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5 Days of Getting Started: What’s New in Moodle for 2020-21

Moodle 2020-21

In order to carry out our annual upgrade, Moodle will be unavailable on Wednesday 19th August (and should be considered ‘at risk’ for the remainder of that day).

Moodle 3.8 (via 3.7)

As usual, we’ll be moving forward 2 versions of Moodle, from 3.6 to 3.8, meaning we have 2 sets of features to tell you about, as well as additional functionality we are adding this year…

Moodle 3.7

This evolutionary update focusses on Analytics and Forum enhancements, as well as improvements to Messaging, Badges and Course Management.

Read more about the Moodle 3.7 highlights, or watch the Moodle 3.7 YouTube playlist below:

Moodle 3.8

This evolutionary update focusses on community requested features, including the first phase of full H5P integration, Forum enhancements, Forum grading, export & summary reports, and improved Learning Analytics.

Read more about the Moodle 3.8 highlights, or watch the Moodle 3.8 YouTube playlist below:

Moodle & Microsoft Teams

Undoubtedly the biggest change this year will be the integration of Moodle and Microsoft Teams, using the Moodle Teams App.

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, and application integration. Allowing staff to engage students with virtual face-to-face connections and activities.

Academics may find themselves planning to use Moodle to organise courses and Microsoft Teams for collaboration and teamwork. Moodle and Teams are both important parts of the strategy for the virtual learning and working environment, the new Moodle Teams App unites the two.

Our goal is to create one deeply integrated virtual learning and working environment:

  • Moodle (Learning): Work with courses in Moodle, as before.
  • Microsoft Teams (Collaboration): Extend with collaboration functionality and Teams apps.
  • Microsoft 365 (Productivity): Deep integration with Word, PowerPoint, Excel cloud and desktop applications.

The Moodle Teams App creates a seamless experience for students, working in Moodle and with all Teams features in one single application.

The Moodle Teams App allows Moodle users to set up a Team for every Moodle course, making all functionality offered through Teams instantly available for every course in Moodle.

We recommend colleagues consult with module and programme teams to develop a consistent approach to the use of Moodle, Teams and Microsoft 365. While TEL does not suggest one single institutional approach, we would be keen to meet with module and programme teams to discuss their needs and help to develop an approach that will work for them.

Level Up! Gamification

We’re adding a new plugin this year called ‘Level Up!’, which will enable you to engage your students by adding gamification to Moodle and enabling students to gain experience points for participating in their courses.

Level Up allows you to:

  • Increase engagement and participation by motivating students to progress towards the next level.
  • Reward their efforts by congratulating learners for reaching the next level.
  • Use the leaderboard to leverage competitiveness while keeping it friendly and motivating.
  • Unlock access to course content when a certain level is reached.
  • Configure the amount of experience points your students receive for what they do.
  • Change the levels and substitute experiences points for other symbols to make it even more exciting!


Group Choice

Another new feature we’re adding this year is the ‘Group Choice’ plugin.

This activity allows students to enrol themselves in a group within a course. Tutors can select from which groups the students can choose, and the maximum number of students allowed in each group etc.

Also, depending on the activity settings, the students can view the members of each group before making a choice, and change their selected group until a set deadline.


Don’t forget, the 2020-21 Moodle upgrade will take place on Wednesday 19th August! In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments about any of the new features mentioned in this post, then please let us know in the comments below, email TEL@yorksj.ac.uk or post on the Online Learning and Teaching Support Team space

Stay safe!


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Technology Enhanced Learning | York St John University