I was approached by the course convener of a first year Drama course requesting whether they could have separate Moodle course spaces for the six groups in this course. Initial thoughts on the practicality of dividing a course in this way worried me. Our student enrolment system automatically places students in a single course space for each course code, so in this case breaking from single to multiple courses, students would be faced with enrolling themselves on the correct group course space, with the department and Moodle team shouldering an added administrative burden. In addition we would have six extra courses to manage that were not integrated into college systems. Following some considerable head scratching I decided to work towards a means by which students could select their group from a list in the current course space. Each link would need to display only content and resources relating to the group selected by the student.

After some experimentation I found it was possible to configure a course web address (URL) that would force the course page to display the course in collapsed view (allows only one topic or week to be displayed), along with a specific single topic. Provided all the content for a group is placed in a single topic area this would meet their needs.

The URL to create this view type is obtained by simply appending &topic=# to the end of the course address where # is the topic number. So the URL to show topic four only along with the course main content would be;


The course code (Example – http://moodle.uni.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=101) can be copied from the top of your course page, then add &topic=4 to the end of this to influence how the course is displayed.

Here are instructions to create a table of links.

  1. Go to the course and copy the course URL from the address displayed
  2. Turn editing on, then click on the edit icon for the course main topic area (Topic 0)
  3. Create a table with a single row for each group and a title to go along side your existing course wide resources and information. (see image below)
  4. Populate the table with title and group names
  5. Now carefully select the text for your first group then click on the Insert web link button
  6. Enter the URL for the course copied in step 1, adding &topic=# to the end to point to the required topic number. In the Target field select Same Window from the options then click OK
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each of your groups
  8. Click Save changes to finish and test the table links

Screenshot of the group selection table produced

Some compromises and strategies are required by the tutors so that each week is clearly defined within the single topic area, with resources and activities displayed with the relevant week to reflect the standard Moodle course layout. This is done by creating a label with the title for each week, thus making it possible to group resources and activities to the information for a given week. Creation of addition course web pages from the add a resources options is also recommended to reduce blocks of text.

I hope this will be of use to you, and do contact us with any questions.

Posted by elswedgio

E-Learning Professional. It's all about Moodle and MOOCs at the moment.

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