Glossary - main entry

Using the glossary activity in a topic ideally consists of 4 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). 

Good practice guides and tip sheets

Good practice guides and tip sheets have been developed to support quality in both curriculum design and teaching practice. Good practice guides provide a pedagogical overview and tip sheets provide you with practical strategies and ideas for implementation. Links to teaching-related resources are provided below. 

Facilitating Student-Teacher interaction in FLO

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  

  3. Select Glossary and click Add

  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  

      Timeline block: Using the 'Expect completed on' date in the Activity completion section will show a date to students in the Timeline block.

  7. Click the Save and display button

  8. Click on the Browse by category tab (1), then the Edit categories button (2). Adding categories to a glossary means you can apply them to entries (and have more than one) which makes for easier searching/navigation
    Clicking on the 'browse by category' tab brings the 'edit categories' button 

  9. Click Add Category, and name your category

    The settings described in this step and the step below.

  10. 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

  11. Click on the Save changes button. Repeat steps 9 & 10 as required (you can also return to this at any time).

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

Add a glossary entry

  1. Click the Add a new 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 trash icon. You can also preview the content by previewing it as a 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.

The export and import items are near the bottom of the list. In this picture they are marked with a red border.Export and import glossary entries

When a topic is rolled over, only the settings are copied over - glossary entries (like most student contributions) are not included. However, you can export the entries from one glossary and import them to another (eg. if you have a glossary of relevant terms/definitions). To do this:

  1. Open the glossary you wish to export entries from

  2. Click on the cog in the top right corner of the glossary tool, and select Export entries

  3. Click the Export entries to file button, and when prompted, save the file.

  4. Open the glossary you wish to import entries into.

  5. Click on the cog in the top right corner of the glossary tool, and select Import entries. Whoever does the importing will be listed as the author of all the imported entries.

  6. Upload the glossary, choose the destination of the imported entries (either the glossary you are in or a new glossary), and tick the import categories box (if needed).

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
  • Unused categories

Exporting content from the FLO glossary

The glossary tool in FLO/Moodle has no corresponding equivalent tool in Canvas.

However, you can export the entries from a FLO glossary as a text file (that you may wish to reuse in Canvas via another tool such as pdf, an H5P object etc). 

To export content from the glossary tool:

  1. Open the glossary you wish to export entries from. 

  2. Click on the cog in the top right corner of the glossary tool, and select Export entries.

  3. Select a format (usually File download) then click the Export to portfolio button.

  4. Choose the export format (usually Spreadsheet) then Next, then Continue.

  5. The content will be plain text in a spreadsheet and will not include any pictures.
    If you wish to export the pictures from your glossary entries, you will need to right click and click Save image as… (for PC) or Control + click (for Mac) for each glossary entry picture individually.

  Training and support



Contact your local eLearning support team 

» How-to glossary