Adding Activities

4. Glossary

The glossary activity module enables participants in a course to create and maintain a list of definitions, like a dictionary, or to collect and organise resources or information.

For an OER which is not supported by a tutor some of the collaborative elements need to be limited otherwise the glossary could attract a lot of spam or unsubstantiated comments or amendments.

In a tutor supported course, a tutor can allow files to be attached to glossary entries. Attached images are displayed in the entry. Entries can be searched or browsed alphabetically or by category, date or author. Entries can be approved by default or require approval by a tutor before they are viewable by everyone.

If the glossary auto-linking filter is enabled, entries will be automatically linked where the concept words and/or phrases appear within the course.

A tutor can allow comments on entries. Entries can also be rated by tutors 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 personal 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

To add a glossary

Step 1:

Click on the dropdown arrow of the 'Add an activity' box

add an activity

Step 2:

Select 'glossary' from the list

add a new glossary

Step 3:

Type a name for your glossary and a short description.

glossary title and description

Step 4:

Choose from the dropdown list what the Glossary type will be.The default setting is 'secondary glossary' or you can choose 'main glossary'.

A main glossary is a glossary in which entries from secondary glossaries can be imported. There can only be one main glossary in a course. If glossary entry import is not required, all glossaries in the course can be secondary glossaries.

Step 5:

Decide what the settings for individual glossary entries need to be.Settings for individual glossary entries are:

  • Approved by default Yes/No (defaults to Yes) - If set to no, entries require approving by a teacher before they are viewable by everyone.
  • Always allow editing Yes/No (defaults to No) - This setting specifies whether entries are always editable or whether students can only edit their entries during a configured editing time (usually 30 minutes).
  • Duplicate entries allowed Yes/No (defaults to No) - If enabled, multiple entries can have the same concept name.
  • Allow comments on entries Yes/No (defaults to No) - If enabled, all participants with permission to create comments will be able to add comments to glossary entries.
  • Automatically link glossary entries Yes/No (defaults to Yes) - If site-wide glossary auto-linking has been enabled by an administrator and this setting is enabled, the "Add a new entry" form includes the option to automatically link the entry wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the course.

glossry entry settings

Step 6:

Click on Appearance to set the display settings for the glossary.

glossary appearance settings

Click on the Display format dropdown box to choose the format (defaults to 'Simple, dictionary style').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
  • Encyclopaedia - 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

The other appearance settings are

  • Approval display format - When approving glossary items you may wish to use a different display format from the one you chose for 'display format'
  • Entries shown per page (defaults to 1 entry per page) - if you choose to have more than one entry per page, you can specify the maximum number to display.
  • Show alphabet links - If enabled, participants can browse the glossary by letters of the alphabet.
  • Show 'special' link - If enabled, participants can browse all entries at once.
  • Allow print view - If enabled, students are provided with a link to a printer-friendly version of the glossary. The link is always available to tutors.

Step 7:

Click on 'Save and return to unit'

Your new glossary will now display on your course page.In the example below there is an FAQ glossary and the new 'my course glossary'.


Step 8:

To add entries to the glossary, click on the glossary title (in this example 'my course glossary')

my course glossary

Your glossary view will appear which will not yet contain any glossary entries.

Step 9:

Click on the 'add a new entry' button

add a new entry

The new glossary entry screen will appear.

glossary item entry

Step 10:

Type a glossary term into the Concept box and the definition of that term into the Definition box.

Step 11:

Each glossary entry can have an associated list of keywords (or aliases). If the entry is auto-linked, then any keywords will also be auto-linked.

Enter each keyword on a new line (not separated by commas).

glossary item entry concept and definition

Step 12:

Decide if auto-linking is required.The options are:

  • This entry should be automatically linked (default to checked) - If site-wide glossary auto-linking has been enabled by an administrator and this checkbox is ticked, the entry will be automatically linked wherever the concept words and phrases appear throughout the rest of the course.
  • This entry is case sensitive (default to checked) - This setting specifies whether matching exact upper and lower case is necessary when auto-linking to an entry.
  • Match whole words only (default to checked) - This setting specifies whether only whole words will be linked, for example, a glossary entry named "construct" will not create a link inside the word "constructivism".

glossary auto-linking

Step 13:

Click on Save Changes and the new glossary entry will now appear in the glossary.It will have an editing button edit buttonbeside it if you need to make further amendments.

glossary item in the glossary listing

Step 14:

You might want to categorise your Glossary entries.To add categories to your glossary you need to click on the 'browse by category' tab of the glossary.

add new glossary category

Step 15:

Click on 'edit categories' button

edit categories button

The categories screen will appear.Click on the 'add category' button.

add category button

The add category screen will appear.

Step 16:

Type the name of the category in the name box.

add category screen

Step 17:

Decide whether the category name will be automatically linked wherever it appears in the course.

Automatically link this category Yes/No (defaults to No) - If glossary auto-linking has been enabled and this setting is enabled, the category name will be automatically linked wherever it appears throughout the rest of the course. When a participant follows a category name link, they will be taken to the "Browse by category" page of the glossary.

add category screen with entry

Step 18:

Click on 'Save changes' then click on the 'back' button.

glossary categories

This will take you back to the glossary.

Step 19:

To categorise your individual glossary entries, click on the 'edit' button for the entry.Just below the Definition screen you will find the Categories drop down box which will now include the category you have just added.

edit glossary category

Step 20:

Click on the relevant category for that glossary item

categorise glossary entry

Step 21:

Click on 'save changes'.

Now if you browse by category you will find the glossary entry you have just categorised listed under that category.

glossary category open education