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A Quick Tour of Moodle for Students

This page provides a quick introduction to Moodle, a learning management system (LMS) at UMass Amherst used to deliver course content and host online learning activities.

Log in and Log Out of Moodle

  1. To log in to Moodle, go to
  2. In the Login block, click Log in with IT NetID. (The login button will show at the top-left of on a large screen, but on your phone, you may have to scroll down to find it.) The UMass Amherst Web Login page will open.
    Note: Do not bookmark the Web Login page. To bookmark Moodle, use
  3. Enter your IT NetID and password and click the arrow ( login arrow ) or press enter/return on your keyboard. Your Moodle page will open, and you will see your name and Moodle avatar in the user menu at the top-right of the page. 
    Note: Links to help with passwords are on this page. Students and TAs who cannot log in to Moodle should contact the IT Help Center.
  4. To log out of Moodle, in the user menu at the top-right of the page click Log out.
    Note: Be sure to quit your browser after you log out, especially if you are using a public or shared computer. This will ensure that no one else can access your UMass account.

Find My Courses

Once you log in, the Login block will be replaced by the My courses block where you'll find links to your current courses.

my courses

If you log in and don't see your course in this block:

  • The course may not yet be open to students, so be sure to check again after the first day of class, or ask your instructor.
  • Not all classes use Moodle. Check your course schedule in SPIRE, and click the "LMS" icon ( SPIRE LMS icon ), if available, to go to the correct Learning Management System.

If you are still having problems, contact the IT Help Center and notify your instructor so that we can help you and keep track of Moodle issues.

You can get to your Moodle courses a few additional ways:

Navigation Block

  • In the Navigation block, click the My Home link to go to a personal homepage for all your courses. Simply click any course title to open the course. This page also lists upcoming deadlines.
  • Also in the Navigation block, you'll find links to your courses under My courses. This menu is especially handy for moving between Moodle courses.
  • From, go to Classes (log in, if needed) and look for a yellow M icon (for Moodle).  Click the Moodle icon to get a snapshot view of the Moodle course activity—handy on your phone or other mobile device. Links to activities like assignments or quizzes will take you directly to Moodle.

My Home

For an overview of upcoming deadlines in all your Moodle courses, click My home (at the top of the Navigation block). This page lists all of the courses you are currently enrolled in and allows you to quickly navigate to new assignments. You can also customize this page and add additional blocks to the right side, including the calendar, to help you stay organized.

To add a calendar to the My home page:

  1. Click Customize this page in the upper-right corner of the My home page. Two buttons will replace it: Stop customizing this page and Reset page to default. In the left column, you will see the Add a block block.
  2. In the Add a block block, click the drop-down menu to select Calendar.
    Note: To restore the original My home layout, click Reset page to Default.
  3. Click Stop customizing this page. Your calendar will now appear whenever you navigate to the My home page.

Typical Course Layouts

Courses in Moodle are usually organized in two or three columns. These columns may contain blocks that are often customizable, and topics where your instructor will post content and assignments for your course. 

Three-Column Layout

In most courses on a laptop or desktop computer, you'll see a three-column layout. The center Column is where your instructor will post information about the course, links to resources and assignments, and other activities you'll be doing on Moodle. This main course content is contained in expandable "sections" which may be organized by week, or by topic.

On either side are Blocks you can use to navigate in Moodle, and access grades, see upcoming assignments, a calendar, link to library resources and video lectures, and more, depending on what your instructor added to the course.

three column layout (Click to enlarge)

Two-Column Layout

On occasion, you may see a course page with a two column layout. This works exactly the same as a three column layout except that all blocks are on one side of your screen.

Two column layout (Click to enlarge)

Docking Blocks

To provide more screen space for the main course content, you can tuck Blocks to the side of the screen. 

  • To dock a block, click the Dock icon [ ] at the top right of any block. The block will collapse to a tab at the left side of the page. (If you are trying to create screen space, you'll probably want to collapse all the blocks in a column.)
  • To view what's in a collapsed block, simply hover your cursor over the tab for the block. The block will temporarily expand and you can click the links within it.
  • To expand a block, hover over its collapsed tab and click the Undock icon [ ] at the top right of the block. 

Mobile Layout

PhoneOn smaller screens such as a phone or small tablet, the page layout will rearrange for easier viewing: Blocks (Navigation, Activities, Calendar, etc.) will move to the bottom of the screen below the main course content.

Tips on Submitting Work

  • Submit assignments on time.  In Moodle your instructor may close assignments for late submissions, so don't expect to be able to electronically submit an assignment past the deadline.
  • Look for a confirmation screen to make sure your assignment is submitted. (This might look different depending on the kind of assignment.)
  • Know which file formats your instructor will accept (.pdf and .doc are usually preferred).