > Automated backup setup

Ensure that your teachers have security in putting all of their hard work online! Make sure to configure the General backup defaults so that when teachers choose to backup their own courses they don’t have to worry about what all the options are—they just have to backup. Also make sure to carefully configure your Automated backup setup. This gives you peace of mind in knowing that you are backing up all of your sites’ courses with user data on a regularly scheduled basis! Once you set it you can forget it!

Grade settings

  • Settings > Site Administration > Grades > General settings
  • Settings > Site Administration > Grades > Grade category settings

Grading can be one of the biggest headaches for teachers in an online management system but it doesn’t have to be! Help teachers by pre-determining settings to make their lives easier! In the General settings area make sure to enable both the tab and drop-down menu navigation options as well as items like the Static student column. In the Grade category settings area reduce the number of available aggregation methods to only the most commonly used choices: Mean of Grades Simple Weighted Mean of Grades Weighted Mean of Grades and Sum of Grades.

Scales and outcomes

  • Settings > Site Administration > Grades > Scales
  • Settings > Site Administration > Grades > Outcomes

Today most schools and organizations are driven by desired outcomes. In addition they typically rate those outcomes on some type of non-letter grade competency scale. Save your teachers time and effort by taking on the task of creating Scales and Outcomes that all teachers will need to use no matter what they teach.

Location settings

  • Settings > Site Administration > Location > Location settings

It may seem like a simple or unimportant task but making sure to configure your Location settings has far more implications than you may think. Your site’s time zone setting reaches into even the smallest things like assignment due dates quiz open and close settings and more! Make sure to complete this setting with care and consideration.

Language packs

  • Settings > Site Administration > Language > Language packs

In our multicultural world embracing the languages of all cultures is of extreme importance in the online setting. Within the Language packs area make sure to enable all language packs that could possibly be needed by students or teachers.


  • Settings > Site Administration > Plugins

The Plugins area controls all types of items. Enabling or disabling Activities Blocks Filters File Repositories and setting default settings in those Plugins will really save your teachers time in the long run because they won’t have to ask you to enable items they may need. They will see only the modules you make available to them which can speed up the building process by only seeing the information that they need when they need it.


  • Settings > Site Administration > Appearance > AJAX and JavaScript

AJAX and JavaScript control some of the most user-friendly abilities in Moodle™ and Joule. Most notably AJAX controls the ability to use drag and drop functionality. Make sure to enable this in the AJAX and JavaScript area and also preset teacher accounts to use Advanced web features in their profile!

Support contacts

  • Settings > Site Administration > Server > Support contact

Pre-configuring each of the above items is certainly a step in the right direction for supporting and assisting instructors. However they certainly don’t cover every conceivable scenario or question that your instructors may have. To this end it is essential to configure all three items underneath the Support contact settings. This includes the Support contact Support email and Support website settings. Completing this information will give your instructors access to help around the clock depending on the support team structure you have built at your organization. To continue exploring other ways to configure your site to best help instructors and for configuration tips and tricks overall enroll in our online facilitated course Effective Site Administration!


~Laura Lea



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