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Reuse a Moodle Course using "Import"

In Moodle, you do not reset a course to reuse it. You must request a new course shell each semester you teach a course, then you can import previous course content into the new course.
For more, see Request Your Moodle Course - Overview.

You can import from a course you taught in a previous semester, or a course you have permission to copy. To copy another instructor's course, the instructor must submit the form Allow Another Instructor to Copy Your Moodle Course.

The import function only works for courses that are on the UMass Moodle server. To restore a course from a Moodle backup file (.mbz) (e.g., a back up of a course no longer on our Moodle server, or of a Moodle course from another institution), contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or

What Gets Copied in the Import Process

You can copy all content and most settings, or you can select particular resources and activities to import. To import only particular resources and activities, see Reuse a Moodle Activity or Resource Using Import.

Importing a course will NOT include student enrollment from the previous course, or any contributions to Activities made by members of the previous course (including students, TAs, and instructors). This means that forum posts, database and glossary contributions, and wiki content will not be included in the import. For assistance exporting such content to reuse, please contact the Instructional Media Lab at (413) 545-2823 or

Import an Entire Course

Note: Because the import process is "additive," if you are importing an entire course it is best to import into a new, empty course. The process will copy all Resources and Activities and duplicate the organization and most of the settings.

  1. Once you have been notified that your course for the new semester is ready to work in, log in to Moodle and, in the My Courses block, click the name of the new course to open it. The new course will open with the default settings, blocks, number of sections, etc.
    Note: If you do not see the name of your course in the My Courses block, click Show hidden courses to access courses that are not available to students.
  2. In the Administration block, click Import. The Find a course to import data from page will open.
  3. The Find a course page will list up to 10 courses available for you to copy. If you do not see the course you wish to copy on the list, enter the course name or course number in the Search field and click Search.
  4. Under Select a Course, select the radio button for the course to copy and click Continue. The Initial Settings page will open.
  5. On the Initial Settings page, under Backup settings, check the types of content to copy (activities and resources, blocks, filters, calendar events, and/or question bank); all will be selected by default.
  6. Click Jump to final step. The Import progress page will open.
  7. Depending on the size and number of items to copy, this may take a few moments. You should see a progress bar as the import process proceeds. Once the import process is complete, a confirmation message appears.

  8. Click Continue. You will be returned to the new course.

Clean Up Imported Content

Be sure to attend to these important tasks, as needed:

  • Update text in labels, Section names, etc.
    For example, look for any references to dates and the term taught.
  • Update your syllabus
  • Edit due dates for activities
    To update due dates for activities such as Assignments and Quizzes see  Edit Dates for Multiple Activities & Resources in Moodle for information on how to change many due dates at once.
  • Set Up Groups
    Groups are not copied into a new course. If you will use Groups in this course, in the Course Settings, select the default Group mode (separate or visible), and under Administration > Users > Groups, recreate group membership. We advise you to wait until after the end of add-drop for this step.
  • Reset Guest access
    If you wish to have Guest Access to the new course, it will need to be enabled in Course Settings.
  • Delete and recreate Turnitin (legacy) assignments
    Turnitin assignments from Spring 2015 courses, or before, must be replaced with new Turnitin assignments. (Turnitin assignments created from Summer 2015 onwards can be successfully copied and do not need to be recreated.)
  • Delete and recreate Wiki (legacy) assignments
    The newer Wiki tool, which is much easier to use, is replacing the Wiki (legacy) tool.
  • Reset links to OWL
    If you have an External Tool link to OWL, the OWL course information must be reset.
  • Reconfigure blocks
    Certain blocks, such as Echo360 will need to be reconfigured for the new course.

How long do courses stay on Moodle?

Once grades have been submitted, course materials and grading information will remain on the server for approximately 18 months. This allows ample time for students to resolve incompletes and for faculty to make their own archives of course work for future reference. After the 18-month period, materials are removed from the server to make room for future courses. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to maintain long-term storage of Moodle courses due to limited physical space and resources.

For example, following this schedule, your Spring 2014 & Summer 2014 Moodle course sections will be removed shortly after the add/drop period ends in February 2016. Only course sections taught in Moodle during the Spring 2014 & Summer 2014 semesters will be removed at that time. If there are student data or materials in these courses which you wish to keep, please make sure you have copied it out of Moodle before the add/drop period ends in February 2016, as this information cannot be retrieved after that date. See Back Up a Moodle Course.