Speed up your training with this course auto-approval plugin

December 18, 2020 By Mary Cooch

Ideal for trainers and in-house Instructional designers, this plugin enables you to automate the creation and approval of practice Moodle courses and encourages a practical approach to professional development

Here at Moodle we very much favour active learning, where instead of the teacher, lecturer or trainer imparting knowledge, learners are immersed in, and engage with, the learning process. The same applies to professional development: it’s more satisfying to leave a session with some useful ‘takeaways’ than with a sense of time wasted. 

This is all the more important when you’re teaching others how to teach online – something thousands of educators worldwide have had to do this year- or helping them take their first steps with a new learning management system. In these cases, the best way to learn is to put the new knowledge into practice. 

In our twice-yearly Learn Moodle Basics MOOC, for example, all participants receive a sandbox (practice) Moodle course at the click of a button in which to try out the activities they learn during the MOOC. With several thousand participants in each MOOC, that’s a lot of practice courses. Even if you have a smaller number of learners or colleagues signed up to your training session, it’s still an effort to set up courses for them to practise in. With a combination of a standard Moodle feature and the Course auto-approval plugin, you can automate it and speed up your training. Here’s how.

Enable course requests

Save yourself the trouble of creating sandbox courses in advance by enabling the standard Course request feature (you’ll need admin access) from Site administration > Courses > Course request. You can even specify a special category for the courses to be created in, for example, a ‘Practice Course’ category.

Admin settings for Course request

Get the Course auto-approval plugin

Now you’ve enabled your trainees to request a sandbox course for themselves on your Moodle site, but you still have to manually approve all of the requests.
That’s fine if you only have one or two requests and plenty of time. If that’s not your case, you’ll want to install the Course auto-approval plugin on your Moodle site. The plugin is maintained by senior Moodle HQ developer and core contributor David Mudrák, so you can be sure it is reliable. You can download it from our Moodle plugins directory.

Choose your settings

You can specify how many courses each person can have approved, so if you want to limit an individual’s number of sandbox courses or you simply want to prevent them impatiently clicking the button again and again, you can do this. You can either reject any additionally requested courses or decide yourself whether to manually approve them or not.

Settings for course request auto-approval, including maximum number of courses per user and an auto-reject option

How do trainees get their sandbox courses?

Once everything is set up, a new “Request a course” button will appear on your site. When your learners click it, they’ll be sent to a form which they have to complete with the name and details of their requested course. After submitting the form, their course will be automatically created and approved, and your trainees will get notification that their course is ready and they have the editing teacher role in it.

Details of a course request. Fields include course full name, short name, summary and reasons for wanting the course.

What do I (the trainer) do?

If you have got the Course auto-approval plugin installed on your site – nothing! Just sit back, wait for your Moodle newbies to get started and be ready to support them!

Our staff are all Moodle experts. Is this plugin useful for us?

Of course! We used learning Moodle as an example, but the plugin works for any organisation that allows educators to request and manage their own courses. Perhaps you run a company where people purchase teaching space on your site? Once they’ve made a payment, they can request a course and have it automatically approved. That’s just one example of how the Course auto-approval plugin might streamline your processes. Let us know if you use it in other ways!


Download the Course auto-approval plugin from our Moodle plugins directory.


Moodle plugins are add-ons that you can install to your Moodle platform to add a specific feature, functionality or even appearance to your Moodle site. Only Moodle administrators can add plugins to a Moodle site – so if you are a teacher and would like to try one, talk to your Admin!