Ideas for keeping large Moodle courses organized

Courses with large amounts of content in them can be afflicted with "Moodle sprawl," whereby the course page has hundred of links. This makes it hard for faculty to edit and for students to find what they need. Here are some ideas to reduce the length of a Moodle course.


If there are lots of files in your course they can be organized in a folder, which only takes up a single line in the main Moodle page. It is also possible to have subfolders. The folder can be inline in the main Moodle page or open in a new page.

Folders can only contain files (not activities, such as online assignments or quizzes) and the order of the files is always alphabetical.


It is possible to create a single Moodle Page that consolidates links to many different files and activities. There are a few techniques to make this effective.  

Set activity availability

Adjust the settings for Moodle files, resources, and activities with Common module settingsAvailability set to "Make available but not shown on course page." This means students can't see the item on the course page, but can access the activity with a link.  

Turn on activity auto-linking

To make it simpler to link to each activity, turn on the "Activity names auto-linking" filter. This setting automatically turns any phrase that matches the name of an activity into a link into the activity. For example, if there is a file in Moodle with the title "Assignment #1", any time "Assignment #1" is entered in to a text editor in Moodle, it will be automatically linked to the activity. The text and title of the item much match exactly for a link to be created.

Course main pageMore (under course title) → FiltersActivity names auto-linking set to On

Choose titles for items that aren't common words to avoid inadvertently linking to them. For example, using "homework" for the title of a Moodle assignment will mean that every time the word "homework" appears in a Moodle text box, it will be linked to the activity. Instead use "Homework #1".  

Create a Page

Create a page in Moodle and add content to the page. To automatically link files, resources, and activities, type the exact title of the item and Moodle will automatically link to it. Moodle Teachers will still see all of the items on the page, but students will only see the Page and will use the links in the page to navigate to each item.

One section per page

You can leave your course as is, but only show one topic/week at a time. In your course click Settings (under course title) → Course Format → Course layout setting. Setting this to Show one Section Per Page will simplify the view of the course.

If you elect to use this method you may want to explain how to navigate the course to your students. You can always get back to the main course view by clicking on the course title in the navigation listing just above the topmost section of the course.

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