Glossary - main entry

Using the glossary activity in a topic ideally consists of 5 stages, in a looped process.

1. Plan  |  2. Build  |  3. Test  |  4. Administer  | |  Support 

glossary iconGlossaries give students the opportunity to create their own content and are a powerful tool for critical thinking, collaboration and sharing. 

The glossary can also become a legacy or resource for future topics. It is a product that could potentially be converted into a publishable resource (eg create your own textbook).

1. Plan your glossary

The glossary tool enables participants (students) to create and maintain a list of definitions or to collect and organise resources/information. If the glossary auto-linking filter is enabled, entries will be automatically linked where the concept works and/or phrases appear within the topic.

A teacher can allow comments on entries (eg peer review, additional information). Entries can also be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the Gradebook.

Glossaries have many uses, such as:

  • a collaborative bank of key terms
  • a 'getting to know you' space where new students add their name and key details
  • a 'handy tips' resource of best practice in a practical subject
  • a sharing area of useful videos, images or sound files
  • a revision resource of facts to remember

2. Build your glossary

You have planned your glossary. Now you are ready to set up your glossary. Students will be able to create an entry and add comments (if you choose Yes), but will not be able to rate an entry without further steps (see Glossary - optional settings).

Create a glossary activity
  1. In the topic, click Turn editing on 
  2. In the week/module where you want to add the glossary, click Add an activity or resource  
    Add an activity or resource

  3. Select Glossary and click Add 
    Glossary icon

  4. Give the glossary a Name and Description

  5. Under Entries, amongst other options you can choose to allow comments (default is No)
    allow comments

  6. Under Appearance, select Display format. There are 7 display formats: 
    • Simple, dictionary style - No authors are displayed and attachments are shown as links
    • Continuous without author - Entries are displayed one after another without any separation apart from the editing icons
    • Full with author - A forum-like display format showing the author's data and with attachments shown as links
    • Full without author - A forum-like display format without authors and with attachments shown as links
    • Encyclopedia - As for "Full with author" but attached images are shown inline
    • Entry list - Concepts are listed as links
    • FAQ - The words QUESTION and ANSWER are appended to the concept and definition respectively  

      glossary settings

  7. Click Save and display

  8. Click Edit categories. Adding categories to a glossary means you can apply them to entries (and have more than one) which makes for easier searching/navigation
    browse by category tab 

  9. Click Add Category 

  10. Provide your category with a category Name

  11. Use the Automatically link this category drop-down menu to select whether or not you would like to automatically link the category. For more information about auto-linking, see Set up auto-linking in a glossary entry

  12. Select Save changes

  13. The newly created category will be displayed. Click Add category to add another category

  14. The categories you create will allow users the option to browse by the glossary by category

  15. Repeat above steps to continue adding new categories

Optional settings

See the following links for more options about using the Glossary activity:

3. Test your glossary

To make sure your glossary works as expected, create a test entry (this can be deleted once you are happy with the result, just click the X button).

Add a glossary entry

  1. Click Add a new entry  add glossary entry button

  2. Fill in the required fields

  3. Click Save changes 

  4. Once your entry has been added, try searching for the entry. In the search box type in the name of your entry

  5. Click search
    search glossary box

  6.  Your entry should now appear. To delete the entry press the X button at the bottom. You can also preview the content by switching your role to student.

4. Administer your glossary

In order to administer your glossary you can use a variety of functions (listed below). You can moderate entries, set up ratings, import and export entries.

Export and import glossary entries

You can export and import glossary entries into a new glossary. For example, you have created a glossary of relevant terms/definitions in one topic and developed it over the semester. You want to include this glossary as a resource in the next semester the topic is taught, or include it in another topic altogether. When the glossary is imported it will not bring across the individual entries. To do this, in the glossary screen, you will need to first export the entries (Administration block > Export entries) and then, in the topic glossary you wish to import them into, import the entries (Administration block > Import entries). Whoever does the importing is the author of all imported entries.

You are advised to request support from your local eLearning support team to do this, as there are some considerations/limitations to this process. For example, the following features cannot be imported:

  • Student-created entries – their names will not come across (a good thing)
  • Comments on entries
  • Categories for entries (the categories will be imported but no entries will be attached to these, so you will need to manually do this)

  Training and support



Contact your local eLearning support team 

» How-to glossary