The glossary activity module allows the instructor to set up an archive of terms for students. Both the instructor and students can submit entries into the Glossary, as well as comment on other entries. The instructor has the ability to create categories for terms for better organization, and can also import and export entire glossaries. The glossary is invaluable for posting vocabulary, key terms, or simply important items for students to access.

Getting started

Adding/editing a glossary

  1. Click on the Add an activity or resource link.
    screen image of activity pull-down list - glossary selection
  2. Choose the Glossary tool.
  3. Click expand all link to view all setting boxes
  4. expand

  5. Under the General section, type the Glossary's Name (required), Description (required) and the number of Entries shown per page (required).
  6. Choose the Glossary type.

    Note: There can only be one Main glossary per course, while there can be multiple Secondary glossaries. Entries from a Secondary glossary can be imported into the Main glossary.

    • Duplicate entries are allowed would allow multiple definitions (through separate entries) for the same term.
    • Allow comments on entries, located below each entry.
    • Allow print view provides a printer-friendly version of the Glossary.
    • Automatically link glossary entries creates links back to Glossary entries wherever else they appear in the course site (if enabled).
    • Approved by default
      Note: Selecting 'No' means that the instructor must approve all student entries.
    • Display format determines the layout. There are seven options:
      1. Simple dictionary style displays each term and entry alphabetically. Attachments are shown as links.
      2. Continuous without author is similar to Simple dictionary style, only it does not show the author of the entry.
      3. Encyclopedia displays the entry to that of a forum post, showing the subject title, the author, and then the entry. Attached images are shown directly.
      4. Entry list displays all the terms alphabetically without showing their definitions--to see the definition, the term must be clicked.
      5. FAQ has its terms posed as a question, and its definition shown as an answer.
      6. Full with author is similar to Encyclopedia, only it displays attachments as links.
      7. Full without author is the same as Full with author, only it does not show information about the author
    • Show 'Special' link provides links to display terms that begin with non-alphabetic symbols
    • Show alphabet provides a means of browsing by letter
    • Show 'ALL' link and allow viewing of every entry in the Glossary
    • Edit always determines how long an entry can be edited after it has been created.

    • Note: If 'No' is selected, students can no longer edit an entry after 30 minutes.
    • Grade category in the gradebook.
    • Aggregate type
    • Note: Ratings are used to report scores for the glossary activity to the gradebook. Selecting "No ratings" means the activity will be ungraded.
    • Scale determines what range of values that can be assigned when rating.
    • Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range enables ratings only between the specified dates.
    • Visible determines if the Glossary can be seen by students.
    • ID number is used for assigning a custom number to the assignment for easy reference when grading.
    • Restrict access allows the instructor to set a condition on the assignment until other assignment(s) are completed:
      Add restrict access image
      Add restrict access menu image
      • Date: Access can be restricted from or until a certain date and time.
        Note: ALL dates must be changed when copying courses. [We recommend that you do not use the DATE option in Restrict access. Dates can be set above within the Availability.]
      • Grade: determines grade conditions which must be met in order to access the activity.
        Note: Multiple grade conditions may be set if desired. If so, the activity will only allow access when ALL grade conditions are met.
      • Group: If groups are used in the course, it is possible to restrict the activity to a certain group.
      • User Profile determines access based on fields within the student's profile, such as department or email.
      • Restriction Set allows you to set nested restrictions (of those listed above).
  7. Choose either Save and return to course or Save and display.

Adding/editing a glossary entry

Once the Glossary has been created, it is ready for the adding of entries. Entries can be added by both the instructor and students.

  1. Click on the Glossary activity.
  2. Click on Add a new entry.
    screen image for adding a new entry
  3. Under the General section, type the Concept (required) and Definition (required) of the entry.
  4. Enter any Keyword(s) pertaining to the entry.
  5. Add an Attachment to the entry.
  6. Under the Auto-linking section, choose if This entry should be automatically linked, and determine if This entry is case sensitive and whether to Match whole words only.
    Note: The Auto-linking section will not appear if it has not been enabled in the Glossary settings via the Automatically link glossary entries option.
  7. Choose either Save and return to course or Save and display.


Viewing a glossary

.Viewing a glossary is via the options located below the "Add a new entry" button (see below).

screen image of glossary organization

Clicking on one of the four tabs--Browse by alphabet, Browse by category, Browse by date, and Browse by Author--reorders and displays the entries accordingly. Below these tabs are links for separating and displaying terms by Special (non-alphabetic) symbols or individual letters, and a link to display ALL terms in the Glossary.


Glossary comments

Comments can be enabled for giving feedback on a submitted Glossary entry. Comments can be submitted by anyone enrolled in the course.

  1. To enable comments for a Glossary, click Turn Editing On and click on the editing icon next to the Glossary.

  2. edit

  3. Select 'Yes' for the Allow comments on entries option, and click Save and display at the bottom of the page.
  4. Click on the Comments link that occurs below an entry.

  5. Note: Any existing comments will be listed chronologically (oldest at the top), followed by a text box. To insert a comment, type a message in the text box and click Save comment below it.
  6. To delete a comment, click on the X icon that corresponds to the comment, and select 'Yes' to confirm the deletion.


Additional Features

Editing categories

  1. Click on the Glossary activity.
  2. Click on the Browse by category tab. Click on the Edit categories button.
  3. glossary tab
  4. Click on Add Category, and enter the Name of the category and choose whether to Automatically link the category elsewhere in the site. Click Save changes. The category is now visible, and more categories can be added by the same process if necessary.
  5. To assign entries to the category, go back to the Glossary and click on the editing icon next to the entry that will be assigned to a category. Under the General section, select the category of the entry from the Categories list. Click Save changes.
  6. Click again on the Browse by category tab. Entries will be sorted by the categories they have been placed in.

Glossary permissions

The Glossary permissions are established by the system's administrator. The permissions are given to the various roles in order to grant them the ability to perform actions within the activity. The instructor can view these permissions with these steps:

  1. Click on the existing Glossary activity.
  2. In the navigation block, click the Permissions to view all possible capabilities pertaining to Glossary, and which roles have access to each capability. Alternatively, click the Check permissions button specifically view an a list of all enrolled individuals in the course.
  3. Click on the users name to check and then click Show this user's permissions.
    Note: Type the user's name into the search box in order to refine the display and more easily locate the intended user.
  4. This page lists all of the various actions that are capable within the activity. The list will tell whether or not the user is capable of each action.

Importing & exporting entries

Entries can be imported and exported to and from the Glossary.

  • Exporting entries
    1. Click on the Glossary activity.
    2. From the Activity Menu, click on Export entries.
    3. Click on Export entries to file.
    4. Click Save File on the window that pops up. The Glossary is now saved as an XML file.

    5. Note: A successful export can be confirmed by importing it back into the course website using the "Importing entries" section above.
  • Importing entries
    1. Click on the Glossary activity.
    2. In the Settings menu on the left side of the page (located under the Navigation menu), click on Import entries.
    3. Click Choose a file to import. Note that the file must be of the XML format, or the import will not work.
    4. From the pull-down menu next to Current glossary choose whether to import the data of the XML file into a new glossary or an existing glossary. Check the Import categories box to preserve the categories of the file. Click Submit.
    5. If the import was successful, "New glossary created" will shown, as well as the number of "Total entries" found in the file, and how many of those entries were successfully imported. Click Continue.

    6. Note: If the import was not successful, an error screen will be displayed. Click Continue on this page to be returned back to the upload page to import a valid XML file.
    7. The new Glossary will appear on the main course page.