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LMS Guidelines

Saint Mary’s College Learning Management System Guidelines
I. Purpose

Moodle, the Learning Management System (LMS) currently in use at Saint Mary’s College of California (SMC), is available for faculty to use as a platform for their teaching and learning activities, including technology enhanced, hybrid, or online courses. These guidelines help to define some of the roles and responsibilities of those who access and utilize the LMS.

II. Scope

The LMS is considered an extension of the classroom, and thus is covered by all policies related to the academic mission of the College, including the Faculty and Student Handbooks, Academic Honor Code, etc.

III. Definitions and Procedures: Users

All persons associated with SMC as faculty, students, and staff administrators who assist faculty with academic work are considered possible users of the LMS, and may have access to Moodle using their SMC username and password. Guest access is limited to vendors when necessary to complete work or testing in the LMS, and shall be revoked when such work is completed.

A. Authentication

User authentication is directed through the MySMC portal

B. Roles and Site Permissions

Moodle has Standard Roles and Custom Roles that have unique permissions in certain contexts within the LMS. In Moodle, apart from the site administrator, users do not normally have a global, site-wide role. In other words, when you are in Moodle you could have a teacher role in the course you instruct, but a student role in another course where you are studying for a degree. Roles renaming is also enabled at the course level, so a ‘Teacher’ might change ‘Student’ to ‘Learner’ or ‘Non-editing teacher’ to ‘TA’. The most commonly used roles/permissions are listed below for reference. Generally we ascribe to the principle of least privilege related to Moodle accounts.




The primary instructor of record for the course, who can manage and add content and activities, and access and grade student work.


Can access course content and participate in course activities, and assignments.

Non-editing teacher

Can grade in courses but not edit them.

Site administrator

Manages the site and has global viewing and editing capabilities.


Can edit courses, but cannot make system-wide changes.


C. Student Privacy

In accordance with the Policy of Electronic Information and Communications (UPF97-7) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) Guidelines, Moodle courses are password-protected, so that students are meeting in a private online classroom space. Students do not have access to other students’ personal information, such as student ID, grades, or email address. Students are able to view other students’ Display names, which appears in activities that are participated in within the course.

D. User Privacy Rights

ITS will engage in an ongoing review of online privacy requirements, including the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679, with our Moodle hosting service, in order to ensure up to date security and privacy standards.

IV. Definitions and procedures: Courses

A. Course

A course in Moodle is an area where a teacher can add resources and activities for their students to complete. It might be a simple page with downloadable documents or it might be a complex set of tasks where learning progresses through interaction.  Here is the official documentation about Moodle courses.
While Moodle is primarily an academic system, it may be used on occasion for non-academic purposes, such as committee work, or business processes, with the approval of the Director of Educational Technology.



Term-Based Course

A Term-Based course is an official course, which belongs to a specific term and is recorded in the student information system.

Combined Courses

Also known as meta courses, Combined Courses pull enrollments from 2 or more courses into a single Moodle site. The most common use of combined courses are for cross listed courses, or teachers who have multiple sections of the same course that they would like to merge.

Custom Course

Users may request that courses be created to facilitate committee work, research, or other business processes. Requests can be made by contacting the Service Desk and will be reviewed on a case by case basis.


B. Accessibility

Accommodations are handled through the office of Student Disability Services (SDS) in an effort to create an equal opportunity to enjoy and participate in Saint Mary’s educational programs and campus life.
All student accommodation requests, including but not limited to registration, housing, and classroom accommodations can be made by filling out the SDS New Student Application form at this link. After completing the information on the online form, students will be contacted by a Coordinator in the SDS office to talk further and to process the accommodation request. Should a student have questions,  Student Disability Services can be reached at (925) 631-4358.


C. Grading in Moodle

The Moodle Online Gradebook is a tool designated for the convenience of students and faculty. Thus, it is not an official record of student grades, nor should it be considered a legally binding record of student scores. Midterm and Final grades are submitted through GaelXpress. Instructors are strongly encouraged to periodically export a copy of the Moodle Online Gradebook, and to export a final copy (.CSV) for their records after the semester ends.


D. Course Retention, Archiving, and Deletion

Information Technology Services (ITS) will maintain Term-based and Combined courses (see above) in the LMS for four (4) years from the end of the term the course is taught. Courses may be deleted from the LMS four (4) years from the end of the course.  The instructor will be notified by email at least 30 days ahead of time.  The deletes will be done December 31 of each year.  Custom courses are not affected, they are never removed except by request.
It is recommended that instructors backup their courses at the end of the term in which the course was taught and before they are scheduled for deletion by ITS. Retaining copies of the syllabus, electronic grade book and electronic student work is the sole responsibility of the instructor. Instructors should always download student work or make copies of the grade book prior to removal of material from the course. Instructions on how to archive a course are provided on Moodle itself, under QUICKSTART Guides for Faculty.  There are a couple of ways to backup your courses, described in this QUICKSTART Guide.
Deleting a course from the LMS permanently removes it from the LMS system. When a course is deleted it is automatically removed from a user’s course list.   There is an FAQ here.

V. Governance

These guidelines will be updated by the Director of Educational Technology. This review will occur annually and at other times as needed, and updates will be posted on the EdTech Website. Exceptions can be granted by the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) based on specific needs of the College.