Moodle: Activities & Resources: Add an External Tool

Many websites, such as publishers and academic technology services, provide material and interactive learning opportunities complementary to what is offered within Moodle. The external tool allows instructors and students to access these activities from within their Moodle courses and, for some tools, have grades automatically sync with the Moodle gradebook. Students only need to log in to their Moodle courses and access the tool there.

Important Note: Because the external tool activity links your Moodle course to an external website, troubleshooting most issues encountered in the tool should be done through the tool's customer support. The LSU Faculty Technology Center can assist with the Moodle connection and can work with their support on gradebook sync concerns.

Learning Tools available in LSU Moodle


To Add an External Tool to a Moodle Course:

  1. Log in to Moodle and select a course.
  2. Click Create Learning Activity.
    Create learning activity button

  3. Choose External Tool from the activity chooser.
    Selecting the External Tool from the activity chooser.
  4. Click the Preconfigured tool dropdown arrows to select the desired tool.
    External tool settings menu
  5. Follow your vendor’s instructions or the tool's GROK article to see if you should use the Select Content button. If so, the Activity name should autofill to match the content. If not, add a short descriptive Activity name.
  6. Click Save and return to course to save your new activity.

Most External tools are preconfigured by the Moodle Admin and do not require additional settings. Scroll through the additional settings available below as needed.  

  1. Click "Show more..." to see optional settings. The "Activity description" can include instructional language that displays on the front page by typing in the editor and selecting a display option. The "Launch container" is set for each tool at the site level but it can be changed here if desired (i.e., to "new window" to maximize the tool view area).
    Page fields for adding a description, displaying the description, and opening it in a new window.
  2. Visibility reflects how the tool is displayed. See Common Activity Settings: Visibility for more information about the choices.
  3. Privacy settings if you have specific vendor instructions. Most tools will retain the default settings. If "Accept grades from the tool" is checked a gradebook item will be added to the gradebook; not all external tools use this for gradebook sync.
  4. Grade settings if you have specific vendor instructions. Most tools will use the settings in the vendor site for graded activities. For more information about grade settings, see Common Activity Settings: Grade.
  5. Restrict access settings allow the activity to be restricted by configuring any of the available restrictions. See Common Activity Settings: Restrict Access for more information about the choices.
  6. Activity completion set if or how an activity is marked as complete. See Common Activity Settings: Activity Completion for more information about the choices.
  7. Tags can be added to aid in searching across the course or Moodle site. See Common Activity Settings: Tags for more information.


Support & Training

The Faculty Technology Center (FTC) provides Moodle support by email, by phone, or live through Zoom. For contact information, please see the article Faculty Technology Center: LSU Overview. To connect through Zoom and for further information on support services and training, see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Faculty Resources & Support page.

The FTC also provides just-in-time faculty training opportunities and recorded training sessions. Attending at least one training session for Moodle upgrades is highly recommended. For a comprehensive list of available workshops and recordings, please see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Technology Training page.


5/27/2024 11:43:12 AM