Moodle System Administration Basics

A six-week online workshop organized by NCSU, UoP

Dates: 19, 26 July, 2, 9, 16 and 23 August 2022 (six weekly sessions, always Tuesdays 14:00-16:00 on Zoom)

Instructors: Visvanath Ratnaweera, Dr. Nimal Ratnayake 

Registration: For invitees only. You should have received the invitation from through the Deans of the Faculties and Heads of the Centers and Units of the University.

The deadline for registration is Friday 15 July 2022. This course will go online on Monday 18 July.

Aim of the workshop

In this workshop you will learn:
• about the architecture of the Moodle web application
• how to install a fresh Moodle site on Linux using Git
• basic Moodle site administration
• how to install additional plug-ins using Git and Zip
• how to upgrade a Moodle site with additional plug-ins
• how to back up, restore and clone a Moodle site
• what to monitor during its operation
• essential security best practice

Course format
This is an instructor-led workshop with hands-on exercises. In six sessions, each session lasting 2 hours, you will be guided through a series of hands-on exercises on your own computer. You will finish those exercises before the next session starts. Depending on your experience, it will take additional 1-2 hours of work on average. Consequently the total time required for the full workshop is 18-24 hours. You are encouraged to ask questions in the forum and to respond to others’ queries too.

The participants should:
• be familiar with the Unix/Linux command line to do basic file system operations like cd, ls and cp and edit text files using an editor like nano or vi
• have an idea of command line options to understand longer commands. e.g. mysql -u alex -p -e 'use mydb; select id, username from prefix_user;'
• know how to interact with a relational database by issuing SQL commands. The commands USE, SELECT and DESCRIBE in their basic forms are sufficient.

An online self-test is available here.

Please note that an own PC or a laptop computer is required for the course - tablet computers and smart-phones are unsuitable. Your computer needs to run a currently maintained version Linux, macOS or Windows. You need to have 8 GB RAM and 10 GB of spare disk space.

Learning outcomes
By the end of this workshop, participants will:
• be able to install a fresh Moodle site on a remote Linux server in a short time
• be able to maintain a Moodle site to a high-level of reliability
• be able to back up, restore and clone sites
• do basic user management including course enrollment, roles, groups and cohorts
• acquire some good practices in server maintenance including security issues
• know the essential parameters to monitor
• know how and where to find sustainable help

Part I. Moodle System Administration
Week 1. Introduction, Your working environment Moodle architecture, prepare your working environment, test with a container-based Moodle system

Week 2. Install Moodle Install Moodle "from scratch": install the web server, the database server and PHP, download the Moodle code using Git, create the Moodle file space, create a database, create config.php, initiate the install script. Set the Moodle cron job. Set up outgoing mail.

Week 3. Install additional plug-ins manually, The upgrade process Where the plug-ins belong to. How to install plug-ins with both Git and Zip. Upgrade the site with the additional plug-ins.

Week 4. Back up, restore and clone Moodle sites How to back up and restore a Moodle site. How to clone a site. Course-wise back up and restore. Automatic course backups.

Part II. Moodle Site Administration
Week 5. User management, courses and roles Creating user accounts, creating courses and course categories, roles and enrollments. Groups and cohorts.

Week 6. Security enhancement and essential monitoring Security checks, improvements, best practice. Monitor system status (cron job, scheduled tasks)

Completion and assessment
To complete the course you need to complete all the activities marked by a completion check box. Some activities are automatically marked as completed by the LMS and others will be manually marked by the instructors. Upon successful completion of all the compulsory activities you will be awarded a certificate.

Submit the online application on or before Friday 15 July 2022. The number of participants is limited to 24. For further information contact

This course is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license Quote as the original resource. 

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