Importing Features of Moodle: Importing course materials and question banks

It may be a little early to be talking about getting ready for the next semester, but with registration day going on, it is certainly on the horizon.  A while back I posted a blog on how to create a new Moodle Course. In this post I will describe how to import content from an old course into a new course.

The import feature is a great time saver especially for those who use Moodle heavily in their courses.  It basically copies one of your old classes into a new class without bringing in the student data from previous courses.

Performing a course import

  1. Create the new class
    • From home page scroll down to see all courses. Then scroll down to add new class.
    • See the page in the Moodle Knowledgebase: Autoenroll on how to do this.
    • Be sure you use the EXACT title of the course from CampusWeb (including any punctuation – whether or not it makes sense)
  2. Go to the new class page
    • Will first see a screen to enroll (I think, unless that is special to my Moodle Admin role). You can probably ignore this (students will auto enroll) but be sure you are enrolled as a Teacher. Otherwise continue to add content.
  3. Begin Course Import
    • Administration –> Import
    • Select the old course you want to copy from the list
    • Select what you want to import over
      • May choose to not import things like calendar events (i.e. assignment and quiz dates) and groups – things specific to that old semester.
    • Select the specific materials you want to copy over.
    • Perform Import (takes a few seconds depending on how many materials you have)
  4. Clean up the new class (this can be a little time consuming but better than doing everything over again)
    • Change the due dates on all assignments and quizzes (edit resource then expand all to change dates)
    • Change references to specific dates in any text (labels, assignment descriptions)
    • Upload new documents (new syllabus, updated assignments, etc.)

Using this process the most time consuming element is cleaning up the new course to reflect the new dates. There is not a feature that will automatically adjust the dates for you, unfortunately, but this is still much quicker than re-creating the entire course.


Another importing feature that Moodle has is a question bank import.  Using this feature you can import existing question banks (from publishers or self created) into your course and makes for quick work at getting existing questions into Moodle for quizzes and tests.

Performing a Question Bank Import

  1. Go to the course you want to import the question bank to
  2. Go to Administration –> Question Bank –> Import
  3. Select the type of question bank to import and proceed through the steps.
    • Moodle question banks support most major question bank file types (including Blackboard, WebCT, and of course Moodle)
  4. If you want to create your own multiple questions you can create your own question bank using Aiken format.
    • Uses a plain text file type (.txt)
      1. Use Notepad on Windows Machine
      2. Use TextEdit on Macs
      3. If go through Word save as a .txt file to start and choose UTF-8 formatting. If auto-formatting begins, turn this off to ensure correct formatting for the importing function.
      4. Use this format when writing the questions
    • This process allows for quicker writing of MC questions.  All questions can be written on a single document rather than doing all the scrolling and clicking necessary to create the same questions within Moodle itself.
    • It is probably still best to create short answer, essay, and matching questions within the Moodle Quiz activity.

You can also export question banks created in Moodle using the Administration –>Question Banks –> Export function.  This allows you to share your question bank with others or to save it locally onto your computer.