Math Department Moodle

The Math Department has its own instance of Moodle for use as an attractive alternative to Blackboard as a course management system
  • Moodle directly supports for mathematical expressions
  • Moodle has very extensive and useful on-line help
  • Any URL within Moodle can be linked to directly from an external website. Access will be transparently granted if permissions allow.
  • Moodle allows flexible enrollment exceptions
  • Moodle is generally a delight to use

Access the Department instance at

Table of Contents

The site:

If you have a Cornell NetID

  • You should be able to use standard Cornell single-sign-in with your NetID to gain access to Moodle.
  • Login Screen for Moodle if you have a NetID, annotated:
    Login Screen:

For best results, fill in your profile:

Enrollment tips

  • Most courses will enroll students from a class list obtained from the Bursar's Office.
  • If you enrolled late in the course, or had some other issue, be sure you have filled in your profile.

Once you have filled in your profile, contact your instructor who can arrange for you to be added to the list of participants in the course. In your request, be sure to include your:

  • Full Name
  • NetID
  • Course number
    • Section number (if your course has distinct sections).

If you do not have a Cornell NetID

  • You must already have been set up in the system.
  • Log in using the left side of the login screen.

Further help:

Contact Dick Furnas

Why Moodle?

Elaborating further on the quick summary above, here are some thoughts about Moodle in contemplating its use in your course:

Moodle has a robust feature set

Moodle provides the usual features you are likely to want in a Course Management System (CMS). Capabilities beyond simple web pages and file downloads which others in the Math Department have made particular use of include:
  • Controlled access to content to comply with your desires or intellectual property concerns
  • Gradebook functionality
  • On-Line quizzes
  • Notifications sent to students

Moodle directly supports LaTeX for mathematical expressions

You probably are already familiar with at some level. Moodle has provided native support for LaTeX expressions since our earliest installations and has continued to improve that support over the years. LaTeX is Turing Complete so cannot, and should not be supported in its entirety in a web application. However, for mathematical expressions, surrounding a LaTeX expression with $$ is all that is required to have it render properly.

Moodle has very extensive and useful on-line help

The on-line help in Moodle is superb. Pretty much anywhere you may have a question, you will find a little blue dot with a question mark. Click on it and you will be treated to on-line help which is genuinely useful. It is not unusual for the help to not only answer your question, but also divine your intent and propose or even recommend an alternative approach to what you may be trying to accomplish.

Any URL within Moodle can be linked to directly from an external website.
Access will be transparently granted if permissions allow.

Moodle is a great way to selectively manage access to content you choose not to make available to the open web.

Your course can easily use a mixed strategy of static web pages for course materials, open to the world, and Moodle for gradebook, workshop details, copyrighted publications and solutions. In particular, Moodle lends itself to the mixed solution much better than some other content management systems since moodle actively supports linking to content within it. If someone has authorization to see it, the link will go directly to the linked content.

A common alternative authentication method is to place the authentication in the URL which makes such deep linking impossible.

Moodle allows flexible enrollment exceptions

For baseline student enrollment, Steve Gaarder can batch enroll students to accomplish primary enrollment and stragglers can be added individually either by self-enrollment, manually, or another batch enroll.

In some contexts, it is enormously helpful to provide for various kinds of exceptions in enrollment. It is nice to be able to accommodate the student or course participant who for whatever reason you want to grant access to materials on Moodle without official registration in the course. Satisfaction of requirements for an incomplete, sharing materials with a teaching colleague, or accommodating a student's unusual schedule are typical examples. Typically, you can simply grant access as someone with full teacher or manager level permissions to the course instance on Moodle.

Our Moodle instance has also been used to coordinate outreach activities with K-12 Teachers and students in the region. If someone has a Cornell NetID, granting access is trivial. If someone does not, access can still be granted on request.

Moodle is generally a delight to use

Our experience with Moodle has been very satisfying. The user interface is very nice, access to features transparent and the ability to directly access materials with a simple copy/paste of a URL is great. A typical support question is of the form "I seem to be able to accomplish my goal in the following several ways, which do you recommend?". Delightful.

Moodle Information

Details about moodle in general are available at

documentation is at:

our current installation (Spring 2015) is version 2.7.x which is not quite the "latest and greatest" but is a known stable version with long term support. From the docs site you can view the 2.7 documentation from the drop-down menu.

-- DickFurnas - 2009-08-18
Topic revision: r6 - 2015-09-13 - 16:48:39 - DickFurnas
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