FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


  • What is Moodle?
  • How does Moodle work?
  • I signed up for a RUSA Online Learning course – how do I get started with Moodle?
  • What do I need to use Moodle?

Succeeding in Online Learning

  • Do I have the time?
  • Do I have the attributes of a successful online course student?


What is Moodle?

Moodle is an Open Source software package for producing internet-based courses. Since 2008, ALA and RUSA have used Moodle as their primary tool for online course management.

How does Moodle work?

The best way to learn about Moodle is to access the Moodle Demonstration Course.

I signed up for a RUSA Online Learning course – how do I get started with Moodle?

Visit classes.ala.org and create a free ALA Moodle login.

What do I need to use Moodle?

You must have regular unlimited access to a computer and to the Internet. We recommend using at least a Pentium II-based PC or a G3 PowerMac machine, using Firefox 2 or higher, Internet Explorer 5 or higher, or current versions of Safari or Opera. You will also need a reliable Internet connection—you will have a better experience if you have high-speed Internet access like cable, DSL, or LAN-networked T1 lines. If you are able to take the course on your computer at work, check with you information services department about available Internet capabilities.

You should feel comfortable engaging in online activities such as reading, working on assignments, participating in chats and threaded discussions, and responding to e-mail. Most class communication will consist of written messages between you, the instructor, and other class participants, so you should feel comfortable expressing yourself in this manner.

Succeeding in Online Learning

Do I have the time?

Many people register for online classes for the convenience. However, it is important to remember that these courses require just as much, if not more time than a standard classroom offering.

What does this mean in terms of commitment? You should expect to spend approximately four hours per week on coursework and online interaction with classmates. This time will vary depending on the length of the course, the amount of material covered, and the expectations of the instructor. If you are enrolling in your first online course, plan to devote additional time to learning how the course works and becoming comfortable with the course management system (in this case, Moodle).

Do I have the attributes of a successful online course student?

While Web courses offer more flexibility and convenience, they can be more demanding of time and energy than regular courses or workshops. In order to succeed in RUSA online courses, students should:

  • Know how to use technology such as e-mail and the Internet, and have a general comfort with working online.
  • Login regularly to participate in the class.
  • Commit between four and six hours per week to coursework and class participation.
  • Take notes as they study.
  • Avoid procrastinating on coursework—instead, use good time-management skills and self-discipline to ensure successful and timely completion of all assignments.
  • Enjoy communicating in writing and reading the writing of others.
  • Take initiative and seek help when problems arise.
  • Demonstrate professional respect and courtesy in their communications with the instructor and classmates.

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then we encourage you to enroll in one of our current course offerings.